Board Members & Staff


The team at the April, 2016 Happy Hour in the Greenhouse event. Pictured from left to right are: Todd Pettit, Heath Martin, Amy Pettit, Ben VanderWeele, Michelle Church, Troy Sheldon and Leslie Senden.

Meet the Board

Troy Shelden, President and Treasurer

Troy grew up on a farm in the Dakotas and currenlty is a farmland owner.  He has lived in Alaska for the past 11 years and see’s the importance of maintaining farmland in production.  He’s seen firsthand how development encroaches and overwhelms farmland.

Michelle Church, Secretary

Michelle has lived in alaska for the past 38 years.  Michelle, along with her husband own a small hay and market farm.  In describing her relationship to Agriculture she describes that she like to eat and know where her food comes from.  To Michelle, farmland is important from an economic and environmental sense and it is her personal mission to educate the public on this importance.

Read A Letter From Michelle About the Importance of Giving To AFTC

Ben VanderWeele

Ben is a long-time Alaskan vegetable farmer in Palmer, Alaska.  He was on the founding board of directors and has a passion for agricultural land preservation.

Read a Letter From Ben About the Importance of Supporting Beginning Farmers

Leslie Senden

Leslie grew up in Alaska, is a resident of Palmer and makes her home on the Springer system.  She recognizes the value of protecting farmland and wanted to ensure that the agriculture industry remains a viable choice for the next generation of Alaskans.

Read a Letter from Leslie about how Development Pressure impacts Alaska’s Food Security.

Heath Martin

Heath grew up in Alabama where his family had roots in the Dairy industry; watching his family farm get sold to (and developed by) a brick manufacturer changed Heath’s perspective about the importance of protecting valuable farm land.

Todd Pettit

Todd is owner of Pitchfork Ranch in Palmer, Alaska.  Todd is a third generation farmer and rancher in Alaska.  His family has been farming in the state since the 1940s.  Todd is passionate about agriculture and land preservation because once the ground is developed it is lost to farming forever.  To insure that productive lands stay in agriculture, farmland conservation is the only viable resource to keep this land going into perpetuity.

Carol Kenley

Carol was born and raised on a farm in the Valley.  She has seen many changes over the years, including the amazing growth in this area. She supports the growth, but is disheartened by the loss of some of the area’s best farmlands to residential and commercial development. She believe’s that farmland is worth protecting and looks forward to educating the public and promoting farmland preservation in Alaska. She brings years of experience serving on the Alaska State Fair Board and the local chapter of the Alaska Farm Bureau Board to her new role, a well as previous experience serving on the Governor’s Natural Resource Conservation Development Board. As a second-generation Alaska farmer, she understands the issues facing farmers in Alaska.

Pat McKay

Having lived in the Springer System for the past 40 years, Superior Court Judge and longtime Valley resident, Patrick McKay has seen a lot of development that has happened in his community. As a family farm owner in South Dakota, Patrick brings not only his love for Alaska, but an understanding of farming as a director.

Interested in becoming a Board of Director for the Alaska Farmland Trust?  Click Here to find out more information.


Meet the Staff

Amy Pettit – Executive Director

amy-pettit-headshotAmy Pettit was raised on a cow-calf operation on the Southern Oregon Coast. Four generations of her family have raised premier blank Angus and Angus cross cattle on their 2000 acre property.
Amy graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelors of Science in Agricultural Business Management and a minor in Rangeland Resources.

Amy was imported to the State of Alaska by her husband, who was born and raised in Palmer. Amy started as a summer intern with the State of Alaska, Division of Agriculture in 2005; she took over management of the Marketing & Development team in 2009 and was responsible for facilitating the Alaska Grown program, a number of different Federal and State grant programs, as well as a wide variety of industry outreach. Amy served on the Executive team of the North American Agricultural Marketing Officials for five years and has also been a Governing Board member for the Alaska Food Policy Council since it’s inception.

Margaret Adsit- Alaska Farmlink Program Coordinator

DSC_0011Margaret Adsit is an old face in a new position for the Alaska Farmland Trust. Previously, Margaret directed the Alaska Farmland Trust from 2010-2012.  During that time she developed a deep love for the land here and the farmers who work it. A farmer’s daughter herself, Margaret grew up on a 2,000-acre grain farm in Wisconsin that is still operated by her family. A proud daughter and sister of farmers, it is Margaret’s never-ending passion to help protect and promote farmers in Alaska.

Margaret has BA from Northwestern University in Environmental Science and Policy. She is happy to put her degree to good use at the Trust.  When not busy at Alaska Farmland Trust, Margaret can be found running tours in the valley with her business, Alaska Farm Tours.