The Team at DFI


Charles Schembre, Program Manager

Office: 775-682-9783

Charles is the Program Manager for the Desert Farming Initiative at the Nevada Agriculture Experiment Station.  He is responsible for all administrative duties, strategic program development, grant management, and coordination of all farming operations.  Charles has a strong background as a farm manager in sustainable agriculture and natural resource management.  He moved over the mountain from the North Coast of California where he previously worked for the Napa County Resource Conservation District managing a demonstration vineyard and orchard, and multiple agricultural resource conservation programs working with land managers and farmers to improve soil health, erosion control, and irrigation water use efficiency.  Charles’ career in sustainable agriculture took root working as a student employee at the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Organic farm for 3 years while earning a degree in Earth Science with a concentration in Soil Science.  Since then he has worked on multiple diversified row crop farms, marketing product in farmer’s markets, CSAs, and restaurants, and has many years of experience managing vineyards, and small scale orchards in Northern California.  He also served 2 terms in the AmeriCorps Watershed Stewards Project where he gained a passion and belief that farms can contribute to maintaining and protecting the health of watersheds through sustainable soil management and enhancing farm biodiversity.  He is inspired by the emerging local food production of Northern Nevada and is excited to learn ways to build DFI’s programs to better serve the agricultural community. 

Jill Moe, Education Program Coordinator

Office: 775-682-9782

Jill develops and implements sustainable agriculture and food safety education programs for area growers. She has a Master degree in environmental policy from the University of Washington, a Master certificate in sustainable agriculture from Washington State University’s global campus, and 15 years of experience in her field. Jill comes from a family with agricultural roots in the Midwest and became interested in dryland farming as a US Peace Corps agroforestry volunteer in West Africa. She has worked on multiple watershed planning and regional natural resource management projects, has hands-on experience in market farming in the US and Europe, and enjoys working directly with landowners and growers. Her key interest is in helping to build a healthy local food system.


Sierra Kirby, Farm and Garden Crew Member and Volunteer Leader

Office: 775-682-9782

Sierra is an AmeriCorps member that joined DFI in September 2019 as a Farm and Garden Crew Member and Volunteer Leader. Sierra conducts all standard farm and garden tasks, assists with record keeping, greenhouse propagation, coordinates farm to food pantry efforts, and develops and coordinates volunteer opportunities and events. She is a new resident of Reno, having previously worked for Extension in Las Vegas. Sierra earned her B.S. in Dietetics with a minor in Global Health from UW-Madison in 2016 and completed a coordinated Master of Public Health and dietetic internship from UMN-Twin Cities in 2018. As a registered dietitian, Sierra is interested in creating healthy and sustainable food systems.

Farm Production Manager

Now Hiring!  Click here for full job announcement

Student and Seasonal Employees

  • Jose Velazquez
  • Everett Cook
  • Sarah Ko
  • Max Hixon
  • Claire Holden

Interns and Volunteers

  • Greg Plotkin, Volunteer from American Farmland Trust
  • Taylor Hollaway, Horticulture intern receiving his B.S degree at Oregon State University.

… and countless others who come out to help with events and work days!