Meet Our CAFF Community

Since our early days in 1978, CAFF has been a partnership forged between farmers and their communities. Today, our organization is empowered and guided by individual farmers and volunteers across California working to help us build a better food system for all. For more information about our Board of Directors, Policy Committee, Partner Farmsand other community members, click on the tabs and photos below.

The farmers in our 2023-2028 Strategic Plan reflect the trusted relationships we’ve built with farmers across the state and our evolving organization which places equity in California agriculture front and center. 

Community

Nelson Hawkins

Farmer, We Grow Urban Farm

Community

Alexis L Malick-Koefoed

Owner, Soul Food Farm

Community

Mickey Duran

Duran Sales, Inc.

Community

Josefina Lara Chavez

Senior Manager, Latinx Farmer Programming & Farm to Market

Community

Rogelio Ponce Jr.

Farmer, Sun Valley Berries

Community

Emma Torbert

Farmer, UC Davis Student Farm

Community

Michelle Reynolds

Board Secretary

Community

Steve Kroes

Policy Consultant & Realtor

Community

Ben Hartman

Founder & Principal, Sungold Consulting

Community

Al Courchesne

Farmer, Frog Hollow Farm

Community

Emily Schwing

Public Affairs Director, Veggielution

Community

C. Lilian Thaoxaochay

Small Farms Community Educator, UCCE Fresno Small Farms & Specialty Crops Program

Community

Chris Fields Sr.

African American Farmers of California

Community

Sarah Keiser

Wild Oat Hollow

Community

Judith Redmond (emeritus)

Full Belly Farm

Community

Coastal Roots Farm

Community

Anna Nakamura Knight

Old Grove Orange, Farmer

Community

Cheyenne Stone

Big Pine Paiute Tribe

Community

Charity May

Principal and Founder of Sacred Futures

Community

Scott Berndt

Riverside Food Hub

Community

Monica Lin

FoodShed

Community

George Davis

Farmer, Porter Creek Vineyard

Community

Deirdre Holbrook

Sonoma Land Trust

Community

Dawnie Andrak

CAFF Board Chair

Community

David Visher

Visher Consulting

Community

Ken Kimes

Farmer, New Natives

Community

Donald Sherman

Farmer, Sherman Produce Market

Community

Mountain Bounty Farm

Community

Hope Sippola

Farmer, Fiery Ginger Farm

Community

Miguel Avedano

Siembra y Cosecha Farms

Community

Patricia Miller

Centre Plate LLC

Community

Bob Kuang

Farmer, Bob Kuangs Nursery

Community

Dominic Bruno

RRG Garden Farms, General Manager

Community

Michael O'Gorman

Michael O'Gorman Farming

Community

Cindy Lashbrook

Farmer, Riverdance Farms

Community

Gowan Batist

Farmer, Fortunate Farm

Community

Maria Catalán

Catalán Family Farms

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Nelson Hawkins

Farmer, We Grow Urban Farm

Nelson holds over 13 years of experience in small diversified farms working with fruits, vegetables, gourmet mushrooms, cannabis, chicken eggs, freshwater fish, honeybees, and vermicomposting. In 2018 he founded We Grow Urban Farm in West Sacramento, CA. His farm cultivates one acre of seasonal vegetables and fruits for their summer farm stand, community supported agriculture program, local restaurants and food distribution programs. Nelson earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems from UC Davis with a minor in ecology. His passion has led him to create ecologically focused farms that play an important role in building a strong regenerative local food system. Nelson currently serves on the Racial Equity Farmer Advisory Committee at the California Department of Food and Agriculture(CDFA) and is part of the 2022 Political Leadership Fellowship with the National Young Farmers Coalition, in addition to serving on the CAFF Policy Committee. Nelson is committed to inspiring and empowering the next generation of farmers of color.
West Sacramento, CA

Alexis L Malick-Koefoed

Owner, Soul Food Farm

Alexis Koefoed is a California farmer in Solano County. Soul Food Farm has been in operation since 2000. We focus on no till principals to grow olives for oil, flowers and lavender added value products. We also run a farm store that supports the work of over a dozen small family farms. We are committed to regenerative agricultural as the foundation of our farm.

Mickey Duran

Duran Sales, Inc.

I am third generation in the strawberry farming industry. We are small farmers and also help many small farmers in the Watsonville/Salinas area cool and ship their own berries.
Watsonville, CA

Josefina Lara Chavez

Senior Manager, Latinx Farmer Programming & Farm to Market

Josefina was raised in the Salad Bowl of the United States, the Salinas Valley. She has a graduate degree in Public Administration, from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Through her work and volunteerism, she has served communities locally and internationally with social justice, equity, and love being at the root of it all. She is passionate about creating stronger connections between people, and is currently working on getting her farm off the ground.
Hollister, CA

Rogelio Ponce Jr.

Farmer, Sun Valley Berries

Watsonville, CA

Emma Torbert

Farmer, UC Davis Student Farm

Emma Torbert is the Market Garden manager for the Student Farm and started in September 2020. Before the Student Farm, Emma was one of the founding members of the Cloverleaf Farm, an organic fruit farm, and worked there for 10 years. She received her masters in Horticulture and Agronomy from UC Davis and worked for the Century Project at the Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility for seven years after graduating. She worked on organic farms throughout the US and South America, is committed to creating more equitable land access in the US and dreams of starting a co-housing farm one day.
Davis, CA

Michelle Reynolds

Board Secretary

Michelle moved to Sacramento from Central Appalachia in 2004. Michelle worked in county behavioral health and coordinated media and communications campaigns that sought to improve economic and social conditions for rural communities. Here in California, Michelle’s passion for sustainable food and farming practices inspired her run for the Board of the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op. She served the member-owned cooperative organization for almost 6 years in various leadership positions including Board President. Michelle has more than two decades of progressive experience as a communicator, with the last 12 years working in planning and implementing public policy communications. She also has a lifelong love of home cooking, entertaining, and local food.
Sacramento, CA

Steve Kroes

Policy Consultant & Realtor

Steve has spent 30+ years in nonprofit management, public policy research and advocacy, and management consulting. He’s also a real estate agent, with a special interest in the Sierra foothills near Sacramento (where he hopes to have his own small farm someday!)
Fair Oaks, CA

Ben Hartman

Founder & Principal, Sungold Consulting

Ben is the founder of Sungold Consulting, a consulting firm dedicated to helping farmers, producers, brands, and buyers navigate the complexities of sustainable supply chains and the grocery retail industry. He was previously the Director of Category Management and Purchasing at online grocer Good Eggs and Produce Buyer/Department Manager at Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco. After a decade in grocery retail, Ben has taken on various fractional roles with foodsystems nonprofits, producers, agritech companies, and retail marketplaces through his work at Sungold Consulting, with an eye towards building a stronger ecosystem of values-driven food businesses.
Bay Area, CA

Al Courchesne

Farmer, Frog Hollow Farm

“Farmer Al” Courchesne has been a welcome sight at farmers’ markets around the Bay Area for over 30 years. And just like his peaches, Al is homegrown. He planted his first peach orchard in Brentwood in 1976. Thirteen years later, Al began farming organically in large part because of a commitment he wanted to make to the soil, water and community he lived in. Throughout his farming career, Farmer Al has been a vigorous advocate for sustainable land use, conservation, and organic farming practices. Al lives on the farm with his wife Becky, their two daughters Maddie and Millie, and their ever-present dog Noci.
Brentwood, CA

Emily Schwing

Public Affairs Director, Veggielution

A native of the Jersey Shore, Emily Schwing came to San José by way of the University of South Alabama, where she earned a B.S. in Meteorology (2011). Emily earned her M.A. in Communication Studies at San José State University (2014), focusing on Environmental Communication. Emily joined Veggielution in 2014 and now serves as Public Affairs Director; Emily coordinates Veggielution’s overall communication and advocacy strategy. When she’s not on the farm, she can be found surfing on Santa Cruz or running with her dog Arlo.

C. Lilian Thaoxaochay

Small Farms Community Educator, UCCE Fresno Small Farms & Specialty Crops Program

Lilian is a first-generation Hmong American born and raised in Fresno, CA. Her family has farmed in the Central Valley for over 30 years. Lilian completed her MA in Cultural Anthropology at UC Santa Cruz and has a BA in Medical Anthropology and Asian American Studies from Stanford University. Her background has included community work combating racial/ethnic health disparities and advocating for cultural competency in medical education. Her current interests include the histories of Hmong agriculturalists in Southeast Asia throughout the 20th century, refugee farming in California, and the futures of small-scale growers in the Central Valley. She is currently a Small Farms Community Educator with the UC Cooperative Extension in Fresno County’s Small Farms and Specialty Crops Program. In her spare time she’s an avid reader, amateur photographer, and the co-founder of maivmai, an online publication for budding Hmong American writers.
Fresno, CA

Chris Fields Sr.

African American Farmers of California

Chris currently farms at the African American Farmers of California(AAFC) demonstration site in Fresno, California where he grows fresh vegetables for families in the Fresno area. Chris’ full-time position is with the Fresno Irrigation District as a Water Systems Operator where he has worked for the past 7 years. He has the responsibility of delivering water through the canal systems in Fresno. Chris also enjoys serving the community through various non profits and is the founder of Jesus Is Our Shepherd Ministry Inc, where they offer Transitional Housing to men and women.
Fresno, CA

Sarah Keiser

Wild Oat Hollow

Sarah Keiser is an innovative community builder. Through her vision and leadership, she develops and implements community grazing cooperatives and collaborative land stewardship projects for more resilient communities. Under the banner Wild Oat Hollow, LLC, Sarah’s community-based, sustainable land stewarding concepts empower private landowners and public entities with the skills and support to use grazing ruminants, planned burns and community education to steward their land and commons to a healthy fire ecosystem. As we continue to see large, annual wildfires in California and throughout the west, Sarah has expanded her collaboration to policy makers, fire marshals, Cafire, RCDs, NRCS, UCCE and Indigenous Fire Ecologists to build out regional land stewardship projects.

Judith Redmond (emeritus)

Full Belly Farm

Judith Redmond is an emeritus member of the CAFF Board. She spends her days as a farmer at Full Belly Farm in northern California, and as a volunteer for a number of community organizations including CAFF. She is currently involved with organizations like California Climate and Agriculture Network; U.C. Davis Ag Sustainability Institute; and AGree (Transforming Food and Ag Policy). She is a Fire Commissioner with the Capay Valley Volunteer Fire Department and on the steering committee of the Annual Hoes Down Harvest Festival hosted by Full Belly Farm.
Guinda, CA

Coastal Roots Farm

Coastal Roots Farm is a nonprofit Jewish community farm and education center. We cultivate healthy, connected communities by integrating sustainable agriculture, food justice, and ancient Jewish wisdom.  On the Farm, we prioritize techniques that build and maintain soil and sequester carbon, not just to grow great food but also to contribute toward a solution for the larger problem of climate change. Much of our farming approach is consistent with practices established by the first peoples of this land.

Central to the Farm’s work is our commitment to reducing community hunger by growing and distributing fresh, organic produce and eggs to those most marginalized, inspiring environmental stewardship through high-quality farm-based educational programming for youth and adults, and fostering a healthier, more vibrant, and inclusive community and a more sustainable future for our region.

Encinitas, California

Anna Nakamura Knight

Old Grove Orange, Farmer

Anna is a fifth-generation family farmer, stewarding 80 acres in Southern California. She is the Food Hub Director at Old Grove Orange, the farmer-pioneer in California’s Farm to School movement. After 10 years off the farm and 5 years at an investment bank, Anna now works to help small to mid-sized farmers find ways to keep farming forever. She earned a B.A. in Financial Economics from Columbia University, and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.
Redlands, CA

Cheyenne Stone

Big Pine Paiute Tribe

Cheyene Stone is a Paiute/Washoe who was born and raised on the Big Pine Reservation in Inyo County. She is a strong advocate for her community through her engagement with tribal affairs, food sovereignty, cultural bearing, land stewardship, as well as a KoapaNuu Indigenous consultation work. She practices and teaches traditional artistry such as basket weaving, holistic medicine, and beaded jewelry making as well as facilitates a community garden producing fresh foods for her community. Ms. Stone is an ethnographer and has been involved in K-12 education curriculum development. In addition, she currently sits on various advisory committees including the CDFA BIPOC Farmer Advisory Committee. 
Big Pine, CA

Charity May

Principal and Founder of Sacred Futures

Charity May is the Founder and Principal of Sacred Futures, an advisory practice that guides partners in the reimagining, designing and implementing of governance, leadership and ownership models, sustainable growth strategies, and financing vehicles to cultivate renewal and reciprocity between human and more-than-human worlds. Charity is a systems designer, writer and advisor, supporting the governance and strategic development of funds, projects and businesses committed to building towards a regenerative economy.

Scott Berndt

Riverside Food Hub

Scott grew up on a family farm in South Dakota. During college, the farm was foreclosed and sold to a large farming group which plowed up acres of native prairie for one large conventional corn field. After moving to California, Scott started a 2.5 acre urban farm in Riverside CA. Today, he serves as the co-chair of the Riverside Food Systems Alliance, board member of the Riverside Food Coop, serves on the Grow Riverside conference planning committee, Sherman Indian High School Agricultural advisory board member, and is serving on the California Farm to School Working Group with the CDFA Office of Farm to Fork and works as Riverside Unified School District Food Hub Coordinator.
Riverside, CA

Monica Lin

FoodShed

Monica Lin is a Mexican immigrant of Chinese descent, living and working in San Diego. She is a strong advocate of community based food systems, and against industrial systems which perpetuate racism and classism that continue to exploit people and the planet. Monica currently works with a network of farmers in San Diego through Foodshed – a farmer owned distribution company with the goal of strengthening the local food system. Foodshed works in community with marginalized farmers and disenfranchised neighborhoods. Monica is committed to listening to her community’s needs and advocating for meaningful change. (learn more about Monica Lin on the Foodshed website – here)
San Diego, CA

George Davis

Farmer, Porter Creek Vineyard

Healdsburg, CA

Deirdre Holbrook

Sonoma Land Trust

Deirdre Holbrook has worked in land conservation for more than a decade, inspired by her love of the land, farming and food. She worked with leading land trusts pioneering agricultural conservation programs including Marin Agricultural Land Trust, and today with Sonoma Land Trust. Prior to that, she served as a communications consultant for Straus Communications with clients including CAFF, Rodale Institute and U.C. Davis. She earned a B.A. from U.C. Santa Cruz and an M.A. from Northwestern University.
Sonoma County, CA

Dawnie Andrak

CAFF Board Chair

Dawnie Andrak, board chair, is co-owner of Local Roots Food Tours, offering culinary diplomacy experiences. She graduated in 2017 with a Master of Arts, in the inaugural class of University of the Pacific’s Food Studies program. Dawnie is also a graduate of our Food Literacy Academy, as well as a graduate of the Center for Land Based Learning’s Farm Academy, a program for beginning farmers. Dawnie also founded and currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for Capitol WebWorks, LLC, an internet consulting firm specializing in political, governmental, association and nonprofit, and public affairs communications.
Sacramento, CA

David Visher

Visher Consulting

David Visher has been helping small farmers succeed for 30 years. He is serving his third term as a CAFF Director. Visher built a produce distribution company, farmed 60 acres of specialty crops, and spent nine years with the University of California Cooperative Extension Small Farm Program where he worked directly with farmers and institutions to help small producers in business and marketing. Leaving academia he founded a successful firm that created educational opportunities for farmers and ranchers about business and marketing, strategic planning, and agritourism. Returning to the UC Sustainable Agriculture Program he was a Values Based Supply Chain Analyst for five years. Along the way he has directed seven NGO’s, and since 2002 served as a consultant for the USAID Farmer to Farmer (F2F) program 17 times in 12 countries.
Davis, CA

Ken Kimes

Farmer, New Natives

Corralitos, CA

Donald Sherman

Farmer, Sherman Produce Market

Donald Sherman, CAFF member and owner and operator of Sherman Produce Market, grows on about 10 acres of leased land in Kerman, California. He’s driven by his lifelong vision to grow food for his community. Donald works with our Farm to Market and Food Safety teams to help grow his market opportunities.
Fresno, CA

Mountain Bounty Farm

Mountain Bounty Farm is an 18-acre family farm and independent grower located high on the forested contours of the San Juan Ridge near Nevada City, California. We grow an incredible diversity of vegetables, fruits and cut flowers for our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, wholesale, and local farmers market. Our farm is owned by John Tecklin and Angie Tomey, and operated by a dedicated team of farm managers. Each year we welcome 5 interns to join our crew and share in the experience of farming. 2021 will be our 24th year in production.
Nevada City, California

Hope Sippola

Farmer, Fiery Ginger Farm

Hope Sippola formed Fiery Ginger Farm with Shayne Zurligen in 2016.They remain committed to showcasing sustainable farm practices while growing both diversified veggies and pastured chicken. They visit school cafeterias regularly to inspire kids through Meet a Farmer day. In 2022 they opened Spork Food Hub to help local farms distribute their produce.
West Sacramento, CA

Miguel Avedano

Siembra y Cosecha Farms

Miguel Avendano of Siembra y Cosecha Farms runs his own farm business while working alongside partners to tackle hunger in his community. By partnering with local and state organizations, he’s made his operation a key part of emergency food distribution programs reaching schools, families, and organizations in Tulare County with culturally appropriate food especially for rural regions comprised of farmworkers and other immigrant and under-served communities.
Fresno, CA

Patricia Miller

Centre Plate LLC

Patricia Miller works with Centre Plate LLC helping to run an aggregated CSA for local farmers. Previously she worked as Community Engagement Manager with Edible Schoolyard Project based in Stockton, California. She is a co-founder of the Black Urban Farmers Association (BUFA) of Stockton, former Director of Special Projects for PUENTES and a retired Senior Community Service Officer for the Stockton Police Department. She migrated from San Francisco to Alameda and then Stockton as she was drawn to agriculture in the region and has lived and participated in food systems and economic development work for more than twenty-five years.
Stockton, CA

Bob Kuang

Farmer, Bob Kuangs Nursery

Bob Kuang operates Bob Kuangs nursery in San Martin where he grows Asian leafy vegetables (Bok Choy, Yu Choy, Gai Choy, Ong Choy and Tong Ho). Bob sells mainly to grocery stores and restaurants, which was a challenge at the beginning of the pandemic as restaurants and stores closed for a period of time or adjusted their hours significantly. CAFF was able to award Bob through our first round of pandemic grantmaking in the fall of 2020.
San Martin, CA

Dominic Bruno

RRG Garden Farms, General Manager

Dominic Bruno is the General Manager of Garden Farms in Knights Landing, CA. Garden Farms is a diversified operation specializing in rice, sunflowers, melons, wheat, alfalfa, hybrid seed and other crops. In addition to farming Dominic has also worked on many conservation and mitigation projects for a variety of species also in the Sacramento Valley. Dominic also serves as a board member on the Yolo Land Trust and is a graduate of California Agricultural Leadership Program Class 46.

Michael O'Gorman

Michael O'Gorman Farming

Michael O’Gorman began farming in 1970. In 1990 he got asked to manage the first certified organic farm in Salinas, California. Over the next 20 years he helped build three of the country’s largest organic vegetable operations, converting 6,000 acres of prime farmland into organic production throughout California, Arizona and Mexico. In 2009 he founded Farmer Veteran Coalition, the nation’s leading organization helping military veterans find healing and viable careers on America’s farms. Michael now divides his time between helping his brother on Trinity River Farm, twenty acres of fruit and vegetables on the land he was born on, and advising new farmers.
Willow Creek, CA

Cindy Lashbrook

Farmer, Riverdance Farms

Livingston, CA

Gowan Batist

Farmer, Fortunate Farm

Gowan Batist was born and raised on the Mendocino Coast into an agricultural family. She studied metal fabrication and sustainable agriculture in college, and farmed in Portland, Oregon on a 150-acre farm before returning to Mendocino to manage the Noyo Food Forest, Fort Bragg Unified School District’s farm-to-school program. During her three seasons as manager of the Noyo Food Forest program, she began composting spent grain from North Coast Brewing Company as a hobby. The hobby became a mission and a career, and Fortunate Farm was founded on 40 acres co-owned by North Coast Brewing Company in 2014.
Caspar, CA

Maria Catalán

Catalán Family Farms

Maria Catalán’s farm is located in Hollister, CA, where she runs her family business growing fruits and vegetables for her community. CAFF partnered with Maria to host a Dia de los muertos celebration on her farm, raising funds for her farm and bringing together members of her extended community for a special cultural celebration. Maria works closely with our Farm to Market team.
Hollister, CA