Click on each team members’ photo below for more about their background and how they support California’s family farmers
Meet the CAFF Team
Policy Director, California Food & Farming Network
Beth weaves together food and farming advocates impacting state policy through the California Food & Farming Network. By committing to shared values of racial equity, she is helping Network members re-vision roles and build uncommon partnerships to advance state policies for an equitable food and farming system. With a MS in Food Systems and Society, Beth has over a decade of experience across the food system from advocating for farmers in climate and racial equity policy, serving as Board President for a local non-profit focused on food justice, and establishing foundational county food policies through her local food policy council.
Bilingual Communications & Events Manager
Guido Lois is a filmmaker and communications specialist working in regenerative agriculture. He was born in Argentina into a family deeply involved in the food system and came to the United States after finishing his studies. In his free time, he dedicates himself to studying and teaching Pakua martial arts.
Communications Specialist & Local Food Project Manager
Estefania was born and raised in the Central Valley, some of her fondest memories are spending every morning with her dad feeding calves. Her lifelong enthusiasm for community connections drives her work. In her spare time she enjoys spending time in the kitchen and learning more about where her food comes from as well as new recipes to share with friends and family. Having witnessed food inequities, she's now thrilled to be part of CAFF, making a positive impact.
Wildfire Resilience Specialist
Amber brings her technical assistance skills and passion for ecological land stewardship and equity to the Farmer Services Team through the Wildfire Resilience and Preparedness Program. She hails from the foothills of the western Sierra Nevada Mountains where her love of wild rivers, oak woodlands, and abundant wildlife are rooted. Amber’s interests in working lands, natural resource management, and conservation have taken her path across several states and three continents. She considers herself a lifelong learner and holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from UCSC with a focus in Sustainable Agriculture and a M.S. in Watershed Science and Policy from CSUMB. When not digging in the garden or experimenting with unorthodox baking methods, she can be found playing beach volleyball, mountain biking in the forest, writing poetry next to a cherished water body, or hunkered down with a good book.
Farm to Market Co-Director
Originally from Mexico City, Hector fled the big city lifestyle to work on sustainability with a special focus on social development. He has a MS in Urban Environmental Management from Wageningen University. Throughout his career he has worked together with small communities and producers to increase their competitiveness and their resilience against climate change via collaboration, cooperation and open innovation initiatives.
Field Director, California Food & Farming Network
Beth co-facilitates the California Food & Farming Network, a multi-sector collaboration centering racial equity in food and farming policy change. She supports grassroots advocates’ participation in state-level policy and builds network capacity to advance racial equity. Before getting a graduate degree in public policy, she worked for a decade as an organic farmer, garden and cooking teacher and farmer outreach coordinator.
Director of Ecological Farming
Sara leads the Ecological Farming Program Area and CAFF, which includes the Climate Smart Farming Program as well as the Ecological Pest Management Program. Before starting at CAFF in 2017, Sara worked for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program at UC Davis. She received masters degrees at UC Davis in Soils and Biogeochemistry and International Agricultural Development, respectively. Before working in California agriculture, Sara worked in sustainable agriculture and rural livelihoods in Costa Rica, Ecuador and India. Sara grew up on a small-scale organic walnut ranch in the Central Coast.
Nevada County, CA
Farm to Market Coordinator, San Joaquin Valley
Born and raised in the Central Valley, Johnny has worked and volunteered with his community for almost all of his life. By sticking to his roots and being born into a farming family, Johnny achieved and graduated from California State University of Fresno with a BA in Cultural Anthropology. He continued his profession in community engagement with Fresno and Tulare County communities as an Agricultural Aide Assistant, Access to Cultural Health team member, and Emergency Response Support Specialist Assistant. This gave him an opportunity to collaborate with nonprofit organizations during the pandemic, improving the community's health and leading him to CAFF.
Holly leads CAFF’s development and administrative efforts. Over the past decade she has worked at the intersection of sustainable agriculture and education for organizations in Michigan, Oregon, and California. Holly’s professional interests lie in organizational effectiveness and developing systems that build the internal capacity of non-profits so they can more effectively fulfill their mission.
Farm to Market Senior Manager
Yousef studied Agricultural Economics and International Ag Development at UC Davis and has interests in food systems and agricultural supply chains. As Farm to Market Program Manager, he provides technical expertise and assistance to farmers and foodservice operators on supply chain logistics, regulations, and best practices for Farm to Cafeteria sales. He has worked at farmers markets, served as a UC Davis agricultural ambassador and formerly directed the UC Davis Whole Earth Festival. In his spare time, Yousef plays basketball, follows fantasy football, listens to podcasts, and watches the US National Soccer teams.
Farm to Market Senior Manager
Rasheed is from Brooklyn, NY and found his way to farming as a college student in Oberlin, OH and Ithaca, NY. Rasheed has spent the better part of the past 12 years working in roles within the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, supporting urban farmers and community gardeners. Rasheed holds an MS in International Agricultural Development from UC Davis. Rasheed’s volunteer work centers on uprooting racism in the food system and building power within Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) communities. Rasheed loves bringing people together through food, stewardship, and cultural practices.
Adam X Jones
After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with degrees in Finance and Philosophy, and escaping the corporate world with his soul intact, Adam worked on an organic farm in Fayetteville, Arkansas which sparked his interest in agriculture. His career is now centered on reconstructing the food system from the ground up, as he now oversees and develops CAFF’s financial systems, helps to administer statewide agricultural projects to get Black Americans farming again, and serves as a proud board member of the South Los Angeles Food Coop.
Water Policy Director
Dave directs all of CAFF’s policy work on water topics and provides overall counsel to our policy team. Dave is an agricultural economist who conducted research on such topics as contract agriculture in Mexico, fair trade coffee in Oaxaca, regional competitiveness of the produce industry, living wages in Los Angeles, and farm labor in California.
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.
Gisel De La Cerda
Grizzly Corps Fellow
Gisel is serving as a Grizzly Corps Fellow on the Ecological Farming team, building capacity to support growers in tending healthy and resilient farms. She graduated in 2021 from UC Berkeley, where she received an education in Environmental Sciences, Forestry, and Food Systems while also learning how to do research in the Agroecology Lab. Gisel is originally from Fresno, CA, where she grew up immersed in farmland, leading her to develop a deep appreciation for the growers who provide for their communities. She is grateful for the opportunity to continue her learning journey with Ecological Farming and to partner with farmers to build soil health, biodiversity, and adaptability on the land.
Membership and Development Coordinator
Beatriz comes from a long line of Salvadorean farmers. Her family lived and worked on a small farm before moving to the United States. She knew she wanted to pursue a career that would allow her to stay in touch with her farming roots and the farming community. This led her to pursue a degree in environmental studies from Santa Clara University. Since then she has worked with many local farms here in California, and now organizes the Spanish-Language Track of the California Small Farm Conference and coordinates CAFF's membership program. During her free time Beatriz loves hiking and camping with her dog Lucia.
Nina Leigh Faust-Dean, M.B.A.
Human Resources Manager
As the HR Manager with CAFF, I am dedicated to fostering a positive and inclusive workplace environment where our passionate team can thrive while working towards our noble mission. With a background in human resources and a heart for social impact, I am committed to ensuring that our organization attracts, retains, and develops top-tier talent that shares our vision for positive change. My journey in HR began with a strong foundation with an MBA in Strategic Sustainability from Cal Poly Humboldt. With 7 years of experience in the field, I have had the privilege of working with diverse teams in both corporate and now nonprofit settings, honing my skills in talent acquisition, employee development, and organizational culture enhancement.
Jamie works to advance policies rooted in farmer needs and engage farmers in developing those policies. Jamie has committed nearly 10 years to sustainable food and agriculture systems ranging from on-farm technical assistance, soil health and agriculture policy, to on-farm research and data management. She holds a MS in Agriculture, Food, and Environment, and a MA in Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University. Jamie is committed to developing sustainable agriculture policy rooted in social justice and equity.
Ecological Pest Management Field Technician, Contractor
Miguel is lifelong Northern California native (Chico area) for over 40 plus years. While working on his B.S. Agriculture with an emphasis in Crops and Horticulture degree from CSU, Chico, he immersed himself in Agricultural research in walnut, almond, olive oil and table olive production systems. Areas of focus have been in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) as well as cultural practice manipulation to investigate the effects of canopy management on plant phenology (fruit set) and photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) interception. Aiding in their studies as a lab assistant for field data collection, he built an extensive rapport with local Cooperative Extension Farm Advisors, professors and agricultural industry professionals. Other passions range from landscape photography, hiking a mountainous or coastal trail, camping, house renovation projects, or visiting a movie theater to enjoy the cinematic arts.
Frank has been with CAFF for four years and has immersed himself in ensuring CAFF's financial soundness. He has well over 30 years finance experience, and he makes sure all program staff have the support they need to achieve program goals.
Dalia Rodriguez Caspeta
Ecological Farming Program Coordinator
Dalia (they/she) comes from Los Angeles by way of New Hampshire and is part of CAFF’s Ecological Farming team. Before starting at CAFF in 2021, Dalia worked as a Program Coordinator for the Dartmouth College Sustainability Office. They received their bachelors degree(s) at Dartmouth College in Environmental Studies and Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies. Dalia’s personal and professional interests lie at the intersection of social, racial, and environmental justice. In their free time, they enjoy reading, gardening, and going on walks with their dog Sailor.
Ecological Pest Management Program Specialist
Hanna specializes in agricultural research and extension with farmers. She is passionate about doing applied research to serve the need of local farmers. She has received a masters in Entomology at University of Maryland and is finishing a Ph.D. at UC Davis. Her research has focused on herbivory by earwigs in citrus, using living mulches to enhance beneficial insects, and the role of wolf spiders as cucumber beetle predators. In her free time, Hanna enjoys hiking, running, reading, skiing, and gardening.
Paul provides overall organizational leadership at CAFF, including staff management, programmatic strategy, and administrative and financial oversight. He previously worked at Pesticide Action Network North America, is a founder of the California Farmer Justice Collaborative, a founder of the California Food & Farming Network, and has engaged in policymaking and community organizing with agricultural communities for over fifteen years. He is originally from Southern Arizona (Tohono O'odham territory) and rooted in botany and agriculture in Southwestern deserts. Paul studied Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning at University of California - Davis and is a graduate of the Green Corps field school for environmental organizing.
Sacramento, CA (Nisenan territory)
Farm to Market Co-Director
Michelle supports the dynamic Farm to Market team at CAFF while helping to steer the development, implementation, and evaluation of this program. (Think multi-tasking, plate spinning, ball juggler extraordinaire). With expertise in the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) / Farm Box marketing model, Michelle also provides specialized technical assistance to farmers in California and beyond through the national CSA Innovation Network, which she co-founded in 2016. Michelle has worked in rural food systems development since 2001 after earning her degree in Sustainable Agriculture from Humboldt State University. A former farmer herself, she is enamored with the culture that surrounds agriculture, especially in rural areas of the U.S. and abroad.
Humboldt County, CA
Farm to Market Coordinator
Jennifer is from San Jose, California and raised in the San Joaquin Valley. She received her BA in Regenerative Organic Agriculture after realizing her love for farming and food sovereignty. Her dedication to farming stems from both a long lineage of family farmers and a reconnection with her indigenous roots. During her undergrad Jennifer volunteered her time helping BIPOC communities to relearn how to farm, save seeds, and reconnect to the land. She is passionate about becoming a voice for BIPOC farmers and small family farmers.
Farm to School and Institution Coordinator
Claire is from Sacramento, CA and received a Bachelor's degree in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems from UC Davis. Her love for local and sustainable farming developed while working at the Sacramento Sunday farmers' market, where she got to witness first-hand the quality produce and sincere passion of local farmers. When she's not working on the Farm to Market program at CAFF, Claire enjoys reading, playing bass, and spending time outdoors.
Director of Membership & Communications
Combining communications with community organizing, Evan is committed to promoting regenerative agriculture, local food, and social justice. As the Director of Membership & Communications, Evan works to amplify the stories of family farmers, share valuable resources with growers and food system advocates alike, and connect our members with CAFF's many programs. From cattle ranches to urban gardens, over the past decade Evan has mucked chicken coops and met with legislators, organized countless farmer potlucks and produced large-scale festivals and conferences, and in 2011 he founded The Farmers Guild, a grassroots network advocating for a new generation of farmers, which in 2016 merged with CAFF. He currently sits on the Advisory Committees for Sustainable Ag programs at both the Santa Rosa JC and College of Marin, as well as for the Agricultural Preservation & Open Space District and the Sonoma County Food Systems Alliance, and writes journalism on issues of food and ag.
Santa Rosa, CA (Southern Pomo Territory)
Organic Certification Specialist
Grace is part of CAFF’s Farmer Services team, providing food safety technical assistance to farmers. Grace holds a Master’s degree in Community Development from UC Davis where she studied community food systems, with an emphasis on food justice and policy-making processes. Prior to graduate school, she worked on small-scale vegetable farms in Georgia and Northern Colorado and co-founded a local sustainable agriculture advocacy group. Grace’s personal and professional interests are rooted in just, equitable and sustainable food systems.
Administrative & Systems Specialist
Elliott grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and was inspired to work in the agricultural field based on their interest in climate adaptation and circular, small-scale economics. They studied Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems at UC Davis and began collaborating with CAFF through a capstone project to organize and share information on farmer funding opportunities. Their technical skills and passion for understanding systems keep operations running smoothly behind the scenes. Outside of work, Elliott also enjoys writing, playing video games with friends and family, and watching the Davis Sheepmowers graze.
Grants & Contracts Manager
Anna supports CAFF programs and staff by facilitating the process for grants and contracts. Before coming to CAFF, Anna managed operations and events at a research and leadership center at UC Davis. She spent nearly ten years managing full-cycle project development at the federal level for AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps -- a program she also volunteered with for two years, traveling the country serving communities. She holds a Master's in social work and has spent over two decades supporting nonprofits through fundraising, partnership-building, as well as grants and volunteer management.
Evelyn Ponce Hernandez
Farm to Market Coordinator
Evelyn serves as the Farm to Market Coordinator at CAFF, helping small farmers, especially socially disadvantaged farmers, increase their knowledge and capacity to access new market channels. She is originally from San Diego and moved to Northern California to attend UC Davis. There, she received her B.A. in Spanish and her B.S. in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems. Before working at CAFF, Evelyn oversaw research projects and the facility performance of greenhouses and field space on the UC Davis campus. In her free time, Evelyn enjoys exercising, making earrings, crocheting, and spending time with her family.
Farm to Market Tech Hub Specialist
Elizabeth brings over 10 years of experience in strengthening healthy, just, and sustainable food systems. At CAFF she manages the Small Farm Tech Hub, supporting farmers across California with their technology and business needs. Elizabeth’s education is in business economics from UC Santa Barbara and sustainable horticulture from Cuyamaca College. Her passion for sustainable food systems launched while she worked alongside Ugandan farmers during her Peace Corps service and was shown the inextricable links between the health of a community, the environment, and the food that is produced and consumed within that community. In her free time, she enjoys stewarding her family’s five-acre ranch located in San Diego County.
San Diego, CA
Wildfire Resilience Grizzly Corps Fellow
Josh is a Grizzly Corps fellow supporting CAFF’s Wildfire Resilience Program through research and capacity building. He graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2021 with a BS in Biology and a BA in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies. Josh is interested in ecological solutions to California’s natural resource issues that benefit both people and the environment. In his free time, Josh likes to spend time with family and friends, or be outdoors running, biking, and marveling at oak trees.
Farm to Market, Contractor
As a Farm to Market Strategist, Ben supports the Farm to Market Team to develop and deliver programs that help small-scale California family farmers reach new markets and bring the food they grow to local communities. Ben brings more than ten years of experience in value-based supply chain coordination and believes that supporting farmers and farmworkers is key to a just and resilient food system. In his spare time, Ben enjoys exploring the outdoors, traveling and anything involving plants and food.
Ecological Farming Program Manager
Emily supports the Climate Smart Farming Program and Ecological Pest Management Program to assist farmers and ranchers implement and sustain pragmatic agroecological practices. She has lived and worked in agriculture in the Central Valley, Bay Area, and Spain, and is ardent about helping farmers manage resilient farms. Emily holds a graduate degree in Ecological and Organic Agriculture from the University of Barcelona and studied Sustainable Ag at CSU Stanislaus. She has also worked in IPM research in the San Joaquin Valley and alongside smallholder vegetable growers in Barcelona.
Butte County, CA
Small Farm Technology Advisor
Maria supports the Small Farm Tech Hub by leading technical assistance efforts to improve the productivity and competitiveness of small farmers. Maria is originally from Peru and fell in love with farming when she attended the Agrarian National University in Lima. After receiving her B.S. in Environmental Engineering, she worked in sustainability and agriculture in Japan, Connecticut and California. Before joining CAFF, Maria worked for the Climate-Smart Agriculture program at UC ANR and studied Innovation and Technology at Utah State University. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her dogs and cats, gardening and traveling to learn about new cultures.
Megan oversees the administrative functions and systems of CAFF and helps implement processes and practices across the organization. She manages CAFF’s membership program and assists CAFF’s program, development, communications, and finance staff so the whole team can connect with the farmers and communities we serve. She has worked in the non-profit sector since 2003, primarily teaching and managing programs & events. Megan enjoys hiking, slacklining, snowboarding, gardening, and other outdoor adventures.
Farmer Support Services Director
Kali provides food safety, technology, and a variety of other technical assistance to farmers in addition to managing development and strategy for the Farmer Services Program. Prior to her time at CAFF she spent a number of years helping run a 20-acre diversified vegetable farm with a large Community Supported Agriculture program. Kali studied Food and Agriculture Policy and Local Food Systems while completing her graduate degree in Public Health Nutrition from UC Berkeley. When she’s not out in a farm field somewhere, Kali enjoys skiing the Sierra slopes and cooking with all the delicious bounty California growers provide for our tables.
Nevada County, CA
Ecological Pest Management Field Technician, Contractor
Working with growers to integrate and monitor ecological pest management practices and offer technical assistance
Ecological Pest Management Program Manager
Prior to becoming CAFF’s Ecological Pest Management Program Manager, Moet joined CAFF in 2021 as a Field Technician on the BIOS project. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Environmental Biology. During her time there, she participated in research on soil health in No-Till systems, and on biological control from parasitic wasps on urban farms. It was through this work on urban farms in the East Bay that she became interested in sustainable agriculture. She is now based in the San Joaquin Valley, and enjoys studying bugs, cooking, and illustrating.