Pie Ranch cultivates a healthy and just food system from seed to table through food education, farmer training, and regional partnerships.
"The Whole Pie"
Jered Lawson, Co-Founder and Co-Director
Before co-founding Pie Ranch in 2003, Jered worked with various organizations in California that share a common goal of influencing the way people relate to themselves, each other and the land around them through the development of healthy, local and just food systems. Jered leads the organization's regional advocacy efforts, joins in farm operations, and works with the Board of Directors to raise the necessary support to fulfill the mission and infrastructure improvements of Pie Ranch. Jered lives on the farm with his partner Nancy and their children, Lucas & Rosa and loves to surf when time allows.
Nancy Vail, Co-Founder and Co-Director
Nancy is a broadly experienced sustainable food systems farmer, advocate, educator and leader. Previous to co-founding Pie Ranch in 2003, Nancy worked on a number of farms abroad and throughout the United States, eventually landing at UC Santa Cruz's Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) where she farmed and taught for over a decade. Nancy is passionate about linking justice with food and farming efforts, leads the organization in strategic planning and oversees educational programs and farm production. Nancy lives at Pie Ranch with Jered and their children, Rosa and Lucas. She also enjoys playing fiddle at the monthly barn dance with the band, The County Line Pickers.
Marisa Alcorta, General Manager, Pie Ranch at Año Nuevo
Marisa comes to Pie Ranch with a long history in sustainable agriculture. She’s been a farm apprentice, assisted farmers with business/marketing strategies through various non-profits, helped launch a farmers market, and started her own organic farm with 3 other partners. Over the last 5 years Marisa has focused on training beginning farmers through designing workshops, online self-instruction courses, and editing lots of farm business plans. Fluent in Spanish, she uses her knowledge and experience to manage daily operation of Pie Ranch’s new expansion project across the street. Pie Ranch @ Año Nuevo grows organic vegetables, grains and beans on 30 acres, and maintains irrigated pasture for beef cattle and pastured laying hens on another 30 acres. Marisa’s passion is finding ways to make organic small-scale farming economically viable for future farmers. When not on the farm, you can find her experimenting in the kitchen or playing in the ocean.
Delma Soult, Director of Finance & Administration
Delma handles everything from budget creation & monitoring to financial reporting to the board, payroll, benefits and overall HR policies. A Business graduate from the University of Seville, Spain, and an MBA from Florida Institute of Technology, Delma brings 16 years of finance and management experience to her work with Pie Ranch. Prior to joining Pie Ranch, she worked as a Controller in the high tech industry both in Amsterdam and the Bay Area. A mother of two and an artist in her free time, Delma feels very strongly about Pie Ranch’s mission and our pies!
Kelly Muñoz, Operations & Development Manager
Kelly has been involved in education in various guises for a number of years. After teaching history for several years in the Bay Area, Kelly traveled the Pacific and beyond aboard her sailboat. Settling in the Florida Keys, Kelly began teaching social studies to high school age, at-risk youth. Kelly returned to the Bay Area in 2003 and promptly became involved at Pescadero Elementary School, where her daughter attends, as well as serving on the board of the Square Peg Foundation, an organization devoted to race-horse rescue and adaptive riding for at-risk youth. Working for Pie Ranch is a natural fit for Kelly where her interests in nature, animals & educating youth all converge. When she isn’t at Pie Ranch, she can be found in the hills of Pescadero on her horse, Dohlman.
Debbie Harris, Farm Manager
Debbie has been getting her hands dirty working with youth in agriculture for ten years. Debbie’s passion for farming and social justice has brought her all over the map from Mongolia to Zanzibar, studying sustainable farming and community food systems. After several years growing produce at Farm and Wilderness in Vermont, Debbie managed a youth urban farm in Philadelphia for the University of Pennsylvania’s Urban Nutrition Initiative. Thereafter Debbie went on to work at Freewheelin Farm in Santa Cruz, CA and later to manage Beech Hill Farm for the College of the Atlantic in Maine. When not on the farm, Debbie is busy zipping around on her bicycle and finding fresh water to swim in.
David Stockhausen, Culinary Arts Program Manager and Chef Educator
David's passion for food and learning have driven him down many paths. He's served as a farm and environmental educator in a myriad of contexts and has taught both youth and adults from a variety of backgrounds with passion and drive. Since 2003, David's interest in organic farming and gardening has led him to work on, manage, and inhabit various biodiverse farms from Vermont and California to NSW Australia. Through it all, it is cooking that persists as his primary love and deepest practice. Through the Culinary Program at Pie Ranch, David aims to connect people to the source of their food and inspire cultural change one bite at a time.
Alexandra Villegas, Youth Programs Manager
Alex was born and raised in rural San Diego County. She graduated from UC Santa Cruz focusing on Cultural Anthropology and Food Systems Education. She comes to Pie Ranch with a zest for building community and teaching students skills in the kitchen and garden. She has a growing passion for traditional Mexican foodways and seeks out ways in which her passion and work can weave together. In her spare time, Alex enjoys running on the beach, long bike rides, salsa dancing, weekend wilderness or city exploring, and embarking on culinary adventures.
Jane Arny, Accountant and Administrator
Jane takes care of day-to-day bookkeeping in addition to being involved in wedding and event site-management as well as Pie Ranch barn dances. She loves baking and eating pies, getting her hands in the dirt, and meeting some of the wonderful folks that are drawn to spend time at Pie Ranch. Jane experienced the benefits of a youth-empowering farm education as a teenager living in Weston, Massachusetts where she volunteered at "Green Power Farm", a community funded program where local youth learned to run a volunteer program which grew vegetables for Boston's inner city food programs. She later homesteaded in the Interior of BC, spent several seasons in Yakima Wa. harvesting apples, and worked in forestry in Oregon. Jane worked for many years in bookkeeping, office management, and tax prep for small business and non-profits, then raised 5 children while helping her husband manage his herb tea and specialty food businesses. Concurrently, she attended community college part-time and finally finished her BS in cell biology at University of Virginia in 2003. She loves playing with her 3 yr old granddaughter as well as hiking the hills and beaches of Santa Cruz. She is actively involved in Buddhist practice at SC Zen Center.
Sarah Bell is Program Manager for The 11th Hour Project, a program of The Schmidt Family Foundation, and directs the Foundation’s program in ecological agriculture and regional food systems. She is active in several organizations, including Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders and Environmental Grantmakers Association. She holds a B.A. in both English Literature and French from the University of Colorado. An enthusiastic supporter of permaculture and former student at the Regenerative Design Institute in Bolinas, Sarah lives in San Francisco with her husband and son.
Angie Chen is a consultant to the Pisces Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the environment for present and future generations. Prior to this role, she developed and managed the Environmental Literacy Program at the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, and she was the program officer at the Stewardship Council, where she oversaw grantmaking to connect California’s youth with the outdoors. Angie previously worked at the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, where her grantmaking focused on youth development and children’s health coverage. In 2012, she was appointed to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Environmental Education Advisory Council. Angie earned a BA in Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard University and a Master of Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley.
Charlie Casey is the President of Pacific Foundation Services, a firm that provides administrative and programmatic support to private grantmaking foundations. Since joining the family business in 2003, Charlie has overseen the firm’s continued growth and commitment to a personalized approach to philanthropy. Charlie works as a program officer for several client foundations, with particular interests in youth development, affordable housing, and sustainable agriculture. In addition to sitting on the board of Pie Ranch, he is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Chile California Council and is a past board president for the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC). Previously, Charlie worked in international transactions for a multi-national accounting firm in Chile. He has a BA in English from Georgetown University and an MBA from Vanderbilt University. A native San Franciscan, Charlie lives in the city with his wife and three daughters and can often be found at AT&T Park cheering on his beloved Giants.
Jeff Haas’ career has focused on two passions: the automotive world and technology. He worked for the Porsche factory (Porsche AG) as Region Manager of Northern California. Transitioning from the automotive field, Jeff started a consulting business in Silicon Valley specializing in marketing and business development in the microelectronics sector of the high-tech industry for over a decade. Prior to joining the Pie Ranch Board in 2010, Jeff volunteered at the Waldorf School of the Peninsula in the role of Chief Financial Officer of the board. Jeff’s, and his wife Kate’s children are all graduates of the Waldorf school system, attending in Los Altos and San Francisco, grades Kindergarten through twelve. New to farming in 2011, Jeff and Kate started farming their property in Loma Mar, California. Echo Valley Farm provides produce, eggs, fruit, and poultry to the local economy of Loma Mar where the family farm is located. The farm was integral in the the formation of the two local farmer’s markets, in Pescadero and La Honda. Jeff is a passionate community member and is committed to the local economy and healthy food access on the South Coast for all.
Stefano DeZerega is a realtor with Zephyr Real Estate specializing in residential sales in San Francisco. Stefano brings wide-ranging professional experience and extensive community involvement to his work in real estate as well as his role as a board member at Pie Ranch. His past professional experiences have included: teaching social studies at a public high school, directing a national non-profit organization, guiding the formation of charitable foundations, performing as a professional musician, and researching and writing a book on international volunteerism. Stefano, a graduate of the Community Studies program at UCSC and the Stanford Teacher Education Program, resides with his two sons and wife in San Francisco.
Margaret MacNiven: Together with her husband, Margaret has owned and operated Buck’s Restaurant in Woodside since 1991. She has served on the boards of the Friends of the Woodside Library, as well as the Committee for Green Foothills, an environmental non-profit organization that advocates for open space protection in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. She is a co-founder of the Woodside School garden, and currently a mentor in the Green Academy Program at Woodside High School. She has lived on 40 acres in the Santa Cruz Mountains for 35 years, and has a huge appreciation for the importance of supporting agriculture and farming as a means of preserving open spaces.
Benjamin Olson is a senior attorney at Intel Corporation and responsible for structuring and negotiating acquisitions, divestitures and joint ventures, and managing a large team of contributing stakeholders. Prior to joining Intel, Ben was a corporate associate at the law firm of Morrison & Foerster LLP, where his practice focused on M&A, venture financings and general corporate legal matters. Ben earned a BA in History from the University of California, San Diego, and a J.D. from the University of California, Davis.
Joy Moore played a key role in community efforts to reform school lunch in the Berkeley Unified School District, co-founded Farm Fresh Choice, and is a member of the Berkeley Food Policy Council. She has lived and worked in Berkeley since 1969 having migrated from New York city. Retired from the City of Berkeley Chronic Disease Prevention Program in 2007, she attended UC Santa Cruz's Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. Joy currently teaches a garden based nutrition program to high school students and their families in the Berkeley Unified School District. She has served on many non-profit boards and councils, including the Ecology Center, Women of Color Resource Center, Berkeley Food Policy Council, Satellite Affordable Housing Associates and the local station board of KPFA/Pacifica Radio. Joy strives to provide access for low resource communities to be able to grow and eat organically.
Rick Flores is a graduate student in the Environmental Studies Department at UC Santa Cruz. His research focuses on the efforts of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band (AMTB) to relearn traditional ecological knowledge and become active stewards in their traditional territory once again after a period of colonial dispossession. He is also the Steward of the Amah Mutsun Relearning Program at the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, which is a collaborative effort between the Arboretum and the AMTB to assist the tribe in the relearning of plant identification, ethnobotany, and traditional resource and environmental management practices, as well as educating students and the public about California Indian lifeways. In addition, he is a Research Associate for the Amah Mutsun Land Trust which uniquely merges conventional land trust approaches with indigenous knowledge, techniques, and ideals, and is committed to protecting and celebrating cultural resources through creating opportunities for the AMTB to engage in traditional ways across the landscapes of their ancestors.
Pie Ranch is supported by a diverse and talented group of contracted staff. Mona Urbina and Võ Hải head up the youth program team for our partner schools, Pescadero, Mission and Oceana High. The youth coordinators teach youth in these schools about sustainable food systems, food justice and help facilitate field trips to the farm. The youth coordinators assist in the marketing and distribution of our CSA program. Flor Revolorio and Sherif Musaji assist the farm manager with production, education, both with the public and with our partner schools and apprentices, and help with animal management on the farm. Tamar Ingber is the farm stand manager and helps stock our produce shelves, handles customer service and manages bulk orders for Pie Ranch. Kelsey Jones is the farmstand sales associate, assisting Tamar with the day to day operations. Simone Albuquerque is the administrative assistant at Pie Ranch — she handles phones, assists with site management, wedding and program inquiries, and in general, helps the office run smoothly!
APPRENTICES 2015–2016 SEASON
This hard-working group is passionate about farming and social justice. The apprenticeship is a year-long program designed to expose the apprentices to sustainable food systems, organic farm management, marketing produce and product, animal husbandry and working with youth and the public. The apprentices participate in virtually every facet of Pie Ranch life from leading tours and work parties with the public, to site managing events to harvesting crops in the fields alongside permanent staff. They are a critical piece of the pie here on the farm!
Pie Ranch • 2080 Cabrillo Highway, Pescadero CA 94060 • Office 650-879-0995 • Farmstand 650-879-9281