Araceli Cruz-Antonio, Bookeeper
aRia Mccamant-Berlin, Youth Programs Manager
Aria runs on site youth programs, doing everything from baking pies, touring the farm, harvesting produce with youth, or milling wheat. Aria originally came to Pie Ranch as a field study intern though the Community Studies program at UCSC, finishing off her undergrad with a capstone that wove her experiences at Pie Ranch together within an analytical framework of power and privilege within the alternative food movement. She feels inspired by the space Pie provides for youth to explore connections to the land, soil, and food. In her free time you can usually find her covered in mud making pottery or reading in the sunshine!
avi starr-glass, facilities and maintenance manager
Cristobal Cruz, Farm CO-Manager
Cristobal assists with production, animals, facilities and the education of our interns and apprentices. Cristobal is originally from Oaxaca, Mexico but has lived in the small community of Pescadero for the last 25 years. Cristobal, who loves the contact with the soil and the earth, has always been attracted to growing vegetables on a healthier and more sustainable way and found the opportunity to switch from conventional to organic farming when he started to work for Pie Ranch a few years ago. Cristobal is inspired by the youth that visits our ranch, he admires their eagerness to learn more about food and farming and their tenacity and desire to change the world. He also loves working in a team who promotes shared work load and joint decision making. Cristobal, a dedicated family man, also enjoys doing odd manual jobs here and there, reading and chatting with our visitors to improve his English. One of his favorite things on the world is the smell of fresh bread in the oven, as it reminds him the times when he was a baker of sweet Mexican bread in his dear Oaxaca.
Jenee gill, Director of Finance & Administration
Jenee has spent the past three decades deep in the administrative trenches of many a non-profit, both in Los Angeles and the Bay Area. After earning a BA in Theatre at UCLA, she devoted a number of years to performing in and managing local educational theatre programs, working primarily with homeless and incarcerated youth around issues of substance abuse, domestic violence, and HIV prevention. Soon after earning her MA in Arts Administration at San Francisco State, Jenee expanded her administrative skill-set to include nonprofit financial management. One fateful day, she discovered a facility for numbers, filling in for an absentee bookkeeper while serving as the Outreach Director at Young Audiences. Since then, most of her professional roles have included a finance component, be that as Executive Director of TILT, Director of the SF Children’s Art Center, or as Managing Director of the Tony Award-winning San Francisco Mime Troupe, and, most recently, as Numbers Witch at CounterPulse and the Finance & HR Manager at AcroSports. When not staring at spreadsheets or making journal entries, Jenee occasionally blathers on her blog The Disgruntler, takes long walks & bike rides with her husband, and tries to get her young adult son to come over for dinner.
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 and Rosa, and loves to surf when time allows.
Leonard diggs , Director of operations
Leonard Diggs has managed sustainable and organic farms in northern California for over 30 years, including a 365 acre college farm with annual and perennial crops, a winery, livestock and a mixed species forest.
Leonard has also instructed a wide range of agricultural classes and served on numerous agricultural boards and committees in an effort to share his experieces with current and future generations of gardeners and farmers.
Mona Urbina, Youth Programs Manager - School-Based
Mona is an environmental horticulturist who leads the organic garden program at Pescadero Elementary School , culinary art classes for FoodLab, a cooking class at Pescadero High School, and is a consultant for the San Mateo Environmental Learning Collaborative. She teaches her students the importance of supporting a movement for healthy organic food in their community. Mona studied in the Environmental Horticulture program at City College of San Francisco, College of San Mateo, and University of California, Berkeley. While studying, she taught an introductory class in organic urban gardening, open to both campus students and local community members. The garden her students grew included California natives, edible annuals and perennials, and culinary and medicinal herbs. Later, her love of teaching lead her to develop a bee garden program at the Pacifica 4H, where she taught youth how to build gardens that created habitat for California Native bees. Mona finds it important to have an understanding of the traditional and cultural values of each community she works with. She takes a culturally relevant approach to the lessons she delivers and hopes to engage young students in their organic garden, seeing it as a community resource that they themselves steward.
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 the interconnectedness of justice, history, land, food and farming, 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 and dog Rocky. She also enjoys playing fiddle at the monthly barn dance with the band, The County Line Pickers.
Pamela Nell, Events & Programs Manager
Pete rasmussen, Farm CO-Manager
Pete works alongside Cristobal to manage the production and apprentice education program at Pie Ranch. Pete is passionate and enthusiastic about all things soil, plants and people. Before arriving at Pie, Pete has been managing a 4-acre farm at 5,000 feet in the mountains of northern Utah. In this challenging growing climate, Pete’s farm grew over thirty strains of rare, heirloom garlic as well as mixed speciality crops for restaurants, CSA and grocery stores. Pete also worked with the Community Agroecology Network where he coordinated intercultural field study and field courses with partner farming communities in Mexico and Central America. Pete and his wife Kati worked on a documentary for several years collecting stories and experiences from young farmers in Cuba’s farmer training programs. Pete’s passion for farming was greatly encouraged through his time spent at the University of California, Santa Cruz Farm and Garden. Pete is honored to be part of the land stewardship team at Pie Ranch, and is excited and humbled by the opportunity to offer inspiration and leadership to the Emerging Farmer apprentices at Pie Ranch. Pete has experienced the deeply profound connections that young people realize when they are able to explore seeds, soil, harvests and nourishing food. The connections to each other as peers, the connections to their own family and ancestry, the connections to the Land and the natural world, and the connections to themselves as caretakers, food growers and young chefs. These are the relations Pete wishes to support, nurture and spread. In Pete’s free time he enjoys the ocean, and playing with his four-year old son.
Sanra Ritten, SaleS & Marketing Manager
Sanra is a native Californian with vast experience in the world of food and agriculture. Most recently, she worked at The Abundant Table, a non-profit farm organization, where she participated in developing a ‘food hub’ which united the forces of several small scale farms in order to meet the needs of larger institutions like school districts and hospitals. She worked closely with the Ventura County Farm to School Collaborative which spearheaded the movement of local organic produce in public school districts in that area. While she lived in in Argentina (for nearly ten years), she was involved in environmental and culinary movements, such as Slow Food Argentina and founding member of one of the conviviums (regional branches). In 2010, she co-founded the environmental non-profit organization Ambientate Argentina, in which she held many roles. The organization’s goal was to raise environmental awareness in Buenos Aires through educational campaigns. One common subject they worked on was urban and sustainable agriculture. She worked closely with an organic farmers cooperative in Buenos Aires and learned about the many problems they face. She is also well versed in sustainable food issues, as she and her husband created their own private chef and catering business preparing locally sourced menus for clients in Buenos Aires, California, and New York, www.colectivofelix.com, through which she met and collaborated with many small scale farmers the US.
SiRA ANDERSON, GRANTS WRITER & MANAGEr
Sira Anderson connects nonprofits with the funds to feed their missions, and has worked with more than 15 organizations in ten years. She brings to Pie Ranch her extensive experience in grant writing, individual and major donor fundraising, databases, direct mail appeals and special events. Since 2008, Sira has been Pie Ranch’s grant writer, and has helped to manage the donor database and fundraising appeals. She loves helping Pie Ranch inspire youth and adults to connect to the source of their food, and helping funders fall in love with Pie Ranch! Sira lives in Oakland and her favorite things are a good conversations, eating noodles and reading advice columns.
Tamar Ingber, Farmstand Manager
Tamar Ingber is our Farmstand manager. She combines her love of food, farming, and design to our Farmstand each day. Tamar grew up in the heart of it all, Ohio. She studied environmetal graphic design in Philadelphia, followed her tastebuds to live and work in Israel, and eventually found farming in California to support her love of being outside, and supporting gardens and kitchens in growing strong, local local foodsheds. Her work at Pie Ranch has cultivated her passion to inspire a healthy, nutritionally rich world through sharing recipes, engaging with visitors, and making mountains of produce at the roadside barn. When not at Pie, you can find her on a beach walk.
Alison Elliot is a neighbor of Pie Ranch and has watched the organization build its programs and impact since its early days on the San Mateo coast. Alison’s management experience spans multiple sectors including education, business and nonprofits. Currently a partner and board member with the Silicon Valley Venture Fund, Alison also serves on the boards of Northfield Mt Hermon School in Gill, MA and the Peninsula School Endowment and Trust Fund in Menlo Park. She is a graduate of Vassar College and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Alison and her husband Steve Blank share Pie Ranch’s vision to promote the growth of sustainable organic farming on the San Mateo coast.
Amina Burrell worked in the public and non-profit sector off and on for 10 years, in 2019 decided to start a gardening school for children called Eco-Wonderschool after spending much free time volunteering for organizations like Peninsula Open Space Trust, UCCE Master Gardeners, and the East Palo Alto Senior Advisory Commission. Currently her work now allows Amina to directly build and grow meaningful relationships all around health, food, education, and advocacy. Joining the Pie Ranch Board will provide Amina with an opportunity to use her experience, loves, and interest to esteem the great work going forth at Pie.
Brandon Yip is our youngest and latest board addition. A current student at UC Berkeley, he studies landscape architecture and minors in food systems. Born and raised in San Fransisco, Brandon first visited Pie Ranch as a student from Mission High School, then spent a summer with us as a farm intern a few years ago and loved it. He also loves seeing and understanding how small things work, as well as the growth process of all things; people and plants alike!! He also loves singing and playing the uke and guitar.
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.
Dennis DeBroeck until recently was a Senior Corporate Partner at the law firm of Fenwick & West LLP. During 40 years of law practice, Dennis represented dozens of high tech companies, from startups to public companies, in financings, public offerings, mergers and acquisitions and business transactions, as well as advising for-profit and nonprofit Board of Directors on corporate governance matters. Mr. DeBroeck served for over ten years as Head of Fenwick’s Corporate Group and on the Firm’s Executive and Compensation Committees. Dennis has been recognized as one of The Best Lawyers in America, as a Northern California Super Lawyer, and as one of Silicon Valley’s Top Lawyers. Mr. DeBroeck continues to act as an advisor to several Silicon Valley startups. Dennis currently serves as Chairman of the Board for Peninsula Open Space Trust (“POST”), a non-profit land trust, and serves on POST’s Governance and Nominating and Compensation Committee, as well as being a Board representative on POST’s diversity initiative. Dennis is also a member of Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund. Dennis has a BS in Business from the University of Colorado and a JD from UCLA. Dennis and his wife live in Portola Valley, California, and are enthusiastic travelers, hikers, and fans of the Warriors and Giants. In addition to environmental and conservation causes, Dennis and his wife are active supporters of criminal and social justice and women’s causes.
John Sanchez has extensive experience in the Bay Area non-profit community. He is a Partner of the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (since 2013), participating in funding rounds in the areas of Environment/Food Sustainability, At-Risk Youth, Early Childhood Education, Family Support and Education, and Affordable Housing. He has also been a Board Member of International Child Resource Institute (Berkeley, CA: Member since 2010, Chair 2012-2016), which has programs in the East Bay, Kenya, Nepal, Zimbabwe and Ghana; and of Crescent Park Child Development Center (Palo Alto, CA since 2011). Both organizations provide Reggio Emilia-based young child education and teacher training. He is an active supporter of the Art of Yoga project and a Scholarship Committee Member of Teen Success, which provides peer and collaborative support for teen mothers hoping to finish high school and graduate from college. His professional areas of expertise are materials’ properties and their reliability relevant to electronic technologies. He is currently a Principal Engineer at Amazon Lab126. Previously, he held leadership positions in materials development for several Silicon Valley start-ups, Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center, Advanced Micro Devices, and at the Max-Planck Institute in Stuttgart, Germany. He also served as Associate Professor of Electronic Materials at the University of Michigan. He has a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering (U.C. Berkeley, 1/1991) specializing in electronic materials. He is originally from Southern California.
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.
Leslie Geathers is a Ecological Designer and Agroecologist. She has a MS in Interdisciplinary Studies from Sonoma State University and Bachelor of Architecture from California Polytechnic University SLO. In addition to 29 years of experience in the design and construction field has been an Adjunct Professor at local colleges and universities for more than 20 years and has taught courses ranging from Urban Agroecology and Urban Ecology to Green Design at Merritt College; Sustainable Communities & Eco Dwelling at Dominican University; and Sustainable Design at the University of San Francisco. She continues to serve on local boards and advisory groups involved in urban farming programs aimed at achieving sustainable and/or equitable food systems in keeping with her deep concern for environmental justice and food security within underserved communities.
Margaret MacNiven, with her husband, 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.
Rick Flores is the Director of Horticulture and the Steward of the Amah Mutsun Relearning Program at the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum and Botanic Garden, which is a collaborative effort between the Arboretum and the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band 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. When not at the Arboretum, Rick enjoys hiking, backpacking, fishing, mountain biking, bird watching, and just generally being outdoors, in addition to spending time with family and friends. Rick has worked at the Arboretum for over 20 years and holds both a B.A. and M.A. in Environmental Studies from UCSC.
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.
Pie Ranch is supported by a diverse and talented group of contracted staff, like Finn Oakes, our current farmstand sales associate, Margarito Gómez, our landscaper and Rebeca Moreno, our housekeeper.
APPRENTICES 2019 SEASON (coming soon!)
This hard-working group is passionate about farming and social justice. The apprenticeship is a nine-month 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!