BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Scott A. Murray, Chair

<scottamurray at sbcglobal dot net>

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A former MESA Host, organic farmer, and sustainable development consultant, Scott has 32 years of organic agricultural production experience in the United States and Mexico.  Scott’s recent project experience includes the restoration and development of an organic agricultural project and education program on a 250-acre historic farm owned by the County of San Diego. Scott designed and built a 15-acre organic farm supplying the boarding high school on site and selling to the Whole Foods stores of Southern California. Scott has served as an elected California Conservation official for the last 12 years managing a $ 3.5 million dollar annual budget for conservation projects in North San Diego County.

Scott serves as the president of the South Coast Resource Conservation and Development Council which covers two-thirds of California’s population. He has worked extensively on conservation projects with the National Resource Conservation Service in California. He specializes in farmland preservation projects utilizing Smart Growth Principles.


Nelle Donaldson, Secretary/Treasurer

<nelle at nelledonaldson dot com>

Environmental stewardship was ingrained in Nelle from a young age, growing up off-the-grid in rural Vermont. In 2003, Nelle graduated from The George Washington University with a BS in Biological Anthropology, and ventured out to the Bay Area as a wellness coach, to try a life in the food mecca (agriculturally and culinarily) of the West. She stayed! 

Nelle owned and operated a green wedding and event planning company, ZahZoom Weddings & Parties, from 2005 to 2014. In order to delve into the world of events, she felt a strong need to “be the change” in terms of paving the way for lower impact cultural celebrations and rituals, and so “toward sustainability” became a professional focus. Along the way, this focus has been an opportunity for further education in the sourcing and consumption of flowers and food, among other things, for such events.

At home in Berkeley, Nelle is a mother, a writer, home chef, and a backyard gardener & chicken farmer who cares very much about where food comes from and how it is grown.

Marie Farneth, Director

<marie.farneth at gmail dot com>

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Marie earned her B.A. in Sociology with an emphasis in Latin American Studies and a minor in Spanish from Bates College. She has spent extensive time living in the highlands of Ecuador working with a non-profit organization, Ecovida, focused on promoting sustainable agriculture, revaluing indigenous culture and empowering indigenous farmers. Previously, she worked at Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA) where she assisted in the coordination of the farmer exchange program and was a liaison with MESA’s global partners. She continues to support and volunteer with MESA and is the fundraising point person in the U.S. for Ecovida.

Marie is dedicated to creating a more socially just and sustainable world. She brings a wealth of experience with international non-profits, sustainable agriculture, program evaluation and project administration as well as knowledge of Latin America to share with MESA. She worked most recently as part of her graduate program at CISabroad, a third party study abroad intern abroad provider. Prior to that, she worked with Fair Trade USA on the Supply Chain Services team on their impact reports. She has lived in Ecuador and Argentina and traveled in Peru, Uruguay, Guatemala, Mali and Italy. She first became involved with MESA in 2004 as an intern and has continued to be a loyal supporter of MESA. She has worked with MESA in a number of different capacities since then, as an assistant program coordinator and conducted an evaluation of MESA’s Ecuador program. On the side she is a Project Manager for Ecovida, an Ecuador-based NGO working to improve the quality of life for Ecuador's Andean indigenous population through community development and sustainable agriculture. Marie is fluent in Spanish, and received her B.A. in Sociology with an emphasis on Latin America and Spanish from Bates College and her M.A. from SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, VT. 


Kevin Cody, Director

<kcody at ucsc dot edu>

kcody.jpgKevin is a Doctoral Candidate in Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  What began as a personal interest in working on organic farms in Sonoma County has since become a primary research focus concerning livelihoods of small-scale agricultural producers.  After completing a Master’s Thesis on structural barriers to the long-term viability of beginning farmers, Kevin is now working on a dissertation topic exploring the dynamics of exchange within the MESA organization.  Specifically, this work is concerned with understanding what aspects of sustainable agriculture are most adaptable to a variety of social and cultural climates.  Additional research interests include agrarian political economy, sustainable food systems, and rural development in Latin America.


Sean Gillon, Director

<seantgillon at gmail dot com> 

sean.gillon.jpgSean Gillon grew up in Iowa interested in the farms, cornfields, and the agricultural product processing industry around him. He began his engagement with sustainable agriculture and food systems managing and interning on small farms and as a produce clerk in cooperative groceries.  He has conducted research projects for non-profit organizations working for social justice in food systems and improving opportunities for farmers practicing sustainable agriculture.  Currently, Sean is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  His dissertation research focuses on the social and ecological dimensions of US Midwestern corn ethanol production.  This research examines relationships between corn ethanol production, rural economies, and farmers' agricultural and conservation practices, as well as analyzes related agricultural and environmental policy.  Sean has also co-authored work on the politics of organic food regulation and taught courses on building socially just and ecologically sound food systems. In fall 2011 Sean will join the University of Wisconsin - Madison as a postdoctoral research fellow.


Bill Nunes, Director

<aenunes at prodigy dot net>

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Bill's entire working life has had some connection to the family farm. Growing up, the family farm included a small dairy and farming much of the feed for the dairy herd. Also about 36 acres of walnuts on two separate ranches. About 10 years ago Bill began farming vegetables on about 2 acres carved out of the original family farm using sustainable practices and selling all of the produce locally (within 40 miles of the farm). He sells to restaurants, sold at nearby farmers market for about 6 years, operates a semi-weekly farmstand, and runs a small CSA.

In the past three years Bill hosted two MESA stewards, financially supported by Gustine Rotary Club. Although originally intimidated by the thought of trying to teach valuable lessons on such a small farm, Bill now finds that the small scale of Contented Acres Produce provides working and learning experiences that are often much more useful to stewards from small farms than time spent on larger operations in the U.S. Working with farm stewards and with MESA have cultivated Bill's passion to continue the  spread of information and experience to support small farms and sustainable communities.


Bryon Kennedy, Director

<ydennekb at yahoo dot com>

Bryon has been active with Bay Area child and animal advocacy organizations since 2010 as a volunteer, foster parent for dogs, and as a member of the 2012 Protector’s Circle at the Child Abuse Listening, Interviewing, and Coordination Center (CALICO) in San Leandro, CA. Bryon has spent decades exploring one passion after another, from music to mineralogy, web design to wine making, and many unique points in between (ask him about camels sometime) but the one that never wanes is his interest in plants and self-sufficiency as it pertains to food production. After struggling for many years as a backyard farmer (and loving every challenging minute of it), Bryon has decided the time has come to take on an even bigger challenge and is currently looking for a bigger place to continue his experiments in sustainable agriculture on a larger scale. He hopes to become an active voice in the growing body of work to develop effective methodologies for starting small, owner- and community-operated farms and developing resources specifically designed to help ensure the success of first-time farmers.


Julia Lovin, Director

<Julia.Lovin at gmail dot com>

Julia spent 20+ years in the high-tech industry where she loved developing future leaders as much as working on great technology. She has led multiple culturally diverse and geographically dispersed teams. She specializes in program and organizational development, adapting existing processes to ensure her organization has the ability to meet new demands and scale accordingly. Julia studied Mathematics and Computer Science at Santa Clara University and also holds a Masters of Engineering Management from that institution. In her spare time, she can be found volunteering or outdoors hiking, biking, and gardening organically. She frequently distributes tomatoes, peas, chard, kale, fennel, broccoli, basil, and other vegetables from her garden to friends and neighbors. She recently became a bee keeper and would love to tell you about it.


Karen Campbell, Director

<karen.dancingk at gmail dot com>

Karen is a practiced non-profit and philanthropic professional of fifteen years, bringing experience in effective fundraising, donor cultivation/stewardship and event planning/execution. She is currently with The San Francisco Foundation, a community foundation that mobilizes resources and invests in change throughout the Bay Area. Karen earned a Bachelor of Science in Biological and Environmental Science at Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio, while informally minoring in activism. At Antioch, she coordinated operations for the 3rd Annual North American Alliance for Green Education (NAAGE) Conference highlighting the theme of environmental justice, and joined with other students and faculty to successfully save a local family farm from development. These early foundational experiences served as a catalyst for Karen to pursue a career in the non-profit sector supporting the work of environmental and social justice organizations alike. In her free time, Karen enjoys cooking, farm visits, and spending time outdoors hiking and backcountry camping.


Stef Martin, Director

<steflevnermartin at gmail dot com>

Stef currently works for the California chapter of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) where she focuses on communicating the economic value of restoration and developing new approaches to conservation financing, with a focus on preserving California’s workings landscapes. She recently earned her MBA from Cornell’s Johnson School of Management where she concentrated on the theory and practice of creating competitive business opportunities by addressing social and environmental issues. She consulted on a variety of projects, including assisting an on-campus engineering group address its philanthropic model for designing Honduran water systems, developing a communications plan for a local land trust, and advising the National Park Service. Prior to business school she worked in corporate public relations in both New York and Amsterdam and specialized in corporate responsibility, diversity, and internal positioning. From 2008-2010 Stef also worked with a start-up travel company, Roadmonkey Adventure Philanthropy, designing volunteer projects with nonprofit partners and co-leading expeditions. She has a B.A. in international relations and government from Harvard University.


Lauren Anderson, Director

<l.m.anderson07 at gmail dot com>

Lauren has always had an interest in environmental issues, and in particular, food and agriculture. She received her BA in Political Science and Geography from Penn State, and her MS in Geography from Penn State University. Her thesis focused on local food supply chains for farm-to-school programs in Appalachian North Carolina. Lauren currently works in Development at Environmental Defense Fund, an international nonprofit that combines science, economics and politics to solve some of the world's most pressing environmental problems. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys hiking, camping and cycling in the Bay Area, and in other parts of the world if she can manage it. She is also currently honing her own agricultural skills as an active, if not always successful, participant in an Oakland community garden.


Rosi Quiñones, Director

<rosi at mesaprogram dot org>

 

Bio Pending.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Mary Collins, Director

<mkcollins at berkeley dot edu>

Mary Collins aka “Mary from Maryland” has worked with animals ranging from cattle to cheetahs. Working in wildlife conservation made her question its connection to sustainable agriculture, so she joined the Peace Corps to learn first-hand how people farm and eat. In Panama, she worked side-by-side with famers and families to implement sustainable agriculture techniques.  She extended a third year to serve as Regional Coordinator, a role in which she served as a bridge between Peace Corps, local government agencies and communities. Currently she is getting a Master of Public Policy at University of California, Berkeley and plans to work with sustainable agriculture and environmental conservation.

Join MESA for our 10th Annual Cultural Cuisine and Forging Farmers Celebration October 22nd at El Cerrito Natural Grocery.