The staff of Fresh Approach is dedicated to the mission of the organization and passionate about creating a more effective local food system that makes healthy food more accessible for everyone.
Lucy Norris, Executive Director
Lucy became Executive Director in 2017, bringing over 15 years of food systems experience to Fresh Approach. She returned to community food systems after a career detour at Airbnb, where she led their San Francisco-based employee food service operations. Lucy’s deep understanding of food issues, markets and trends helped Lucy and her team at Northwest Agriculture Business Center create the Puget Sound Food Hub Farmers Cooperative. It was designed to create a fair and efficient local food infrastructure, increase healthy food access, and reduce cost and waste. As a result of this work, Lucy was named “2014 Western Innovator” by the Capital Press newspaper. In coordination with City of Seattle and partner agencies, she advised on the development and planning of its food access program called Farm to Table. The program was recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a “Health Champion” in 2012, among other distinguished awards. Lucy authored “Pickled: Preserving a World of Tastes and Traditions” (2003). She has served on multiple boards and advisory committees and keeps an active public speaking and lecture schedule. Lucy has an MA in Food Studies and a BA in Anthropology, Food and Performance from New York University. She is dedicated to advancing Fresh Approach’s mission.
Madaly Alcala, Program Specialist
As the Freshest Cargo Program Specialist, Madaly manages the mobile farmers’ market routes in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Her journey with Fresh Approach started as a Food Equity and Outreach Intern in summer 2016. By the fall she became staff and starting operating the mobile market on Saturdays in Antioch. Madaly graduated from UC Berkeley with a BS in Society and Environment, with an emphasis in environmental justice and food systems. During her studies at UC Berkeley, Madaly was a garden facilitator with the UCB Student Organic Gardening Association (SOGA), where she led discussions dedicated to tackling the greater historical and contemporary issues within the food system as part of an experiential hands-on curriculum. As the first person in her family to graduate from a university, Madaly finds empowerment by intersecting family tradition, community outreach, and academia. In the grand scheme of life, she aspires to help communities build upon their own health and food sovereignty, with everlasting hopes of community resilience and solidarity. In her free time, Madaly enjoys cooking, dancing, and stretching.
Najiha Al Asmar, Program Specialist
Najiha Al Asmar manages the Collective Gardening Network (CGN), a network of East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park gardeners, as part of the Collective Roots Project. Najiha works to make it more affordable and accessible to find resources to learn how to grow and share locally grown organic produce through building gardens, maintaining garden resources, and facilitating gardening workshops. Najiha grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from the University of California, Irvine in 2012 with a B.A. in Psychology and Social Behavior. She has interned for various organizations that focus on social justice and nature preservation, such as Irvine Ranch Conservancy, Acterra, Hidden Villa, and the Pachamama Alliance. Her work as health promoter for the non-profit, Nuestra Casa, in East Palo Alto sparked a passion for building community in underserved communities. She is now pursuing a Master’s of Science Degree in Integrative Eco-social Design from Gaia University International; designing sustainable systems in urban societies. She loves the outdoors, growing organic produce, and cooking.
Betsy Rosales Avalos, Program Coordinator PT
As a PT program coordinator, Betsy works as a billingual instructor in VeggieRx cooking and nutrition classes all over the Bay Area. Betsy first joined the Fresh Approach team as a summer intern, and she is now fourth year student at UC Berkeley studying Environment and Human Health with a minor in Food Systems. She has worked with Mandala MarketPlace and Highland Hospital to help coordinate Bite to Balance, a health-centered, food access program with curriculum for kids. Betsy aspires to promote spiritual and physical health through food and activity while creating an equitable, accessible, and sustainable food system where marginalized communities can reclaim our health and well-being. In her spare time, Betsy can be found throwing clay at a studio, climbing rocks large and small, experimenting with herbal remedies and food in the kitchen, biking everywhere, and dancing and flowing in the great outdoors.
Susana Cabrera-Mariz, Program Specialist
As the Freshest Cargo Program Specialist, Susana manages the mobile farmers’ market routes in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. Susana earned her Bachelors of Science in Environmental Studies with an Emphasis in Restoration and Resource Management from San Jose State University. Her passion for food justice stems from her own experiences of living in food desert communities and her family’s background in migrant farm working. Susana previously worked as an IT security assessor, project manager, and environmental scientist. When she is not in the office, Susana can be found gardening, running, painting, teaching personal finance, and exploring the Bay.
Raffaella Cerruti, Program Manager
Raffaella is the Program Manager of the Collective Roots Project in East Palo Alto. She grew up in Italy and earned a Master’s degree in Agronomy and a PhD in Agro-food Economics. She began her career doing international research projects related to food and farming in order to promote organic and local food systems. After moving to USA six years ago she had a burning desire to work on promoting local food systems, social justice and fairness. Before Collective Roots, she worked at nonprofits providing research, resource development, fundraising, advocacy and community organizing assistance. From her previous experiences, she brings a strong commitment and passion to help vulnerable families eating and growing organic fruit and vegetables.
Clay Crowell, Program Coordinator PT
Clay Crowell is at PT program coordinator and operates the Sunday Freshest Cargo route in East Oakland. A student at SF State and Merritt College, Clay particularly enjoys working with farmers; he believes seeing their commitment to service is a true blessing. As he continues working to serve the larger East Oakland community, Clay is hopeful that we will continue to increase our impacts in Alameda county. Through his experiences with Fresh Approach, Clay has learned that there are so many different ways to connect with people, and that healthy, fresh, clean foods are one of the great ways to do that.
Stephanie Flores, Program Coordinator PT
As a PT Program Coordinator, Stephanie operates the Thursday Freshest Cargo route in Sunnyvale and assists with bilingual VeggieRx nutrition and cooking classes in the South Bay. Since 2013, Stephanie has also worked as an intern and volunteer at Veggielution, a San Jose community farm. When she’s not working for Fresh Approach, Stephanie can be found running Veggielution’s farm stand, working on their farm, and performing outreach work for their community cooking classes. She is currently working towards her Associate’s degree in Public Health at De Anza College.
Danielle Hamilton, Program Manager
As the Education Program Manager, Danielle oversees all education programs, including nutrition education and the CalFresh and Market Match outreach programs. Danielle also oversees all Fresh Approach interns and volunteers. In February of 2017, she joined the Fresh Approach team after completing a Masters of Public Health degree and dietetics program at the University of Washington. Danielle brings to Fresh Approach a passion for food justice and has worked with various food access and sustainable agriculture programs including a subsidized CSA program, and helped start a native garden at UW Farm. She has also conducted research about farmers market access for low-income shoppers. Danielle is passionate about improving the health of both people and the environment through the creation of a nutritious and equitable food system. In her free time, Danielle enjoys horseback riding, doing yoga, and hiking around the Bay Area.
Casey Harch, Program Coordinator
Casey joined Fresh Approach in fall of 2017, and supports multiple projects, such as teaching billingual nutrition classes and operating Freshest Cargo mobile farmers’ market routes in Contra Costa county. Casey is a recent graduate from UC Berkeley with a degree in Environmental Justice & Sustainability. She was drawn to the field of food justice in large part due to her experience as an overweight child, which inspired her to help build a more healthy and equitable food system. Casey has worked all over the food system, from restaurants to urban farms, and managed the kitchen of one of the largest student housing co-ops in Berkeley. She enjoys sharing elaborate meals with friends, biking around the Bay Area, and doodling cartoons.
Andie Kolbeck, Marketing and Communications Manager
As the Marketing and Communications Manager, Andie oversees all marketing, advertising, and promotional activities that increase awareness of Fresh Approach and it’s programs. As such, she wears many hats and serves as the primary digital content manager, graphic designer, and storyteller for Fresh Approach. Andie brings to Fresh Approach marketing wisdom honed through a decade in the natural foods and supplement industry, with a deep passion for food equity driven by an educational background in global health and clinical nutrition. When she’s not generating buzz about Fresh Approach, Andie can be found honing her photography skills, foraging for wild plant foods, and trail running in the Oakland hills.
Andy Ollove, Program Manager
Andy Ollove is the Food Access Program Manager, and manages all aspects of the Freshest Cargo mobile farmers’ market team. Andy is new to the Bay Area but has been working on food access projects around the country since 2012. Fresh out of college at New York University, Andy began working in farmers markets throughout NYC hawking produce and baked goods. Since then he has worked on projects around the country and in Mexico that create channels to bring fresh and local produce to underserved communities. In his time working at Wholesome Wave, he developed some of the first projects that introduced Market Match-like programs into retail grocery stores. He is excited to be in the Bay still hawking produce and pushing local food systems to be more equitable.
Emily Seferovich, Program Specialist PT
Emily Seferovich is a PT Nutrition Program Specialist for Fresh Approach and leads community classes in both English and Spanish. Emily attended UC Davis for her undergraduate degree in Clinical Nutrition and the University of Vermont for graduate school, where she studied dietetics, sustainable food systems, and community nutrition; she also completed her Dietetic Internship at the University of Vermont. As Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Emily brings her experience working with both English and Spanish-speaking WIC participants and primary care patients in Santa Barbara County. She has a passion for counseling individuals, teaching classes, and developing engaging curriculum for students to instill them with the intuition to make healthy choices for themselves and their families. Specializing in motivational interviewing, behavior change counseling, and medical nutrition therapy, Emily brings her skills for motivating and inspiring sustainable behavior change and expertise in nutritional science to Fresh Approach’s nutrition education programs. In her spare time, Emily writes on her personal blog, EuphoricFork, creates geometric artwork, practices her rock climbing skills, discovers the bay area on her road bike, and enjoys cooking.
Leah Smith, Director of Strategic Partnerships
As the Director of Strategic Partnerships, Leah works to design and implement a focused partner development and fundraising strategy, which will ultimately sustain and grow our mission-driven work. Leah joined Fresh Approach in 2015 as the Executive Director, and stepped into the role of Director of Strategic Partnerships in 2017. She completed her Master’s degree in Psychology from California Institute for Integral Studies and her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies with an emphasis on Agroecology from Pitzer College, both located in California. From 1997-98, Leah lived and conducted agricultural research in Nepal as a Rotary International Ambassador of Goodwill Scholar. Her previous professional experience includes 9 years as the Director of Programs with Agricultural Institute of Marin (AIM), and 5 years each as a Program Director for the Marin Food Systems Project (a project of the Environmental Education Council of Marin) and Education Associate for Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT). Leah has more than 15 years of experience in agricultural education, community outreach, event planning and program development. She has fundraised for and developed numerous programs that support food access and local farmers, and is committed to and passionate about local food, farming and sustainable agriculture. Cooking and sharing locally produced fresh food is Leah’s passion, which adds to her deep commitment to the mission and vision of Fresh Approach.
Laura deTar, Program Director
As Program Director, Laura deTar oversees implementation of all of our programs in the communities we serve, and pilots programming as opportunities arise. Laura directs our partnerships and participates in several collaborative workgroups throughout the Bay Area of stakeholders working to increase food security for all communities. She joined Fresh Approach as the Nutrition Program Manager in February of 2013, and brings to Fresh Approach her experience as a public health advocate, organizing farm-to-school programs, and coordinating research projects on health behaviors. Laura has a Master’s degree in Public Health and is a Certified Health Education Specialist. She is passionate about helping all people access fresh and healthy food, and talking with people about how to easily incorporate fresh foods into their diets.
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