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.
Leah Smith, Executive Director
Leah became the Executive Director of Fresh Approach in 2015. Leah 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). She also worked at Slide Ranch, an outdoor environmental education center with a focus on food and farming. Years ago, she worked to preserve the last family owned dairy farm in Santa Clara, inspiring her long-standing commitment to supporting the economic viability of California farmers. Leah has more than a 15 years of experience in agricultural education, community outreach, event planning and program development. Leah 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.
Madaly Alcala, East Bay Route Manager
Madaly Alcala is the Mobile Market Route Manager for Contra Costa County and East Oakland routes. 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 has moved quickly up the ranks, thanks to her proactive attitude and passion for food access work. She 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. On her free time, Madaly enjoys cooking, dancing, and stretching.
Chantal Boyer started out as a volunteer with PCFMA and Fresh Approach in December 2013 and was hired onto the Fresh Approach team in September 2014 as a Nutrition Educator & Food Access Advocate. Chantal has a B.S. in Nutrition from California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo and she has recently earned her certification at Bauman College as a Holistic Nutrition Consultant. She previously spent seven years working in the corporate food industry managing the sensory analysis program, and driving improvements in quality and food safety. Ultimately Chantal knew that she wanted to work more closely with people to help them find their healthiest whole self through food. When she’s not at work, Chantal loves snowboarding and exploring the natural beauty of the Bay Area, as well as getting creative in the kitchen.
Susana Cabrera-Mariz, South Bay Route Manager
Susana joined the Fresh Approach team in the Winter of 2016 as the South Bay Route Manager for Freshest Cargo. Susana earned her Bachelors of Science in Environmental Studies with an Emphasis in Restoration and Resource Management from San Jose State University. Susana’s 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.
Stephanie Flores, Freshest Cargo Site Manager
Stephanie Flores is the South Bay Freshest site manager and operates the Thursday route in Sunnyvale and Santa Clara. Stephanie is lives in Sunnyvale and has worked as an intern and volunteer at Veggielution since 2013. Stephanie has run the Veggielution farm stand, worked on the farm and implemented outreach work for the community cooking classes. She is currently working towards her Associate’s degree in Public Health at De Anza College. Stephanie speaks fluent Spanish.
Danielle Hamilton, Food Equity Program Specialist
Danielle joined the Fresh Approach team in February of 2017 after completing a Masters of Public Health degree and dietetics program at the University of Washington. She 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.
Andie Kolbeck, Communications Specialist and Nutrition Educator
Andie joined the Fresh Approach team the summer of 2016 after completing a Master’s degree in Nutrition. She brings to Fresh Approach marketing wisdom honed through a decade in the natural foods and supplement industry, with a deep passion for preventative health driven by an educational background in global health and functional medicine. Andie teaches nutrition and cooking classes throughout the Bay Area, in addition to developing curriculum and program materials. As the Marketing and Communications Specialist, Andie spreads the word about the many programs of Fresh Approach through social media campaigns and digital outreach, also serving as the lead graphic designer. When she’s not leading classes or generating buzz about Fresh Approach, Andie works as a freelance nutrition researcher and writes about food and herbal medicine for various publications.
Andy Ollove, Food Access Program Manager
Andy Ollove is the Food Access Program Manager at Fresh Approach. He began managing the Freshest Cargo team in March 2017. 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 around the country. 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.
Diego Ortiz, Bilingual Nutrition Educator & Food Access Advocate
Diego is a Bay Area native who joined the Fresh Approach team in August of 2015. After managing the PCFMA Sunnyvale Evergreen Wednesday farmers’ market, Diego became solely focused on his work with Fresh Approach as a nutrition educator and food access advocate. Diego currently teaches Healthy Food Healthy You and Veggie Rx nutrition classes, conducts community outreach, helps build partnerships with other organizations, and uses his strong interpersonal and bilingual skills to assist on a variety of other Fresh Approach projects. Diego began his work in the food access realm as an Americorps member at Veggielution Community Farm in San Jose, soon after receiving his B.S. from Sonoma State in Global Environmental Policy. He continued to develop his horticultural repertoire working for a host of different edible/native landscaping companies until leaving on a Central American WWOOFing adventure. Diego previously worked as an Agricultural Technician and Urban Agriculture Coordinator with UC Cooperative Extension and is currently working with SPUR as the Food and Agriculture Program Coordinator primarily working on the Santa Clara County Healthy Food Incentive Grocery Project. When not working you can find Diego spending time at his community garden plot, riding bikes, dancing, exploring nature, and enjoying time with friends, family and tasty food.
Laura deTar, Program Director
Laura deTar joined Fresh Approach as the Nutrition Program Manager in February of 2013. Laura has a Master’s degree in Public Health and is a Certified Health Education Specialist. Laura comes to Fresh Approach with experience as a public health advocate, organizing farm-to-school programs, and coordinating research projects on health behaviors. Laura 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.
Rachel joined Fresh Approach in February 2017. Her experiences teaching, traveling, and WWOOFing in Latin America inspired her passion for sustainable farming, nutrition, and food systems. Rachel earned a Masters in Latin American Studies at UC Berkeley, where she studied agroecological resilience in small-scale farming systems in Honduras. As a research assistant for UC Berkeley’s Kremen Lab, she has also studied biodiversity in California farming systems. Rachel brings many years of experience working at farmers’ markets in her hometown in Kentucky, where she grew up working early morning markets for Evan’s Orchard and Cider Mill. In her free time, you can find Rachel climbing, hiking, and enjoying the sunshine in the Bay Area.