Current OFPC Members
One third of the 21-member council term out each year. Members are welcome to re-apply at the end of their term, and other interested people are encouraged to apply each year. All members serve on a volunteer basis.
Doug Bloch has been political director at Teamsters Joint Council 7 since 2010. In this capacity, he works with over 100,000 Teamsters in Northern California, the Central Valley, and Northern Nevada in a variety of industries. He was the Port of Oakland campaign director for Change to Win from 2006 to 2010 and a senior research analyst at Service Employees International Union Local 1877 from 2004 to 2006. Mr. Bloch was statewide political director at the California Association of Community Organization for Reform Now (ACORN) from 2003 to 2004 and ran several ACORN regional offices, including Seattle and Oakland, from 1999 to 2003.
After serving as an Operations Specialist in the US Navy and Navy Reserve, Kelly returned home to East Oakland, CA where she found gardening to have a therapeutic effect.
In August of 2010, Kelly founded Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project, a non-profit urban farm that focuses on serving at-risk youth from kindergarten to 8th grade, and their families. Childhood obesity and school dropout rates are abnormally high in East Oakland; Acta Non Verba’s mission is to utilize urban farming as a catalyst to increase the standard of living for inner city youth. As a mother, Kelly feels very strongly in creating a healthier future for East Oakland youth.
Cat Chang leads an Oakland-based architecture and urban design firm, Andrews + Chang, focused on supporting and creating regenerative ecological, agricultural and cultural footprints within cities. As an Architecture and Community Design professor at University of San Francisco, she leads students in developing local and international community-based projects, many of which include food production and preparation. Her research seeks to understand how infrastructure in cities can incorporate sustainable measures for intermodal transportation, stormwater management, food production and increased bio-diversity while enriching neighborhoods. Recent projects include creekside parks, urban farms and propagation facilities, portions of the Bay Trail and green schoolyards. She provided residents of South Prescott in West Oakland with new landscape designs as a part of a groundbreaking EPA toxic lead treatment project. Cat also serves on advisory committees and speaks at public appearances for various Bay Area cities, media outlets and institutions.
Lisa develops long-range plans and policies at the San Francisco Planning Department. She is a co-author of the Makers & Movers Economic Cluster Strategy, which identifies policy recommendations to support the city’s food manufacturers and distributors. Previously she was a land use planner at ChangeLab Solutions, working with communities around the country to advocate for policies to support healthy, sustainable food systems and active transportation. She has also worked as an educator and project manager at organizations focused on youth development, urban agriculture, participatory urban planning, and health impact assessment.
Julie Cummins is the director of education at CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture), where she manages a growing department, writes grants, coordinates educational events, and develops programs, including a youth gardening and entrepreneurship program called Schoolyard to Market and food policy advocacy efforts. Prior to that she spent 10 years leading education programs for adults and youth in ecology, recycling and composting, gardening, and urban planning.. Julie believes that access to good, healthy food should be a human right. One of her personal goals is to learn to genuinely love every fruit and vegetable in the farmers market, and she only has a few left to go.
Anaïs Dodson is an Oakland resident and urban farmer. She is interested in food and agricultural issues, especially their correlation with identity and culture. Anaïs has an educational background in applied anthropology with a focus on food policy and linguistics. Her recent thesis discussed how US food policies undermine food sovereignty while jeopardizing food security both locally and abroad. The thesis further explored how language is used in the policymaking process to form and leverage ideologies. Anaïs also has experience in social research and did an ethnographic study about the growing presence of urban farming in Oakland. Her personal experience with food sharing between different ethnicities and social classes has grounded her appreciation for cuisine and how precious food is in societies.
Susan works to support a more vibrant local food economy in the East Bay, including direct educational and technical support for beginning farmers and ranchers. This includes hosting workshops and field days, as well as collaborating with partners throughout the region to identify and help address some of the challenges faced by local producers. Susan comes to OFPC from the Alameda County Conservation Partnership via UC Davis where she worked for the Agricultural Sustainability Institute, the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, and the City of Davis to help develop a plan for Community Farms. She received her Master’s Degree in Community Development from UC Davis in 2011 and is happy to be working in beautiful Alameda County.
Tommy has a passion for food waste and composting. He comes to OFPC as a youth member to deepen his work in food justice.
Melosa joins OFPC with a background in community organizing. Trained in law with emphasis in mediation and conflict resolution, she has spent several years working for social and environmental justice with diverse communities.
Currently running New Hope Farm, Hank is co-founder and senior partner in tela d’arweh, llc, a company devoted to building local food enterprise networks in low-income communities of color. He is also co-founder and member of the Board of the sacred community land trust, inc., a non-profit organization that preserves farmland and makes farmland affordable to new farmers. Previously he served as project manager for the Health for Oakland, Its People and Environment (HOPE) Collaborative, funded by the Kellogg Foundation’s Food and Fitness Initiative. Hank founded The Center for Popular Research, Education and Policy, devoted to participatory action research, capacity-building and policy development with communities seeking to achieve self-reliance. Hank serves on the Board of the Institute for Food and Development Policy – Food First, devoted to the elimination of the injustices that cause hunger.
Jenny, a native of San Francisco, has 30 years of wide ranging experience in the restaurant and food services industry. She operated J. Huston Catering and consulting for 17 years, while earning academic degrees from San Jose State University in Dietetics and Food Sciences, and Management and her Masters from New York University in Food Economics, Policy, and Food Systems, to support her work on issues of food equity, nutrition and social justice. In addition to teaching culinary arts at local community colleges and consulting, Jenny has worked with Project Open Hand in San Francisco, The Doe Fund, in New York City and Bay Area Community Services in Oakland. Jenny is the founder of Farm to Table Food Services in Oakland.
Navina is a community organizer committed to transforming the food system into one that is ecologically and socially just. She has spent over ten years working toward food systems reform as an educator, organizer, and advocate, and has trained dozens of parents, teachers, and teenagers to organize their own communities for food justice. Her work has included implementing programs to increase low-income families’ access to affordable, fresh, healthy foods, working and teaching on traditional and organic farms in India and the US, teaching youth about ecology and ecological restoration, and most recently, organizing community residents to develop a plan for citywide food systems reform with the HOPE Collaborative (Health for Oakland’s People and Environment). Navina has an MS in International Agricultural Development from UC Davis, where she developed curriculum for the first undergraduate major in sustainable agriculture and food systems at a Land-Grant University. She is also a certified Vinyasa yoga teacher and permaculturalist, and loves to play outside. Navina is currently building a movement with young people across the US to shape a radically different food system through policy and practice.
Originally from Berkeley, Grey Kolevzon has worked full-time since 1995 with East Bay public schools and non-profit organizations to develop projects that improve community health and sustainability. These primarily include helping to design/build 30 school and community gardens, leading over 2,000 bicycle- and transit-based interpretive tours and outdoor education programs, teaching ecological science/agriculture to 4-12th graders at over 15 different schools, and initiating several successful “green” enterprises. Grey teaches ecological field studies and urban agriculture in OUSD K-12 schools and Peralta Community Colleges, and is a development consultant for two Oakland-based non-profit organizations – PUEBLO and Cycles of Change, which he co-founded in 1998.
Armando Y. Nieto
Armando is the executive director of the California Food and Justice Coalition. He has served as C.E.O. of Redefining Progress, Managing Director at the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment, and Executive Director with Eagle Eye Institute in Somerville, Massachusetts, Earth Share of California and the Environmental Defense Center. Since 2005 he has served as organizing member of Summit 2007: Diverse Partners for Environmental Progress, and facilitator and report co-author for the related Western Regional Roundtable in Oakland and Southwest Regional Roundtable in Albuquerque, NM. He is president of the Tulare County Community Water Center and has served on the Advisory Boards of Just Communities, the PG&E ClimateSmart External Advisory Group, and the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy.
Patricia St.Onge (Haudenosaune) is the founder and a Partner in Seven Generations Consulting and Coaching. As a consultant and coach, she supports her individuals, organizations and communities in the process of increasing their capacity for fullness and effectiveness. She believes strongly that much of the wisdom necessary to solve a challenge rests within the person or group that is experiencing the challenge or crisis. While providing tools to support their work, she seeks to create space for them to surface their own wisdom. Of Haudenosaunee (Mohawk) and Quebecoise descent, Patricia is an activist and member of an indigenous grandmothers’ circle. Between them, she and her life partner Wilson Riles, have ten grown children and six grandchildren. She is part of a growing community called Nafsi ya Jamii (The Soul Community), an urban farm and retreat center in East Oakland.
Allison has been working as the Director of Policy and Services at the Alameda County Community Food Bank since 2005. In this position, she implements the Food Bank’s public policy agenda, which includes working closely with elected officials and their staffs to promote policies that address the root causes of hunger and poverty. Allison also works with local and statewide coalitions — including the California Hunger Action Coalition – to empower community members to become advocates. At the Food Bank, she oversees a multilingual food stamp outreach program that serves as the blueprint for food banks nationwide. Allison is the author of Hunger: The Faces & The Facts 2010, one of the most comprehensive local reports on hunger in the Feeding America network of food banks.
David Ralston is currently a project manager for the City of Oakland’s Department of Economic and Workforce Development. For the last ten-years, David has principally managed public infrastructure and sustainable neighborhood development planning projects. David holds a master’s in architecture and city planning (UC-Berkeley) and a doctorate in urban geography (UCLA) where he researched the structures of water in the development of Central City Los Angeles and its prognosis for sustainability. With the City of Oakland David has also led citywide open space and greenway zoning/planning efforts, contributed to the City’s Energy and Climate Action Plan and the Oakland’s Sustainability ordinance of 2005, as well as coordinating development plans for the West Oakland BART Transit Village, the Coliseum BART Transit Village, the Hegenberger Urban Farm and Eco-Village project and the San Leandro Creek Watershed Greenway Plan. Formerly, as a principal and founder of the Oasis Planning Group, David has undertaken projects in various San Francisco Bay Area cities around designing “sustainable neighborhood open space/green structures” including the Central Richmond Greenway; Bayview Hunter’s Point Open Space Network and Park Plan; and park urban gardens and water-catchment/retention plans. In addition to this on-going professional practice, David is an adjunct faculty of environmental planning and management at Merritt College focusing on issues of resilience and is a fellow of the Brower-Dellums Institute of Sustainable Policy Studies.
Renee Roy Elias is Principal Consultant of City Food Strategies, an Oakland-based consulting firm that works with public agencies, non-profits, and urban planning firms to implement a variety of healthy food access programs and initiatives. To OFPC, Renee brings over 10 years of experience in neighborhood planning, urban grocery development, and food policy research. She has worked with numerous food justice organizations and public agencies spanning Pittsburgh, PA, Washington D.C., and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Renee received her PhD in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley. She also holds a Bachelor of Architecture and Master of Urban Design from Carnegie Mellon University, and a Master of Science in Urban Geography from the University of Oxford, England.
Neil is a staff attorney at the Oakland-based nonprofit Sustainable Economies Law Center, where he focuses on legal research, education, advice, and advocacy to build the legal infrastructure for a local and resilient food economy. He also maintains a small private practice advising small food businesses and farms. Prior to joining SELC, Neil apprenticed on a teaching farm at UC Santa Cruz where he also researched and authored several case studies on social justice in agriculture. Neil is an active community gardener and amateur seed saver. As an OFPC member, Neil offers his skills and experience in service to the Council’s mission to establish an equitable and resilient local food system in Oakland.
Sarah, a native of Oakland, currently leads a community food storytelling project, TableShare. She previously worked in public policy research at the Urban Institute focusing on national health, education and employment, and anti-poverty program evaluations for the Department of Labor and Department of Health and Human Services. After UI, she worked in India for a year conducting food systems fieldwork and community-based participatory research with a grassroots women’s empowerment organization, Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA). She recently returned to her hometown to work on a district-wide farm to school initiative and garden education for Oakland Unified School District’s Farm to School program through FoodCorps. In 2014, she was honored for her service with an invitation to meet First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House and help plant the spring kitchen garden there.
Sabrina Wu is the Project Director of the HOPE (Health for Oakland’s People and Environment) Collaborative, a community collaborative working to transform the food and fitness environments in Oakland’s neighborhoods with the greatest health disparities. She has worked in public health, nutrition, and sustainable food systems for over 12 years. She holds a MS in Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Policy from Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, where she was a USDA Sustainable Science Fellow, and a BA from Barnard College of Columbia University. She is also a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Professional Chef Training Program.