Jazmyn Benjamin is the Farm Educator where she is responsible for supporting the planning and implementation of Jewish and Farm educational programming and events for Coastal Roots Farm. She supports the Education Department in designing curricula, delivering educational programming, and training/supporting educators and community volunteers. Prior to joining Coastal Roots Farm, Jazmyn was the Lead Educator at Highland Youth Garden in Columbus, Ohio where she delivered a wide array of educational programming for students of all ages. She also assisted in organic crop production, planning community events, farmers markets, and leading community volunteers. Jazmyn is passionate about food justice and encouraging people to grow food. She loves discovering wild edible and medicinal plants, hiking with her dog, cooking, yoga, and making kombucha.
Ryan is a Community Famer at Coastal Roots Farm where he supports the team by planting, irrigating, weeding, harvesting, and distributing vegetables. Prior to joining Coastal Roots Farm, Ryan worked for the Napa County Farm Bureau where he was responsible for CEQA reviews, hydrology protection, and helping farmers adapt to new environmental protection regulations (AB 2121). In addition to his time at the Farm Bureau, Ryan also had the opportunity to work with CDFA helping to mitigate environmental and economic issues related to invasive pest species. Ryan has worked locally for North Coast Calvary Chapel in Carlsbad, where he was responsible for all site operations and the coordination of 4,000 events per year. Before graduating from Sonoma State University with a degree in Environmental Science and Planning, Ryan was a classically trained Pastry Chef working in San Francisco and Napa for several years. When not working, Ryan enjoys organic gardening and hiking San Diego’s trails with his wife and dog.
Scott Thompson is the Farm’s Community Farmer where he is responsible for cultivating and maintaining the farm production areas. Prior to joining Coastal Roots Farm, Scott worked on a small, off-grid farm on the island of Hawai’i and engaged in regenerative agriculture education and community-building programs. Scott loves dogs, fungus, fermentation, and insects. When not growing or making delicious things, he reads voraciously and travels for Phish concerts.
Megan is the Farm’s Education Coordinator where she supports with the planning and implementation of Jewish and Farm educational programming and events. She assists the Education Manager in designing curricula, delivering educational programming, and training/supporting educators and community volunteers.
Prior to joining Coastal Roots Farm, Megan worked for the nonprofit Pathways In Education where she led ethnically and socioeconomically diverse high school students in experiential learning programming to fulfill graduation requirements. She wrote curricula for and ran a program centered around sustainability, food justice, and leadership on a certified organic farm in Mendocino County.
Megan loves eating new foods while traveling and enjoys being outdoors- hiking, camping, and taking photos.
Sharone Oren is Coastal Roots Farm’s Education Manager where she is responsible for the planning and implementation of Jewish and Farm educational programming and events for Coastal Roots Farm. She designs the long-term educational content and curricula. She trains and supports fulltime and part-time Educators, as well as community volunteers. In addition, she works closely with local and regional education community partners.
Prior to joining Coastal Roots Farm/Leichtag Foundation, Sharone worked for Kadima Day School in Los Angeles where she designed and implemented the elementary school’s general and Judaic studies curriculum for 10 years. She also mentored teachers-in-training through the Delet program and facilitated team building activities for the staff. Sharone also worked for Brandeis Collegiate Institute as the Assistant Director, guiding and advising program fellows and leading high and low ropes challenge activities for the participants.
Sharone has lived in Israel for a total of 9 years, has 3 children, and a parrot. She is passionate about helping planet Earth, one small act at a time.
Chandrima is the Farm’s Chicken and Compost Coordinator where she is responsible for the care of the animals and maintaining the farm’s compost system. She oversees the chicken operation and develops the flock’s successions for pastured poultry egg production, as well as monitors the rotational pasture management for the flocks in the silvopasture and vegetable production areas. Chandrima also maintains and stewards the compost operations including the ASP, deep litter compost, compost input materials, Food Waste to Animal Feed, and the overall development of this department.
Prior to joining Coastal Roots Farm, Chandrima worked at Cedar Springs Farm as well as Deer Tree Farm and Agroforest in Colorado. In the past, she also has worked at Cedar Circle Farm in Vermont.
When she is not farming, Chandrima can be found outdoors, running, road biking and playing in the waves. She also loves languages, travel and the world of food.
Gregg is the farm’s Community Farmer, where he is responsible for general farm operations. He is a San Diego native that has recently returned home. Gregg graduated from the Sustainable Urban Agriculture program at San Diego City College and transferred to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where he graduated with a degree in Agricultural and Environmental Plant science. While at school Gregg managed the 11 acre organic farm on site. Gregg recently became a licensed Pest Control advisor for agricultural crops focusing on vertebrates and invertebrates.
Dominique is the Farm’s Post-Harvest and Distribution Coordinator, where she manages vegetable washing and storage, as well as all Farm Stand operations, pop-up distributions, and produce deliveries. If you are buying food from the Farm, she’s your go-to gal.
Prior to joining Coastal Roots, Dominique spent 3 years farming full time in Northern California and the Hudson Valley, NY, learning everything from hand transplanting to tractor cultivation. She graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Agroecology and loves connecting people with their food. Her agricultural knowledge is based in organics and she’s certified in permaculture design.
When not farming, you can find Dominique walking through nature, catching an ocean sunset, cooking, practicing yoga, making an art project, and exploring new places with friends.
Kesha Dorsey Spoor is Coastal Roots Farm’s Philanthropy and Communications Manager, responsible for supporting the Farm’s development efforts and leading the communication strategy. Kesha brings her Master’s in Public Health, commitment to serving underrepresented communities, and Jewish identity to the Farm team. Prior to joining Coastal Roots Farm, Kesha managed youth development programs aimed at improving health outcomes in low-income, “at-risk” youth at Vista Community Clinic in North County and led outreach and civil rights efforts aimed to reduce hate and secure justice at the Anti-Defamation League in San Diego. Kesha strives to perform Jewish values of goodness and compassion in her personal and professional lives, and is excited to do so through food justice work at Coastal Roots Farm.
Bill Stallcup is a Community Farmer at Coastal Roots Farm, where has previously been involved as a volunteer with planting, irrigation, weeding, and harvesting of vegetables.
Prior to joining Coastal Roots Farm, Bill has been a biochemist/cell biologist for the past 50 years, most recently at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute on Torrey Pines Mesa.
Bill lives in Leucadia a little ways north of the Farm, and maintains a fruit and vegetable garden in his yard. He hopes his home “farm” benefits from his experience at the real Farm.
Kelie Reimer is a Coastal Roots Farm Community Farmer where she supports the operational teams with cultivation, development, maintenance, and follow through of projects within the vegetable, food forest, vineyard, chicken run, and composting production areas.
Prior to joining Coastal Roots Farm, Kelie served with the AmeriCorps Volunteer Infrastructure Project, where she helped build volunteer capacity for nonprofits in North County San Diego. Previously, Kelie was living on the Big Island of Hawaii working for Keala’ola Farm, an organic lettuce and coffee farm. Prior to Hawaii, Kelie served her first term of national service with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, where she traveled the Pacific Region states serving communities in need through environmental conservation, disaster relief, and infrastructure improvement. Kelie was an NCAA student-athlete for the Eckerd College Women’s volleyball team in St. Petersburg, Florida. She worked with the Eckerd College Office of Sustainability’s campus-wide compost, various CSA farms in the U.S., and organic farms in Nicaragua. Kelie has also studied permaculture based design and land use at The Yoga Farm Costa Rica.
When she’s not farming, Kelie can be found watching the sunset and surfing, sailing, or free-diving in the ocean. She also enjoys snowboarding, backpacking in our National Parks, and learning the guitar.
Javier Guerrero is the Farm’s Executive Director. Javier works with Coastal Roots Farm staff, board members, funders, partners, and volunteers to advance the Farm’s goals of providing high-quality produce to the community with a focus on the most vulnerable; educational programs; community programs; partnerships and more, all through the lens of Jewish agricultural traditions.
Javier has worked in the San Diego nonprofit sector for nearly two decades and brings extensive experience in nonprofit administration, organizational management, and resource development. Most recently, Javier recently served as Executive Director of San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum in Escondido, overseeing the Museum’s capital campaign, move to a new indoor/outdoor location, and expansion of exhibits and programming.
Javier currently serves as Board Chair of North County Philanthropy Council and is an active member of Rotary, Kiwanis, and Scouting.
Adam is the Farm Manager and is responsible for overseeing all areas of production, including crop fields, food forest, vineyard, animals, and composting.
Adam is a skilled Pacific Northwest farmer, originally from Portland, OR. With over 17 years of farming experience he’s managed both his own and others’ farms in the Willamette, Methow, and Snoqualmie valleys. Prior to joining Coastal Roots Farm, he managed Oxbow Farm and Conservation Center where he oversaw the production of 30 acres of mixed vegetable crops and supplied product throughout the region to over 600 members of Oxbow’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, local grocery and restaurant businesses, and hunger relief organizations. Adam also worked in close collaboration with agricultural researchers from area universities and was involved in studies to minimize tillage and optimize nitrogen levels in organic farming systems.
Both as a farmer and engaged citizen, Adam has long been a strong local food systems advocate and has been instrumental in increasing the supply of healthy, fresh, locally-grown produce to hunger relief agencies in the Puget Sound region.
Nikki is the Farm’s Assistant Vegetable Production Coordinator where she is supports all levels of vegetable production, and prepares and maintains the fields from planting to harvest.
Prior to joining the Farm, Nikki worked at Wild Willow Farm as a community farmer. She also served at the Farmer’s Market Manager for local company OH! Juice.
When she’s not farming, she loves hiking—the taller the mountain the better—camping, and traveling. Her greatest accomplishment to date is completing the Camino de Santiago.
Ricardo Lopez is the Coastal Roots Farm’s Vegetable Production Coordinator where he works as a supporting member to all of the Farm team’s efforts.
Prior to joining Coastal Roots Farm, Ricardo attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he earned a degree in Plant Science, with a concentration in Nursery & Greenhouse Production. While at Cal Poly he worked at their Horticulture Unit managing the nursery production team where he helped produce plants for the campus landscapes.
Ricardo is an avid home cook and in his free time can be found enjoying the outdoors through hiking, fishing, and kayaking.
Katherine Favor is the Farm’s Vineyard Coordinator, where she is responsible for the care and maintenance of all aspects of the vineyard. In addition, she supports the planning and maintenance of the food forest and develops educational programming for community participants and staff.
Prior to joining Coastal Roots Farm, Katherine served in the Peace Corps teaching permaculture, agroforestry, and environmental conservation practices in rural Paraguay. She holds a B.S. in Viticulture from California Polytechnic State University of San Luis Obispo and has wanted to be a farmer since the age of five.
When she’s not digging her hands in the dirt, you can find Katherine painting, hiking, or floating in the ocean.
Annelise is the Farm’s Communications Manager where she is responsible for developing, managing, and implementing the Farm’s communications and outreach strategies. She writes, edits, and shares content for internal and external communications; designs marketing initiatives; and manages the Farm’s social and digital media tools.
Prior to joining the Farm team, Annelise worked for an international development organization that alleviates rural poverty through sustainable agriculture. She earned her BA in English Literature and Spanish, and her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. She also edits and writes for a variety of print and online publications.
Leilani is the Foundation’s Director of Finance and Grants Administration where she oversees the Foundation’s financial management and analysis including human resources, risk management, and grants administration.
Prior to joining Leichtag, she spent nine years at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, a place-based community building operating foundation.
Vanessa is the Foundation’s Human Resources and Operations Manager where she oversees grant administrative processes from concept to evaluation, analyzes strengths and limitations of grantees and prospects, monitors performance of active grants and prepares funding analyses that capture the program rationale and expected measurable outcomes, and prepares and participates in the assessment and evaluation of the effectiveness of program strategies.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Vanessa served as Grants Manager at The San Diego Foundation responsible for managing donor-advised grant making for the organization. In this role, she also worked with donors to align their philanthropic goals with community needs.
Sharyn Goodson is Leichtag’s Director of Philanthropic Strategy where she is responsible for leading funder partnerships, developing giving opportunities for community members, overseeing a new giving circle initiative, managing a portfolio of grants, producing special educational programs and initiatives and looking at ways that Leichtag Foundation can increase its impact and leverage across funding areas.
In April 2010, Sharyn was hired as the Leichtag Foundation’s first Program Officer. Beginning in 2012, Sharyn also began to manage the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego’s philanthropy programs and served as the lead contact for major family funds and foundations. Her most recent role at the Jewish Community Foundation was as its Vice President of Philanthropy.
Laura Diede is the Foundation’s Office and Accounting Assistant where she is responsible for helping with office operations.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Laura worked for Athena San Diego as Program Assistant, as a Community Manager for 10 different HOAs, a General Manager at an architectural survey company and as a manager of the Farmington Woods Pro Shop.
Damian Valdez is the Farm’s Assistant Operations Manager where he is responsible for developing farm-wide policies and procedures; creating and evaluating the Farm’s food safety plan, organic certification, OSHA implementation; training Coastal Roots Farm staff and volunteers on operational and safety procedures; and assisting in the general development of Coastal Roots Farm.
Prior to joining Coastal Roots Damian was the head farmer for San Diego City College’s sustainable urban agriculture lab, Seeds@City Urban Farm. Damian taught students and interns the skills necessary to be successful out in the field. An active member of San Diego’s farming community, he designed downtown San Diego’s Smarts Farm, implemented a 12-acre orchard in Oceanside, and taught classes with the San Diego International Rescue Committee.
Sara is the Farm’s Impact and Evaluation Manager where she is responsible for creation, implementation, and ongoing management of all monitoring and evaluation efforts; food distribution programs and staff; and administration for programs and events.
Prior to joining Coastal Roots Farm, Sara worked as the Programs Manager for a sustainable conservation ranch in Colorado owned by The Nature Conservancy. Previously, Sara worked as the Partner Development and Management Specialist for Grameen Foundation’s Bankers without Borders program where she worked with corporate partners to build skills-based employee volunteer initiatives aimed at accelerating the scale and progress of social enterprise organizations working to alleviate poverty around the world. Prior to Grameen Foundation, Sara worked for Ashoka’s Youth Venture, helping to implement programs aimed at encouraging young people to become change makers and improve their communities by starting their own social enterprises.
Aaron is the Farm’s Infrastructure and Compost Coordinator where he supports the development and maintenance of all operational infrastructure including vehicles and equipment, oversees the implementation and maintenance of the compost program, and assists in the general development of Coastal Roots Farm.
Prior to joining Coastal Roots Farm, Aaron’s background focused on business startups and business administration. In 2009, Aaron started GRNS, a business that inspired homeowners to transform their landscapes into edible gardens. This venture brought him into the world of agriculture and into a passion for farming that has not gone away.
LyOr is the Farm’s Food Forest Coordinator where he is responsible for the design, implementation, maintenance, and programming on the 8.5 acre food forest and silvopasture.
Prior to joining Coastal Roots Farm he worked in Israel designing, maintaining, and installing food forests. Previously, LyOr worked with Planting Justice (where he still serves on the Board of Directors) as a Permaculture Designer and Educator, managing urban garden installations and co-facilitating classes with the Insight Garden Program in San Quentin. He also co-facilitated classes with inmates in a collectively designed sustainability, self-sufficiency, and personal transformation program called The Green Life.
Ross MacFarland is the Farm’s Community Farmer where he is responsible for all duties farm related, from seed to table and everything in between!
Prior to joining Coastal Roots Farm, Ross worked for an organic vegetable farm in upstate New York doing all things food related. Most recently he worked as a beekeeper at a local apiary where he harnessed the energy and love of the bees to make that sweet delicious honey and pollinate all the flowers of the world.
Ellie is the Farm’s Vegetable Production Coordinator where she manages the production of all vegetable crops, supervises community farmers, and supports task development for vegetable production volunteers and interns.
Prior to joining Coastal Roots Farm, Ellie spent a year traveling and working on farms in Kenya. Since then she has worked with a number of farms and CSAs and has developed a passion for sustainable agriculture and the communities built around it.
Nora Feldhusen is the Farm’s Educational Program Manager where she is responsible for volunteer coordination, school and youth group coordination, holiday celebrations, tours as well as family and intergenerational programming.
Prior to joining Coastal Roots Farm, Nora was a co-founder and the manager of PeerCorps Detroit, where she worked with Jewish youth to build meaningful relationships with communities throughout Detroit through service and learning.
Charlene is the Foundation’s Executive Vice President of the Leichtag Foundation. She is a frequent speaker, presenter, and writer about topics pertaining to philanthropy, Jewish community trends and social change. She is on the board of the Jewish Funders Network, formerly served on the board of San Diego Grantmakers and has served on many committees and councils. Charlene spent 18 years working for the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego in increasingly responsible positions including serving as President and CEO of the organization.
Charlene won the 2013 JJ Greenberg Memorial Award, an international prize given to one outstanding philanthropic professional under the age of 40 each year.
Jim is the President and CEO of Leichtag Foundation, a position he has held since 2007 when the Foundation became independent. Prior to that appointment, Jim served as General Counsel of the Foundation from 1995-2007 when he was practicing as an attorney.
Jim’s professional background and diverse community leadership experience catalyzed the Foundation’s purchase of Leichtag Commons. He is a mentor and takes particular pride in being a champion of young leaders. He is a frequent presenter about the power of place in community engagement and in developing new models of social change.
A longtime San Diegan whose community activism dates back to his youth, Jim draws upon many years of volunteer leadership experience in the nonprofit sector. Currently, Jim serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Funders Network, an international organization dedicated to Jewish philanthropy and social enterprise. In past years, he served as President of the Board of Seacrest Village Retirement Communities and the Quail Botanical Garden Foundation doing business as San Diego Botanic Garden and as a member of the San Diego Foundation’s Board of Governors.
Adam Berman founded Urban Adamah in Berkeley in 2010 and currently serves as its Executive Director. From 2002-2009, Adam served as the Executive Director of the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in the Connecticut Berkshires. While at Isabella Freedman, Adam founded ADAMAH: The Jewish Environmental Fellowship, a three month leadership training program for Jewish young adults that integrates Jewish learning and living with sustainable agriculture, green living skills, teaching and contemplative spiritual practice.
Currently, Adam serves on the Board of Directors of the David Brower Center, Wilderness Torah, the Jewish Federation of the East Bay, and on Advisory Boards for the Teva Learning Center and Adamah. He teaches widely on issues related to Judaism, ecology and civic leadership. Adam holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.A. in Environmental Policy from Brown University.
Daron is the Founding Director of Coastal Roots Farm and the Leichtag Foundation’s Director of Agricultural Innovation and Development, where he manages the strategic planning, community engagement and operations of the 67.5 acre Leichtag Commons property. He is also leading a number of Leichtag Foundation’s national and international farm-based initiatives such as a the Urban Land Institute’s Food and Real Estate Project, Jewish Community Farming Field Building efforts and an American Public Garden study on food and agriculture programs at public gardens.
Daron is a nationally recognized organic/biodynamic farmer, educator, speaker and eco-entrepreneur. He is the author of the acclaimed book Citizen Farmers: The Biodynamic Way to Grow Healthy Food, Build Thriving Communities and Give Back to the Earth. He is the founder of Farmer D Organics and Farmer D Consulting and has spent the past 20 years designing and building biodynamic farms and gardens all over the country.
He continues to provide community farm consulting services through Farmer D Consulting at Leichtag Commons.