What matters most to him is relationships and community. His favorite part of the week is walking down the street with his toddler Austin to the Mountain View farmers' market where Rosa at Rodriguez Farms, Edgar at Rio de Parras Organic Farm, Toby at Far West Fungi and other farmers know Austin by name. As a family, they are building relationships with the people who take such great care to grow their food and be good stewards of the land.
Anthony has been around entrepreneurship and has helped people his whole life. The son of an immigrant small business owner who led PTA fundraisers, he discovered social enterprise while in college at UC Berkeley when he worked for a non-profit that trained low-income youth in technology by having them run a web design and database management business. Anthony then spent 10+ years helping underserved small businesses at Opportunity Fund, the largest non-profit microlender in California, and California FarmLink, a nationally recognized farm microlender.
Anthony was originally inspired by the not uncommon path of shopping at farmers' markets, reading Omnivore's Dilemma and watching Food Inc., starting a community garden with his kids, and volunteering on the board of a farmers' market. The turning point to dedicating his work life to supporting sustainable small farms came when one of Anthony's favorite farmers' market vendors shut down their ranch despite a loyal customer base and seemingly popular business. A deep appreciation for the inspiring commitment of farmers and a curiosity about the economics of farming led to a passion for investing in the economic viability of sustainable small farms.
Despite growing up in a small farm town in Michigan, Noelle’s interest in agriculture did not develop until later in life while working for Root Capital, a social investment fund investing in small and growing agricultural businesses that build sustainable livelihoods in Africa and Latin America. Observing the powerful impacts that agriculture has on the environment, economic opportunity, community, and health worldwide prompted her personal exploration into U.S. agriculture through books (Eating Animals), documentaries (Food Inc.), and volunteering on small farms in Massachusetts.
During a farming apprenticeship in Nevada, Noelle gained a deeper appreciation for the physical and financial hard work and challenges that our food producers undertake every day (and a life-long love for lavender). Her inner economist reared its head (thank you Wellesley College) and she discovered a deep passion for supporting the financial viability of sustainable farms.
She continued to pursue this zeal at Julia Shanks Food Consulting, New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, and other food and agriculture-focused organizations in New England. With a family move to California in the summer of 2017, Noelle is elated to become a West Coaster (good riddance Boston winters!) and be enveloped in the U.S.’s “farm Mecca.” She is equally thrilled to be a part of the Kitchen Table Advisors team, where she is able to build relationships and support farmer clients in a multitude of ways.
One of Sarah's favorite childhood memories is baking bread in primary school. She loved the smell of the dough, how she and the other kids would braid it and then take a brush dipped in butter and baste the top before putting it in the oven. Growing up in the midwest, Sarah spent a lot of time in Michigan, biking through cornfields and fly fishing for salmon. Still, she wasn't that connected to where her food came from.
During college, she spent a semester at La Universidad de Chile studying La Nueva Canción movement. In a class on Latin American folk music, she interviewed Margot Loyola, Chile's first woman to win the National Prize for the Arts for her work as a folk performer and liaison between Chile's agricultural worker community and the metropolitan intellectual community of artists for more than three decades. They talked about her experience working alongside Chile's campesino communities, establishing conjuntos folklóricos up and down the country, over torta de mil hojas.
After a few years of working in international development, Sarah went back to school to study an MBA at the University of Michigan, with a focus on social entrepreneurship, and an MA in International Economics at Johns Hopkins University. Since graduating, she has worked for the World Bank, the Federal Reserve, the US Treasury, Agora Partnerships and MITA Ventures. At Agora, she managed a team of consulting fellows to deliver business advising to Latin American social entrepreneurs through an impact accelerator program. Over the past decade, her interest has shifted from the broad macroeconomic policy questions to the microeconomic business ones, in part because the impact is easier to observe.
Sarah is excited to combine her appreciation of food with her policy and business advising experience to contribute to building a food system that works for everyone.
As a Monterey County native, David Mancera has a unique relationship with the local agriculture industry.
David’s first exposure to life in agriculture was at the young age of 8 years old, contributing to his migrant family’s income. With the understanding and hands on experience of field laborer, David pursued a bachelor in Agriculture Business at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo where he was fortunate enough to have been exposed to a wide array of valuable experiences and hands-on learning. At that time, David’s focus was marketing, but as he began his career and gained experience, David’s interests shifted to other functional areas. The produce sales experience David gained at FoodSource Inc. allowed him to expand his professional network, ultimately leading him to pursue a Masters in Agriculture and Resource Economics from UC Davis.
The experience and exposure David gained at UC Davis opened many agriculture doors, from his opportunity to work with professors like Roberta Cook, as a research assistant, to his job offer at the California Strawberry Commission, and Driscoll’s (DSA).
More recently, David has spent the last year, volunteering at a school garden, teaching sustainable agriculture at the local community college, and working with small farmers. Work over this last year has been very gratifying for David. Working with Kitchen Table Advisors, as a Farm Business Advisor, will enable David to continue helping small farmers.
Deborah was born and raised in Oceanside, Mexicali, Bend, Davis, Mexico City, Oaxaca, Rome, Puerto Vallarta, Monterey and currently in Salinas, California alongside her partner, Jose and 2 lovely daughters. She joined the farm viability team as a Farm Business Advisor with Kitchen Table Advisors in October 2017 and is proud to call Central Coast farmers her colleagues and thought partners in creating an equitable food system. Her 15 plus years in the sustainable farming movement has taken on various roles at the Agriculture and Land Based Training Association (ALBA), the Resource Conservation Districts of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties and California Farmlink. She has an M.A in International Environmental Policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and a B.S in International Agricultural Development from University of California, Davis.
Thomas has devoted his life to building sustainable food systems that connect rural and urban areas. He is passionate about the ongoing economic and environmental viability of rural farming communities, and has lived at Full Belly Farm in the Capay Valley since 1995.
Thomas Nelson is the President and Co-founder of Capay Valley Farm Shop, a community-owned social enterprise that aggregates and distributes local, seasonal food from almost 50 small and mid-sized family farms in Yolo County. Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Community Food Security Coalition, Capay Valley Vision, and UC SAREP have all benefited from his broad expertise in coalition building, organizational development, strategic planning, project management, and marketing and communications.
Thomas earned his MBA at UC Davis, with a focus on social entrepreneurship. He serves on the boards of California Farmlink and The Fruit Guys Community Fund. Through Kitchen Table Advisors, Thomas is thrilled to invest his time helping small, sustainable farms build their businesses.
Paige’s work in sustainable food and farming began in college when she met a goat for the first time. Disheartened that it had taken 20 years to have the joy of making one's acquaintance, she became passionate about connecting people of all ages to food and nature, and to finding our place in between.
She received her degree in Environmental Education and Communications, and began teaching outdoor agricultural education, which brought her to Slide Ranch, an educational ranch in Muir Beach, California. There, she gained a strong appreciation and respect for the hard work farmers do everyday to bring food to our tables. From there, Paige managed volunteers and served as the liaison between member producers and Marin Organic, a non-profit dedicated to making organic farming economically viable for farmers in Marin County.
All the while, inspired and emboldened by Bioneers conferences, stories of everyday farming life, permaculture training, and many hours in her garden, Paige dreamed of having her own farm. But a summer working in the fields at a Bolinas farm made her realize she might be more effective playing “office.” So she joined the ranks of a startup CSA in Petaluma as the Operations Manager. Over two and half years, she helped the farm grow from 150 to almost 1000 members. A weeklong seminar, called Ranching for Profit, introduced her to other ranchers whose eagerness for change reminded her of why she loved working with the broader community. Joining Kitchen Table Advisors is a natural fit for Paige's experiences, and she is excited to support farmers in finding a lasting way to shape a healthy food system for our future.
Community Engagement Manager
Daniella’s love of food stems from a childhood spent helping her father and grandmother cook Lebanese and Nicaraguan dishes, while learning to preserve family recipes. At an early age, these experiences instilled in her a passion for cooking, a willingness to eat anything and a firm belief in the power of food to bring people together and to offer a way of communicating beyond language.
She received a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from UC Berkeley, where she focused on how urban design can serve as a tool for social impact. While Daniella may no longer have use for the AutoCad commands that plagued her college experience, the discovery of the Berkeley farmers’ market and Berkeley Bowl had a lasting impact and sparked an obsession with California citrus that continues to this day.
Daniella has focused her career on supporting entrepreneurs and mission driven, food-focused organizations. She spent five years at San Francisco’s internationally recognized incubator kitchen, La Cocina, where she learned to thrive in dynamic and resourceful workplaces. As Program Manager at La Cocina, she developed and managed food business development curriculum, and advocated for a more inclusive economy for women, immigrants and people from communities of color. Daniella took a break from the world of social entrepreneurship and spent a year working for San Francisco Unified School District’s initiative, the Future Dining Experience, where she led efforts to rebrand and redesign the student dining experience.
She looks forward to sharing her background with Kitchen Table Advisors, and to sharing the stories of Kitchen Table Advisors’ incredible farmers and ranchers with you!
At an early age, Pei-Yee discovered the joys of creating food - making mud pies in the backyard was her favorite past time! Being raised in a family of teachers, however, Pei-Yee set her focus on becoming an educator. After graduation, she took an internship in with NatureBridge, a national leader in environmental education. What began as a six-month stint evolved into a fulfilling decade of teaching, program development for high school youth & adults, and fundraising for the organization. From NatureBridge, she headed down the coast to join the team at Pie Ranch, an educational nonprofit farm. She served as their Director of Operations and helped build the organizational infrastructure, and often took advantage of the occasional farm task to escape the office!
In 2009, Pei-Yee decided it was time to pursue her love of food. She attended pastry school and started her own pastry company, Dulcinea Bakeshop, that specializes in sustainable sweets for all of life's occasions. Over the years, she not only developed relationships with local farmers to source the best possible ingredients for her desserts, but also discovered the joys and challenges of being a young business and the importance of having key advisors and mentors to help her along the way.
Working with Kitchen Table Advisors enables Pei-Yee to bring together all of these life experiences - entrepreneurship, sustainable food, nonprofit management and education - to help strengthen our local food system. And as a mother of a little toddler with another wee one on the way, it is personally rewarding for Pei-Yee to know that through her day job is to build a healthier food system that will nourish and support her growing family.