Board of Directors

AG Kawamura

Chairman

A.G. Kawamura is a 3rd generation urban farmer from California. He is the former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (2003-2010). As co-chair of Solutions From the Land, he has worked to promote innovative strategies for sustainable agricultural systems, including the formation of the North American Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture. He serves on several boards and committees including: The Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources (BANR), a policy arm of the National Academy of Sciences’ Natural Resource Council; National Executive Committee member of 25×25; Ag Advisory Committee member of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Agree Initiative; External Advisory Board for the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis.  He is a former chair and current board member of Western Growers Association. Locally, he is the founding chair of Solutions For Urban Agriculture (Previously Orange County Harvest) and for over 30 years has been dedicated to the goal of ending hunger in Southern Calif by working in innovative ways to provide fresh produce to local food banks. Through his company, Orange County Produce, LLC, he is engaged in building an exciting, interactive 21st century 100 acre agricultural showcase at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, CA.

Tim Alderson

Vice Chairman

Tim Alderson is the Executive Director of Seeds of Hope, the food justice ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, which grows and distributes food in over 100 communities of need across six Southern California counties. His lifetime in agriculture has included nearly 20 years as CEO of AgriGator, Inc., a multi-national soil amendment manufacturer, as well as numerous industry boards including the board of directors of the National Agri-Marketing Association. He was the founding chairman of the California School Garden Network and was appointed by two California governors to the board of the Schools Agriculture and Nutrition Program where he currently serves as President. He was also appointed to the California Department of Education School Garden Advisory Committee and currently serves on the Urban Agriculture Strategy Team for the Los Angeles Food Policy Council. Tim lives in Pasadena, California where he has served as Chairman of the city’s Recreation and Parks Commission and the Mayor’s Workforce Housing Task Force.

Patrick Nielson

Board Member

Mr. Nielson has extensive international experience completing transactions and international business structures in Latin America, Asia and Europe. He has developed corporate wide environmental compliance and business principles programs in conjunction with integrated management system committed to sustainability principles.  He has advised businesses on general business matters, mergers and acquisitions and international business structures and transactions. Former General Counsel for Nueva Holding, Inc. (GrupoNueva, Masisa and Amanco) and Dole Food Company, Inc. and former member of the boards of Masisa, S.A., Terranova, S.A., Pascual Hermanos, S.A. and Western Growers Association and current director of Agricultural Waste Solutions, Inc., and Oak Creek Company.  As General Counsel of all the food operations and as Vice President International Legal and Regulatory Affairs for Dole Food Company, Inc., Mr. Nielson led law and government programs in the United States and internationally for one of the world’s largest food companies.

Ann Cutner Firestone

Executive Director/
Board Member

Ann is a Landscape Architect with over 32 years of design and construction experience. As a Principal of ima Design (from 1999-2015) she led large and small projects for some of the top community, resort, retail, and entertainment clientele in the world. With family roots in farming on the Big Island of Hawaii, she always had a passion for urban agriculture and permaculture often incorporating these values into her projects. Esencia Farm in Rancho Mission Viejo is a current reflection of her ima team’s design passion to bring our agricultural heritage back into our communities. She is a founding Board member of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) Orange County and a founding Executive Committee member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Sustainable Communities Initiative Council (SCIC). She developed and instructed a course called Sustainable Sites-A Collaborative Approach for UCI Extension Sustainability Program. She served on the Landscape Architecture Advisory Council (LADAC) for Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo and in 2012 and 2017 participated in a Permaculture and Sustainability trip to Cuba. As SFUA board member she co-chairs the Harvest Moon Celebration and Chairs the event committee providing educational opportunities to the community.

Tom Larson

Board Member

Mr. Larson has over 40 years of experience in the green industry serving a variety of clients in the private and public sector. He is the former Manager for the Great Park Agriculture and Landscape Division. During the planning process for the first phase of the Great Park, Mr. Larson instituted the urban agricultural element, which consisted of a 104 acre organic farm, an educational center called the Farm + Food Lab, a citrus grove named the Giving Grove, farmers market, the relocation of the Incredible Edible Park (Partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank) to the Great Park and the support of a research and development farm, established on vacant property at the Great Park. The urban agricultural program served over 240,000 individuals per year. It was recognized as the largest urban agriculture operation in a public park in the nation. It drew visits from congressional government officials and international dignitaries seeking information and support on how to implemented similar urban agricultural programs in other urban areas of the United States and other countries.  Recruiting volunteers for the Great Park’s urban agricultural program was a significant achievement of Mr. Larson. Volunteer involvement in the urban agricultural operations and programs helped reduce overall operational and program cost by 40%. Mr.Larson has a passion to help municipal and private sector planners institute and achieve community centered, urban agricultural programs and projects.

Jordan Perkins

Board Member

Prior to serving on the board, Jordan was the founding executive director for SFUA, where his strategic coalition building helped the organization to flourish. In addition, Jordan managed a variety of projects and programs for both the public and private sectors. As the urban agriculture projects and program officer for the Orange County Great Park, he took the lead on visioning, planning and implementing an impressive complement of cutting edge, community-based programs that continue to give back to the community to this day. While in law school Jordan learned how to strategically position land leases to mutually benefit short-term agricultural tenants and land owners – a skill that was first put to use during the course of re-purposing former military runways and adjacent fields in the city of Irvine. Currently, Jordan is working with the American Council on Education as their director of advancement. He resides with his family in Washington D.C.

Eddie Ito

Board Member

Edward Ito is a 3rd generation farmer from Orange County, California. He comes from a long and extensive farming background. He has maintained a close connection with Naturipe Berry Growers, one of the largest strawberry shippers on the West Coast. His family has been a mainstay within Naturipe Berry Growers as the oldest active members of the grower-owned co-op. Along with his family farming business, Edward has served as a long-time member of the Orange County Farm Bureau. He was also instrumental in developing innovative ways to grow hydroponic strawberries for Naturipe Berry Growers. Utilizing previous experience, Edward currently serves as the SFUA Production Manager for the Giving Farm at Westminster High School, and has also assisted in the relocation and maintenance of the hydroponic fruit and vegetable systems for the Incredible Edible Farm.

Glenn Tanaka

Board Member

Glenn Tanaka, a.k.a. Farmer Tanaka, graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a degree in Ag Business. Upon his graduation in 1978, he immediately took over his family wholesale strawberry and tomato farm, which shipped produce across the country. Following eight years of expansion, they experienced consecutive years of extreme losses which forced the family farm to scale back and regroup. After twelve more years of struggle, they decided to completely overhaul their operation from a monoculture wholesale farm to a certified organic multi crop, direct retail and educational farm. Today, along with his wife Shirley and son Kenny, Tanaka Farms thrives, while also practicing responsible farming methods in the heart of Irvine. Over the course of a year, Tanaka Farms grows over 60 diverse crops. They sell those crops through their farm stand and a 700 member CSA program. On top of providing produce, Tanaka farms educates 40,000 school children from farm tours, and entertains another 100,000 families each year with on farm activities.

Lauren Teng

Board Member

Lauren is a child nutrition consultant and the former Administrator of Food & Nutrition for the Huntington Beach Union High School District serving over one million meals annually. Lauren and her team increased fresh produce consumption 150% by promoting classroom nutrition and farm to café in the schools. She was instrumental in securing over $5 million in grants for food & nutrition education, farm to café and others. She has a passion for urban farms as through her youth she was exposed to turkey ranches, dairy farms and family fruit ranches. She has served with the national and state school nutrition associations as President, Legislative Chair and other board positions in the non-profit associations. She was awarded the National Outstanding Director award, the National Foodservice Achievement Management Excellence Golden Director award and the CA State Moscone Commitment to Child Nutrition award for her forward thinking and active leadership in child nutrition.

Advisory Board

Erik Cutter

Erik Cutter is Managing Director of Alegría Fresh, an urban farming company he founded in 2009. Alegría’s mission is promoting and deploying zero waste regenerative food and energy technologies, developing high performance organic biologically-rich soils, and teaching integrated health and wellness.

Casey Anderson

Casey Anderson is the Executive Director of Orange County Farm Bureau, a non-profit agricultural advocacy organization, which he joined in 2017. At Farm Bureau Casey oversees farmers’ markets throughout Orange county, and communicates the needs of farmers to consumers, regulators, and all levels of government. Casey believes in the value of local farms, and the need to create more opportunity for small farms to thrive.

Bill Bracken

Bill Bracken is a nationally renowned chef who has accrued numerous awards and critical acclaim during his 35-year culinary career. He is the Founder and Culinary Director of Branken's Kitchen, a 501c3 that focuses on food recovery, culinary training and a community feeding program to recover, re-purpose and restore both food and lives.

Frank Berry

Owner of the Nursery by Southwinds

Bill Camarillo

Bill is the CEO of Agromin, one of the largest organics recyclers in California and the United States.He plays a key role in pioneering sustainability through organics conversion. All of Agromin’s over 200 eco-friendly organic soil products - which range across the retail, agriculture, landscape and energy sectors are the earth friendly result of over 5,000,000 tons of organic waste materials that have been converted since 1993.

Shina Chen

Shina Chen is the owner of SC Studio, a boutique graphic design firm; co-owner of local HB Yoga Collective; and founder of Rasa Eats-where she is a private chef, lifestyle coach and workshop presenter. Her innovative approach to a balanced and fulfilling life is based on the principles of Ayurveda, the ancient and effective mind-body health system. It enables her to share her passion for healthy living through hands-on education, guidance, and support. Shina brings eye-opening and sustainable experiences to all those whom she engages, through her multi-faceted career and endless creative talents.

Frank Fitzpatrick

The Silverado native is one of the last cattle ranchers in Orange County. Fitzpatrick runs 5 Bar Beef with his son Ryan. They pride themselves on the type of beef they raise — grass-fed with no antibiotics or hormones. The meat sells online and at markets in Laguna Hills and Irvine.

Darren Haver

Water Resources/Water Quality Advisor and Director of South Coast REC and UCCE Orange

Charlie Gallagher

Financial Associate at Thrivent

Daron Joffe

Daron Joffe (known as Farmer D) has made it his mission to empower, educate, and inspire people to become conscientious consumers, citizens, and stewards of the land. In this engaging call to action, Farmer D teaches us to not only create sustainable gardens but also to develop a more holistic, community-minded approach to how our food is grown and how we live our lives in balance with nature.

Craig Kolodge

Dr. Craig Kolodge is the West Coast Regional Director of Business and Field Development for Filtrexx International, a pioneer in the use of locally recycled organics for creating environmentally sustainable solutions with a special focus on erosion and sediment control and Low Impact Development. Dr. Kolodge is the former academic advisor, administrator and field plant pathologist for the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) and the Agriculture & Natural Resources Research and Extension Center in Santa Clara county. As superintendent of the UC Bay Area Research and Extension Center (BAREC), Dr. Kolodge was instrumental in developing the City of San Joseâ green waste utilization program entitled Agriculture in Partnership with San Jose in 1993. As county director for UCCE, he helped launch the countywide Master Composters❠public education program which continues to be an important part of the city environmental and recycling efforts. Dr. Kolodge is a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC) and a Trainer of Record (ToR) for California Storm Water Industrial General Permit and has worked in San Diego county where he resides as well as throughout the Western U.S. teaching compost-based applications for managing storm water since 2009.

Ed Horton

Edwin J. Horton, Jr. currently leads the team at Ag t3 Holdings, a consulting, design and build, indoor vertical growing company. He utilizes his hands-on knowledge and experience to work with clients to build indoor vertical growing units all over the world. The technology increases crop yield by stacking produce vertically in a building structure, incorporating an automated, enclosed environment with the use of LED lighting.

Mark Lopez

VICE PRESIDENT at ORANGE COUNTY LAND MANAGEMENT SERVICES

Mark Lowry

Mark Lowry is the long-time Director of the CAP OC/OC Food Bank. During 2019, the OC Food Bank distributed over 23 million pounds of food assisting over 200,000 people each month. The OC Food Bank is SFUA’s partner in The Giving Farm at Westminster High School. Mark appreciates being able to support SFUA’s promotion of urban agriculture. Mark was also recognized as one of 2019’s 100 Most Influential people in Orange County.

Gina Nixon

Principal at GMN Strategies & Solutions

John and Nina Poto

Co-owners of Honey Pacifica. Since 1978, Honey Pacifica has worked in the raw honey business providing customers the highest quality raw honey available. In order to preserve the delicate flavors of the raw honey we make each batch by hand. Their bees are driven to various apiaries located throughout sunny Southern California where the bee fly for miles finding the blooms and bringing the nectar back to the hive. Each batch's flavor of honey depends on the nectars blooming at that particular time.

Jeff Rowe

Jeff Rowe has been a journalist since 1975, reporting and producing news for television, radio, newspapers, magazines and online publications. He’s been a broadcast writer for the Associated Press, a staff writer for The Wall Street Journal, and broadcast editor for The Orange County Register. Rowe is a former Air Force officer and graduate of the University of Hawaii.

Eric Tolles

Assistant City Manager for the Great Park at the City of Irvine - Retired

Scott Walker

D. Scott Walker is Vice President of Corporate Development at BERT-Building Emergency Response Teams. Through BERT, Scott has partnered with The Food Donation Connection and local Orange County restaurants to “rescue” their leftover food and donate it to the Orange County Rescue Mission. Scott is also the Sr. Specialist EHS&S at Johnson & Johnson Surgical Vision located in Santa Ana. Through his philanthropic and environmental efforts, Scott has been able to divert food waste from landfills and either get it to the people that need it most, or help to turn it into sustainable energy.

Mary Ann Senske

Orange County Great Park Farmers Market Manager

David Dahlke

Principal Landscape Architect at Walt Disney Imagineering

Staff

Nathan Gipple

Prior to joining SFUA, Nathan's background in landscape architecture and aquaponics allowed him to work alongside professionals, public entities, and field crews to help ensure the successful completion of numerous projects throughout southern California. He has a passion for soil based nutritious food production, education and community interaction. Nathan holds a degree in Landscape Architecture from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona as well as a permaculture design certificate from Oregon State University. He currently resides with his family in Orange County, California. His favorite crop to grow is Egyptian Walking Onions.

Todd Kelley

Joe Gilson

Max Boxeth


Jorge Valdez
Kyle Pinkston
Darin Murphy

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