Ben Feldman-Steering Committee Chair
Ecology Center Farmers’ Markets
Staff since 2006, Ben oversees all food and farming programs. These include an award-winning Farmers’ Market program with three weekly markets and low cost community produce stands, local and statewide food access and equity programs like Market Match, and the newly launched California Alliance of Farmers’ Markets. Ben provides leadership in statewide food and farming policy, and works with national leaders to build an alternative food system. Ben sits on the board of the national Farmers’ Market Coalition, and represents Berkeley at the California Food Policy Council. Previously, Ben worked as a farmers’ market manager for Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association. He is a graduate of the UCSC Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems program and holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science.
North Coast Growers’ Association
Portia Bramble has been the Executive Director for the North Coast Growers’ Association since 2008. Portia earned a Masters Degree in Social Sciences from Humboldt State University in 2009 with a project exploring the implications of California’s Direct Marketing agricultural regulations on farmers’ market management and operations. Portia grew up in Berkeley, CA, and received her Bachelors Degree in Political Studies and Environmental Policy from Pitzer College in 2006.
Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association
Ben Palazzolo oversees operations for all Certified Farmers’ Markets run by Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association in Santa Clara County. He has worked with PCFMA since 2011, previously as a farmers’ market manager operating farmers’ markets throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, and as a regional manager overseeing all PCFMA markets in Santa Clara County. Working with a variety of farmers, city officials, organizations, and regulating bodies, Ben strives to create and maintain spaces in a variety of communities where California farmers can sell produce they grow to the public.
Rural Human Services (RHS)
Ron has worked for Rural Human Services (RHS) in Crescent City, CA for 7 years as the Special Projects Coordinator. Among his many duties at RHS is to run the Crescent City Certified Farmers Market. RHS operates the farmers market on Saturdays from June to late October. Six years ago Ron started going to the California Small Farms Conferences educating himself on how to run a successful market. Two years ago Ron was appointed to the California Certified Farmers’ Market Advisory Committee.
Leah Smith serves as the Executive Director for Fresh Approach. Before that she served as the Director of Programs for Agricultural Institute of Marin for more than 4 years, and has worked to further the sustainable agriculture movement for more than 10 years. She previously worked with Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) and directed EECOM’s Marin Food Systems Project. She has more than a dozen years of experience in agricultural education, community outreach, event planning and program development. She is committed to and passionate about local food and sustainable agriculture.
Jackie Rivera-Krouse is a lifelong fan of local farmers’ markets and has over a decade of experience working with numerous California certified farmers’ markets in Los Angeles county, from micro (10 or less vendors) to mega (over 150 vendors). She is currently the Director of Programs for Incentive and Benefit programs (CalFresh, WIC & Market Match) at Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA), after many years as a Market Manager for the organization, and Co-Manager of the Hollywood Farmers’ Market. Jackie also chairs the “Farmers’ Markets for All” working group for the Los Angeles Food Policy Council. A native and third generation Angeleno, Jackie received her BA from UCLA, completing studies in English Literature/Urban & Regional Planning.
Coastside Farmers’ Markets/Irish Ridge Ranch
In 1997, Erin started Irish Ridge Ranch, a 48 acre ranch south of Half Moon Bay, with 200 threatened or recovering breed hens, and a nascent orchard of rare, pioneer and heritage apples. Erin is also the founder of Coastside Farmers’ Markets, bringing the first Certified Farmers’ Market to Half Moon Bay in 2002, and to Pacifica in 2007. The Half Moon Bay market has been recognized in Gourmet Magazine, Sunset Magazine, the Roots of Change website, the Bay Area A-List. Erin is an inaugural member of the San Mateo Food Systems Alliance, a founding director of The HEAL Project, she managed the Market-Place section of the Slow Food Nation event in San Francisco, and has served on the Technical Review Committee of the CDFA Specialty Crop Block Grant program since 2010.
Catt Fields White
San Diego Markets
Catt Fields White is the Director of San Diego Markets, developing thriving farmers’ markets in urban neighborhoods, and consulting with emerging markets throughout San Diego County. She encourages entrepreneurship and value added opportunities for farmers through monthly Vendor 101 classes and writes about food, farms, restaurants and marketing. Serving on multiple Boards of Directors including the California Restaurant Association, the Little Italy Association, Just Call Us Volunteers and now the CA Small Farm Conference she is actively involved with Slow Food Urban San Diego, Les Dames Escoffier, and other professional associations and charitable foundations. Find her at www.sdweeklymarkets.com