Steering Committee

The Alliance is lead by a Steering Committee of 9 market operators and farmers from across the state of California. Members participate in a bi-monthly 1.5 hr phone call, and contribute 5-10 hours per month on work related to the Alliance, depending on current activities. Steering Committee members support new membership recruitment, help develop and deliver professional development training, and develop policy positions for the Alliance.
We are looking for market operators from the San Joaquin Valley, Northern Counties, and Sacramento Valley. Interested? Email rosio@ecologycenter.org

Tasha Ardalan
So Cal Farmers’ Markets
Tasha Ardalan is a rural San Diegan who grew up immersed in agriculture and the equestrian industry. She has over a decade of experience as a farmers’ market vendor, manager, and operator. Tasha loves farmers’ markets and supporting local food systems. She is dedicated to building resilient agricultural structures, increasing access to locally grown produce, and improving food justice and equity through education and incentive programs such as Market Match. Tasha is an expert at leading projects, developing actionable solutions, and facilitating collaboration among stakeholders (farmers, nonprofits, and government agencies). Tasha Ardalan’s love for her college graduation gift, a corgi puppy with terrible allergies, led her to develop holistic pet products. She quickly went from selling her products at farmers’ markets to becoming a market leader known for her compassion and care in helping vendors succeed. In 2012, Tasha began a career managing and operating farmers’ markets as well as coordinating fundraising events across Southern California. Additionally, Tasha served on the 2023 California Small Farms Conference Steering, Workshop, and Awards Committees and was elected to the Farmers Market Coalition Board of Directors this year.

Elizabeth Bowman
Sustainable Economic Enterprises of LA
Elizabeth Bowman is co-manager of the Hollywood Farmers’ Market – a 25-year old certified farmers’ market with nearly 200 vendors. In 2012, Elizabeth worked with Altadena Farmers’ Market founder to develop the [Sub]Urban Farming Project. In this capacity, she helped local, backyard farmers and gardeners start their farmers’ market businesses. This work culminated in the development of a regulatory guide for first time urban farmers selling at Certified Farmers Markets inLos Angeles. Elizabeth now owns and operates the Altadena Farmers’ Market. Elizabeth has an MA in Urban Sustainability from Antioch University, Los Angeles.

Portia Bramble
North Coast Growers’ Association
Portia Bramble has been the Executive Director for the North Coast Growers’ Association since 2008. Portia is a founding member of the Alliance,  helped establish the CA Market Match Consortium, and is an appointed member of CDFA’s Certified Farmers’ Market Advisory Committee. 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.

Emma Burke
Alchemist CDC
Emma has worked with Alchemist CDC in Sacramento since 2017, where she has grown and developed the CalFresh at Farmers’ Markets and Market Match programs to expand food access in the Farm to Fork Capital. She oversees CDSS Fruit and Vegetable Pilot project sites, the People to Produce accessibility project, Market Match partnerships with farmers’ markets and farm stands in the region, and 8 CalFresh Access booths at Sacramento County farmers’ markets.

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

Ben Palazzolo
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.

Erin Tormey
Coastside Farmers’ Markets/Irish Ridge Ranch
Erin established and farms Irish Ridge Ranch, an integrated layer flock and rare apple orchard located south of Half Moon Bay, in 1997. Erin is also the founder of Coastside Farmers’ Markets, bringing the first Certified Farmers’ Market to Half Moon Bay in 2002,  to Pacifica in 2007, and Pescadero in 2010.  Erin is an inaugural member of the California Alliance of Farmers’ Markets, the San Mateo Food Systems Alliance, a founding director of The HEAL Project, and  served on the Technical Review Committee of the CDFA Specialty Crop Block Grant program from 2008 through 2016. Erin was named Farmer of the Year in 2017, an honor entered in to the Congressional Record by Congresswoman Jackie Speier.

April Treona Lancaster
Visalia Certified Farmers’ Market
April is a central valley native who grew up in the small agriculture rich town of Dinuba, California.  April is the founding Director of the DownTown Visalia Certified Farmers Market, a small Farmers Market primarily consisting of historically underrepresented populations. April is a mother, an Herbalist, and a business owner in the historic DownTown District of Visalia, California.  April credits her success in part to her relationship with the Visalia Farmers Market Organization which spans more than 8 years, and includes service to the organization as the member elected Executive Secretary. April believes that Farmers Markets are integral components of a healthy community, and she is passionate about advancing the Farmers Market industry while cultivating new generations of producers.

Tanya Wolf Small
Agricultural Institute of Marin
As AIM’s Chief Operations Officer, Tanya oversees the operations and management of AIM’s 7 certified farmers’ markets. Tanya grew up in the small town of St. Helena, and got her start in agriculture at an early age picking grapes and helping her family make wine. Tanya has 13 years of market management experience, having managed all 7 of AIM’s farmers markets at different times in her career. She enjoys knowing and talking with the people who grow and raise her food, interacting with the community at farmers markets and helping farmers and vendors grow their businesses.
Staff
Rosio Almaguer Andrade
Ecology Center
Rosio joined the Ecology Center in 2021. As the Food and Farming Program Manager, she supports and promotes the work of the California Alliance of Farmers Markets, as well as the Ecology Center’s national work on nutrition incentive programs. Rosio comes to the Ecology Center after a decade of managing and developing youth and family support programs in the Bay Area and Central Coast. Rosio’s values of social justice, community, healing, and growth are centered in her work. She looks forward to centering the stories and amplifying the voices of Black, Brown, Indigenous, and people of color in our continued work to inspire and build a sustainable, healthy, and just future for the East Bay and beyond. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from UC Santa Barbara, where she studied Chicanx Studies and Education. She will receive her Permaculture Design Certificate Spring 2021.

Putri Kusdarman
Ecology Center

Putri is proud to be a Food and Farming Program Coordinator at the Ecology Center, where she strives to create equitable access to healthy and delicious food for families across California. Putri holds a BIS in Elementary Education from Virginia Commonwealth University, with past experience teaching in Title I schools and working as the farm manager of a permaculture food forest on the North Shore of O’ahu, Hawai’i. Born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia before moving to the United States in late elementary school, Putri believes strongly in the importance of food culture to one’s sense of identity and rootedness – food is not only nourishment but a tether to our community and to the living planet beneath our feet. She is passionately working towards food justice and farmers’ advocacy alongside the rest of the incredible team at the Ecology Center.

Marikit Mayeno
Ecology Center

As a Food and Farming Program Coordinator at the Ecology Center, Marikit deeply values supporting small farms and regenerative agriculture and brings this passion toward contributing to just food systems. She holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Eugene Lang, The New School, where she studied Interdisciplinary Science, Fine Arts, and Religious Studies. In college, she created the Climate Justice Club and completed projects about decolonial, feminist, and Indigenous pathways to combat the climate crisis. She previously interned at the Ecology Center and especially enjoyed educating the community about the health benefits of consuming water over sugary beverages at the Farmers’ Market.