Board of Directors


Kurt Spataro


Kurt Spataro is the Executive Chef for the Paragary Restaurant Group, a member of culinary advisory boards for American River College and the Elk Grove School District and a member of the American River College faculty. “Being a SBF Board Member allows me to engage in the issues I care about most: food, education and our environment.”

Sara Minnehan

Vice President

Sara Minnehan serves as Foundation & Community Relations Director for Aerojet Rocketdyne. Sara oversees the company’s foundation, employee involvement programs and works on many other corporate responsibility efforts across Aerojet Rocketdyne’s 14 sites in the United States. Sara resides in Folsom with her husband, Justin and her daughter, Kaitlyn. Sara enjoys spending time outdoors as well as celebrating life surrounded with friends, family and good, healthy food. “The mission of Soil Born grabbed me from the beginning. What other nonprofit organization supports three key areas or causes—environment, health and education? The fact that multiple issues are being touched through Soil Born’s work is why I want to be a part of this long-term project. We need to help the future generation understand why eating healthy and educating those around us to do so is an imperative.”

Maria Thomas


Maria is a Senior Finance Manager for VSP Global, a local company with a mission to help people see and the vision to provide affordable, high-quality eye care and eyewear. aria earned her BA in International Relations & Economics from U.C. Davis and her MBA with a focus in Finance from U.C. Berkeley before moving to Sacramento in 2001 for work. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Scott, and daughters, Sofia and Anabella, playing team mom for their various sports and school activities as well as enjoying the many culinary options the Sacramento region has to offer. She also believes in giving back. “As a working mom with two young girls it’s hard to find balance which is why I enjoy volunteering with organizations whose mission resonates with my values and allows my family to participate in giving back to our community. Soil Born Farms does just that with its mission to create an urban agriculture and education project that empowers youth and adults to discover and participate in a local food system that encourages healthy living and nurtures the environment while supporting efforts to address food security needs through donation programs that target underserved communities. I am grateful to serve on the board of Soil Born Farms and contribute to its many worthy projects.”


Dr. Maxine Barish-WredenDr. Maxine Barish-Wreden

Dr. Maxine Barish-Wreden graduated from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine in 1985 and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at U.C. Davis Medical Center in 1988. She has been practicing medicine in Sacramento since then and has been with Sutter Medical Group since 1992. Dr. Max is a 2012 graduate of the University of Arizona Fellowship in Integrative Medicine under the tutelage of Dr. Andrew Weil, She has also completed the functional medicine training program with the Institute for Functional Medicine. She became board-certified with the inaugural National Boards in Integrative Medicine in 2014. She is the Medical Director and founder of the Sutter Health Institute for Health & Healing clinic (IHH) in Sacramento and Roseville, a part of the Sutter Health system-wide IHH. The IHH offers multiple healing modalities, including functional and integrative medicine, group medical appointments, integrative psychotherapy, ACT training, nutritional consultations and classes, acupuncture, HeartMath biofeedback training, and health coaching. Her practice of medicine is informed by her belief in the capacity of the human body, psyche, and spirit to heal, given the appropriate environment. “I believe that the health of the soil and our food are at the heart of health in our community. Soil Born Farms is one of the leading organizations in the Sacramento area promoting the growth and consumption of healthy foods, as well as the education of our children and families and the advancement of sustainable farming practices. I am proud to support them.”

Kevin BarriKevin Barri

Kevin Barri is region bank president of the Capital Foothills area for Greater California Community Banking for Wells Fargo. As president, Barri is responsible for all Wells Fargo retail banking operations in Sacramento, El Dorado and Placer counties in addition to parts of San Joaquin, Sierra, Nevada and Yolo counties. He leads nearly 1,000 team members and oversees 65 branches throughout the region. Barri has 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. He began his career with Bank of America in 1989 as a courier and in 1991 was named to the management training program. In 2004, he became executive vice president and retail division manager for Placer Sierra Bank. He joined Wells Fargo in 2007 as a senior vice president and market president. Barri earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from California State University, Fresno, and graduated from Pacific Coast Banking School in 2010. Kevin currently serves on the board of Soil Born Farms, TEDCorp, Salvation Army of Sacramento and is board chair for the El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce. He resides in El Dorado Hills with his wife Rachelle. “I have a passion for finding ways to connect our community to organizations that make a difference every day. Soil Born is committed to our region and truly cares about the future for all of us. Their mission aligns closely with my core values. I am on this board because I believe that we can continue to influence others to connect our mission to sustainable activities that will benefit many.”

Maxine ClarkMaxine Clark

Maxine Clark has been interested in nutrition and food issues for 50 years. Maxine and her husband David have two children and three grandchildren and are involved in the American River Parkway and everything that pertains to those 4,700 glorious acres. “I am concerned about the public health crisis resulting from the way we eat and what poor health and obesity costs our society — physically, psychologically, and financially.”

Mary HogartyMary Hogarty

Mary Hogarty is a VP and Community Development Manager for Citibank in the California Central Valley. She oversees Citi’s community development efforts focusing on affordable housing, small business, economic development and neighborhood revitalization. She also serves on the boards of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento and Asian Resources, Inc. “I fell in love with Soil Born Farms the first time I visited. It’s so important for our children to connect with the land and know  where fresh food comes from. Soil Born does it all- trains new farmers, helps feed the hungry, helps build school gardens, teaches all of us about good food and so much more. I am proud to serve on the board of such an important community asset.”

Janet Zeller

Founder & Co-Director of Soil Born Farms

Janet Zeller has been a Board member since 2004 and served as the President of the Board of Directors during the formative years of Soil Born Farms. Janet has been involved in promoting healthy eating and sustainable agriculture in our region for over 25 years. She has a passion for cooking and bringing people together to eat, learn and celebrate. Janet is dedicated to giving back to the community, protecting our natural resources and improving the quality of life for children and future generations. “We believe it is important to have one of the co-founders serve on the board of directors to help guide the growth and development of the organization in alignment with the mission of Soil Born Farms Urban Agriculture & Education Project as it was envisioned by the co-founders. I offer a historical perspective and a long term vision.”

Rob Azevedo, MD

Rob is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist who joined The Permanente Medical Group in 1992 after residency where he continues to practice today. Since 2012, he has been the Physician-in-Chief for the North Valley Service Area and is Chief of Staff for the Kaiser Permanente Sacramento Medical Center. Rob has been on the TPMG Board of Directors since 2012 and is currently the Chair of the Governance Committee. Rob grew up on a ranch in Salinas California which has been in the family since 1933 and now led by his father and an older brother. Rob has always wanted to get back to his roots so he purchased and moved to a 40-acre ranch in Auburn with his wife, son, daughter-in-law and 2 grandsons. “As our world becomes more focused on speed to delivery, it seems we focus less on nutrition and more on convenience. This has led to a crisis in health for us and much of that can be traced back to how and what we eat. Educating people on the value of nutrition and understanding where foods come from and the impact that has on our health and our environment is crucial to shifting our culture. I hope to be part of that “shift” through supporting the work of Soil Born Farms.”

Shawn Harrison

Founder & Co-Director of Soil Born Farms; Officer

Shawn has been directly involved in the development of sustainable food systems and healthier communities since 1993 and holds an M.S. degree in international agricultural development from U.C. Davis.

Marco FranciosaMarco Franciosa

Founder & Honorary Board Member

Marco Franciosa co-founded Soil Born Farm with Shawn Harrison in 2000 as a 1-acre urban garden. After nine years at Soil Born, he and his partner Kay Panek had a dream to start a farm by a river in the countryside, and after two seasons of searching for the perfect spot, their search ended in Brownsville, Oregon, where they founded Sunset Lane Farm. At Sunset Lane Farm they grow a wide diversity of vegetables and fruits, milk cows, and run a CSA for the surrounding area.

Paul CultreraPaul Cultrera

Director Emeritus

Paul Cultrera has been involved in the management of food cooperatives since 1980. He is recently retired from his position as the general manager of the Sacramento Natural Foods Cooperative, a position he held since 1999. “My motivation to serve on the Board of Directors of Soil Born Farms comes from my passion to be involved in the agricultural revolution that it represents. It is the perfect complement to the economic revolution in my work with food cooperatives.”

bod_blakeBlake Young

Director Emeritus

Blake Young is President/CEO with Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services. He has worked in several capacities with the organization for over 20 years. Blake has a strong desire and commitment to improving communities by working with underserved populations, focusing on education, employment training and healthy food security. He has two daughters, Ariel is 23 and Dani is 21. “Soil Born Farms is the perfect complement to my work in food banking. Their work in food access, health and environmental stewardship are an incredible asset for our community and provide wonderful food and education opportunities for the people we serve.”