Board of Directors

Officers

Kurt Spataro

President

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.”

George CookGeorge Cook

Secretary/Treasurer

George Cook is a Vice-President for Union Bank’s Business Banking Group in the downtown Sacramento office. George, his wife Daria, and daughter, Ellie, reside in East Sacramento. He enjoys spending time with his family and many outdoor activities. “Soil Born Farms is a huge asset to the Greater Sacramento Community. I am proud to be a small part of this amazing organization. I hope to help ensure that it will be here for generations to come.”

Members

Paul CultreraPaul Cultrera

Paul Cultrera has been involved in the management of food cooperatives since 1980. He currently serves as the general manager of the Sacramento Natural Foods Cooperative, a position he has 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.”

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 UC Davis Medical Center in 1988. She has been practicing medicine in Sacramento since then and has been with Sutter Medical Group since 1992. She has a long-term passionate interest in Complementary and Integrative Medicine, particularly Mind-Body-Spirit Medicine, and 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 Community Banking Area President of the Community Foothills Market for Northern and Central California Community Banking for Wells Fargo. He has 28 years of experience in the financial services industry. Kevin currently serves on the board of the Sacramento Zoological Society, TEDCorp, Salvation Army of Sacramento and El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce. “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.”

Mica BennettMica Bennett

Mica Bennett is an independent consultant who works internationally on assessing impacts of sustainability initiatives for agriculture among smallholder farmers in developing countries. “Healthy food fuels our lives, our loves, our friends and family ties. A healthy environment fuels healthy food. Soil Born makes this a sustainable virtuous circle for our community.”

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 two grandchildren and are involved in the American River Parkway and everything that pertains to those 4700 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.”

Jared DongJared Dong

Jared Dong is a CPA at AP Group, Inc. He was born and raised in Sacramento. “I am honored to serve on the Board of an organization that aims to educate the community about the benefits of a healthy diet, as well as be a steward of the environment.”

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.”

Terese Hollander Esperas

In addition to working for the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op for 16 years, the past five of which have been as Education Manager, Terese is a caterer and culinary instructor with A Healthy Kitchen, a business she has co-owned with her husband for 18 years. She specializes in vibrant healthy food, prepared with seasonal, local and organic ingredients. As a busy mother of two, and a vegetable loving Vizsla pup, she is always in the kitchen cooking up something. She has been a supporter and  culinary advisor to SBF from its inception. “I’ve supported SBFUAP since the beginning and see its value in our community. For me, it’s about teaching our children where our food comes from and the beauty of planting, growing, cultivating and eating healthful food. Soil Born’s programs do that and we need this for the future of our children.”

Brian SehnertBrian Sehnert

Brian Sehnert is a registered Architect and LEED Accredited Professional. Recognized as an expert in the area of green building and sustainable design and construction he is Principal of bVerdant, a firm dedicated to making high-performance sustainable design more prevalent in buildings and communities. “I believe the vision of Soil Born Farms serves this community and the world; food access and education, an understanding of our earth and healthy living for all ages. I am honored to serve as a volunteer board member for Soil Born Farms and enjoy being a part of a movement whose mission is to help people’s health and our environment’s well-being.”

bod_blakeBlake Young

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 ages 18 and 20. “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.”

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.”

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 UC 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, keep milking cows, and run a CSA for the surrounding area.