The EcoFarm Board brings together farmers, advocates, educators, activists and sustainable consumers to guide EcoFarm programs throughout the year. Their experience and commitment help shape EcoFarm's strategic plan and programming directions.
Ecological Farming Association Board Members
Lisa Bunin, Ph.D., EFA Board President/Executive Committee
Organic Policy Director, Center For Food Safety (CFS)
Lisa's environmental research and advocacy spans several decades and continents. At CFS, her work focuses on curbing the proliferation of harmful food production technologies by promoting organic and sustainable agriculture, and by challenging compromises to organic integrity. While living in Europe, Lisa served as NGO delegate to the UN's London Dumping Convention where she partnered with governments and NGOs to halt the burning of toxic waste at sea, globally. As an appointee to Santa Cruz County's Genetic Engineering Taskforce, she co-edited an investigative report that convinced Supervisors to pass a moratorium on GE crop plantings. Lisa has taught college courses on national and global environmental policy and social movements and worked as a sustainable agriculture policy consultant with NGOs and California's Public Health Department. For her Ph.D. in Environmental Sociology, she conducted field research on organic cotton production systems in India and California and their interconnections with U.S. and EU Markets. Lisa is an EFA Planning Committee member and serves on the Executive Committee of the National Organic Coalition.
Jeremiah Ridenour, Vice Presidenty/Treasurer/Executive Committee Founder and CEO, Wise Solutions, Inc.
In 1985, as CEO of Wildwood Natural Foods, Jeremiah led the company to be pioneers in the certified organic retail products. That innovation, as well as fresh distribution, made Wildwood famous for premium quality local products. In 2005 Jeremiah started Wise Solutions, Inc. which is dedicated to providing American-made alternatives to our most toxic problems, including industrial lubricants, solvents, and degreasers, with the goal of reducing our dependency on petroleum and stopping toxic flows in our most sensitive environments, marine, agriculture, and food processing. Jeremiah brings his business, finance, and entrepreneurial experience to EFA’s board.
Hallie Muller, Secretary/Executive Committee
Outreach and Education Director, Full Belly Farm
Hallie Muller currently serves as the Outreach and Education Coordinator for Full Belly Farm, an organic fruits and vegetables operation in Northern California. A graduate of California State University, Chico with a degree in Agriculture Education, Hallie hosts Full Belly Farm’s 7,000 annual visitors. She has also served as the Executive Director of the Hoes Down Harvest Festival. Hallie loves traveling, teaching, and spending time with her family.
Jesse Ziff Cool, Executive Committee
Owner, Flea Street Café
Jesse Ziff Cool is a writer, restaurateur, and a consultant for food service. She has authored seven cookbooks and has written throughout the years for dozens of publications. She is currently operating three and a catering company in the SF Bay Area. Jesse is a lecturer for Stanford’s Department of Education and inspires Masters of Education Elementary School Teachers in ways of building curriculum from the garden to the kitchen. Besides her passionate involvement in issues surrounding healthy eating, she spends as much time as possible, gardening, cooking and eating delicious beautiful food.
Organic Consultant and Creator and Host, An Organic Conversation radio show
Helge Hellberg is an educator, consultant, radio talk-show host, and organic food advocate in the fields of sustainability, ecology, and human health. Helge offers strategic advice and consulting services on marketing and communications, messaging, and project development, to ensure the economical, ecological, and cultural harmony of all project goals and the successful implementation of strategies. He has advised businesses, organizations, local and state governments, as well as U.S. Senators and members of the U.S. House of Representatives on agricultural challenges and opportunities, and his contributions and projects have been featured in articles and TV segments on CNN, ABC, and CBS, the Huffington Post, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Mother Earth Magazine, as well as local SF Bay Area television stations, magazines, and newspapers.
Owner/Farmer, Kern Family Farm
Hansel Kern operates the Kern Family Farm in North Fork, CA in the Sierra Foothills. The farm provides produce to families in the area who pay a membership fee in exchange for access to a store that runs on the honor system, a variation on a CSA that allows members to choose the produce they want. The farm also supplies produce to several local restaurants and operates a small farmers’ market during the summer in conjunction with the local Mono tribe where produce can be purchased with WIC coupons. In 1999, Hansel started a school garden at the local elementary school where he shares his enthusiasm for the land with the children. He provides healthy fruits and vegetables for the kids to eat while they work in the garden, and the school cafeteria includes some of the products from the garden in the school lunches. Hansel represents EFA at the Heartland Festival at Double-T Acres in Stevinson, CA and the Organic Stone Fruit Jubilee Festival in Clovis, CA.
Owner/Farmer, Dinner Bell Farm
After a decade teaching urban youth how to grow and eat fresh food, Molly and two partners founded Dinner Bell Farm in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. On forty acres of land just outside of Grass Valley, the three produce pasture-raised meats, a diverse array of fruits and vegetables and beautiful cut flowers. Molly is a ninth generation Californian and a descendant of Japanese American lettuce and onion farmers in the Salinas Valley. She holds a BS from UC Berkeley and attended the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems Farm and Garden Apprenticeship.
Program Director, Mesa Verde Gardens
Ana Rasmussen, MSW is driven by a lifelong passion for social justice. In 2010 she founded Mesa Verde Gardens, a grassroots food justice non-profit in Santa Cruz County working with low-income families to grow organic produce for their own tables. Ana is Mesa Verde Gardens' Program Director. The program currently has six community gardens and two community orchards, with 175 member families, 75% of which have at least one farm worker. Ana completed UCSC's Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture in 2010. Prior to starting Mesa Verde Gardens, she served as a bilingual social worker in SC County for more than 20 years in the areas of community health education—specifically perinatal support, nutritional counseling, and lactation education--, juvenile justice, child welfare, and public school counseling. Ana has been a committed organic food consumer for 30 years and raised her two strapping sons on healthy, seasonal, local food. She grew up on her family's small farm in eastern Oregon.
Partner/Farmer, Full Belly Farm
Dru has been a farmer for the past thirty years at Full Belly Farm where she grows over one hundred different crops with her husband, two farm partners, and a crew of over 60 amazing workers. Dru's passions at the farm are the flowers and the animals, both of which are in high demand by customers from throughout Northern California. Dru is the mother of four incredible children all of whom currently work at the farm. She could not be happier with her life work and enjoys every minute of each day.
Owner, Gophers Limited Non Toxic Animal Control
Thomas Wittman, founder of Gophers Limited, has been involved with non-toxic pest control for over three decades. His experience ranges from pest control on his own organic farm (Molino Cereek Farming Collective), consulting and working at The Center For Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems for the University of California. Specifically, Thomas does residential and commercial pest control and leads interactive training sessions for UC Extension, vineyards, farms and institutions. Additionally, Thomas has also been active for over fifteen years educating the public about the impact of genetic engineering especially to organic farmers and produces a daily email news service. He also founded the Sustainable Jobs List a service that connects job seekers to live opportunities.