Our Staff and Interns

Y. Armando Nieto, Executive Director

Armando is a seasoned executive and development professional, with experience in management and organizational development, membership development, annual giving, foundation prospecting and grantwriting, and special events. Successful capital campaigns include the Environmental Defense Center Cordero Adobe Campaign and Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center. He has been Associate Producer of the Kenny Loggins Christmas Unity Telethon since 1999, and prior to joining the CFJC, Armando served as C.E.O. of Redefining Progress, Managing Director with the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment, and Executive Director at Eagle Eye Institute in Somerville, Massachusetts, Earth Share of California and the Environmental Defense Center. In 2005 Armando set up the Communications and Community Engagement Department at the Coalition for Clean Air and since 2005 he has served as organizing member of Summit 2007: Diverse Partners for Environmental Progress, and facilitator and report co-author for the related Western Regional Roundtable in Oakland and Southwest Regional Roundtable in Albuquerque, NM. Professional affiliations include Hispanics in Philanthropy, the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, North American Association for Environmental Education, and Golden State Environmental Education Consortium. He is president of the Tulare County Community Water Center and has served on the Advisory Boards of Just Communities, the PG&E ClimateSmart External Advisory Group, and the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy. Email: yanieto@cafoodjustice.org

Christina Spach, Program Manager

Christina received a B.A. in Anthropology and Minor in Spanish, and prior to CFJC was a community organizer for eight years. As a Rural Community Development Officer with the United States Peace Corps-Belize in a small Maya village, she taught youth and computer literacy as well as marketing to a local women’s craft group. Christina also helped establish a community resource center and a local community organization focused on environmental justice and education. Both are strong organizations today. Upon returning to the states, Christina became ACORN’s National Trainer for Community Organizing and was the Education Organizer for San Francisco Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment before joining the food justice movement. Christina has organized around the country on issues that most concern our working-class communities such as neighborhood safety, immigration reform, financial justice, quality education, and community health and sustainability. Supporting a bottom-up, community empowerment approach to making sustainable change, Christina has experience developing local leadership, mobilizing communities, and working on local and state-wide campaigns. As Program Manager, Christina brings her passion for rebuilding a food system that works for all people. Email: cspach@cafoodjustice.org

Courtney Hendrix, Communications Specialist

Courtney earned a BS in Health Education, with an emphasis in Community-Based Public Health, from San Francisco State University. She provided nutrition education as a PEACH (Peer Educator Advocating Campus Health) and was nominated and chosen for the Community Service Learning Student Award for her commitment to food security, social justice, and health equity. Courtney is passionate about cultivating social and political conditions that support an equitable and just food system. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering on a local farm, roller skating, and making all natural body care products.
Email: chendrix@cafoodjustice.org




Jessy Gill, Policy Specialist

Jessy received her B.A. in Anthropology-Environmental Studies with a minor in African Studies from St. Lawrence University.  During her time at St. Lawrence, Jessy studied in Kenya, where she worked with the International NGO PISP (Pastoralist Integrated Support Programme) in the Marsibit region.  This work spurred her interest in food and water as a basic human right.  Her passion for food equity led her to work on food issues in the States. Jessy lived and worked on a farm in Vermont where she practced sustainable agriculture and  learned about local food systems.  Jessy currently works on policy and relationship building at CFJC. Email: jgill@cafoodjustice.org


 Holly Calhoun, Program Coordinator for Healthy Farms Healthy People Coalition (HFHP)

HollyHolly graduated from Colorado College with a B.A. in Comparative Religion. She moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in local agriculture and public health. Holly began working for the nonprofit Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA) as a seller for local farmers at certified farmers’ markets. For the past five years she served as Program Coordinator of the Bring the Farmer to Your School Program and Market Manager of the Echo Park Farmers’ Market. In 2010, SEE-LA joined the Roots of Change California Farmers’ Market Consortium to design and implement a Healthy Incentive Program at five of its certified farmers’ markets. Holly took on the leadership role of SEE-LA’s “Market Match” program, and worked to increase the use of SNAP/EBT at farmers’ markets throughout Los Angeles County. Holly’s passion and experience lies at the intersection of agriculture and public health. She is highly motivated and personally committed to improving the food system and the health of the nation, and is eager to serve the coalition in pursuit of these goals. In her spare time, Holly loves to garden, ride her bicycle, and take hikes to enjoy the natural beauty of California.Sarah Schmitt, Administrative and Climate Change Intern  

Sarah graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a B.S. in Biology. She participated in research of Palmyra Atoll and studied the effect that ocean acidification, due to climate change, has on the resiliency of coral reefs. Sarah also spent several months living on an Aquaponics farm in Soquel, California where she learned how to design and maintain closed-loop agriculture systems that utilize aquaculture and hydroponic growing methods to minimize both inputs and waste. Through these experiences, she developed a passion for addressing the issues relating climate, food equity and public health. Sarah is devoted to encouraging an environmentally sustainable food system to promote a healthier planet and healthier communities.



Cate Flanagan, Policy and Research Intern 

Cate graduated from Kenyon College in Ohio with a B.A. in International Studies, focusing on Latin American history and literature. Cate first came out to the Bay Area in the summer of 2011 to teach concepts of food awareness and environmental stewardship at Slide Ranch, the educational farm located in Muir Beach, California. She continued her work in food health and education as an educator and tour guide with GrowNYC, one of New York City’s largest organizations dedicated to agricultural issues. She has returned to the Bay Area while she pursues advanced practice nursing, where she hopes to translate her passion and experience in health and wellness to the expansion of access to quality, primary care.


Whitney Ball, Evaluation Intern 

Whitney was born and raised in San Diego, California and studied Physiology and Neuroscience at UC San Diego.  She recently moved to the Bay Area to pursue her passion for sustainable farming and food systems.  Finding herself in a Masters Program of Public Health, she discovered how closely her food and farming passions were intertwined with health disparities and public health issues.  Living in a food desert in Vallejo, Whitney has been involved in several urban agriculture projects to help her local food environment.  She is now using her experiences and education, to assist CFJC in creating participatory evaluations for their programs.



Naiana Brum, Climate Change and Policy Intern 

Naiana Naiana studied International Business in Brazil and is currently working on her B.A. in International Relations at San Francisco State University. Naiana first moved from Brazil to the Bay Area to pursue her studies and to learn more about the world of food politics. While in Brazil, Naiana was a member of Rotary’s youth leadership group Interact where she coordinated fundraising activities, and community building workshops. As someone who often spent time at family farms and has volunteered at a school in the San Roque community in the Imbabura province of Ecuador teaching young children about healthy eating habits, Naiana believes in the value of food and the importance of having a sustainable food system that empowers communities and takes the focus away from profits.




Many thanks to our past CFJC Interns

Chris Loomis
Sabrina Peterson

Julianna Oldroyd
Adrienne Pollack
Kara Young
Melissa Thayer
Marine Dageville
Cassidy Bennett
Naomi Reimer
Ashley McKenna
Anaïs Dodson
Ruby Tumber
Elizabeth Carlton
Danielle Rodgers
Sarah Oh
Christine Batten
Ruby Tumber
Igor Geyn
Lauren Anderson
Molly Lawrence
Ceressa Allen
LaShonda Deckard
Anita Wong
Victoria Endsley
Porus Mistry
Rebecca Eiseman
Amy Radding
Adrian Gonzalez
Shanna Atherton
Alyson Murphy
Aleisha Baldé
Nicole Willman
Marina Moro
Karen Siverson