Panelist Bios

PANELIST BIOS

Tuesday, November 17th

Panel 1 from 1:00pm – 2:15pm

Zenger Farm

Zenger Farm is a 501(c)3 nonprofit working urban farm in Portland, OR that models, promotes, and educates about sustainable food systems, environmental stewardship, community development, and access to good food for all. We are guided by a vision of a healthy, resilient community, where the wellbeing and prosperity of children and adults, regardless of race, geography or socio-economic status, is enhanced through access to affordable, plentiful and nourishing foods. As a justice centered, food access and education non-profit, we believe nourishment is a basic human right and that the root causes of inequitable food access – racism, poverty and other systems of oppression – must be addressed to create a just food system. www.zengerfarm.org

Beatriz Gutierrez (she/her/hers) Community Engagement Manager, Zenger Farm

Beatriz was raised in Southern Oregon in a Mexican immigrant family where she spent her summers eating and picking tomatillos, tomatoes and chiles on their family farm. She started organizing for social justice at the University of Oregon while pursuing her degree in Ethnic Studies. She was previously at the Western States Center coordinating Gender Justice trainings with a network of Latinx organizations in Woodburn. Beatriz is passionate about the intersections of gender, class, race and food. In her spare time she loves to dance, read, Netflix and visit her family. She is also currently working on a project with support from Oregon Food Bank to begin conversations on Latinx culture, politics and food

Rob Cato (he/him) Co-Executive Director, Zenger Farm

Rob grew up enjoying the coastal outdoors surfing, fishing and camping in Central Florida. After graduating with a degree in Economics from the University of Florida, he held positions in both corporate finance and restaurant management. Unable to escape his true passions for food sovereignty and social justice, Rob joined Zenger Farm first as a youth education volunteer then staff member. In addition to his work on the farm, Rob currently serves on the boards of Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon as well as Social Justice Fund Northwest.

Outgrowing Hunger 

Outgrowing Hunger is a membership-based nonprofit founded in 2011 with the mission of lifting marginalized communities toward their highest potential for well-being through growing and sharing healthy food. Our philosophy is to build self-reliance amongst our members while partnering with them to meet their social, nutritional, and economic needs. We have grown consistently since our founding and now collectively with our 450 member families manage 12 urban garden and farm sites comprising seven acres, and serve an additional 250 families at 13 Portland Parks & Rec locations . All are welcome to enroll or participate, but our work has resonated most strongly with immigrants and refugees which now comprise 90% of our members. We support over 2,000 individuals from 26 nationalities and five continents of origin. The scale of our garden sites and number of our member families makes Outgrowing Hunger the largest non-governmental community garden provider in the Portland metro area.

Adam Kohl, Outgrowing Hunger Executive Director, [email protected]

Adam Kohl is the Executive Director of Outgrowing Hunger. Prior to founding the organization in 2011, he earned a Masters in Business Administration from Portland State University, a BA in International Studies from George Fox University, and had over 12 years of private sector organizational leadership experience. Since 2012 he has been meticulously increasing his knowledge of sustainable urban agriculture and nonprofit program management, as well as refining the operational systems for the organization’s 12 community garden projects.  Adam enjoys hiking, mountain biking, and “staycationing” with his family at their home base in Sandy, OR.

Lynn Ketch, Executive Director, Rockwood CDC

Lynn has had a life-long passion for healthy communities. Raised by a father who was a pioneer in public health, she lived in first-nation communities in Alaska & New Mexico.  She holds graduate certificates from Oregon Health Sciences University and Multnomah University, and a BS from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. In 2012 Lynn relocated to The Philippines with her family to become the Director of ICM’s seven medical clinics. In 2013 she returned to Rockwood and joined the board and staff of the Rockwood CDC.  She facilitates the Rockwood Food System Collaborative, chairs the board of Wallace, a federally qualified health center and leads a community based, multicultural COVID response team for the Oregon Health Authority.

Vanessa Chambers, Grandma’s Hands

Vanessa Chambers has a lifetime of healthy eating advocacy as a mom of 3 sons, a grandmother of 7 and a member of the Food Policy Council in Multnomah County. An Oregon certified Community Health Worker and co-founder of Grandma’s Hands, Vanessa supports Oregon Health Authority’s CoVid response to the African American community.

Panel 2 from 2:30pm-3:45pm

The Next Door Inc

The Next Door Inc. has a rich history, spanning more than four decades, changing lives and building communities in the Columbia Gorge. We provide Health Promotion Services, Family Services, Youth Services, Economic Development Services and Treatment Services in seven counties, 5 in Oregon and 2 in Washington, with offices in Hood river and The Dalles. Our Mission is: Opening doors to new possibilities by strengthening children and families and improving communities.  We envision a supportive community where all children and families are safe, healthy, and valued.

Joel Pelayo Community Health Worker at The Next Door, Inc. in Hood River. Joel was born in Jalisco Mexico, and has worked for the last 25 years as a Community Health Worker at The Next Door. Joel works with the MCHEA, Mid-Columbia Health Equity Advocates program, supporting Latinos in Action, Advocates of The Community, and Natives Along The Big River Health Equity leadership groups. Joel also worked as a Family Services Coordinator and Family Health Advocate for 19 years at Mid-Columbia Children’s Council in Hood River. Joel graduated from SSCBT, Social Services Competency Based Training, at PSU, Portland State University, and has certifications in Parenting Education, Domestic Violence Prevention, and Community Health Work. Joel is one of the founding members of the Raices Cooperative Farm, and has been farming with Raices for the last 12 years.

The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians (CTSI) 

CTSI is a confederation of 27 bands and Tribes, each with their own language and customs, whose ancestral homelands include all of western Oregon from the summit of the Cascades to the Pacific; also, parts of what is now northern California to the lower Columbia River’s north shore. CTSI, through our Natural Resource, Cultural Departments, and Healthy Traditions Program is actively involved in the management and harvest of culturally important species and their habitats.  However, current sites are often small, distant from our memberships, and remote, with access limited and under difficult conditions.  These confines do restrict our current management and harvest opportunities, level of efficiency, and most importantly, inhibit our ability to practice our culture and pass on ancestral knowledge to the next generation.

Kathy Kentta-Robinson Project Coordinator for the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians Healthy Traditions program. She is a Siletz Tribal member and is teaching and practicing harvesting traditional foods and medicines. Her family made it a family activity to gather and harvest Clams, Mussels, Dungeness crab, wild berries and fish the Siletz River.  Healthy Traditions activities reinforce our connection to the land, rivers and sea.  The practice of gathering Siletz traditional foods is preserving our traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and passing our traditions on to our families. Participating in the seasonal activities improve your health and the health of our tribal families. Examples of our activities include: gathering, processing materials, cooking, canning, smoking, gardening, weaving, fishing, and more. 

NAYA  (Native American Youth and Family Center)

The Native American Youth and Family Center was founded by parent and Elder volunteers in 1974 and incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 1994. Throughout our history, we’ve sustained our diverse traditions while expanding and modernizing our programs and services to meet the needs of our people. We serve self-identified Native Americans, infant to Elder, from across the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area. NAYA Family Center strives to fulfill its mission: “to enhance the diverse strengths of our youth and families in partnership with the community through cultural identity and education.” As an urban Indian agency, NAYA Family Center impacts the lives of over 10,000 individuals from over 380 tribal backgrounds annually.

Jennifer Brixey, Community Health Worker with NAYA, works with adolescents, adults and elders to regain health and wellness in a myriad of ways, including:

Bridging cultural mediation between our communities and the health care system

Providing culturally appropriate and accessible health education and information

Ensuring that people get the services they need and helping patients navigate health care systems

Providing informal counseling and social support, as well as direct services (such as basic first aid) and administering health screening tests (ex: blood pressure)

Building individual and community capacity and advocating for individuals and communities

Educating patients and their families on the importance of lifestyle changes and on adherence to their medication regimens and recommended treatments, and finding ways to increase compliance with medications

Panel 3 from 4pm-5:15pm 

Jaime Arrendondo, Executive Director, CAPACES Leadership Institute

Jaime Arredondo is a proud immigrant from Las Ranas, Michoacan, Mexico. Proud father of two hijas. Executive Director of the Capaces Leadership Institute in Woodburn, serves on the Oregon Farm to School and School Garden Network Steering Committee and is President of PCUN’s Board of Directors.

Javier Lara, Program Manager, Anahuac

Javier Lara is a proud immigrant from the Nahua community in Guerrero, México. Proud father of a 9 month old hija. The Anahuac Program Manager, Oregon Agricultural Trust board member, and previously the owner of Anahuac Produce. 

Edward Hill, Black Food Sovereignty Coalition

Edward Hill is an innovator and driver of work at the intersections of food justice, food systems improvement, and BIPOC-led food economies in the Pacific Northwest. Proud father. Co-Director of the Black Food Sovereignty Coalition. Serves on the Oregon Farm to School and School Garden Network Steering Committee and Oregon Community Food Systems Network leadership team. Eddie started as an organic small-acre farmer apprentice in Olympia, WA, he continues to promote and demonstrate how community-based food systems, equity, and green workforce development intersect.

Wednesday, November 18th

Panel 4 from 9:00am – 10:15am

Buck Jones is an enrolled Cayuse member, one of the bands of Confederated Tribes of The Umatilla Indian Reservation. Raised on the Reservation in Eastern Oregon growing up around horses, hunting, fishing and sports has been a lifelong learning experience of tribal rights, sovereignty and customs. A multi decade Columbia River Treaty Commercial and Subsistence Fisherman who has done various duties including harvesting, processing, and marketing of Tribally Caught Salmon. Using this experience has led to being employed with Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission since 2004 in various capacities. First on the Fishing Site Maintenance Staff which maintained 31 Treaty Fishing Access and In-Lieu sites on the Columbia River. 2011, Fisheries Technician position on the Upstream Migration Project at Bonneville Dam for the Fish Science Department. In September of 2015 took my current Position of Salmon Marketing Specialist. This position has allowed me to work on Product Development, Markets, provide classes on Quality Handling, Seafood HACCP, Cold Water, Food and Boat Safety classes for approximately 700 Tribal Treaty Fisherman. Involved in National and Regional Tribal Food Sovereignty Groups including being a Co-Chair of the Food Sovereignty Subcommittee for Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians. Board member of Gorge Grown Food Network, Mid-Columbia Economic Development District and Columbia Gorge Tourism Alliance

Shantae Johnson, Unity Farm Manager, Mudbone Grown

Shantae Johnson is a certified community health worker, doula, breastfeeding peer counselor, urban farmer and food justice warrior. She is a cultural bridge builder with strengths in community organizing, project management, and program creation with a public health lens. She is a parent, healer, chef, and referee to their six beautiful children.  Shantae has also been appointed to the Oregon Board of Agriculture by Governor Kate Brown. She will sit on the advisory committee to represent small scale producers.

Daniela Perez, Farmers Market and Farm Business Manager, Adelante Mujeres. 

As a Tijuana native she is inspired by her community’s resilience and embrace of migrant populations. Whether working or volunteering, Daniela has taken her passion for sustainability and social justice to underserved communities in Oregon, California and in cross-border settings.

Her extensive education and long list of volunteer efforts feed into her work as an activist, educator, and community organizer. Daniela received her undergraduate degree in Sociology from the University of San Diego and received a master’s degree from Portland State University in Leadership for Sustainability Education. She has extensive experience in environmental justice and in sustainable urban agriculture. Daniela has partnered with universities, sustainable farms, nonprofits, and marginalized communities to help solve environmental, educational, and health disparities. She finds joy in Mexican food and culture and gets inspired by her family’s ability to celebrate life even in difficult times.  

Kaely Summers, Health Equity Manager, Adelante Mujeres (she/her/hers)

Kaely started working at AM in 2011 as the Manager of the Forest Grove Farmers Market, which she oversaw for nine seasons. Kaely continues expanding access to local fruits and veggies for low-income families through a variety of nutrition incentives programs including a Produce Rx program. She also works across the organization to integrate more holistic health programming into each of the departments and facilitates a group of promotoras to advance community health priorities. Kaely serves as the Veggie Rx Committee Chair for OCFSN and is a board member of the Oregon Farmers Market Association. Originally from Tacoma, Washington, Kaely has also lived abroad in Peru and Nicaragua, she is a former AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, and graduated from Pacific University in Forest Grove, OR. Kaely likes to be curious and explore how she can use her privilege to work towards a more just and equitable world.

Panel 5 from 10:30am-11:45pm 

Rima Green, Director, Lettuce Grow Program, Growing Gardens.  A Native American, Rima has experienced both foster care and incarceration. After a 30 year career in high-tech, Rima returned to her first love, gardening and working with individuals caught up in the correctional system. Rima directs the Lettuce Grow program which provides garden education to inmates in correctional institutions and juvenile facilities throughout the state of Oregon 

Rashae, Director, Home Gardens Program, Growing Gardens (Pronouns: she/they)

As a native Portlander, Rashae knows the city inside and out. She loves promoting health and gardening within the community. With over 20 years of health care experience, she has a vast knowledge of preventative care, chronic illness, and social determinants of health. Rashae started the Home Gardens program as a participant to foster a healthy lifestyle.  She became a community organizer in the North Portland region in 2018 and has been instrumental in helping marginalized communities improve their lives through gardening. 

Laura Galindo, Membership & Communications Director, PCUN

Laura manages the communications content for the organization, as well as building PCUN’s membership and sustainer program. She is also experienced in advocacy campaigns and electoral work. Born in Astoria and raised in The Dalles, Laura considers Oregon her first home. Being a Xicana with Mexican roots means that Jalisco, Mexico is her second home. Laura is a recent graduate from OSU where she studied Political Science and Women/Gender/Sexuality Studies. Laura is driven by her passion to disrupt oppressive institutions and uplift the voices of women and femmes of color.

Rebeca Márquez, Nutrition and Food Equity Program Manager, Familias en Acción

Rebeca moved to Portland five years ago from Xalapa, Veracruz, where she studied Nutrition and specialized in Pediatric Nutrition. Rebeca is passionate about supporting immigrant rights and creating social change.  

In her role at Familias en Accion, she has been able to manage and implement the Abuela, Mama y Yo Nutrition and Food Equity program in the State of Oregon, supervise Community Classes, address issues and continue building a movement of leaders in Oregon. She has also established and strengthened ties with other organizations also devoted to promoting health equity.