Quick links to:
Meet the Roots Staff
Meet the Roots Board of Directors
San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project is a California non-profit corporation and a 501(c)3 tax exempt educational charity. We are governed by our volunteer Board of Directors under the guidance of our community. Supporting Roots' work are members of our educational staff and a huge team of volunteers who help run our programs and carry the responsibility of running a grassroots non-profit organization.
SD Roots is governed by our bylaws, initially adopted on December 4, 2007 and amended on January 10, 2010. To download a current version of this document, click here.
Cathryn (Cat) Henning is Wild Willow Farm & Education Center's education coordinator. Originally from Chicago, she moved to San Diego to get her engineering degree at UCSD; while there, she learned how to surf. Being in the water so much got her wondering how much our rivers and beaches were affected by polluted runoff. That curiosity led to a job as an engineer for the Regional Water Quality Control Board, and as a volunteer with San Diego Coastkeeper.
The realization that agriculture has a significant impact on water quality, and the fact that San Diego County is home to the largest number of small farms in the US, prompted her to explore how she could alter her choices to reduce her impact on the environment, which included eating lots of fresh, local produce. As she started to feel more energized, she realized that her purpose is to share healthy eating with others.
After a nourishing three months at a biodynamic farm in Costa Rica, Cathryn found her way back to San Diego. Hearing that Wild Willow Farm had goats, she immediately enrolled in the first session of Wild Willow's Farming 101, Basics of Small-scale Sustainable Farming course. As education coordinator, she administers both Wild Willow Farm's School for Sustainable Farming, as well as the farm's Field Trip program, which brings kids of all ages to learn where their food comes from, and how to grow it. She is a skilled educator
From being a farm student to her current position, Cat shares her love of goats and connects people to the information they need to make their own educated decisions. Eating good food and growing good food not only protects the environment, but also nourishes our bodies and minds, enabling us to think clearly and act with intention.
Paul comes to us with a rich and lifelong history of farming and gardening in San Diego. He was instrumental in creating and developing the Seeds@City Urban Farm, a unique agricultural gem on the campus of San Diego City College in the heart of downtown San Diego, where he served as adjunct professor in sustainable urban agriculture from 2007 to 2012. Paul's rich experience in sustainable farming and homesteading affords our students a well-rounded opportunity to learn all aspects of food production.
Diego began his exploration of sustainable agriculture as an intern at Wild Willow Farm in 2011. Since then he's worked at local farms and educational gardens in our area. He has a great passion for herbs, both culinary and western/eastern medicinals, and is eager to share his love of growing food with all who want to learn.
Dorothea grew up in San Diego and has grown food most of her life. She left our area for Massachusetts, where she ran a community garden. When she returned to her hometown of San Diego in 2009, Dorothea Sotiros became part of the Sustainable Urban Agriculture Program at San Diego City College. She worked as Farm Coordinator and instructor, teaching aspiring farmers how to market their produce and create value-added products. In her former home in western Massachusetts, she coordinated a neighborhood community garden and organized an annual 100% local foods banquet. She has also has experience as a natural foods cook and as financial manager for a natural foods cooperative. She serves as sales manager for Wild Willow Farm's FarmShare program.
Originally from San Diego, she followed a meandering path towards architecture, which landed her in the rain filled state of Oregon. This led to the dual realization of her love of plants and the knowledge that she was, in fact, solar-powered. Moving back to San Diego soon followed. There she helped her parents maintain and operate a truffle farm while figuring out how best to give back to her hometown.
Through much luck, and an aptitude for shoveling, she found herself starting a hop farm and working for Victory Gardens San Diego. She very much looks forward to what life has in store and to seeing what she can do to further the food movement in San Diego.
Bob is another Roots board member who comes from the world of education, having served as a teacher and principal in the Poway School District for many years. With a love of tools and building projects and looking for something to do after he retired, he began attending Monday Roots meetings at People's Co-op. Being someone who loves to help people, when someone presented the idea of having a program that helped folks build organic gardens at their homes, Bob raised his hand. Little did he know that that was the beginning of Victory Gardens San Diego, which Bob has been the guiding force of since it's inception.
Richard is co-director of Victory Gardens San Diego (VGSD), sharing the throne with Bob Greenamyer, the Founding Director. VGSD helps people start growing their own food and is a program of SD Roots Sustainable Food Project.
Richard is a Master Gardener (class of 2010) and a Master Composter. He grows vegetables in PB and lives in a house built in 1929 by his wife's great grandfather. Prior to relocating to SD he worked in NYC in animation and TV production. He co-founded Curious Pictures, where he supervised development and production.
An embassy brat who grew up in Africa, Europe and the Middle East, Richard went to St. Stephen's School in Rome and then Dartmouth College graduating with a BA in Anthropology.
San Diego was a much different place when his family moved to the area in 1959. Growing up in South Bay, Mel remembers farms and dairies in Imperial Beach, Chula Vista and Mission Valley; his family was eating the best locally sourced dairy products and produce, but in 1960s San Diego this was the norm, not the exception. In the '70s Mel went into the restaurant business and bought fresh produce and dairy products from vendors in downtown San Diego. But a transformation was underway, resulting in the loss of our local food system.
In 2000, when a farmer called his friends together to help fending off developers wanting to make another suburb of his farm, as a graphic designer he thought he could help by making flyers. The farm was not saved, largely because of public indifference. The failure spurred the group to re-form as a committee to educate the public about the importance of supporting local farmers and the fresh, healthy food they grow. This was the beginning of what has become San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project, for which Mel volunteers nearly full time working to educate a new generation of local farmers and food eaters, and to bring back and celebrate the culture of local food in our region.
In 2014, Mel was voted Cox Conserves Hero Volunteer of the Year for San Diego County in recognition of his longstanding volunteer service on behalf of San Diego Roots and Wild Willow Farm. Created in partnership with The Trust for Public Land, Cox Conserves Heroes recognizes local environmental volunteers and makes donations to local nonprofits on their behalf, which resulted in a $10,000 donation to Wild Willow Farm.
Angie is a poet, photographer, and founding member of San Diego Roots. She loves living in North Park with her three daughters and eating out of her front-yard vegetable garden. Her interest in providing the freshest, most-nutritious food for her young family led her to The Good Faith Organic Farm. Working there helped her understand the connection between eating well, good health, and taking care of the land. When that farm was threatened with development, she decided to take a stand and work to save the farm. The community of people who joined her became San Diego Roots.
Angie is inspired by the food culture of Italy. While living and traveling there, she has learned much about the value of traditional and regional food. An avid cook, she shops at farmer's markets in San Diego, because not only does she find the best things to eat there, but every week she gets to reconnect with the many chefs, farmers, neighbors and friends that share her passion for great, local food.
Adam grew up in Virginia where he got his first introduction to local organic food via his father's garden. Moving to California solidified his passion for fresh, local, organic foods. After 3 years in San Diego, he turned his passion into his career, launching Eco Caters in 2007, a local organic catering company.
After 4 years in catering, Adam co-founded Local Habit, a restaurant in Hillcrest, also serving all local organic food made from scratch and California craft beer. You can see Adam's enthusiasm for organic food in everything he does. If you visit his house in Ocean Beach you will find a front and backyard garden filled with organic produce, compost piles and chickens.
Chad has been a part of San Diego Roots for nearly a decade. He initially volunteered his time to create promotional videos for the group, but eventually became more involved in program development. Our Victory Gardens San Diego program was Chad's idea. He served on the Advisory Board for a few years before becoming an official Board member in November, 2013. He is continually inspired by the great work of the organization and its countless passionate volunteers.
Chad holds an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School and currently leads marketing strategy for distributed energy projects at the California Center for Sustainable Energy, a 501(c)(3) headquartered in San Diego. He also became a father in 2014, and looks forward to regular visits to the farm with his wife and daughter.
Anastasia Rechif, CPA
Anastasia comes from a multi-generation San Diego family that has been working in the food industry for over 89 years. Her grandfather founded TR Produce in downtown San Diego, providing fresh produce and fruit to local hotels, schools and restaurants, and was later run by her father. She's been a CPA for over 25 years, working for a diverse clientele, including manufacturers, insurance, nonprofit, construction, hospitality, and even our local KPBS tv and radio station.
She has extensive knowledge of budgeting, financial analysis and internal controls, cash flow, tax preparation, and financial planning. She is also a certified Quickbooks expert.