Rick Nahmias, Founder/Executive Director, is a professional photographer, writer and filmmaker whose work focuses on the faces and stories of marginalized communities. Rick’s formal training as a cook, along with his exploration of California’s agricultural workforce in his body of work entitled “The Migrant Project: Contemporary California Farm Workers,” planted his feet in both the foodie and food justice worlds. These varied interests, along with his conviction that that all people everywhere deserve access to fresh nutritious food, culminated in the founding of Food Forward.
Amir Zambrano, Operations Director, considers himself a world citizen with Angeleno roots. He was raised in his family’s restaurants in Echo Park, working as soon as he was old enough to stop breaking dishes, and eventually owned his own Latin American Fast Food joint on Hollywood Blvd. He comes to us with 12+ years of accounting and finance experience, most recently with Yahoo! Inc where he lead projects in strategic partnerships and acquisitions integration, and system and process enhancements. His passions are traveling, backpacking, surfing and diving, and he recently became a Dive Master in Colombia where he also immersed himself in the Raizal culture, learning traditional farming practices.
Brenna Lyons, Harvest Manager, is a native Angeleno, growing up in West Los Angeles and currently residing in the San Fernando Valley. Her childhood was spent climbing the large avocado tree in her backyard and eating the fruits like butter. Brenna has always been interested in the connection between people and food. Her interest led to greater experiences in urban agriculture throughout Los Angeles. She is a LA Master Gardener and has been a garden educator for elementary schools for the past three years. Brenna has a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from Cal Poly Pomona where she focused on environmental planning and food system planning.
Martha Penhall, Ventura County Director, grew up in Hawaii and began her lifelong community activism teaching kids how to swim at the ripe old age of 11. Her “whatever it takes” attitude coupled with her excellent interpersonal and organizational skills has led her up the ladder to the top in her field of marketing. She is the recipient of the 2011 Halo Award given by the Deutsch Foundation for outstanding volunteerism. She is a successful author, artist and animal advocate. Any daylight left in her 24 hours is spent swinging a club on the golf course.
Mary Baldwin, Farmers Market Recovery Program Director, joins the Food Forward team from GOOD Worldwide, a collaboration of individuals, businesses, and nonprofits pushing the world forward, where she focused on aligning business strategy with social impact. Mary’s interest in gleaning began at an early age: growing up her family had two over-yielding apple trees which caused great angst to her 8-year old self. Continuous rotten apple clean up was standing between her and playtime. She decided to turn the family garden into a community co-op and sold the excess. When she isn’t cleaning up apples, she is volunteering with the Garden Science Program at Carthay Center Elementary School and at Thomas King Starr Middle School, and also works with Silver Lake Farms growing, arranging, and selling bouquets.
Erica Gaetano, Projects and Partnerships Manager, Before she found herself up a Food Forward tree, Erica worked with many innovative start-ups in both the for- and non-profit sectors, including Kiva, Charity: Water, Sweetriot Chocolate and Glaceau Vitaminwater. She loves building brands, creating change and fruit, making Food Forward a natural fit! In her spare time, she manages a group of 30 volunteer editors as a Kiva Team Leader and tutors with Reading Partners. An east coast transplant, Erica lives in Santa Monica with her husband, and has become addicted to year-round farmers markets. She would not be able to survive without coffee, red wine, power yoga and cruising the beach on Jenny, her teal beach cruiser.
Alyson Schill, Volunteer Manager, Alyson comes from the Pacific Northwest, where she ran barefoot through the orchards picking pears, cherries, apples, and wild asparagus. She was educated in the barren desert of Tempe, Arizona. After a language study abroad, Taiwan touched her heart and she stayed for almost 4 years, mastering Mandarin and learning the art of marketing and music festival management. In 2010, she returned to the homeland where she joined the non-profit, GrowNYC to recruit, train, and manage volunteers to implement recycling and composting at public events. Now, settled into the sunshine of LA, Alyson organizes a free community stuff exchange event in her spare time, and is always looking for more ways to reduce waste.