I Coalition Staff & Board Members | San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition | Alamosa Colorado
San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition
slv local foods alamosa colorado

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Coalition Staff & Board Members

We invite you to meet our Staff & Board members! Everyone welcomes your questions, comments, suggestions, or concerns regarding our Coalition and its efforts. Please direct enquiries to the person most suitable regarding your enquiry.

San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition
412 State Avenue / P.O. Box 181
Alamosa, CO 81101
info@slvlocalfoods.org - 719.937.2319


COALITION STAFF & BOARD MEMBERS

Liza Marron, Executive Director

Liza Marron,
Executive Director

View Bio & Email[-]

Liza is the founding director of the San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition in rural southern Colorado. She has been a community organizer with a focus on social justice, wellness and prevention for many years.

Ms. Marron has a Master's Degree in Community Counseling and a Bachelor's degree in Spanish. Her skill set includes grant writing, government, visioning and strategic planning, non-profit management, finance, coalition building, economic development, education, fund raising, public speaking, and managing a budget.

Liza is an avid gardener, horsewoman and student of life. ~ Email ~


Marlayna Martinez, Cooking
Matters Lead Coordinator

Marlayna Martinez, Cooking
Matters Lead Coordinator

View Bio & Email[-]

Marlayna was born and raised in Durango, Colorado with a passion for the natural world in entirety and the connection of all living things.

She recently moved to Del Norte, CO with her husband, Lucas, who grew up there. They are planning on purchasing land, building a home, and continue their passions with a small homestead, animals, plants, homegrown food and all.

Marlayna has her own small business called The Conscious Kitchen in which she services farm to table catering to individuals, groups, and families who want healthy delicious meals that also support local economies.

She loves hiking, biking, traveling, gardening, playing with her pups, rafting, reading, and large kitchens filled with people, love, and good food. ~ Email ~


Mandy Wilner, Harvest of the Month Coordinator

Mandy Wilner,
Harvest of the Month Coordinator

View Bio & Email[-]

Mandy Wilner moved to the San Luis Valley 7 years ago and instantly fell in love with the people, the views, the land and the endless sunny days.

She studied Science Education Broadfield at Montana State and has used that in many ways throughout her career. Her scope ranges from teaching chemistry in a high school classroom to teaching the native grasses and various plants along the trails while guiding teenage girls on backpacking trips. She enjoys people, their ideas and their excitement.

She loves good food from a garden and home cooked meals. She loves to run and play whether on a trail or a playground. ~ Email ~

Julie Mordecai, RG Healthy Living Park Executive Director

Julie Mordecai, Rio Grande Healthy
Living Park Executive Director

View Bio & Email[-]

Julie is the director of the Rio Grande Healthy Living Park of which she led the campaign to purchase the property with a team of amazing community members. She owns and operates the Complete Non Profit, which provides resources for non-profits in Colorado. She lead the fundraising effort for the Children's Advocacy Center of the San Luis Valley.

Previously she was the Executive Director of the Colorado Alliance of Boys & Girls Club raising well over 6 million dollars in resources and offsets. She worked with the Boys & Girls Club movement for over 9 years, first serving as the Chief Professional Officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the San Luis Valley.

Julie is on the board of the Denver Film Society. Julie has a MA in Higher Education, Administration & Leadership from Adams State University. She has a BA in Environmental Studies and an Elementary Education Credential from the University of California, Santa Barbara. ~ Email ~


Zoila Gomez, Spanish Nutrition Educator

Zoila Gomez,
Spanish Nutrition Educator

View Bio & Email[-]

Bio coming soon! ~ Email ~


Brandon Cox, Development Coordinator AmeriCorps VISTA

Brandon Cox, Development Coordinator
AmeriCorps VISTA

View Bio & Email[-]

Brandon Cox grew up in Rogers, Arkansas, and later attended Hendrix College, where he graduated in 2016 with degrees in Philosophy and Chemistry. As a long-term environmental advocate, Brandon has primarily spent time on the scientific and theoretical side of such issues, studying green chemistry, researching how fracking affects habitat in the Fayetteville Shale, and pursuing environmental and agricultural philosophy.

This year he will be changing things up by serving as the Development Coordinator VISTA at the San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition. The Local Foods Coalition works to foster an equitable local food system that restores the health of the people, community, economy and ecosystem.

Brandon's work will include writing and managing grants, initiating new fundraising efforts, and establishing a broader marketing program for the Coalition. Brandon is excited to work for such an impassioned organization that is bringing about positive change in the rural and economically depressed San Luis Valley, as well as to develop a new skillset for a potential career path in grant writing or nonprofit work more generally.

Beyond work, Brandon enjoys ceramic handbuilding and sketching, mountain biking, reading, and exploring the San Luis Valley.
~ Email ~


Curtis Martin, Mennonite Volunteer

Curtis Martin, Mennonite Volunteer
Valley Roots Food Hub

View Bio & Email[-]

Curtis Martin was born and raised in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where he later attended Eastern Mennonite University. He graduated in 2017 with a degree in Environmental Sustainability. Curtis was raised with a mindset for environmental care, and as an undergraduate at EMU, Curtis worked for several years with two professors on a water quality and river restoration project on the German River in western Virginia.

Curtis came to the San Luis Valley in August of 2017 through the Mennonite Voluntary Service program. His primary work with the Local Foods Coalition is through the Valley Roots Food Hub in Mosca, picking up, organizing, and delivering local foods for the Food Hub's CSA, Wholesale, and Farm to School programs. He also works as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity in the San Luis Valley two days a week.

Away from work, Curtis enjoys reading, traveling, sports, hiking, and exploring the beautiful mountains of Colorado. ~ Email ~

Nicholas Chambers, General Manager Valley Roots Food Hub

Nicholas Chambers, General Manager
Valley Roots Food Hub

View Bio & Email[-]

Nicholas Chambers is a Colorado native who earned a degree in Anthropology from University of Montana, and has been in the valley full time for 15 years.

With a back ground and training in Permaculture, Biodynamics, and Deep Organics, he and his family, as well as a host of international interns, have been running a small CSA mixed farm and homestead in Crestone for the last 10 years.

Nicholas has also been an Adjunct Instructor with Santa Fe Community College's Biofuels lab, and has given presentations and trainings on biomass energy around Colorado and New Mexico. His consulting firm, Living Arts Systems, offers solutions for individuals, communities, and municipalities in renewable food and energy systems

Nicholas comes to the Valley Roots Food Hub and the SLV Coalition after 2 years with the Colorado start up SOURCE Local Foods serving Summit County, Chaffee County, and the San Luis Valley.

Nicholas is deeply passionate and excited to be a part of the evolving local food system that is happening both regionally and nationally.
~ Email ~


Jesse Marchildon, Farm Manager, Rio Grande Farm Park

Jesse Marchildon, Farm Manager
Rio Grande Farm Park

View Bio & Email[-]

Jesse Marchildon is the Farm Manager for the Rio Grande Farm Park. Born and raised in Alamosa, he left the Valley for ten years to get an education and explore the world.

After graduating from CU Boulder with a degree in Anthropology and Spanish Literature he moved to Denver, where awareness of social justice issues led him to the importance of healthy, local food systems.

Since 2013 he has studied Permaculture and helped folks build their family and community farms in New York, Colorado, California and Hawaii. He returned to Alamosa in March of 2017 to bring his knowledge and passion back to his hometown.
~ Email ~


Peter Wise, Mennonite Volunteer

Peter Wise, Mennonite Volunteer
Rio Grande Farm Park

View Bio & Email[-]

Peter attended Goshen College with a B.A. in Physics. Through Goshen College's Study Service Term, Peter spent a semester immersing himself in Tanzanian-living with host families, studying history, and teaching physics.

His passion for community-driven social change and desire to be a responsible global citizen led him to assume his role of the role of Education Coordinator and Farm Park Manager Assistant this past August at the Rio Grande Farm Park.

Away from work, Peter enjoys improvising on piano, playing trombone and percussion in music ensembles, cooking international food, and exploring Colorado's mountains. ~ Email ~

Alice Price, Board Chair

Alice Price,
Board Chair

View Bio & Email[-]

Alice M. Price is an attorney and mediator with over 40 years of experience leading and providing organizational development and conflict resolution services to a wide range of community non-profits and initiatives.

Alice has lived in the San Luis Valley for 35 years. She currently serves as Family Court Facilitator in the local courts helping families navigate and resolve disputes within the domestic relations and child protection systems.

She previously served for 15 years as the founding director of Center for Restorative Programs, a non-profit agency providing restorative justice options for youth in school, family and court settings.

Alice has a BA from Brown University and her JD degree from New York University. ~ Email ~


Allison Cruse, Board Member

Allison Cruse,
Board Member

View Bio & Email[-]

Bio coming soon. ~ Email ~

Elena Miller, Board Vice Chair

Elena Miller,
Board Vice Chair

View Bio & Email[-]

Elena is a Graduate of Cornell University and Owner of Cactus Hill Farm in Conejos County producing quality grass-fed lamb and fibers.
~ Email ~


Robin Lewis, Board Member

Emma Regier,
Board Member

View Bio & Email[-]

Emma lives in Alamosa and serves as the Coordinator for the Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration Project, a local non-profit working to improve the health of the Rio Grande in the San Luis Valley.

Emma grew up on the prairies of Kansas and graduated from Bethel College (Kans.) with a BA in Biology. While at Bethel, Emma developed a strong passion for restoration ecology and sustainable agriculture, serving on the committee for the local Sand Creek Community Garden and working as a research assistant on Bethel's Tallgrass Prairie Restoration Study.

Emma moved to the San Luis Valley in 2013 through Mennonite Volunteer Service and quickly fell in love with the landscape and vibrant community. Emma is excited to grow her involvement in the local agricultural community through serving on the LFC Board. ~ Email ~


Robin Lewis, Board Member

Jenny Stricker,
Board Member

View Bio & Email[-]

I've lived in lots of places and done lots of different things. I came to the San Luis Valley in January of 2011-working as a Soil Conservationist for the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, first in San Luis and currently in Alamosa.

Before that, I raised two sons in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, on a small, family ranch that was mostly tumble-down cabins, beaver ponds, and a fishing creek-just big enough to hold a canoe. We didn't have any livestock, but we worked hard to develop a cooperative, producer network for Osha de la Sierra (Ligusticum porteri), which we'd learned to cultivate. And, we had a variety of "everything-and-anything" jobs to make ends meet-including working for a time as a high school math and science teacher.

My background is in microbiology, and I earned a Master's Degree studying Symbiogenesis, the theory that symbiosis is a major, driving force of evolution, and has resulted in such profound innovations as chloroplasts, mitochondria, neurons, and sperm tails.

I'm excited to be here in the Valley, to know these people and share these adventures. And, I believe wonderful things are ahead in our future. ~ Email ~

Tim Yoder, Board Treasurer

Tim Yoder,
Board Treasurer & Member

View Bio & Email[-]

Certified Public Accountant with many years of work in the agricultural and non-profit fields in Ohio. Tim is a new resident of the San Luis Valley excited to be near his beloved son Luke Yoder and family.

Yoder is a motorcycle and outdoor enthusiast as well as a lover of fresh local foods. ~ Email ~



Melissa Fritschka,
Board Member

View Bio & Email[-]

Melissa is passionate about working with people and food. She loves experiential education and offering opportunities for children, adults, and families to become engaged in their local community, discovering their own interests and talents.

In her role as Integrated Nutrition Education Director, Melissa is inspired by a wide variety of past experiences, including community gardening, conservation work, counseling, addressing symptoms of rural poverty, and practicing massage therapy & bodywork.

In her spare time you can find her outside enjoying the beautiful San Luis Valley with her family and two dogs. ~ Email ~




"Eating is an Agricultural Act." - Wendell Berry

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