San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition
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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 - 719.937.2319


Liza Marron, LFC Executive Director

Liza Marron
LFC Executive Director

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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 ~

Amber Middleton, Development Director

Amber Middleton
SLVLFC Development Director

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Amber is the new Development Director for the San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition. Amber has returned to the Local Foods Coalition after two years back in Wisconsin, where she coordinated 2-1-1 Wisconsin and planned a statewide AmeriCorps program for United Way of Wisconsin.

Previously, Amber served as an AmeriCorps VISTA for the Rio Grande Farm Park, where she built capacity by fundraising, developing systems, and growing the volunteer program.

So far in Amber's career, she has gained experience in community engagement, volunteer management, national service programming, emergency and disaster preparedness, database management, and data analytics.

When Amber isn't building capacity for small nonprofits, you can find her volunteering with local animal shelters and libraries, hiking and enjoying the outdoors, or weaving a new tapestry. ~ Email ~

Lois Harvie, CM Coordinator

Lois Harvie
Cooking Matters Coordinator

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"Miss Lane" (Lois), hails from Albuquerque, NM and moved to Colorado in 2014 from Santa Fe to manage the Montrose Farmers Market. Her professional experience centers around elementary education, healthy living and local food access.

As an elementary teacher with a passion for local food, she realized it was important for kids and families to return to the dinner table and learn how to make healthy meals. She is a certified Holistic Health Coach and graduated from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in 2011.

She is passionate about helping communities to improve their health and wellness through finding connection to their local food sources and teaching families how to make healthy lifestyle choices.

In her spare time she enjoys writing, yoga, walking her dogs, gardening, cooking and traveling. She looks forward to learning more about the San Luis Valley, and becoming a part of a community that celebrates its connection to its people and the land. ~ Email ~

Jesus Flores, RGFP Farm Manager

Jesus Flores, Farm Manager
Rio Grande Farm Park

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Jesus is a lifelong farmer and farm worker. Jesus brings a great love and knowledge of agriculture to the farm park. He is skilled in vegetable production, irrigation, soil health and caring for bees. ~ Email ~

Brayan Flores, RGFP Assistant Manager

Brayan Flores, Assistant Manager
Rio Grande Farm Park

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Hi, my name is Brayan Flores and I am the Assistant Manager for The Rio Grande Farm Park. I am a full time student at Trinidad State Junior College where I also run Track.

In the next month, I will also be one of the on site Managers at the Alamosa Farmers Market. I'm also a Community Leader for the Colorado Trust. In my free time I like to travel, fish, and learn new skills. ~ Email ~

Gabriel DeSimone, LFLP MoKi Coordinator

Gabriel DeSimone
LFLP MoKi Coordinator

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Gem Azure DeSimone (they/them) is the newest MoKi Coordinator for the SLV Local Foods Coalition. A Colorado native, they have always had a vast love for the environment and the animals that live there. They are always looking for new ways to live, cook, and exist more sustainably and with the good of our planet in mind.

Gem is a student at Adams State University, finishing their degrees in horn performance and liberal arts music. They have been a part of a multitude of ensembles, including the Pueblo Symphony and 68 West A capella Choir. They are interested in connecting and empowering communities of diversity through music and creating a better future for the generations to follow.

In their free time you can find Gem watching Studio Ghibli movies, doing yoga, baking, napping with their cat Bean, or hiking with their partner and their pup Max. ~ Email ~

Naomi Gallegos, Food Studies Intern

Naomi Gallegos
Food Studies Intern

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Hello all, my name is Naomi Gallegos and I am a valley native born and raised here in the San Luis Valley. After high school I moved to Pueblo, then came back, then moved to Las Vegas New Mexico which I loved.

I am currently a student at Adams State University with a double major in Food Studies and Health Care Administration. I did work in a hospital, where i got a little creative with foods to make patients and staff happy, because we know food brings a smile to everyone. I feel these two relate well to each other.

I have one sister. I am married with one daughter and a son. When I have free time I love to read, do crafty stuff, and watch the Denver Broncos. I also love to play bingo, gamble, and just enjoy my friends and family.
~ Email ~

Abe Rosenberg, LFLP Program Director

Abe Rosenberg, Program Director
Local Foods, Local Places

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Abe grew up in Crestone Colorado and graduated with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Adams State University. This "Jack of All Trades" background has lead to Abe working in a variety of fields including food, art, music, theatre, permaculture, sustainability, agriculture, mass communications and video production.

Abe started working with the SLV Local Foods Coalition in 2013 as a MoKi Coordinator and has also worked for the Valley Roots Food Hub and volunteered for the Rio Grande Farm Park and Cooking Matters.

In 2016 he was hired by Conejos Clean Water as the Director of Community Gardens and Outdoor Programs and was involved in the SLV Inspire coalition to bring 1 million dollars of grant funding from Great Outdoors Colorado to the SLV for outdoor programs, pathways and places. He has worked on community projects with partners such as SLVGO, Alpine Achievers Initiative, Boys and Girls Club of the San Luis Valley, S.P.M.D.T.U, South Conejos School District, City of Alamosa, Town of Antonito, Fresh Tracks, the Children and Nature Network, Nature$s Table, Taste of Native Cuisine, Integrated Nutrition Education Program, La Puente and VEGI, and the Orient Land Trust.

In 2019 Abe was hired as the Local Foods Local Place Program Director for the San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition and is working to make more community connections around the local foods movement in the San Luis Valley.

Abe lives on his 35 acre farm in Antonito, Colorado with his wife Morgan Velasquez and son Izrael Rain and continues to perform original music with his band, Sweet Radish and produce videos with his company Jack Rabbit Hollow.
~ Email ~

Ally Jean Arnold, Outreach & Engagement AmeriCorps VISTA

Ally Jean Arnold, AmeriCorps Vista
SLVLFC Outreach & Engagement

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Ally graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Conservation Biology, where she learned to appreciate the interconnectedness of ecosystems. She is passionate about reminding people of our reliance on nature, which is why she is so excited to be serving as an Outreach & Engagement AmeriCorps VISTA for the San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition.

In the past, she focused on marine ecosystems, her favorite research project was a study on Kelp Crab embryo development.

In her free time, she writes music, goes backpacking whenever she can, and seeks out local hangouts.
~ Email ~

Zoila Gomez, CM Coordinator

Zoila Gomez
Cooking Matters Coordinator

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Zoila is a community leader, liaison, and our Cooking Matters Coordinator.

Raised and born in Mexico she made a name for herself as the best female athlete of the year for all sports while at Adams State University. Upon graduation in 2004, she chased the Olympic dream for the next 12 years as a marathoner, made 3 world championship teams, and became an Olympic alternate for Team USA in 2008.

In 2016, she applied for her first-ever job outside running with Cooking Matters. Nutrition was a big part of her life as an athlete and she loves teaching nutrition education both in her native language, Spanish, and in English all around the San Luis Valley.

Zoila's free time is spent with family and helping out the community as a member of Promotores Del Valle de San Luis and Alamosa Schools as a community liaison. Recently she created the "Zoila Gómez, Si Se Puede Scholarship for DACA" to support documented and undocumented immigrants from the San Luis Valley. ~ Email ~

Christina Riccardo, RGFP Alpine Achievers Ed Coordinator

Christina Riccardo, Alpine Achievers
Ed. Coordinator, Rio Grande Farm Park

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Christina grew up in the lush and vibrant Pacific Northwest - just outside the city of Seattle, WA. After graduating from the University of Washington with her Bachelor's of Arts in Anthropology, Christina leapt into her journey as an educator. Through leading art projects at the local children's museum and tutoring English to elementary students, she was able to tap into her inner child and find ways to nurture and support the youth in her community.

Christina's adventurous spirit and desire to learn eventually led her to serve as an AmeriCorps member with Alpine Achievers Initiative. She served at Alamosa Elementary K-2 as a teacher's aid and offered academic support for small groups of students. The community here in the San Luis Valley absolutely stole her heart and she accepted an offer to serve a second term with AAI. This time around she will be serving at the Rio Grande Farm Park, helping with the planning and implementation of programming for the brand new education center! Christina is so excited to bring her passion for empowering youth and her love of the land to the RGFP.

When she won't be covered in dirt at her service site, you can find Christina at the local thrift store, hula hooping in the park, reading about edible and medicinal plants, or cheffing up mac n' cheese in the backcountry! She is excited to deepen her relationship with a place that truly values its people and their connection to the land. ~ Email ~

Liz Breckbill, RGFP Land & Education Coordinator

Liz Breckbill, Land & Education
Coordinator, Rio Grande Farm Park

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Liz Breckbill is from Kidron Ohio, and went to College at Goshen College in Goshen Indiana. During college she studied environmental science with a specific focus on earth and climate science, and a minor in accounting. During her time at Goshen she was involved in choir and participated on the women's volleyball team.

In her free time she enjoys listening to music, and learning about different cultures and languages. She enjoys spending time outside and making connections with those around her.
~ Email ~

Trinity Lucero, LFLP MoKi Coordinator

Trinity Lucero
LFLP MoKi Coordinator

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"I am someone who strives past personal indifferences to make a smile go beyond my face. My purpose is to create whether it's art or through food. Creativity is what makes the beauty in a dark world a little brighter for me!" ~ Email ~

Glen Miller, Forest & Natural Resource Surveyor

Glen Miller, SLV Forest &
Natural Resource Surveyor

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Glen Miller is a forest and natural resource surveyor currently working on the San Luis Valley Water, Soil and Asset Mapping Project, a local, grassroots endeavor to harness the power & collective wisdom of San Luis Valley farmers, ranchers, & business people. This is a project of the Colorado Water Plan in partnership with the San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition, local stakeholders, and Colorado State University.

The purpose of this work is to define, quantify, and map all physical and non-material agricultural assets in the San Luis Valley which might contribute to economic growth and sustainability; as well as any gaps in infrastructure for which investment could provide opportunity. ~ Email ~

Nicholas Chambers, VRFH General Manager

Nicholas Chambers, General Manager
Valley Roots Food Hub

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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 ~

Allyson Stone, VRFH CSA Market Manager

Allyson Stone, CSA Market Manager
Valley Roots Food Hub

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Ally grew up in Marietta, GA. Upon graduating from Georgia Tech in 2015 with a B.S. in Science, Technology, and Culture, she took a one-way train ride on the Amtrak to Eugene, OR to seek adventure. There she did work-trade through World Wide Opportunities for Organic Farming on a small homestead for 5 months. She quickly fell in love with the healing properties of being connected to the land, good nutritious food, the town, and ended up being all consumed by the vast and supportive local food system Eugene has to offer. She worked at a small family-run cafe, volunteered with Farm to School initiatives and School Garden Project.

Wanting more, her life took a small detour and she ended up in the San Luis Valley volunteering with Alpine Achievers Initiative for 2 years, primarily helping run an after school program in Crestone as well as bringing garden education to the South Conejos School District and Boys and Girls Club of the San Luis Valley. Post-AmeriCorps, Ally worked a seasonal position with the Valley Educational Gardens Initiative (VEGI), a program of La Puente before finding herself at the Valley Roots Food Hub as the CSA Market Manager.

Ally is passionate about regenerative agriculture, reconnecting others to the food they eat, and nutrition access for all. In her free time, she loves hiking, running, practicing yoga, sewing, reading, and of course cooking in the kitchen. ~ Email ~

Faith Johnson, VRFH Kitchen Witch

Faith Johnson
Valley Roots Food Hub Kitchen Witch

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Faith brings a lifelong love of feeding people nourishing food and a commitment to reducing food waste. Raised on a vegetarian commune in Hawaii, she fell in love with cooking as a kid on the set of Kathy Cooks Naturally, an '80s PBS show.

While living in Denver, she earned her plant-based chef certificate from Rouxbe. She worked with "food recovery" groups including bicycle-delivery operation Food Not Bombs and Joy's Kitchen, a nonprofit that recovers expired produce from natural food stores to feed the local people. For 12+ years, she supported S.A.M.E. (So All May Eat), a donation-based café that serves everyone, regardless of ability to pay. Up in Denver, Faith was a proud CSA member of Dahlia Campus Farm, which featured an abundant aquaponic greenhouse and addressed food insecurity in the Park Hill neighborhood.

Now that she has relocated to Crestone, she's thrilled to jump on board with the Valley Roots Food Hub's motto "feed the people" by supporting their CSA, creating value-added goods in their kitchen that reduce food waste, and volunteering with local Crestone food groups, including the Crestone Energy Fair Community Kitchen, and community meals at Little Shepherd in the Hills Episcopal Church. ~ Email ~

Seth Armentrout, RGFP Co-Program Director

Seth Armentrout, Co-Program Director
Rio Grande Farm Park

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Seth continues his service at the Rio Grande Farm Park as Program Director after VISTA service. During the past year, Seth helped manage volunteer, education, and land projects at the Farm Park with the SLV community.

Originally from Brighton, Colorado, Seth's background includes youth development in New Orleans, data and mapping with US EPA in the Mountain West, and Peace Corps service in the mid-hills region of Nepal.

Seth loves bats, yak, carrots, writing songs, and cutthroat trout. ~ Email ~

Valentina Valdez, RGFP Co-Program Director

Valentina Valdez, Co-Program Director
Rio Grande Farm Park

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"My name is Valentina (Val) Valdez and I am excited to return to the San Luis Valley Foods Coalition as the Program Director of the Rio Grande Farm Park. I was born and grazed in this valley, in La Jara, and am a 5th generation farmer. I graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.S. in Business Administration and an emphasis in Social Entrepreneurship.

I've found my way here via my interest in regenerative systems and desire to give back to the community that raised me. It's my wholehearted belief that holistic agriculture and decentralized food systems have the power to change the trajectory of the youth in our area for the better and I am beyond excited to leverage the potential of the Farm Park and the LFC in this position." ~ Email ~

Alice Price, Board Chair

Alice Price
Board Chair

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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 ~

Shirley Atencio, Board Member

Shirley Atencio
Board Member

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Shirley Atencio has roots in the San Luis Valley that go back several generations. The Trujillo Homestead, a National Historic Monument near the Great Sand Dunes National Park, belonged to her great-grandparents and testifies to the founding contributions of early Hispanic families to farming and ranching in the settlement of the Valley.

At present, Shirley continues to work at the university as an advocate for bridge-building across world views and as Coordinator for the Office of Civic Engagement. She has served on a number of campus and community boards and committees over the years and enjoys being involved in anything that promotes community well-being.

Shirley and her husband raised five sons and now enjoy six grandchildren. The family has operated a small local food market in south Alamosa for twenty years which depends primarily on neighborhood support.

After full-time parenting and volunteering from home while her sons were young, Shirley worked at various jobs including teaching English Language Learners for the local school district, directing the music and liturgical ministries at Sacred Heart Church, and as lay Campus Minister at Adams State University where she has emphasized interfaith cooperation and social justice programming. A most rewarding part of that work has been developing student leadership around Alternative Break Experiences which have exposed students to people and places that have widened their understanding of the world and, in many instances, been life changing.

Shirley' interests outside of family and work include taking long road trips to almost anywhere, reading biographies, listening to podcasts on interesting and weird subjects, lunch out with a sister or good friend, politics and public policy, and of course, dogs, cats and chickens.

Besides her long and continuing studies in the "University of Life", Shirley holds a B.A. in Spanish from Adams State College along with various and sundry certifications.
~ Email ~

Meghan Stalzer, Board Member

Meghan Stalzer
Board Member

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Owner of Mudita Camel Dairy; a diverse vegetable farm, fiber, and camel dairy in Conejos County.

Meghan contributes to the team and brings thoughtful new ideas to the organization. ~ Email ~

Elena Miller, Board Vice Chair

Elena Miller
Board Vice Chair

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

Emma Reesor, Board Secretary

Emma Reesor
Board Secretary

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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 ~

Patrick Ortiz, Board Member

Patrick Ortiz
Board Member

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Patrick Ortiz is Operations Director at San Luis Valley Great Outdoors and manages all operations, planning, and coordination of our SLV Great Outdoors Action Team (SLV GOATs), a locally based trail and restoration crew that works to build and maintain trail and recreation infrastructure in communities and public lands surrounding the San Luis Valley.

Prior to SLV GO!, Patrick has worked on and lead various types of trail projects for Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Southwest Conservation Corps in Salida, Saguaro National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park, and City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks.

He is a native of Alamosa, CO and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Natural Resources Management; Physical Geography with a minor in Environmental Science from Adams State University.

In his current role, he also helps coordinate collaborative processes that work toward community improvement by promoting public land stewardship and increasing opportunities for outdoor recreation, trails, and healthy living.

Patrick enjoys exploring public lands throughout the West, fly fishing, mountain biking, snowboarding, and is learning to play the banjo.
~ Email ~

Tim Yoder, Board Treasurer

Tim Yoder
Board Treasurer

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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 ~

Ben Valdez, Board Member

Ben Valdez
Board Member

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Ben Valdez is a Valley native who graduated from Johnson and Wales in 2013 and worked along the front range and Denver in various hotels and restaurants for 6 years. During this time he held many different roles throughout the hospitality and food industry.

His passion for healthy food and family have brought him back home to contribute to the community he was raised in. Currently he works on his family's farm helping raise grass-fed lamb and cattle as well as cooking for patients at the Conejos County Hospital.

Moving forward he would like to help educate members of the community on healthy cooking and teach about the benefits of diverse diets. He is also interested in helping farmers connect with local consumers to form bonds within our local area and is excited to serve on the LFC board.
~ Email ~

Rachel Baird, Board Member

Rachel Baird
Board Member

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Although Rachel's family relocated to the San Luis Valley from the Washington D.C. area in 1999, she can trace her Spanish colonial lineage back to the 1500's in northern New Mexico and her ancestors were among the first settlers in the San Luis Valley.

She is a lifelong gardener and local food has always been a part of her identity. From picking mangos and collecting coconuts as a small child in Hawaii, to helping her mother start a program to connect children from her suburban school with a working apple orchard in Virginia, to learning to forage for wild rosehips, piñon, capulin, boletes, currants, and asparagus in the valley.

Rachel has a degree in Landscape Architecture and is the Development Services Director for the City of Alamosa. ~ Email ~

"Eating is an Agricultural Act." - Wendell Berry

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