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  • Chris Mittelstaedt
    Chris Mittelstaedt Advisor

    Chris is the founder of The FruitGuys and its former CEO. He is a founding board member of The FruitGuys Community Fund. His lifelong goal is crafting business models that allow for people and organizations to have a positive and healthy impact on the world. This gives meaning to what he does every day and drives his thinking and decisions around the value of what FruitGuys is and what it provides to clients, employees, community partners, farmers and the world at large.

  • Sheila Cassani
    Sheila Cassani Project Director

    Sheila is Head of Impact at The FruitGuys. She oversees the GoodWorks Program and The FruitGuys Community Fund in an effort to preserve FruitGuys mission to support small American agriculture and relieve hunger. Sheila she has a deep appreciation and respect for the hard work small-scale farmers do everyday. Her leadership continues to support people, projects, and good health from the field to the table.

  • Thomas Nelson
    Thomas Nelson Advisor

    Thomas Nelson has spent two decades as an organizational leader and social entrepreneur developing healthy rural communities and sustainable food systems. His career accomplishments include leading the first biological farming pilot demonstration project in almonds, growing a startup nonprofit, launching Capay Valley Farm Shop, and organizing a statewide food security coalition.

  • Pia Hinckle
    Pia Hinckle Advisory Board Chair

    Pia is a founding board member of The FruitGuys Community Fund and a partner in the FruitGuys, where she created The FruitGuys Magazine Blog and other publishing initiatives related to healthy farming, eating, and living. Pia has 20+ years experience in the newspaper and publishing business. She is a San Francisco writer and open water swimmer. 

  • Gayle Tsern Strang
    Gayle Tsern Strang Advisor

    Gayle is an architect with Skidmore Owings and Merrill. With her interest in nonprofit and cultural institutions, Gayle was a designer for the headquarters of the San Francisco Food Bank, the American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts in Napa and the San Francisco campus of California College of the Arts.

  • Carolyn Gahn
    Carolyn Gahn Advisor

    Carolyn Gahn is the Senior Director of Mission and Advocacy for Applegate. She started her career as a community organizer with Community Farm Alliance, has worked on several diversified farms (including her own), and spent a decade as an entrepreneur with a food manufacturing business. Her core values have always been that good food and healthy soil can heal the planet. She lives near Lexington, Kentucky with her family and animals.

Former Advisers

  • Anthony Chang
    Anthony Chang Former Advisor

    Anthony contributed to the collective effort to build Kitchen Table Advisors, an organization dedicated to providing farmers with access to the tools, knowledge and resources they need to become resilient and viable businesses. Anthony is now supporting Manzanita Capital Collective. Anthony served on The FruitGuys Community Fund Advisory Board for three years. 

  • Sarah Ahern
    Sarah Ahern Former Advisor

    Sarah is a compliance and special programs analyst with the San Diego Housing Commission. She has a deep passion for small farms, community health, and exploring more economically viable and environmentally sustainable foodways. Sarah has a background in project management, compliance analysis, and program coordination for social impact organizations.

  • Marisa Alcorta
    Marisa Alcorta Former Advisor

    Marisa is the Apprenticeship Director at the Center for Land-Based Learning. She has worked in the sustainable agriculture field both farming and teaching for two decades, and uses her passion for both in her job – creating a professional training pathway for aspiring farm managers in California. Marisa has an M.S. from UC Davis in Horticulture & Agronomy, and a B.S. in Plant Science from Cornell. She lives with her husband at Terra Firma Farm in Winters, California.


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