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  • Chris Mittelstaedt

    Advisory Board Chair

    Chris is the founder and CEO of The FruitGuys. 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

    Project Director

    Sheila is the Manager of Mission Engagement 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 feed the hungry. 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 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 is the publisher of The FruitGuys Magazine, an online magazine dedicated to healthy farming, eating, and living. Pia has more than 20 years experience in the newspaper and publishing business. She has written for, and edited for, a number of publications including, the San Francisco Chronicle, Columbia Journalism Review, Newsweek, Slate, the Associated Press, the San Francisco Business Times, and CBS MarketWatch.

  • Gayle Tsern Strang


    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.

  • 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 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 comes to the Advisory Board with a background in project management, compliance analysis, and program coordination for social impact organizations.

  • Carolyn Gahn


    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.

  • Marisa Alcorta


    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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