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Farm to Food Bank Projects in California & Arizona: The Impact on Farmers and Hunger Relief

Since the start of the pandemic, many social entrepreneurs have focused on linking surplus food from farmers with hunger relief efforts. New programs have begun, and existing ones have been expanded.  In the second part of this webinar series, we will examine the practicalities and politics of these farm to food bank programs. We’ll explore whether these are good markets for farmers, and ultimately whether they make for good nutrition assistance as well. We’ll talk with leaders in the field to hear their perspectives.


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

12:00- 1:00 pm PDT


Audra Christophel, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona

Audra Christophel is a relationship builder, convener, and change enthusiast. She has spent the last
decade in Tucson working in community and food system development. As Co-Director of Partnerships
and Community Impact at the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, she and her team work to
build and support a strong network of partners addressing both immediate needs and the long-term
health of their communities. Since 2014, Audra has played a key role in developing a regional Farm-to-
Institution value chain, convening cross-sector partners to collaboratively build the vision, trust and
systems needed to bridge gaps in the current food system. Audra has a degree in Peace, Justice, and
Conflict Studies and spends her weekends gardening and hiking with her cattle dog.

Steve Linkhart, California Association of Food Banks

Steve Linkhart joined CAFB in 2013, bringing more than 25 years of operations experience to the Farm to Family program. Before, Steve spent 11 years serving as the Director of Operations and Technology for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. Steve is well known throughout our network thanks to his past work and brings his advanced knowledge and expertise in logistics, inventory management, and program management to work for CAFB.

Veronica Mazariegos-Anastassiou, Brisa de Año Ranch

Veronica Mazariegos-Anastassiou is a co-founder and farmer at Brisa de Año Ranch in Pescadero, CA. Brisa is an 8-acre organic diversified vegetable production farm in the middle of its third season, marketing produce mainly via wholesale and restaurant accounts,  and as of this year,  a 100-member CSA and initiatives including the USDA Farmers to Families program. Veronica and her co-founders, Cole and Cristóbal, are committed to farming regeneratively--centering soil and ecosystem building, inclusivity, justice, and food access, at the core of their operation. Before starting Brisa, Veronica farmed at Pie Ranch where she apprenticed and later managed it's wholesale operation, and where she met her current collaborators.  Veronica started farming while she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo, where she worked with rice farmers. Later she worked in the international development space evaluating, among others, agricultural projects abroad.  Veronica is originally from Miami, Florida and holds a Master's degree in Applied Economics and Management focusing on Food and Agriculture from Cornell University.

Kat Taylor, Growing the Table

Kat Taylor works in service of restoring social justice and environmental well-being. She is active in a variety of social enterprises, public benefit and philanthropic ventures. Concurrently, Taylor serves as Co-founder and Board Chair of Beneficial State Bank, a Community Development Financial Institution, whose mission is to bring beneficial banking to under-resourced communities in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner. Taylor is also the owner of TomKat Ranch, a cattle ranch that uses environmentally beneficial practices and research to demonstrate, inspire, and teach the adoption of regenerative agriculture. Taylor serves and has served on many nonprofit boards, including CuriOdyssey, Ecotrust, Good Samaritan Family Resource Center, the Harvard Board of Overseers, Insight Prison Project, KQED, ProPublica and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.


Andy Fisher, EcoFarm

Andy Fisher has been a leading force in the food security and food justice movement in the US for the past 25 years. He co-founded and led the primary American food systems alliance, the Community Food Security Coalition, for 17 years. During that time, he led campaigns to gain passage of federal legislation that has brought over $200 million to community groups nationwide for food sovereignty and farm to school projects.