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Our Team

Jan Derecho

Executive Director
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Jan brings extensive experience in financial and non-profit organization management, having worked in commercial lending and bank management for regional and community banks in Silicon Valley and Santa Cruz, and later the Santa Cruz Symphony as Executive Director for several years. Jan’s devotion to health and nutrition as well eating the food she grows in her own garden brings her great joy and appreciation for the work of farmers and of EcoFarm. She has served on the board of directors of Shakespeare Santa Cruz, the Santa Cruz Symphony and the Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO) and lends her voice (literally) to the Cabrillo Symphonic Chorus and Cantiamo Cabrillo and is an active member of the Santa Cruz Rotary Club.

Gabi Salazar

Program Manager
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Gabi is passionate about sustainable agricultural systems that balance the needs of farmers, food shoppers, and of our diverse natural ecosystems. She grew up appreciating the outdoors and helping on her family's beef cattle ranch in West Virginia. She studied International Agriculture and Economics at Cornell, and worked and did research for a few years in the Dominican Republic, Morocco, and in Haiti where she helped in building an extension program and microcredit options for peanut farmers. Gabi came to California in 2014 to learn about integrated diversified farming and did a farmer apprenticeship with Soil Born Farms in Sacramento. She fell in love with the EcoFarm Conference while doing work trade in 2015, and was thrilled to join the crew a few months later.

Deborah Yashar

Marketing & Communications Director
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Deborah is passionate about leveraging communications and design to advance ecological, regenerative agriculture. As a participant in the EcoFarm Conference for over 10 years she leads EcoFarm's outreach strategies with experience rooted in agricultural marketing, farmer education, farmers' market development, and food justice. Deborah has worked with Agriculture & Land-Based Training Association (ALBA), Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA), Community Agroecology Network (CAN), and Awe Sum Organics. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Santa Cruz Community Farmers’ Markets (SCCFM) and has served on the Certified Farmers’ Market Advisory Committee of the California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA), and the California Food & Justice Coalition (CFJC).

Dina Izzo

Sponsorship & Exhibitor Manager
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Dina has been involved with EcoFarm in some capacity for the past thirty years. She served on the Board of Directors for ten years and has been part of the planning committee for twenty five years. Dina is the founder of BluDog Consulting, a company that teaches beginning farmers basic marketing and sales techniques both one on one an in a classroom setting. Clients include Multicultural Exchange of Sustainable Agriculure (MESA), Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA), Center for Land-Based Learning, and a host of farmers and businesses.  

Erin Foley

Communications Coordinator
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Erin first became interested in sustainable agriculture through working on the campus farm and gardens as a student at UC Santa Cruz. She has since worked at several Santa Cruz farms and gardens, and has visited and volunteered at farms in other regions as well, from a dairy farm in Switzerland to a banana and coffee farm in Costa Rica, as a way to explore her interest in the field. As Communications Coordinator at EcoFarm, Erin hopes to gain experience in integrating her educational background in Literature with her work experience and interest in sustainable agriculture as a way to help promote the amazingly diverse variety of food grown and made sustainably in our area!

Jennifer Aguilera

Office Administrator

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Jennifer is a native Californian currently residing in Watsonville. Prior to joining EcoFarm in 2018, Jennifer worked in operations for the finance industry. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, spending time with her family and being outdoors. Languages spoken: English, Spanish

Other Essential Advisors

  • Zea Sonnabend - Conference Advisor  (zea at
  • Amigo Bob CantisanoConference Advisor (orgamigo at
  • PlanIt Now - Event Manager