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Our Team


Staff: (from left to right) Codi, Jan, Gabi, Isabelle, Deborah, Cathy, Dina

Jan Derecho

Executive Director

jan at

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

Communications & Marketing Manager
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Deborah enjoys leveraging communications and good design to advance sustainable agriculture. As a participant in the EcoFarm Conference for over 10 years she leads EcoFarm's outreach strategies with experience rooted in agricultural marketing, beginning farmer education, farmers' market development, food justice, policy development, and program management. 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).

Isabelle Jenniches

Program & Development Associate
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Isabelle joined EcoFarm in 2013 after working as an intern for the 2013 EcoFarm Conference. As a child, Isabelle enjoyed visiting her grandparents' small farm in the Eifel region of Germany, which instilled in her a love of farming as a way of life. An accomplished artist in photography, theatre, and performance art, Isabelle moved to California in 2005. Here she became involved in environmental advocacy, studied organic agriculture at Cabrillo College in Aptos and gathered hands-on experience working at Casalegno Family Farm in Soquel. Isabelle is a dedicated gardener, loves cooking the food that she grows, hiking and backpacking, and riding her bike to work.

Cathy Dobyns

Administrative Assistant
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Cathy has extensive experience in administrative work. She was the Practice Manager for over 20 years for a community based, oncology infusion center in Santa Cruz. Because of this career and also a strong family history of cancer, Cathy developed an intense curiosity about the nutrition and lifestyle choices that could help us avoid disease. When the oncologists at that clinic retired, she was able to get formal education in Nutrition and had a private practice in San Diego coaching groups and individuals to better health. Cathy has recently moved back to Santa Cruz and is delighted to be a part of EcoFarm and it's mission to nurture safe, healthy, just and ecologically sustainable farms.

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!


Other Essential Advisors

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