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Our Team

Abbie Erskine

Administrative Coordinator
abbie at
Abbie has over ten years of experience working in the non-profit sector as a Program Coordinator and Administrative Assistant. She is passionate about living harmoniously with Mother Earth and creating a sustainable future for the next generation. She connects with the greater community through teaching Yoga and Ayurveda, while also working as a Massage Therapist. She believes self-awareness and mindfulness leads to taking care of the Earth and each other. Her past experiences include working with Habitat for Humanity and Mount Madonna Center for many years. She is happy to contribute to and grow with EcoFarm.

Andy Fisher

Executive Director
andy at
Andy Fisher has been a leading force for social justice in the anti-hunger and food movements in the US since the mid 1990s. He co-founded and led the primary American food systems alliance, the Community Food Security Coalition for 17 years. He has played a key role in the growth of farm to school, local food policy, and community food assessments. In 2017, MIT Press published his first book, Big Hunger, which exposed the unholy alliance between corporate America and anti-hunger groups. He has Masters degrees in Environmental Policy and Latin American Studies from UCLA. He is too lazy to farm, but loves to tinker in his community garden plot. He’s obsessed with finding the perfect fig, and remains an unapologetic fan of the Dodgers.  

Deborah Nares

Spanish Program Consultant
debnares at
Deborah’s interest in farming started as a child at her grandparent’s farm in the small town of Aguanga, CA and grew while working with subsistence farmers in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico on seed saving projects, this deepened throughout her 18 + years as a soil and water advisor on Salinas Valley farms. After years of supporting Latino farmers with conservation management she realized there was a huge need for supporting farmers in Spanish with the viability of their business and transitioned her focus from developing conservation plans to developing financial management plans. Deborah has a B.S in International Agricultural Development from UC Davis and a M.A in International Environmental Policy from Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey. She speaks Spanish and Italian and lives part time in Mexico and part time in California with her 2 daughters where they enjoy being in, on or near water, music and food.

Deborah Yashar

Marketing & Communications Director
deborah at
Deborah (she/her) has focused on advancing the economic viability, social equity, and ecological land management among small and Latinx farmers through her work with organizations like Agriculture & Land-Based Training Association (ALBA), Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA), Community Agroecology Network (CAN), and Awe Sum Organics. At EcoFarm she leads communications on a variety of levels including the design and layout of EcoFarm's conference publications. Deborah built bridges between beginning farmers and the rights for community access to healthy local food through marketing education, policy work, and the establishment of SNAP-accessible farmers’ markets. She earned her BA from UC Santa Cruz in Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Sustainable Agriculture & Agroecology. Deborah currently serves on the board of directors with Santa Cruz Community Farmers Markets and resides on Nisenan land also known as Grass Valley, California.

Dina Izzo

Sponsorship & Exhibitor Manager
sponsors at
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.

Emily Becker

Conference Manager
emily (at)
Emily Becker (she/her) is a project management and event consultant supporting the EcoFarm staff in transitioning the 2021 conference to a virtual platform. Emily works with a variety of food system focused nonprofits and trade associations bringing together diverse stakeholders to learn from each other, share best practices, and collaboratively seek solutions. Emily has worked with Johns Hopkins University Center for a Livable Future, New Entry for Sustainable Farming, Northwest Cider Association, American Cider Association, Oregon Food Bank, and Community Food Security Coalition. Outside of work, Emily serves on the board of the Portland Fruit Tree Project, hosts a radio show about food, enjoys spending time in the forest, and ferments cider from gleaned fruit. Emily studied political economics at The Evergreen State College and holds a Master of Urban Studies from Portland State University.

Gabi Salazar

Program Director
conference at
Gabi is passionate about working with community to protect and build sustainable agricultural systems that balance the needs of farmers, ranchers, eaters, and of our diverse natural ecosystems. She fell in love with the EcoFarm Conference while doing work trade in 2015, and was thrilled to join the crew shortly afterwards. Gabi grew up appreciating the outdoors and helping on her family's beef cattle ranch in West Virginia. Before moving to California as an apprentice with Soil Born Farms in 2014, Gabi worked in the Dominican Republic, Morocco, and Haiti. She studied International Agriculture and Applied Economics at Cornell and speaks Spanish, French, and Haitian Creole.

Katherine Golfinopoulos

Education Program Manager
katherine at

Katherine (she/her) thrives working at the intersection of people, plants, food, and the land. She holds a Master of Arts in Sustainable Communities from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, where she worked with the university, schools, community non-profits, tribes, and local businesses on projects combining bioregionalism, place-based education, native plants, and traditional ecological knowledge. In addition to the wisdom of her eastern Mediterranean ancestors, she is honored to count among her teachers the Tamazight of the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, the Garifuna of the Mesoamerican Caribbean coast, and the Diné and Hopi, whose land she lived on for over a decade. Prior to joining EcoFarm, Katherine managed community farms in Sonoma County for Petaluma Bounty and Salmon Creek School in Occidental, as well as taught with OAEC. Katherine currently resides with her family on unceded Amah Mutsun land in rural south Santa Cruz County, where she enjoys building community, gleaning fruit, napping outdoors, cooking, eating, and dancing.

Joyce Rice

Scholarship & Work Trade Coordinator
joyce at
Joyce has been attending EcoFarm Conference for the last 15 years, as an attendee and most recently as a super-volunteer. She is passionate about food, farming and education. Joyce has over 25 years of experience working at UC Santa Cruz. Her jobs on campus included serving as the Company Manager for Shakespeare Santa Cruz, the Environmental Studies Undergraduate Advisor and Staff Program Manager for Student Sustainability. She spends time between upstate New York and California and is happiest being with her family & friends on both coasts, kayaking on rivers and growing food in her garden.