California Food and Farming Network

The Steering Council is a 5 member majority-BIPOC decision making body within CFFN that is responsible for setting priorities, making executive-level decisions, and ensuring CFFN’s commitment to its values, particularly racial equity. The Steering Council aims to have representation across the food and farming system from grassroots and BIPOC-led organizations, clarifying who the true food and farming experts are, creating infrastructure for BIPOC priorities to be centered in CFFN’s collective action, making possible new relationships and collaboration, and increasing advocacy capacity of under-resourced organizations and BIPOC leaders.  

Nakia Woods (she/they) is the Program Director for HOPE Collaborative. Prior to being the Program Director, they were a member of HOPE’s steering committee and supported staff in the programming that is essential to HOPE’s mission. In addition to their role at HOPE, Nakia is also an aspiring midwife,  full-spectrum doula, and sex educator! Originally from San Diego, Nakia has been thriving in the Bay area for over a decade. In their spare time, they love to take care of their plant daughter and son – Lily and Harry – interact with all things Harry Potter, and constantly change their social media accounts from private to public.

Osiyo! My name is Taylor Thompson. I am a two-spirit person and use they/them pronouns. I am a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and am serving as the Food Sovereignty Division Manager for the Yurok Tribe Environmental Program. I am looking forward to learning about and sharing my perspective regarding food policy throughout California and moving toward a more equitable foodscape for everyone.

Candace Cross (she/her) is truly passionate about advocating for race, environmental justice, and women’s health issues by using the social justice framework. She conducts programmatic work for The Praxis Praxis, primarily focusing on policy and communications for the organization. Candace received her BS from Ithaca College in Public and Community Health with a concentration in the Politics of Health and Healing. Candace worked previously in harm reduction and Zika birth defects research. She utilizes her past experiences in her current role providing health justice and racial equity training and programming at Praxis. Candace is always on the quest for learning something new whether through traveling, meeting new people, or tasting new foods.

Veronica Mazariegos-Anastassiou (she/her) is a co-founder and farmer at Brisa Ranch in Pescadero, CA. Brisa is a 12-acre organic diversified vegetable production farm in its fourth season, marketing produce mainly via wholesale and restaurant sales, and as of 2020, a 100-member CSA program and initiatives including the USDA Farmers to Families program and emergency relief. Veronica and her co-founders, Cole and Cristóbal, are committed to farming regeneratively—centering soil and ecosystem building, equity, justice, and food access, at the core of their operation. With 10 years of experience in agriculture, Veronica has worked with rice farmers in West Africa, evaluated agriculture/food access interventions, managed a mid-scale farm selling to institutional buyers, and started her own farm. Veronica has a master’s degree in Applied Economics and Management focusing on food and agriculture from Cornell University, where she conducted research on global food value chains, innovations aligned with sustainable and equitable agri-food systems, and co-authored articles published in Nature Food and Nature Sustainability. Veronica is a member of the Farmer Governance Committee of the California Farmer Justice Collaborative and a 2021 National Young Farmers Coalition California Farmer Political Leadership Fellow. 

Dr. Sarait Martinez (she/her) is a Zapotec immigrant daughter of Indigenous farmworkers in the Salinas Valley and the current Executive Director at Centro Binacional para el Desarrollo Indígena Oaxaqueño (CBDIO). She has over a decade of experience in community and labor organizing, leadership development, organizing around environmental justice in farmworker communities, and educational equity among Indigenous immigrant youth. Dr. Martinez holds a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and Chicano and Latino Studies with a minor in Economics as well as a Master’s in Public Administration from Fresno State University. She also holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from San Francisco State University.

Network Members