STAFF

 Karen Ramirez grew up in South LA and was one of the first group of youth who joined RootDown LA in 2010, out of a desire to give back to her community. She went on to college to study psychology and was able to return in the Fall of 2010 to first become a youth volunteer and has worked her way up to Program Manager at Root Down L.A.  Karen now aspires to be Executive Director for Root Down LA in the future. She is passionate about learning new skills and getting people to eat their veggies.

Karen Ramirez grew up in South LA and was one of the first group of youth who joined RootDown LA in 2010, out of a desire to give back to her community. She went on to college to study psychology and was able to return in the Fall of 2010 to first become a youth volunteer and has worked her way up to Program Manager at Root Down L.A.  Karen now aspires to be Executive Director for Root Down LA in the future. She is passionate about learning new skills and getting people to eat their veggies.

Karen Ramirez
Programs Manager

 Blanca has been with RDLA since she began participating in the after school cooking classes during her senior year at Thomas Jefferson High School. Two Youth development programs and a CHET training later, she is now running those same classes on her own and has become an indispensable kitchen staff member. Blanca is pursuing a career in education and wants to become a High School Teacher.   “ One reason I have stayed with RDLA since 2014 is that it is a place where you feel empowered to make a change in your community. And because it’s youth driven, it shows the youth that they can exceed their own expectations - they can look up to the staff and relate to them.”

Blanca has been with RDLA since she began participating in the after school cooking classes during her senior year at Thomas Jefferson High School. Two Youth development programs and a CHET training later, she is now running those same classes on her own and has become an indispensable kitchen staff member. Blanca is pursuing a career in education and wants to become a High School Teacher.

One reason I have stayed with RDLA since 2014 is that it is a place where you feel empowered to make a change in your community. And because it’s youth driven, it shows the youth that they can exceed their own expectations - they can look up to the staff and relate to them.”

Blanca Alvarado
Culinary Apprentice

 Raised in Paris, Chef Kabaoglu was initiated into the culinary world at the ripe young age of 14. Out of both desire and necessity, the aspiring chef dropped out of school and began his first apprenticeship  - going on to refine his craft in the kitchens of fine dining establishments such as La Bourride, under the supervision of Chef Michel Bruneau. His contact with talented executive chefs and local growers ignited Kabaoglu’s love for fresh, local ingredients which inspire the pure, clean flavors of his mostly vegetable-based dishes.    “I   feel extremely connected to RDLA for many reasons: personal motivation, my desire to pass on knowledge to the youth, working with people of the highest integrity and commitment, and  bringing Root Down, as a team, to it’s highest positive impact”

Raised in Paris, Chef Kabaoglu was initiated into the culinary world at the ripe young age of 14. Out of both desire and necessity, the aspiring chef dropped out of school and began his first apprenticeship  - going on to refine his craft in the kitchens of fine dining establishments such as La Bourride, under the supervision of Chef Michel Bruneau. His contact with talented executive chefs and local growers ignited Kabaoglu’s love for fresh, local ingredients which inspire the pure, clean flavors of his mostly vegetable-based dishes. 

“I feel extremely connected to RDLA for many reasons: personal motivation, my desire to pass on knowledge to the youth, working with people of the highest integrity and commitment, and  bringing Root Down, as a team, to it’s highest positive impact”

Cyril Kabaoglu
Culinary Instructor

    Quentin’s formal education and training was initially in music education – however, life had other plans and he began his training of organic edible gardening under the teaching of Jimmy Williams, owner of Logan’s Gardens and co-author of “From Seed to Skillet”. Quentin wanted to do more for his South Los Angeles community while teaching and influencing the youth. He found RootDown LA at the perfect time and joined efforts with the organization to change eating habits of the youth in South Los Angeles, one vegetable, one fruit at a time.      “My personal focus is on educating the youth on how easy it is to grow organic urban food in their own space, and the basics of generating wealth by obtaining general knowledge of operating a business.”

 

Quentin’s formal education and training was initially in music education – however, life had other plans and he began his training of organic edible gardening under the teaching of Jimmy Williams, owner of Logan’s Gardens and co-author of “From Seed to Skillet”. Quentin wanted to do more for his South Los Angeles community while teaching and influencing the youth. He found RootDown LA at the perfect time and joined efforts with the organization to change eating habits of the youth in South Los Angeles, one vegetable, one fruit at a time.

“My personal focus is on educating the youth on how easy it is to grow organic urban food in their own space, and the basics of generating wealth by obtaining general knowledge of operating a business.”

Quentin Turner
Farm Manager

 Evelyn joined Root Down LA while in high school and felt it was like joining a second family. After some time off to take care of school, she is now a staff member and culinary apprentice. Evelyn is studying to be an elementary school teacher and Root Down is helping her improve her communication, teaching, and of course cooking skills (which she feels she desperately needs). “ One thing I hope to accomplish in Root Down is to empower youth in South L.A. to become leaders of their community .”

Evelyn joined Root Down LA while in high school and felt it was like joining a second family. After some time off to take care of school, she is now a staff member and culinary apprentice. Evelyn is studying to be an elementary school teacher and Root Down is helping her improve her communication, teaching, and of course cooking skills (which she feels she desperately needs). “One thing I hope to accomplish in Root Down is to empower youth in South L.A. to become leaders of their community.”

Evelyn Orozco
Culinary Apprentice

 Estiven Saravia found Root Down L.A. shortly after moving to South Central.  He first participated in RootDown’s programs to complete community service hours for school, but then stayed on as a regular volunteer. Estiven started in the kitchen but later was called to work in the garden. He feels his work experience as farm apprentice here will lead to other personal and professional opportunities. “ I would like to continue working with Root Down and get a higher position.    My hope with Root Down LA is to be able to become a professional that knows how to maintain gardens and how to help the community with healthy food - grown organically.”

Estiven Saravia found Root Down L.A. shortly after moving to South Central.  He first participated in RootDown’s programs to complete community service hours for school, but then stayed on as a regular volunteer. Estiven started in the kitchen but later was called to work in the garden. He feels his work experience as farm apprentice here will lead to other personal and professional opportunities. “I would like to continue working with Root Down and get a higher position.  My hope with Root Down LA is to be able to become a professional that knows how to maintain gardens and how to help the community with healthy food - grown organically.”

Estiven Saravia
Farm Apprentice


ALUMNI YOUTH LEADERS

 When she was in 8th grade, Jocelyn got dragged along on a RootDown road trip to San Francisco with her older sister, our Horticultural Programs Manager, Karen.  Since then, Jocelyn has graduated from our 13-week horticultural training and now manages the WECAN gardens.

When she was in 8th grade, Jocelyn got dragged along on a RootDown road trip to San Francisco with her older sister, our Horticultural Programs Manager, Karen.  Since then, Jocelyn has graduated from our 13-week horticultural training and now manages the WECAN gardens.

Jocelyn Ramirez
2012 - 2015

 Janelle has moved on to focus on college at Santa Monica College.  Before that, she was helping manage our garden network at our WECAN site.

Janelle has moved on to focus on college at Santa Monica College.  Before that, she was helping manage our garden network at our WECAN site.

Janelle Gutierrez
2012 - 2015

 Elizabeth completed our 13-week horticultural training and found herself sucked into an intern position at our Jefferson High garden where she has been helping increase food production and engage high school students.

Elizabeth completed our 13-week horticultural training and found herself sucked into an intern position at our Jefferson High garden where she has been helping increase food production and engage high school students.

Elizabeth Serrano
2012 - 2015

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Vanessa Lopez
2012 - 2015

 Johnny started off training in RootDown’s culinary programs and later fell in love with plants after taking Larry Santoyo’s permaculture course. He says, “Growing up in an area where there are more liquor stores then healthy food options, made me want to make a change. Growing healthier food for our community helps us eat healthier.”

Johnny started off training in RootDown’s culinary programs and later fell in love with plants after taking Larry Santoyo’s permaculture course. He says, “Growing up in an area where there are more liquor stores then healthy food options, made me want to make a change. Growing healthier food for our community helps us eat healthier.”

Jonathan Galindez
2010 - 2015

 Andres started cooking with RootDown in high school, and now runs our culinary programs, teaching other kids how to make the veggies we grow taste better.  Andres is in culinary school and is raising his own daughter on the healthy foods he helps harvest and preserve from our gardens.

Andres started cooking with RootDown in high school, and now runs our culinary programs, teaching other kids how to make the veggies we grow taste better.  Andres is in culinary school and is raising his own daughter on the healthy foods he helps harvest and preserve from our gardens.

Andres Chopin
2010 - 2015

 Ana was a participant in RootDown’s earliest programs, then returned to work with us after starting college.  Ana encouraged us to start working with younger kids in the community and is now a parent herself.  Driven by a diabetes diagnosis, Ana’s extended family started making dietary changes which she says are much easier to make thanks to what she’s taught them.

Ana was a participant in RootDown’s earliest programs, then returned to work with us after starting college.  Ana encouraged us to start working with younger kids in the community and is now a parent herself.  Driven by a diabetes diagnosis, Ana’s extended family started making dietary changes which she says are much easier to make thanks to what she’s taught them.

Ana Torres
2012 - 2017

 

FOUNDER + CO FOUNDER

 
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Katy Atkiss
Founder

 Megan has been working to UNdo all the convoluted nutrition ed. and food marketing information that’s been confusing and frustrating eaters for decades.  She is looking forward to the day when a generation of youth completely undermines the industrial food system when they start spending all their food dollars on healthy local food businesses they run.

Megan has been working to UNdo all the convoluted nutrition ed. and food marketing information that’s been confusing and frustrating eaters for decades.  She is looking forward to the day when a generation of youth completely undermines the industrial food system when they start spending all their food dollars on healthy local food businesses they run.

Megan Hanson
Founder

 

ADVISORY BOARD

 Megan has been working to UNdo all the convoluted nutrition ed. and food marketing information that’s been confusing and frustrating eaters for decades.  She is looking forward to the day when a generation of youth completely undermines the industrial food system when they start spending all their food dollars on healthy local food businesses they run.

Megan has been working to UNdo all the convoluted nutrition ed. and food marketing information that’s been confusing and frustrating eaters for decades.  She is looking forward to the day when a generation of youth completely undermines the industrial food system when they start spending all their food dollars on healthy local food businesses they run.

Megan Hanson
Founder

 Corinna is the creative force behind RootDown’s design needs and is taking on a lead role in helping to shape RootDown’s partnership programs.  Trained as an architect in Germany, Australia and the USA, Corinna’s background is in spatial design and planning with a focus on the interrelations between built and natural environment.

Corinna is the creative force behind RootDown’s design needs and is taking on a lead role in helping to shape RootDown’s partnership programs.  Trained as an architect in Germany, Australia and the USA, Corinna’s background is in spatial design and planning with a focus on the interrelations between built and natural environment.

Corinna Gebert
Board Member

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Erin Tanenbaum
Board Member

 Monique and RootDown LA go together like peas and carrots. Both were molded by the city, love getting their hands dirty, and snack on veggies daily. Monique brings with her 8 years of non-profit experience in human services. She is elated at the opportunity to support South LA’s sustainability efforts.

Monique and RootDown LA go together like peas and carrots. Both were molded by the city, love getting their hands dirty, and snack on veggies daily. Monique brings with her 8 years of non-profit experience in human services. She is elated at the opportunity to support South LA’s sustainability efforts.

Monique Figuereido
Board Member

 Johnny started off training in RootDown’s culinary programs and later fell in love with plants after taking Larry Santoyo’s permaculture course. He says, “Growing up in an area where there are more liquor stores then healthy food options, made me want to make a change. Growing healthier food for our community helps us eat healthier.”

Johnny started off training in RootDown’s culinary programs and later fell in love with plants after taking Larry Santoyo’s permaculture course. He says, “Growing up in an area where there are more liquor stores then healthy food options, made me want to make a change. Growing healthier food for our community helps us eat healthier.”

Jonathan Galindez
Board Member

 When she was in 8th grade, Jocelyn got dragged along on a RootDown road trip to San Francisco with her older sister, our Horticultural Programs Manager, Karen.  Since then, Jocelyn has graduated from our 13-week horticultural training and now manages the WECAN gardens.

When she was in 8th grade, Jocelyn got dragged along on a RootDown road trip to San Francisco with her older sister, our Horticultural Programs Manager, Karen.  Since then, Jocelyn has graduated from our 13-week horticultural training and now manages the WECAN gardens.

Jocelyn Ramirez
Board Member

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Veronica Vega
Board Member

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Maria I. Morales
Board Member

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Jorge Nuno
Board Member

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Augustin Cervantes
Board Member