MEET OUR TEAM

 Meet our youth staff and interns, advisory board members, directors, and volunteers who are working hard to inspire and empower local youth to be food leaders in their South Los Angeles neighborhoods. 

 

YOUTH LEADERSHIP

Karen grew up in South LA and came to RootDown looking for a way to give back to her community. Today, she’s a mother herself; she uses the food we grow to feed her family and is teaching herself to use our herbs in place of certain medications. 

Karen grew up in South LA and came to RootDown looking for a way to give back to her community. Today, she’s a mother herself; she uses the food we grow to feed her family and is teaching herself to use our herbs in place of certain medications. 

Karen Ramirez I Programs Manager

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 I Chief Culinary Instructor

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 I Food Production Team Member

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 I  Programs Coordinator

 

YOUTH INTERNS

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

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

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

 

DIRECTORS & MANAGERS

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 I Co-Founder, Executive Director

Loretta Allison Food Production Team Manager

 

ADVISORY BOARD

Jennie wants to get people eating healthier food – whatever that takes. A member of Slow Food, the Chef’s Collaborative and the International Catering Association,Jennie is a self taught chef and mother, often using eccentric and unconventional methods in child rearing, education and sautéing.

Jennie wants to get people eating healthier food – whatever that takes. A member of Slow Food, the Chef’s Collaborative and the International Catering Association,Jennie is a self taught chef and mother, often using eccentric and unconventional methods in child rearing, education and sautéing.

Jennie Cook I Board Chair/Jennie Cook's Catering

Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, Michel brings to RootDown an impressive array of legal, educational, and, business skills and talents.  Through her own organization, the WECAN Foundation, Michel serves her community by working on a grass-roots level to provide access to educational and economic opportunities for all residents.

Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, Michel brings to RootDown an impressive array of legal, educational, and, business skills and talents.  Through her own organization, the WECAN Foundation, Michel serves her community by working on a grass-roots level to provide access to educational and economic opportunities for all residents.

Michel McLaughlin I Board Member/Executive Director, WECAN

Hannah is a transplanted Ohioan, via Chicago. She has worked extensively with LAUSD inner-city schools promoting school reform and innovation. Her work has been defined by a commitment to inquiry and the empowerment and support of individuals, young people and adults to define their own engagement and definition.  

Hannah is a transplanted Ohioan, via Chicago. She has worked extensively with LAUSD inner-city schools promoting school reform and innovation. Her work has been defined by a commitment to inquiry and the empowerment and support of individuals, young people and adults to define their own engagement and definition.  

Hannah MacLaren I Advisory Board Member

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.  

Corina Gebert I Advisory Board Member

Jeff has had a longtime interest in health, food, and education. He says, "I was thrilled to provide early support to Megan when she was invited to go cook with some kids in South Los Angeles. It's been exciting to watch the organization grow in depth, breadth, and reach ever since."

Jeff has had a longtime interest in health, food, and education. He says,
"I was thrilled to provide early support to Megan when she was invited to go cook with some kids in South Los Angeles. It's been exciting to watch the organization grow in depth, breadth, and reach ever since."

Jeff Javits I Advisory Board Member