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Ceres Staff


LEADERSHIP TEAM

Cathryn Couch

Executive Director

Cathryn Couch is an entrepreneur, chef and activist committed to creating healthy, just and sustainable communities. She has worked in the corporate and non-profit worlds, including four years as Director of Communications for The Hunger Project’s US operations from 1987 to 1991. From 1993 to 2003 she founded and ran one of the first gourmet organic and vegetarian home delivered meal services.

She launched Ceres Community Project in 2007 as a one day a week volunteer project. Awards for her work include: CNN Hero (2016); California Northwest Red Cross Real Hero Award (2015); finalist for the James Irvine Leadership Award (2015); Leader in Sustainability Award from the Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy (2013); Silver Jefferson Award for Public Service (2012); national finalist for The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Community Health Leaders Award, and the Nonprofit Leadership Award (2012).

Cathryn is a founding member of the Sonoma County Food System Alliance and a founding board member for Meals on Wheels California, a coalition of meal service providers. She also sits on the national Food Is Medicine Coalition. Cathryn received her M.B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1980 where she was also nominated for a Rhodes Scholarship.

 

Margaret Howe

Associate Director

Margaret Howe is a community and peace activist. The Ceres Community Project brings together her passion for creating a more humane just world through compassion, people power and action. She has worked on peace, human rights, demilitarization, community organizing, and local food issues for many years. She loves bringing people together in creative projects like Ceres, and especially likes seeing a spark in kids when they are contributing to their world.

 

Jake Blehm

Administration Director

Jake comes to Ceres with extensive experience from both the for-profit and non-profit sectors with demonstrated knowledge and abilities in agricultural production and marketing, general business and operations management as well as leadership and organizational development. He has significant experience in international agricultural program development and management, including volunteer work with organizations such as Winrock International and ACDI/VOCA. He has been involved for over 25 years in agricultural consulting concentrating in sustainable and organic systems. Previous to Ceres, Jake’s non-profit experience included Assistant Executive Director at Ecology Action, Director of Operations at the Rodale Institute and Director of Programs at the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation, of which he is an alumni fellow. He holds an MBA from California Lutheran University and a B.S. in Agricultural Business from Colorado State University. He loves hiking the Sierra and international travel, having so far visited over 60 countries for business, education and service-learning experience.

 

Scott McDougall

Development Director

Scott has over nineteen years experience in the nonprofit world, working for organizations as diverse as the Urasenke Foundation of San Francisco, Strybing Arboretum, and the San Francisco Zen Center where he was the Director of Annual Giving for seven years before coming to Ceres. In addition to his nonprofit work, Scott has been teaching the Japanese art of chanoyu for over twenty-five years at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center and other venues. Scott is a passionate advocate for the transformative power of compassion, community, food, gardening and art.

 

Deborah Ramelli

Communications Director

Deborah is grateful to be involved in an organization that speaks so directly to her life's passions: food, well-being, community and kids. She has a diverse background which includes working for corporations and not-for-profits in addition to running her own small business. Deborah holds a BA in Political Science, is a yoga teacher, and a Nutrition Educator. She is also an enthusiastic gardener and cook, and loves bringing people together over a table of great, healthy food.

 


CERES STAFF

Caroline Bañuelos

Volunteer Relations Manager

Caroline comes to Ceres with many years of experience as a Volunteer Manager who has a great love and appreciation for volunteers and volunteerism. With a B.A. in Political Science from SSU, Caroline is a community volunteer herself; participating on many boards and commissions including serving four years as Santa Rosa Planning Commissioner; she is Co-Chair of Santa Rosa Cinco de Mayo in Roseland which just completed its 8th successful year. Caroline has an extensive background with nonprofits including serving on the boards of SAY (Social Advocates for Youth); Community Support Network and currently on the M.O.V.E.S. (Minimizing Occurrences of Violence in Everyday Society) Board of Directors. Caroline is also a 2006 Fellow of the Leadership Institute for the Ecology and the Economy. A native of Los Angeles; Caroline has been in Sonoma County for almost 30 years; working on issues of Social Justice in her spare time as well as enjoying a strong commitment to health and fitness.

 

Cole Bendinelli

Café Manager

Cole has been passionate about food his entire life. As a graduate from the Santa Rosa Junior College Culinary program in 2005, he has worked in kitchens all over Sonoma and Santa Cruz counties. He double-majored in Sociology and Latin American and Latino Studies from the University of Santa Cruz, California with Deans and Chancellors highest honors in 2012 and has been pursuing nonprofit work ever since. He has led teens on empowering reforestation adventures to Ecuador, worked to implement and sustain school gardens in low income communities in Santa Cruz county, and catered nonprofit fundraising events with teenage volunteers here in Sonoma County. He feels that Ceres is a culmination of all the work he is passionate about: food, health, nutrition, and empowering future generations.

 

Cindy Berrios

Client Care Coordinator

Cindy is a clinical social worker with over ten years experience in the social services and non-profit sectors. She is a bilingual/bicultural California native who spent fifteen years living on the east coast before returning to her home state.She holds a B.A. in Political Science and French from Gettysburg College and an MSW from Temple University.

Before joining Ceres, Cindy worked for a domestic violence organization in Philadelphia that operated the largest emergency shelter in the state of Pennsylvania for women and children fleeing abuse in the home. While there, she oversaw the delivery of psychotherapy services to emergency shelter residents and supervised graduate student interns and Master’s level clinicians. She also maintained a small, private psychotherapy practice.

Cindy is passionate about social justice and has spent her career advocating for disadvantaged populations. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Community Free Clinic in Santa Rosa. She joined Ceres Community Project because she believes that all people should have access to healthy, nutritious meals regardless of resources and fully subscribes to the belief that food is medicine. In her spare time, Cindy enjoys spending time in nature with her husband and dog, traveling domestically and abroad, volunteering with the Sonoma Humane Society, cooking nutritious, locally sourced meals, exercising and practicing yoga and meditation. She’s also a big fan of kale.

 

Jeff Brody

Senior Accountant

After honing his skills in the world of business and commerce, Jeff is thrilled to find a home, doing work that matters. Love for the planet, work in a local food kitchen, and parenting his teenagers make Ceres a beautiful fit. In addition to working in the corporate world, Jeff has had an independent tax practice, working with small businesses and not-for-profits. Jeff is a Certified Public Accountant, a friend to animals, and a practitioner of hope.

 

David Cook

Associate Chef

David sees the world through real food. He has worked in food services in some form since 1975. Traveling and exploring a majority of the USA and gathering a true love for cooking, his path led him eventually to the California Culinary Academy and the "80s" Bay Area food revolution. At Hayes Street Grill, he regularly worked alongside the founding chefs of Square One, Zuni and Chez Panisse.

David made seafood his passion and developed a personal business teaching and consulting. Fishtales centers on sustainable practices and conservation of our Pacific fisheries, and is also the name of the weekly radio talk show he does on KWMR in Pt Reyes Station. His work as a chef includes stints at Skywalker Ranch for Lucas Film, and the Robert Mondavi Winery. David is an owner of the Coast Cafe in Bolinas. A long-time resident of West Marin, David has taught middle school cooking classes and developed community pop-up dinners with a sliding scale price to make them accessible to anyone.

A former Sea Kayak instructor and guide, David feels best near an ocean and absolutely believes that it`s all in the sauce, and it`s always about LOVE. “Grateful and fortunate” are the words that describe best his feeling of being on the staff of Ceres.

 

Nan Costales

Catering Program Manager

Nan brings enthusiasm, gratitude and a 30 year career in art and food to her role as Ceres’ Catering Manager. She delights in translating Sonoma County’s local organic bounty into delicious and nourishing bites for every occasion while supporting Ceres’ youth in gaining job and life skill. Her extensive background includes organizing concert series at the Smithsonian, food styling for Williams Sonoma, running the Arts in the Parks program in San Francisco, and a varied seven year stint with Whole Foods Market. It all started with a childhood passion for food that she’s still exploring. Nan’s wealth of experience translates into seamlessly executed events with delicious and beautifully presented food.

 

Linda Dovbish

Project Manager, San Rafael

Linda comes to Ceres San Rafael Program from a diverse background in both the non-profit and corporate worlds. With over 18 years of event & project management, Linda feels blessed to be using her skills toward the Ceres Mission. Linda has volunteered with such organizations as the local food banks, Project Open Hand and the Yes! Foundation that supports the arts in schools. Due to a health scare in her family, and a curiosity about holistic health, Linda became a certified Nutrition Educator from Bauman college and has continued to feel satisfaction in passing the word that 'food is medicine' and is crucial in preventative health and vital in supporting recovery. She feels blessed to be serving Marin County, a community she has lived in for many years and cares deeply about. Other personal passions include travel, hiking, exploring new places with her children, and enjoying time with family and friends.

 

Julie Foley

Development Associate
& Event Manager


Julie is grateful to share her passion for gardening, cooking and caring for the community she dearly loves through her work at Ceres. Julie, her husband and two teenage children have lived in the Sebastopol area for 20 years. She was initially involved with Ceres through Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery, her previous employer and one of Ceres’ community partners. Her high-end catering and event management experience and her excellent administration skills will serve Ceres as we continue to grow.

Julie is on the steering committee for the Sustainable Enterprise Conference and works to harness the power of local collaborative movements to better the community. Julie received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from St. Norbert College in DePere, Wisconsin.

 

Lee Foster

Santa Rosa Garden Coordinator

Bio coming soon.

 

Tina Green

Program Manager & Chef, Santa Rosa

Tina Green is passionate about growing and cooking food. A certified natural chef and life coach, she is committed to teaching and empowering others—especially children and their parents—to make healthy food choices and meals. Tina also brings to Ceres 12 years of experience running large-scale financial technology projects. She is deeply committed to the Ceres mission and thrilled to dedicate her passion, skills and expertise to making a positive impact on our community and our world. Tina lives with her husband and two daughters in Sebastopol, California.

 

Lili Gunter

Client Manager

Lili Gunter comes to Ceres with 17 years of Medical Social Work experience and a M.S.W. from Portland State University in Oregon. She relocated to Sebastopol from her beloved Pacific Northwest where she was the Community Liaison for hospice. Lili has a deep love and appreciation for the outdoors, including camping, hiking and gardening. She is thrilled to be a part of the Ceres Community Project where she can cultivate and share her passion for food and nutrition, while following her life mission to provide compassionate support to people experiencing a life challenging illness or health crisis. "Joining the Ceres Community Project is such a privilege. I feel absolutely blessed to be a member of such a visionary team and dynamic community".

 

Thais Harris, NC

Nutrition Education Manager

Thais believes whole foods have a tremendous power to heal and connect people with a sense of themselves and with the world around them, and is thrilled to share this belief with the Ceres community. Her passion for food has travelled with her from Brazil, where she is originally from, and where she studied International Affairs. In the US, Thais studied Ecological Footprint at CIIS (with a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies), Healing Through Foods with Michelle Vesser at OAEC, and received her certification as a Holistic Nutrition Consultant from Bauman College. Thais is the co-founder of Nourish Together, in which she and her husband, licensed psychotherapist Peter Sholley, help couples achieve health goals together while improving their relationship.

 

Lindsay Katz

Associate Chef

Bio coming soon.

 

John Littlewood

Executive Chef & Kitchen
Program Manager, Sebastopol


Chef John Littlewood has been working in kitchens for over 30 years. Educated at the California Culinary Academy, John has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants in France, luxury hotels in the Caribbean, on sailboats and in private homes, and has also taught cooking in the California Gold Country. Chef John’s work has been featured in Bon Appétit and Cooking Light magazines, and he has demonstrated his recipes at wineries and special events such as the Chefs’ holidays at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park. His first book, Celebrating the Seasons at Westerbeke Ranch, was published in 2006. John lives in Santa Rosa, California.

 

Analise Lofaro

Associate Chef

Analise’s passion for food is deeply rooted in her Italian family, whose focus has always been cooking and eating delicious, local, seasonal meals together. She grew up with the belief and understanding that eating healthfully creates happiness and it has always been her intention to expand her community by sharing that belief with others. In 2010, Analise attended Bauman College in Berkeley Ca, where she gained a deeper knowledge of diverse nutrition and learned to meal plan around illness and wellness. After graduating from Bauman College, Analise became inspired to combine her traditional cooking background with a holistic influence and applied it to the next 7 years of being a holistic private chef.

At Ceres, Analise continues to apply her experience of prevention by educating young people with knowledge and respectful ways to promote healthy living. Analise was seeking a new opportunity to share her passion and dedication to health and the environment with her community and she found it!

 

Rosa Lubin-Molina

Program Assistant & Youth Coordinator
(Ceres Teen Chef Alum)

Rosa’s passion for working with youth and her community began at a young age – from being a local summer camp counselor to volunteering at Ceres and becoming a Teen Leader. Rosa is excited to rejoin Ceres on staff as the Program Assistant and Youth Program Coordinator for the Santa Rosa and Marin sites. She returns to Ceres, after earning a BA in Cultural Anthropology and Education at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

For the past 5 years, Rosa has worked with youth inside and outside of schools in various academic enrichment programs, literacy projects, and community organizations. While at UCSC, Rosa also chaired a branch of a national student group, completed project-based internships in local classrooms, and worked as an education specialist for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Cruz County. From the North Bay to the Monterey Bay, Rosa brings her passion for education, social justice, the arts, and diversity to the work she does.

 

Diego Maldonado

Café Chef
(Ceres Teen Chef Alum)

Bio coming soon.

 

Sara McCamant

Garden & Youth Program
Manager, Sebastopol


With over 25 years of experience, Sara specializes in connecting gardens with kitchens and creating gardens that are educational, beautiful and productive. Sara ran the gardens at the Shenoa Retreat Center and the Boonville Hotel and is a local food activist who founded the West County Seed Bank and is active with iGROW Sonoma and Transition Sebastopol. When she left her last garden at Lynmar Estate Sara knew it was time to make one of her dreams come true. She approached Ceres and said "I'm ready to start the Ceres Garden". A few weeks later the land and initial funding came together and the vision was planted.

 

Meg Mizutani

Program Assistant

Although she was born and raised in Japan, Meg considers Sebastopol her hometown and has been active in the community since she moved to Sebastopol in 1996. With her background in counseling, social work, education, and community activism, she feels passionate about what Ceres strives for: youth empowerment, civic engagement, and client advocacy. She particularly enjoys the community building aspect of Ceres and is thrilled to be part of the Ceres team.

She holds a BA in International Relations from Sophia University in Japan and a MS in Educational Psychology from Cal State, East Bay. Her previous work experience includes global finance in Tokyo, London, and New York.

Meg is an advocate of citizen diplomacy. She organizes and leads cultural exchange groups for youths between Sebastopol and its sister city Takeo, Japan. She also teaches Japanese language, culture and taiko drumming in the community. Meg’s other non-profit experiences include Sebastopol Education Foundation, Sonoma County Matsuri Festival, Japanese American Citizens League, and Sister Cities International.

 

Paula Randall

Grants Manager

Paula has extensive experience in the nonprofit world, working in program development and direction, volunteer management, communications and fundraising particularly in the behavioral, mental and physical health and health education fields. Her belief in the power of wellness and health advocacy by individuals, organizations and communities started with work at the Free Clinic of Tucson and a personal health crisis resolved by healthful food, herbs, acupuncture and visualizations.

She has raised nearly $10,000,000 from grants as a staff member and a grants consultant with a number of organizations. Paula serves on Development Executives Roundtable’s (DER) Board of Directors, including as co-chair of DER’s Grantseekers Anxiety Support Group. She has been active in the women’s movement, the National Writers Union, Witness for Peace/central American solidarity, and other peace and justice organizations.

Paula holds MA’s in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan/Ann Arbor and in Library and Information Systems/Community Information from the University of Toledo. A native of Montana, Paula has lived in San Francisco for 13 years. Her passions include hiking, art and cooking.

 

Emily Repech

Volunteer Coordinator

Bio coming soon.

 

Gabriella Salomon

Associate Chef & Teen Program
Administrator, Sebastopol


Gabriella came to Ceres with a steadfast mission to “volunteer until they hire me”. Her enthusiasm and passion were palpable and she quickly made her way onto the Ceres staff. Gabriella feels truly blessed to be working with such a dynamic organization that brings together her love of food and her hunger to create positive social change in powerful and meaningful ways. Her greatest hope is that she is making a difference and helping to empower the next generation of leaders.

Gabriella started her food career after getting typhoid fever in Mexico, which sent her on a healing journey in Hawaii where she lived at a Naturopathic retreat and learned about Raw Foods. This led her to the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Patagonia, Arizona to apprentice as a “Spiritual Live Foods Instructor” under Gabriel Cousens. With her culinary skills rooted in the principles of “food is medicine” she joined the La Vie Pure Foods Collective in Santa Cruz and developed her business, Raw Mama. After some years working the farmers’ market scene in the South Bay, Gabriella took at job working with the Metabolic Studio in Los Angeles, where she was part of a team helping to rehabilitate Veterans through job training and healing food. Eventually she made her way back up to Santa Cruz to expand her culinary skill set by completing the Natural Chef Program at Bauman College. From there she worked for a nonprofit dedicated to teaching kids about healthy food and nutrition. Right before making the move up to Sebastopol, she volunteered with Ceres Affiliate Partner, the Teen Kitchen Project, which is how she learned about Ceres.

In her spare time, Gabriella loves to gather with friends over beautiful food, music and dance, adventure in nature, travel, craft, and is cultivating her green thumb.

 

Julie Stuffelbeam

Kitchen & Delivery Manager, Sebastopol

Julie's interest in nutrition, food and herbs has been an evolving journey. Beginning with organizing food coops in the midwest to feed her family healthy organic food, she moved through being a vegetarian and vegan to now learning about traditional diets that include fermented foods, sprouted grains and organ meats. It's been quite a journey. She brings her love of learning about food and her organizational skills to the job of Kitchen Manager for the Ceres Project.

 

Kim Stuffelbeam

Creative Director

Kim Stuffelbeam has a diverse background in graphics and advertising. He started his creative career at a book publisher in Chicago, moving on to work in design and advertising agencies and eventually teaming up with a writer and starting his own freelance business. Moving to California in 1988, he continued freelancing along with working for a small record company in Petaluma. Then for something completely different, Kim invented a toy in 1998 and began manufacturing and selling the BeamO Flying Hoop. Along the way, he met Jeff and Cathryn and worked with them on several freelance projects. When Cathryn was starting up the Ceres Project, Kim helped with some of the initial graphic and web design work. As Cathryn's vision grows and touches so many in our community, Kim is honored to be able to help tell this amazing Ceres Community Project story.

 

Nadine Suto

Development Associate and Database Manager

Nadine has enjoyed many years volunteering and working with schools and nonprofits. As a breast cancer survivor, the mission of Ceres speaks to her heart, having experienced what is like to receive nourishing meals made by friends throughout her illness. Upon finishing chemotherapy and radiation in 2013, she enrolled at SF State to complete a program in Nonprofit Management, and has since worked with several local nonprofits in fundraising, organization, and data management to help support their missions.

Prior to this, she worked for 15 years in the software industry. Her educational path includes a BS in Instructional Technology from Cal State Long Beach, and an MS in Educational Psychology and Technology from USC

 

Nicole Warner

Marketing & Design Associate

Nicole is a graphic designer with a passion for marketing. Originally from Southern California, she has resided in Sonoma County since 2013. Nicole graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication and has continued her education in graphic design and web development. She is an ardent supporter of human rights and has a love for fine art and mass media. She is thrilled to work at Ceres, an organization whose values she wholly stands behind.

 


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