MEET THE STAFF

The Rev. Nicole Janelle, Executive Director

Nicole is an Episcopal priest with more than 10 years of experience in program planning, leadership development and organizational management. In her work as Executive Director, Nicole oversees and supports the operation and growth of the diverse educational, youth development, farming and faith ministries of The Abundant Table. She comes to The Abundant Table following eight years as vicar and chaplain of St. Michael’s University Church in Isla Vista, CA, where her work focused on young adult spiritual development, food access initiatives for university students and other social justice issues within the community. Previously, Nicole served as assistant rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Los Angeles, where she led the congregation in the creation of an onsite community garden and developed exercise, nutrition and spiritual formation programs for the Spanish-speaking community. Nicole is passionate about exploring the intersection of food, faith, community, spiritual practice, action and contemplation. As a part of her commitment to issues of gender parity and social justice, she is a member of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship. In her free time, Nicole enjoys spending time with her partner Jake and young daughter Anaïs, cooking creatively with the contents of her CSA box, exploring Ventura County’s natural beauty and contemplating deep and complex questions in community.

Nicole earned a bachelors of arts in history and religion at Northwestern University and completed her M.Div at Union Theological Seminary (NYC). The recent recipient of a coveted academic fellowship from the Episcopal Church Foundation, she is currently an masters of public health candidate at the University of California, Berkeley.

 

 

Sarah

Sarah Nolan, Director of Programs & Community Partnerships

Sarah Nolan has worked in both the sustainable agriculture and non-profit sectors for almost 10 years and is a founding member of two different small to mid-size farms in Southern California; one a worker-owner cooperative and the other, The Abundant Table’s not-for-profit educational farm. In her capacity as Director of Programs and Community Partnerships at the Abundant Table, Sarah provides overall vision, leadership and management of the young adult internship program, the Campus Ministry at California State University, Channel Islands and our small-scale diversified farm operations, including growing, packing, direct marketing, distribution, permits, and finances. In addition to her faith-rooted and farm-based activities, she actively participates in multiple regional and statewide networks, including the California Regional Food Hub Network, the Los Angeles Food Policy Council “food systems” working group, and the Ventura County Farm to School Collaborative. She serves on the steering committee for the California State Farm to School Network and in July 2014 was awarded a prestigious 2-year Environmental Stewardship Fellowship through the National Episcopal Church for her sustainable agriculture and farm to faith work. Sarah earned a double bachelors of arts in philosophy and theology from Azusa Pacific University and recently completed a graduate degree in ministry, leadership and service at Claremont School of Theology.

 

Erynn
Erynn Smith,
Director of Farm Education

Erynn is a Ventura county native who grew up eating Oxnard’s strawberries and lima beans.  Erynn has been in the youth development and agricultural fields for nearly 10 years.  Previously she taught for two years in a bilingual elementary school in Cuenca, Ecuador through the Centro de Estudios Inter-Americanos where she grew her passion for bilingual education, local produce, and native medicinal plant remedies.  Prior to teaching abroad she was a counselor at the Boys and Girls Club of Camarillo, working directly with youth. Erynn joined The Abundant Table in 2009 as a farm intern and for the past six years has grown the farm education program and the farm’s experiential learning opportunities. As Director of Farm Education, Erynn provides agricultural and nutrition education to youth in the classroom and on the farm to promote the good work of growing healthy food, healthy farm systems, and healthy community.  She also is a consultant Nutrition Specialist for the El Rio and Hueneme School Districts in Oxnard, is a member of the Ventura County Farm to School Collaborative and the Ventura chapter of the Ag Futures Alliance. To enhance her farm education curriculum, she studies local, native plants and their medicinal and ecologically beneficial properties and in 2014 completed a farm education training and farm stay at Shelbourne Farms, Vermont – the nation’s leading educational farm for sustainable agriculture and conservation. She earned her bachelors of art in journalism from the University of Southern California and holds a Bilingual Cross-cultural Language and Academic Development (B.C.L.A.D) teaching credential for Spanish from the California State University Channel Islands.

 

 Farm Team

Reyna

 

Reyna Ortega, Production Manager

Reyna hails from the Districto Federal in Mexico and has farming in her blood.  Her paternal grandfather cultivated corn (maize) and watermelon (sandia) in the fertile grounds of Mexico before her family moved to the capital city.  Reyna immigrated to the United States when she was 14 years old and found herself in the fields picking produce for commercial growers in Oxnard at this young age.  She left commercial growing and joined our small diversified farm four years ago and is instrumental in ensuring responsible stewardship of the land while growing and harvesting our produce for our CSA, retail and school district sales. Reyna is a passionate advocate for farm worker rights and dignity and frequently speaks publicly on the issue, including at the 2014 Social Justice Fund’s Currents of Change event.  She won the 2014 Pacific Coast Business Times Latino Business Award in Agriculture and was recently highlighted as a featured farmer in the SEE-AG Grower’s Spotlight (May 2014) and the 2014 Farm to Fork fundraiser event for the Ag Futures Alliance Farm Worker Housing Task Force to promote better housing for Ventura County farm workers. In addition to being a capable production manager for Join the Farm!, she is a mother of four young girls, who benefit from her work to produce carrots and lettuce for their school districts in Oxnard.

 

 

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Jeannette Ban, Farm Fellow

Jeannette Ban is a second year Join the Farm! Fellow and brings a foundational scientific understanding of sustainable agriculture to The Abundant Table’s Farm Team. In her capacity as Fellow she coordinates our farm-to-school, farm to retail and farm stand produce sales, develops the crop rotation and soil fertility plans, and is the editor of the weekly CSA newsletter. She is an alumna of both the Episcopal Service Corps program, during which time she was placed within The Abundant Table, and the Oakgrove Camp, a program of the Wildwoods Foundation, where she served as a both a counselor and volunteer.  Previously Jeannette was an administrative specialist at UCLA Health and she completed a service-learning project in Calcutta, India with the Connexion program where she gained valuable insights to prepare her to work towards poverty alleviation and across cultural and linguistic barriers. Jeannette earned a bachelors of arts in political economy and sustainable agriculture from The Evergreen State College in Washington.

 

amy

Amy Grossman, MPH, Development Consultant

Amy is a public health professional with more than 10 years of domestic and international nonprofit experience. She brings to The Abundant Table skills in nonprofit communications, new business development, and program monitoring and evaluation from her work in such diverse settings as Mexico, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Northern California. Most recently Amy served as the Director of Communications and Development at VSI, a global women’s health organization where she launched their website and brand strategy, diversified their funding stream, and published several articles on community-based approaches for safe motherhood and family planning for sustainable conservation. In Northern California, Amy was a public health consultant, with clients such as the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services and the Population Council and prior to that she worked for the nonprofit organization, Community Violence Solutions, where she provided school- and community-based violence prevention education to youth, women’s groups and the Spanish-speaking migrant communities in Contra Costa and Marin Counties. She is also a mother of Ventura Unified School District children, an avid organic gardener, and member of the Ventura Botanical Gardens. Amy earned her bachelors of science in biology at the University of California, San Diego and a masters in public health in maternal and child health at the University of California, Berkeley.

 

Angela Schultz, Community Organizer

Angela is a second year Fellow with The Abundant Table and serves as the Community Organizer at our sister site, Community Roots Garden.  In this capacity she is responsible for garden site management and public relations and leading its community garden education programs, distributing harvests to the community, coordinating and growing the Garden’s volunteer pool, and managing the garden plot planning and plantings to reflect the food and growing traditions and needs of the predominantly Latino community.  Angela is a graduate of both Azusa Pacific University and The Abundant Table Episcopal Service Corp Internship program and when not in the garden, can be found keeping bees at Be the Bee Apiary in Ojai.

 

Guadalupe Rojas, Field Manager, Seasonal

 

 

 

 

 

 

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