TOP
|  HOME  |  BACK  ||

Ceres Staff

LEADERSHIP TEAM

Cathryn Couch

Chief Executive Officer

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, a founding member and Vice Chair for the California Food is Medicine Coalition, and sits on the leadership team for Hearts of Sonoma County, a clinical-community collaborative working to prevent heart attacks and stroke. Ceres also participates on the Marin Food Now collaborative, the national Food is Medicine Coalition and The Root Cause Coalition. Cathryn received her M.B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1980.

 

Jenny Belforte

Chief Operating Officer

A Bay Area native, Jenny Belforte comes to Ceres after a long career in public health. Most recently, Jenny worked with hospitals, health systems, public health departments and large collaboratives to further their community health improvement work. Additionally, she assisted hospitals and health systems with completing their Affordable Care Act requirements of Community Health Needs Assessments and Implementation Strategies, most notably with the Healthcare Association of Hawaii for two cycles of reports. Before this, Jenny worked in “guerilla” public health programs such as needle exchanges and brought health screenings to underserved communities via mobile clinics.

Ceres is an organization close to Jenny’s heart. In March 2017, Jenny was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. She was told about Ceres by her breast care coordinator and signed up for meals right away. Week after week, she felt supported by her community, overwhelmed by the love and care put into the food by strangers. Wanting to give back, her teen sons have both worked in the kitchen as chefs. Jenny is thrilled to be here, serving her community and helping to drive important Food Is Medicine policy work.

Jenny received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master of Public Health in Community Health Sciences from the University of California, Los Angeles. She performed her public health internship at CDC in Atlanta, GA in the Division of Epidemiology.

 

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.

 

Tina Green

Program Director

Tina Green started at Ceres as a volunteer kitchen mentor in 2013, and she came on to staff in 2014 as an Associate Chef & Teen Program Coordinator at Ceres’ Sebastopol site. In 2016, she opened Ceres’ now-thriving Santa Rosa site and served as the Chef and Program Manager. In 2018, she began to also oversee Ceres' San Rafael site, adding structure and consistency to prepare for growth. Over her time at Ceres, Tina has been deeply involved with all of Ceres’ program sites as well as holding relationships with many youth and adult volunteers along the way. Tina brings to Ceres a Natural Chef certification from Bauman College and 12 years of experience running large-scale financial technology projects as a Managing Director of BlackRock. In her role as Program Director, Tina joyfully brings all this skill and knowledge together to oversee Ceres Healing Meals and Youth Programs.

Tina believes that food is a great catalyst to bring people together, and she is passionate about building community, teaching and empowering others using this principle. 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.

 


CERES STAFF

Sally Carlile

Community Outreach &
Development Manager, San Rafael


A 21-year resident of Marin County, Sally came to Ceres on the recommendation of a friend who survived breast cancer. “In addition to cooking healthy foods for those facing illnesses, what really inspires me about Ceres' mission is the Teen Chef program. As a parent of teens, I can think of nothing more important than learning that your good work can positively impact your community.” With 18 years experience in sales and marketing for global companies like Patagonia, RayBan, and Maui Jim sunglasses, she nonetheless considers her most satisfying work - up until joining Ceres - to be fundraising for local public schools and being the seamstress and costume designer for her children’s class plays.  She has a MBA in International Marketing, is a UC Master Gardner, and holds an 8th degree black belt in Kung Fu.

 

Lindsay Challoner

Site Manager & Associate Chef, Santa Rosa

Bio Coming Soon

 

Evie Facendini

Grants Manager

After more than a decade as a corporate instructional designer, Evie found herself on a mission to change her work life and apply her skills as a writer to something more meaningful, so she set out to become a grant writer. Her work in the nonprofit arena began when her intention manifested into a position at a local hunger-relief organization. After three successful, learning-packed years, the stars re-aligned and she made her way to Ceres Community Project. Evie is excited to be part of a caring, heart-centered group committed to creating healthy communities for all.

Outside of work, Evie enjoys sharing time with her favorite people and beloved pets, playing in the dirt at her home garden, exploring new places and cultures as often as possible, eating gourmet chocolate and fancy desserts, or seeking new ways to understand people and life. She feels blessed to put her talents to work for something much larger than herself.

 

Lee Foster

Santa Rosa Garden Coordinator

Lee is an educator at heart and a naturalist-at-play in the world.She came to the garden from a decade of guiding teens on multi-day backpacking, sea kayaking and white-water river excursions in California and Utah.,In addition to her work with youth, Lee spent 7 years as a co-owner of Rainbow Grocery Cooperative, the nation’s largest worker-owned cooperative natural foods store. Recognizing the importance that nutritious food plays in community and land health, Lee began her education 5 years ago in regenerative land education and practices. She attended 2 years of study at the California School of Herbal Studies followed by a year as a garden intern at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center. For the past two years, she worked as the program associate and communications lead of the Permaculture Skills Center, an educational start-up focused on ecological landscaping and farming.Lee is passionate about building collaborative, equitable communities that thrive from the inside, out. When she isn’t in the garden, she is managing her video production business, Taproot Media.

 

Matt Gallegos

Site Manager & Associate Chef, Sebastopol

Matt fell into food service work after college, and he fell in love with food’s power to bring joy. After working more than a decade in the industry and getting a degree in culinary arts, Matt realized that the joy of food can be misused. Tired of contributing to the poor health of his community, Matt returned to school to study nutrition.

Matt’s motivation to study nutrition and the power of food to heal is derived from an extensive family history of heart disease and diabetes as well as his own history struggling with weight. After losing over 100 pounds through lifestyle changes and a whole food plant-based diet, Matt is ready to share the power of health with his community.

Matt is grateful to Ceres for the opportunity to oversee food preparation of the medically tailored meal program. Matt loves being a part of the work Ceres is doing to advocate for change in the way our health care system utilizes the power of nutrition, and he looks forward to helping Ceres grow and help even more people in the future.

 

Andrea Guarino

Volunteer Coordinator, Sebastopol

Andrea (“Andy”) brings her enthusiasm and love of community outreach to Ceres. She recently earned her MA in English from Sonoma State University and taught a year-length Composition course for sixteen first-time freshmen during that program. Through teaching, mentoring and encouraging her students, Andrea realized that working with youth was her calling. She comes to Ceres with two years of immigration case management experience along with training, recruiting, and team leadership skills. Andrea is overjoyed to be a part of the Volunteer Relations team.

 

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".

 

Sherry Huckabay

Bookkeeper & Administrative Assistant

Sherry came to Ceres after working as a bookkeeper, administrative assistant, and human resources coordinator. She was first attracted to Ceres because of their work with teen volunteers. She volunteered as a teen leader with a youth organization for 13 years and it was one of the most rewarding things in her life. Some of those “kids” are still friends today with teens of their own.

After spending her working life in a high stress work environment, she was drawn to Ceres because of the positive, empowering culture. Workers treat each other with respect and encouragement. They go out of their way to help strengthen the team, not break it down. Her goal is to be a valuable part of that team and contribute to spreading the message that youth are our future. Creating healing foods and helping others will give them tools they can use to shape that future into a better place.

 

Lindsay Katz

Site Manager & Associate Chef, San Rafael

Lindsay began her culinary career after spending two years in Brazil where she experienced slow food as a way of life. Working with youth and in local kitchens and gardens, she realized how powerfully food connected people to their environment and to each other.

Upon graduating from culinary school in Texas, she promptly moved to California, to learn more about food in this region of agricultural bounty. Lindsay has worked in fine dining kitchens in Napa and Sonoma including Terra in St. Helena, but ultimately found her home in Sonoma County, making wildly-fermented artisan bread as a mixer and head baker for Della Fattoria in Petaluma.

Lindsay’s interest in nutrition and fermentation created a new path for her in 2016. She started exploring gluten-free sourdough and plant-based cuisine and ended up with a small business participating in local farmer’s markets.

Lindsay began as a volunteer during fire relief efforts and felt the fullest expression of what Ceres was, is, and will be. She became a kitchen mentor, knowing from day one, she wanted to deepen her commitment to Ceres and its mission.

 

Kim Lampi

Design & Marketing Associate

Kim comes from a diverse digital media background, previously working as a graphic designer, database assistant for a national geographic photographer and copywriter for medical professionals. She hopes to use her creativity to express Ceres story on social media and provide followers with unique content. She is grateful to work at an organization that gives back to the community. Having volunteered for the Luther Burbank Experiment Farm, she enjoys gardening, and in her spare time, she enjoys cooking, drawing and making jewelry.

 

Elisa Landauro

Client Care Coordinator

Elisa has been involved with local non-profits since 2003. Prior to Ceres she was a senior Intake Coordinator for the ReStart program in Marin County. At ReStart she was the first point of contact for teens struggling with substance abuse, welcoming these youth and their families with her calm and inviting demeanor, helping them navigate through difficult times. Elisa also has extensive experience as a state certified housing, credit and debt counselor working to instill confidence through education while guiding her clients along the path to financial independence. Elisa has focused her career on working with families and individuals from both English and Spanish speaking communities throughout the Bay Area as well as across the country. Elisa graduated from Law School at San Martin de Porres University in Lima, Peru. Elisa is very thankful to be part of the Ceres family, an amazing organization whose mission and values of caring for one another, compassion, strong sense of community and respect for the environment, are very close to her heart.

 

John Littlewood

Executive Chef

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.

 

Emily Loen

Volunteer Coordinator, Santa Rosa

Emily Loen comes to Ceres with seven years’ experience in the non-profit sector. She spent five years developing educational programs and working with volunteers at reproductive health clinics. For the past two years, she has led national projects partnering tech professionals with underserved healthcare providers to improve access to care. She is passionate about health equity, and inspired by Ceres’ mission, staff and dedicated volunteers.

 

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!

 

Jill Melendy

Client Care Coordinator

A Sonoma County native, Jill found her way to Ceres after mindfully searching for a fulfilling and meaningful workplace. Prior to Ceres, she worked primarily in the wine industry. She has been an enthusiastic volunteer and active supporter of Independence 4-H club in Sebastopol for the past 10 years alongside her two children. She received a BA in Business Management from Sonoma State University and enrolls in ongoing Santa Rosa Junior College classes for enjoyment. Jill and her family have lived in Sebastopol for the past 19 years. She most enjoys traveling, playing tennis, hiking, biking, playing board games, gathering with friends for dinner and tending to her mini farm.

 

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.

 

Amanda Newman-Crutcher

Nutrition Services & Education Manager

BioAmanda has had a life-long interest in food catalyzed by her Easy Bake Oven. Cultural and culinary roots valuing nutrition and gathering around the dining table came from her Belgian mother, and European relatives. Woven into that was a family appreciation of Asian medicine and cuisine. Amanda found her way to working in a natural foods market as a young teen in New York City, which began a journey of functional medicine and healing foods. Amanda received a BS from Reed College where she did clinical research on nutrition and wellness. Her graduate studies were in Traditional Oriental Medicine at the New England School of Medicine and in Asia. While studying and working in Asia Amanda began a life- long practice of Vipassana meditation. Meditation centers have been a great training ground for serving others with kindness, education and healthy foods; Amanda feels blessed to work in the Ceres community where those practices can continue to grow. Amanda is currently completing a masters degree in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine at the University of Western States. The work of redirecting the food and medical system is enormous, Amanda is delighted to contribute to the valuable work Ceres is pioneering.

When not at her desk Amanda can be found creating recipes and meals, practicing yoga and meditation, rock climbing, cycling, playing in the wilderness with her dog, or relaxing with a knitting project.

 

Danielle Orthwein

Associate Chef

Danielle comes to Ceres with a lifelong passion for healthy eating and nutritive cooking. She is a certified chef with a focus on making delicious, nourishing meals from whole food, naturally-produced ingredients.

Danielle trained at the Natural Gourmet Institute, specializing in whole foods, vegetarian, vegan, and health-supportive diets. She has worked in five-star restaurants in New York City, run a catering business, been commissioned to make wedding cakes, and is a personal chef. She has spent 20 years exploring health-supportive cooking techniques, international cuisine, local, organic sourcing, and restorative diet methodologies. With family histories of diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, and heart disease, she has a specific interest in the restorative and healing power of diet. She seeks to find the most fortifying diet for the individual while creating delicious and delightful food to eat.

Born in Canada, Danielle has lived and worked in Pennsylvania, Florida, New York, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Today she lives in Petaluma, California with her husband and three children.

 

Susan Parnes

Volunteer Coordinator, San Rafael
Susan has been volunteering in her community for over twelve years. Her professional background includes restaurant management as well as HR management. She have a BS in Business Management. After staying home with her children she returned to school and received my K-8 teaching credential. She taught pre-school for 5 years at the Osher Marin JCC in Tiburon. Most recently, she's volunteered at Wildcare of Marin, Guide Dogs for the Blind and her local synaguage’s Mitzvah Kitchen. Susan is thrilled to be part of the Ceres community and support the volunteer community of Marin.

 

Gabriella Salomon

Associate Chef & Youth Program
Coordinator, 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.

 

Kendra Stanley

Associate Chef

Bio Coming Soon

 

Julie Stuffelbeam

Kitchen Procurement 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.

 

Andrea Stupka

Program Assistant

Andrea has been employed in the natural and organic food industry for 13 years. She first became aware of Ceres in its early days while employed at Annie’s, a natural and organic food company mostly known for their mac & cheese and bunny-shaped snack crackers. Ceres entered her life again when a woman in Andrea’s Taoist Tai Chi class told her she was thankfully receiving Ceres meals while undergoing cancer treatment. At that point, Andrea did a little research and decided to become involved as a Kale Club member and later as a volunteer, allowing her to keep up-to-date on Ceres amazing growth and accomplishments.

Andrea is grateful to have a seat at the Ceres table as a Program Assistant supporting the simply amazing Santa Rosa culinary team and the community of dedicated volunteers. Being part of Ceres aligns with Andrea’s values surrounding organic food, health and community, so every day at Ceres brings her joy.

Andrea is also involved with a volunteer-based organic garden that raises produce for the local food bank. She also enjoys cycling, hiking and art museums.

 

Nadine Suto

Development Associate & 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

 

Chris Thibodeaux

Development Associate

Chris earned a BA in Accounting and Business Administration in 1990 and soon after realized she wanted to pursue a career in horticulture and landscaping. She has taken numerous horticulture and landscape architecture & design courses over the years and is a Certified Permaculture Landscape designer. She worked in the landscape industry for 20 years and ran her own landscape design company for 10 years.

While always passionate about delicious food and gardening, she discovered how deeply nutritious food could make a radical difference in her health when recovering from her own health crisis. After that, she decided to become an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. As part of that program she began volunteering for Ceres in the San Rafael kitchen. She went on to volunteer with the Ceres nutrition program and taught some of the Ceres “Kids Can Cook” classes in Sonoma libraries.

As long as she can remember, Chris has been involved with planning community and fundraising events for groups and schools. “I am thrilled to be working with this team of wonderful people at Ceres, and I can’t believe I am fortunate enough to do meaningful work that combines all the things I love!”

When not at Ceres, Chris enjoys spending as much time as possible outdoors with her 3 kids, friends and dog.

 


 

 


JUMP TO:
LEADERSHIP TEAM
CERES STAFF

ABOUT US  |  HOME
BOARD
AMBASSADOR COUNCIL
NUTRITIONAL & HERBAL
ADVISORS
DONORS
CONTACT US
CERES IN THE PRESS

 
©2019 CERES COMMUNITY PROJECT® • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED