Board of Directors
Glen Dake is a landscape architect and leader in building community-designed landscapes, transportation, and school improvements in Southern California neighborhoods, where he has practiced since 1987. In 1996, he founded a practice to deliver professional landscape services to the building industry, institutions, and community groups. He helped to found the LA Community Garden Council in 1998 and helped to build the Echo Park Community Garden with the Trust for Public Land. He joined Los Angeles Council Member Eric Garcetti’s staff to lead his successful green agenda between 2001 and 2005 and assisted in bringing the City into compliance with the Clean Water Act, the successful campaign for Prop O, adoption of the Renewable Portfolio Standard for energy, and developing thirteen new parks. Mr. Dake’s design work includes prominent campus improvements at UCLA and at UCSD’s Scripps Institution of Oceanogaphy; as well as the innovative outdoor learning environment for Los Angeles’ High Tech High School, and many playgrounds and childcare environments. He has also designed numerous local solutions to protect Southern California watersheds and enhance groundwater and surface water resources.
California Landscape Architect #4139
Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture 1987, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Ada Berman is a lawyer and currently works as Executive Director and Controller of Cypress, LLP, an innovative, full-service law firm in Los Angeles that focuses on IP litigation and business services for emerging and high growth companies and individuals in the technology and entertainment industries. Prior to helping launch Cypress, Ada specialized in handling complex litigation in the areas of trade secrets, insurance bad faith, premises liability, and contract and general business disputes. Ada also served as pro bono counsel before the California Board of Prison Terms, where she represented a battered woman serving a life sentence for the murder of her abusive spouse. Ada received her law degree from Loyola Law School in 1996. She graduated from UCLA magna cum laude with a B.A. in English and Russian Literature. Ada was born in the Ukraine and is fluent in Russian.
Ada believes there are important intersections between food justice and food-producing urban gardens that need to be further developed into policies and programs, both public and private. She relies on her immigrant background, and experience as a litigator and successful director of a law firm to help LACGC raise awareness of the social, nutritional, educational, and environmental benefits of locally grown food and urban agriculture. In her spare time, Ada enjoys traveling, reading, eating good food, and getting dirty in her garden with her two boys.
After a long career in Los Angeles as journalist and documentary writer and producer, Cyndi returned to school in 2010 to pursue a Master’s degree in Urban Sustainabilityfrom Antioch University. This led to the founding in 2011 of the Elysian Valley Community Garden, and a passionate interest in the increasingly crucial issues of foodaccess and justice, and urban land and water use. Her Master’s thesis explored the challenges of growing food in drought-prone Los Angeles (it turns out urban agriculture has many benefits, including being a great way to use captured rainwater and get a second use out of our scarce urban water supply). She is a principal organizer of the (mostly) annual Frogtown Art Walk, and is involved in issues of overdevelopment and gentrification in that newly trendy river-adjacent neighborhood. She is also a Master Gardener, and serves on the Urban Agriculture committee of the LA Food PolicyCouncil. She lives in Silver Lake and loves her electric car.
Francesca de la Rosa
Francesca de la Rosa serves as Director of Policy for Women Organizing Knowledge, Resources & Services (WORKS), a nonprofit affordable housing developer, overseeing WORKS’ resident engagement efforts and edible landscaping program at six housing developments. She is the current Chair of the Urban Agriculture Working Group of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council. Francesca has over fifteen years of community organizing, direct advocacy and campaign development experience. Francesca has worked on a variety of public policy issues in Los Angeles, including economic justice, food security, affordable housing and homelessness. Francesca’s most successful food justice campaigns began in 2002 when she led the organizing strategy and youth mobilization efforts in four consecutive school food victories, including the LAUSD soda ban campaign. Francesca is a native of Los Angeles and received a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from Mount St. Mary’s College.
As a child, Jose loved accompanying his grandfather to his cuamil (farm field) when visiting his family’s hometown of Valle de Guadalupe, Jalisco, Mexico. Jose fell in love with looking at the rows of corn, here and there adorned with calabasa and frijol growing underneath. As he grew older, and the older generation stopped tending to their cuamiles, he stopped visiting his grandfather’s cuamil — but never forgot how beautiful the farmlands — and green, open space — looked. Jose took this fascination with Mexico’s traditional plants to his job as community organizer with From Lot to Spot, a nonprofit that builds community gardens and parks. Here Jose fell in love with gardening, and befriended amazing gardeners and greenspace leaders throughout his native Los Angeles. Through his work as an organizer for greenspaces in LA, Jose became even more fascinated with gardening, and fighting for access to greenspaces in low income communities of color. Jose loves cycling, coffee, muralism and aspires to be a landscape architect. He currently serves as a community garden organizer for the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, and is always excited and ready to learn and garden.
Kavita has more than 17 years of experience in communications and marketing. She holds an undergraduate degree in English/Creative Writing and Italian from the University of Southern California and a Master of Fine Arts in English/Creative Writing (Poetry) from The University of Alabama. She has held a variety of professional roles in both private and academic environments, and currently manages internal communications for a Big Four tax and accounting firm in a global capacity.
She is a published poet and her interests include gardening, writing, singing and spending time with her Redbone coonhound, Beau.
Julie Beals’ grandparents taught her to grow food in the colder climate of England. She remembers wrapping fruit and vegetables in brown paper to store them in a coal shed so that her family would have produce from the garden throughout the winter months. Julie moved to Los Angeles in 1998 and continues to be grateful for this climate, where you can grow food all year round.
Julie worked in corporate marketing for twelve years before moving to the non-profit sector in 2006. Prior to joining LACGC in 2013, she worked and volunteered at several non-profit organizations including St. James’ Episcopal School, Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, and Dorcas House foster home in Tijuana, Mexico. Julie holds a Master in Business Administration from the University of Southern California, a Master in Divinity from Claremont School of Theology, and a Bachelor of Arts in Hispanic Studies from the University of Bristol, UK.
Julie’s passion for social and economic justice is the driving force behind her work building and supporting community gardens.
Al Renner was born on a farm in Rock Falls, North Illinois. When he graduated High School, he swore that he would never farm again and he moved to Chicago to work in the communications industry. He became a Divisional Manager at Western Union and was transferred to Los Angeles in 1961. He was drafted to serve in the military during the Vietnam War and then worked for many years at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, working on quality control for the Moon Missions.
While Al was recovering from a heart attack in the mid 1990s, he walked the neighborhood daily and watched some youth working a vacant lot in Echo Park. They claimed to be building a community garden but Al, an avid gardener, was frustrated by their slow progress. As soon as he was well enough, he helped them grow a true community garden. Seeing the impact that this garden had on the lives of these young people, Al determined to build more community gardens, and he co-founded the Los Angeles Community Garden Council. Al served as Executive Director for 15 years. He is currently Outreach Director and he teaches at the Pitchess Detention Center community garden two days each week.
Al is well-known in the Los Angeles gardening community for his extensive gardening experience, his passion for teaching others, and his heartfelt expressions such as, “There’s no such thing as a weed, only a misplaced plant”!
Diana Campos-Jimenez – Executive Assistant
Diana was raised in the San Fernando Valley, where she attended CSUN and received a B.A in Sociology. She began working with Youth Speak Collective, a non-profit in Pacoima aimed at providing free services to youth at risk. During her time at Youth Speak, she managed 3 programs, Club Futbolito, Visual Arts program and Special Projects. With the help of the youth, they led a Water and Energy conservation campaign and many beautification projects. After her time at YSC, she moved onto Educare Foundation, a non-profit that focuses on after school programs. With her skills as a youth and community organizer, she assisted ESP and Lincoln High School. She led successful after school events and trips concerning issues such as environmental policy, bullying and team building. Now that she is with LACGC, she hopes to use her skills in an effective way to benefit her community. Her motto is – “Effort is a reflection of interest.”