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Our Team

Board of Directors

Glen Dake – President

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 – Treasurer

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.

Eileen Zwiers – Secretary

Eileen has 20 years of experience in project management, and is an active community gardener.  She is a project manager at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in downtown Los Angeles, where she manages technology implementation projects.  She also has a background in organizational readiness, technical writing and training.  She has a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from the University of Arizona where she was an intercollegiate volleyball player.  She holds a Masters in Organizational Management from Antioch University Los Angeles, where her master’s thesis project was on urban agriculture. She is an active member of Project Management International, and holds a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.  She and her family are members of the Park La Brea community garden where she and her husband participate in the garden’s management team.

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.

Jose Gutierrez

20160420_161902As 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.

Cynthia Hubach

cyndiintheriverAfter 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.

Kavita Sharma, MFA

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.

Teague Weybright

Teague Weybright is originally from Indiana, where his parents manage the family farm which has been established as a Hoosier Homestead, having been in the Weybright family for over 100 years. Teague has a B.S. in Biology from Indiana University, and has been involved in Environmental Education and Conservation Programs since graduation, having served in the US Peace Corps as a Natural Resources Volunteer in The Gambia, West Africa, worked as an Education Outreach Coordinator for the La Brea Tar Pits, served as a Director of Conservation Programs for the LA Conservation Corps, and currently serves as the Board President for the LA Community Garden Council. Mr. Weybright works for the City of Santa Monica, happily commuting on his bicycle, while developing an Environmental Stewardship Program for local Elementary Schools. He and his family enjoy spending time in their own garden, grow much of their own produce, and try to spend as many nights a year sleeping under the stars in one of our State or National Parks. He urges everyone to get dirty every day and to think globally and garden locally.

 

Staff

Julie Beals – Executive Director

Julie Beals is a marketing, communications, and development professional. She worked for international book publishers in the UK, Switzerland, and Boston for six years before moving to Los Angeles in 1998 to attend graduate school at USC. She was a Marketing Manager and Director at Warner Bros. Home Entertainment for six years, working on worldwide brands including Harry Potter, Scooby Doo, and American Girl. In 2007, she moved to the non-profit sector where she served as Director of Institutional Advancement for St. James’ Episcopal School and Senior Manager of Donor Relations for the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles. Julie has served on the board of several non-profit organizations including the Dorcas House foster home in Tijuana, Mexico. Julie’s passion for social and economic justice is the driving force behind her work building and supporting community gardens throughout LA County.

Julie holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Southern California, a Masters in Divinity from Claremont School of Theology, and a Bachelor of Arts in Hispanic Studies from the University of Bristol, UK.

Al Renner –  Outreach Director

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”!

Noelle Geller – Executive Assistant

Noelle Geller grew up in a family of avid gardeners but it wasn’t until later in life that she realized what a rarity it is in urban cities. After multiple moves with less and less space, she became involved in community gardening.

Since receiving her degree in Literature at University of California, Santa Cruz, Noelle has worked with art education and public programs for non-profit organizations in San Francisco as well as taught English in Spain. She enjoys contributing to community-based programs, supporting local food justice movements, and the use of public land for beautification and art.