Patricia Carrillo, Executive Director

Patricia Carrillo joined ALBA in February of 2017 as its Executive Director. She has over a decade of experience working in the non-profit sector, including working as ALBA’s Business Education Program from 2006 to 2013. In that role, she developed tools and curricula for beginning farm entrepreneurs, increased alternative financing opportunities for small scale organic farmers, and advocated for socially-disadvantaged beginning farmers. Aside from financial management, Patricia’s skills also include grant management and reporting, budgeting and record keeping for small businesses, small business development consulting and training, and program monitoring and evaluation. Prior to returning to ALBA, Patricia took on the role of Finance & Operations Director at the YWCA Monterey County and later went on to become Program Director at the Housing Resource Center of Monterey County, where she was responsible for the administration and management of all HRC programs, including homeless prevention, rapid rehousing, Veteran assistance, security deposit guarantee, financial literacy and home ownership programs. Patricia is a Salinas native and holds a B.S. in Business Administration from San Jose State University, with a specialization in Business Management.

Christopher Brown, Development Director

Christopher Brown started at ALBA in March 2012 and is a native of Berkeley, California. He studied economics at University of California Berkeley and spent five years in the finance and investment field before entering UCLA’s Anderson School of Management to earn his MBA. Upon graduation, Chris pursued opportunities in the international non-profit field, taking an assignment was as a small-business consultant in Ukraine. This led to a project management role in Kiev, followed by others in Romania, Georgia and Montenegro over the course of a decade. His most recent position was as a Washington, DC-based project manager for a research grant studying how to link small farmers to market opportunities in Mongolia and Rwanda. After nearly 15 years away, Chris is delighted to return to California to apply his experience and education toward advancing the economic development among beginning farmers in the Salinas Valley and Central Coast region.

Patty Howe, Administrative Director

Patty joined ALBA as a bookkeeper in September of 2004, and later moved on to manage all administrative activities at ALBA. Currently, she maintains the financial records and tracking of all grant activities and expenses. She moved to the California coast in 1974 and developed an interest in organic farming issues as an avid backyard gardener while earning a B.A. in Economics at the University of California Santa Cruz. Patty served at the Santa Cruz Live Oak Grange as Garden Manager, where she oversaw a 1/2 acre demonstration garden, and Treasurer. She is currently the Treasurer at the Springfield Grange in Las Lomas.

Nathan Harkleroad, Education Program Director

Nathan runs ALBA’s Farmer Education Course, supports farmers in their early years in the Organic Farm Incubator, and manages a number of educational and research projects. He came to ALBA in March 2010 from San Luis Obispo, where he worked in various capacities (student farm manager, harvest leader, farmers marketeer, and much more!) at the Cal Poly Organic Farm, a student enterprise that provided a 300-member year round “Community Supported Agriculture” vegetable box subscription service. While there he also earned an M.S. in Agriculture, emphasis Crop Science. Nathan fondly remembers his start in organic agriculture on a 5-acre biodynamic farm in rural Scotland that grew mixed vegetables and pastured laying hens. Originally from San Diego, Nathan sees organic agriculture as way to improve peoples’ lives, the planet, and provide meaningful employment. In total, he has over a decade’s experience in organic production, agricultural education, and project management.

Raul Figueroa, Farm Incubator Manager

Raul came to ALBA in January 2019. He was born in Copala, a small town on the tropical coast of Mexico, in the state of Guerrero; however, he grew up in a suburb of Mexico City called Nezahualcoyotl City. From 1982-1986 he studied agriculture at the Autonomous Chapingo University. From there he worked in field production growing corn, and beans, also in the  greenhouse industry growing tomatoes, and flowers.  He returned to school 1999-2001 to do a  Master in Crop Science Greenhouse Horticulture at Wageningen University, Netherlands. He returned to Mexico to work in the greenhouse industry. Raul immigrated to the U.S. in 2005 to work in agricultural production, including time at Jacobs Farm del Cabo doing greenhouse and open field organic production. He is married with two sons and a daughter.

Antonio Acosta, Food Safety Assistant

Antonio joined ALBA as the Food Safety Assistant in February of 2019. Before coming to ALBA, he worked with a local farmer as a HR/Safety/Food Safety Assistant.  Antonio obtained an AA degree in 2010 in Business Management from Heald College with an emphasis in Accounting. Antonio began training on food safety in 2015 and is nearing completion of his Food Safety Certificate at Hartnell College. He believes food safety comes first in agriculture–everyone deserves safe food to eat. He is excited to be part of ALBA. Seeing small organic growers grow, he believes organic is the way to go!

Juan García, Farm Assistant

Juan has been working at ALBA since the summer of 2008. He is originally from Jalisco, Mexico and has lived in the Salinas area since 1986. With more than 20 years of mechanical experience, he is in charge of the maintenance of the ALBA’s training site, including the farm equipment. Prior to ALBA, Juan worked for ten years on two farms in Watsonville, California, where he learned and gained experience in farm irrigation systems, repair of farm equipment and general farm management. Juan enjoys helping the ALBA farmers and seeing the organic crops grow. . . and of course tasting them.

Juana Hernandez, Administrative Assistant

As Administrative Assistant, Juana has worked at ALBA since June 2016. Before coming to ALBA, Juana worked for a local organic company doing quality assurance.  Raised in Salinas, she is excited to be working for a community-based non-profit organization, and also serves on committees for the Center for Community Advocacy.

Hugo Rodriguez, Farm Management Assistant II

Born in Acambaro in the state of Guanajuato (Mexico), Hugo worked in the fields with his parents until he was 14 years old.  In 1995 he immigrated to the U.S. Since then he as worked in the production of several crops, such as broccoli, celery, cauliflower, dill, lettuce. He is also an excellent tractor driver! Hugo is married with 4 children.

Miguel Ruelas Uribe, AmeriCorps VIP Member

Miguel joined ALBA as its AmeriCorps VIP Member in October of 2018. He is a resident of Salinas and graduated from Alisal High School. Miguel has two years of experience working for a non-profit organization in the Napa Valley. Miguel was born and raised in the Salinas Valley and would like to have a career in the agriculture field. He is glad to have the opportunity to work for a community-based non-profit organization and thinks it will open a lot of doors for him. Miguel is excited to work with the ALBA team and to be able to help the community and future farmers.

 

Nancy Porto

Community Relations & Environmental Education Officer

Nancy has been affiliated with ALBA since 2009, initially, supporting the communications and outreach agenda, while leading the development of ALBA’s Environmental Education Program. During this time, she established and facilitated communications channels inside and outside of the organization, ensured timely production and distribution of bilingual educational materials and publications and served as a liaison with farmers at ALBA. She also led media relations and partnerships with other local agencies to ensure impactful public relations. While getting her master’s degree in Strategic Communications Management, she stepped out and focused only on implementing the Environmental Education Program that have benefited over five thousand students, teachers and families in Salinas. She recently returned to ALBA in 2019 as Community Relations Officer to strengthen relations and partnerships with ALBA’s Alumni community and other audiences at high schools, colleges, universities in order to connect participants with career opportunity pathways in the organic sector. Nancy is originally from Colombia, but moved to California in 1997 and is the mother of two smart teenagers. She loves animals and enjoys hiking, traveling and practicing meaningful activities that improve the environment.