Our Farm

ALBA - Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association
Organic romaine lettuce grows on one of the many incubator farms which is part of the ALBA program in Salinas, CA.

ALBA’s origins stretch back to 1972 when the property was purchased from the Bardin family, using funds from President Johnson’s ‘War on Poverty’. Though the property changed hands in its first 30 years, it was always used to create economic opportunity for limited-resource farmers. In the 1970s the land was used to start a farmworker-owned strawberry cooperative. Management challenges lead to a switch of format and leadership in the 1980s, training farmworkers on the land to help them transition to farm ownership. Shortly after the 1990 passage of the Organic Food Production Act in 1990, ALBA earn its own organic certification. Drawing on the experience of its predecessors, ALBA was finally established in 2001. Since then, ALBA has provided intensive, on-farm skills development to over 600 farmers, of whom over 200 launched a farm on our land and nearly 100 went on to farm independently. Hundreds more have leveraged new skills to secure better employment.

Our Team

Board Members

Chris Hasegawa
Dr. Chris Hasegawa first arrived at California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) just before the doors opened in 1995. He was hired as one of 18 founding faculty members. Moving through a succession of administrative roles, in Fall, 2008, Hasegawa was named Dean of Extended Education and International Programs.
Dr. Chris Hasegawa
Board Chairman
Dan Beck
Dan Beck is an accomplished artist and musician, as well as the proprietor of Outhouse Studios in Salinas. He has been creating art as long as he can remember. Up until fairly recently he worked full time in the organic produce industry, yet continued to create and sell art work during this time. Dan was born in Indianapolis, IN. He is a graduate of Swarthmore College with a BA in Philosophy. His formal art education includes – Oil Painting, Drawing, Sculpture, Lithography, and Art History. As an Organic Produce Industry Veteran, Dan has much knowledge and passion to contribute to ALBA. Dan joined the ALBA Board of Directors in March 2011.
Dan Beck
Vice Chair
Vince Fata
Vince Fata was born and raised on the Central Coast and currently resides in Hollister.  After graduating from San Benito High, he attended San Jose State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting.  Following graduation, he joined the audit and assurance group of the San Jose office of international accounting firm Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) and obtained his CPA license.  Since leaving public accounting, he has served in senior financial management roles for several privately held and publicly traded companies, including over fifteen years in the produce industry.  He has extensive experience in the design and implementation of financial systems and internal controls, financial reporting and analysis, budgeting, risk management and strategic planning.  He currently serves as VP of Finance for Ippolito International, a grower/shipper of fresh vegetables and the largest supplier of Brussels sprouts in North America.
Vince Fata
Board Treasurer
Terri is a newly retired (!) 40-year veteran of California public schools. As a third generation California teacher, she is a strong believer in education as a tool for empowerment. She is honored to be a participant in the ALBA mission to provide farm workers with the requisite skills to transition to become organic farm owners.
Terri Dye
Edward Moncrief,
Ed Moncrief held the position of Executive Director and Vice President of Real Estate for Neighborhood Housing Services Silicon Valley, located in San Jose. He left that position in mid 2011, and now acts as a consultant to non-profit community organizations. He is a long-time resident of Salinas. His career reflects forty-five years of experience in the fields of non-profit housing, economic, and community development. In 2005, the National NeighborWorks Network’s recognized Mr. Moncrief as its “Practitioner of the Year”. Among his other accomplishments, he was the founding President and Executive Director of Community Housing Improvement Systems and Planning Association, Inc. CHISPA is a public benefit housing and community development corporation operating in Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties. During his 15-year tenure with that organization, he obtained over one hundred eighty million dollars in construction and take-out financing to develop nearly one thousand units of low- and moderate-income housing.
Edward Moncrief
Ernesto Soto, Treasurer
Ernesto Soto and his family immigrated from Mexico City to the California Central Coast in 1990. At a young age Ernesto was inspired by organic produce through his work at the local health food store. He was fascinated by the variety of produce he saw, and eager to learn more about the dedicated individuals that brought food from field to fork. Years later, in 2014, he was given the opportunity to cultivate this passion for organic produce, and its producers, as the Grower Liaison Manager at Coke Farm. He now works with over 100 small and beginning family farmers to coordinate planting schedules, aggregate product and enhance marketability, in order to earn growers the highest value for their crops sold by Coke Farm. Through trust and teamwork, Ernesto has seen a culture of collaboration grow within the agriculture community, creating opportunities for success for growers of every size and scale. As part of the ALBA board, he hopes to make an impact and inspire growers to reach markets beyond their wildest dreams.
Ernesto Soto
Cary Neiman
Cary is a real estate investor who lives in Carmel Valley, California. He was a founding partner of Hawthorn Realty Group in Chicago, a firm active in the ownership and development of industrial parks, shopping centers and office buildings. In 1985 he co-founded Huron Partners and Coastal Hotel Group, Inc., companies focused on the development and management of boutique resorts throughout the United States. Among the Huron/Coastal portfolios were the Highlands Inn, Carmel, California, The Hotel Jerome in Aspen, Colorado and the Cheeca Lodge in the Florida Keys. He has previously served as President of the Board of Directors of the Lincoln Park, Chicago, Boy Scouts of America and as President of the Chicago Chapter of the Yale University Alumni Schools Committee. He has also been a member of the Yale University Development Board. Since moving to California in 1999 he has served on the boards of the International School of Monterey, California Coastal Rural Development Corporation and Neighborhood Housing Services of Silicon Valley.
Horacio Amezquita, Secretary
Horacio has lived in the Salinas Valley since 1974. He is the general manager of the San Jerardo Housing Cooperative in rural Salinas, where he provides business leadership and services to its members. Previously he was production manager at Amezquita Farms, where he was in charge of 100 acres of strawberry and vegetable production in the Salinas Valley. His work history includes leadership in various farming and marketing cooperatives, including his family’s involvement in programs at the Rural Development Center starting in the mid-1970s. Horacio has associate degrees in agricultural business and art from Hartnell College, and is completing a bachelors degree in Agricultural Business Management at CSU Monterey Bay. In 2006, he received the Carla Bard Award for Water Advocacy from Public Officials for Water & Environmental Reform for clean water activism on behalf of disadvantaged communities. Horacio provides vital Salinas Valley production experience to help guide ALBA’s work on behalf of aspiring and beginning farmers.
Horacio Amezquita

Lluvia Del Rio is a proud Salinian. She is also an ALBA graduate, having completed the Farmer Education Program in 2013. She credits much of her success, personal, educational, and career to ALBA. In her words, “ALBA taught me so much, I will forever be grateful for this phenomenal organization as I will be able to pass on my knowledge to future generations”. As a first-generation, Mexicana-Americana she has a passion for serving the farmworker population and has a deep interest in anything related to health and well-being. 
LLuvia Del Rio

Bio coming soon….

Paul Moncrief

Staff Members

Patricia returned to ALBA in February of 2017. She has over 17 years of experience working in the non-profit sector, and has been serving beginning and limited resource farmers at ALBA for most of her career. As the daughter of immigrant farm workers and a lifetime resident of East Salinas, Patricia has a deep respect for the communities of color and the hard labor of farm workers. She is proud to lead ALBA as its Executive Director and to have the opportunity to help those in her community achieve their dream of farm ownership. Patricia is a graduate of NALCAB’s LEAD inaugural fellowship cohort. She is a member of The People’s Land Fund, and serves on the UC President’s Advisory Commission on Agriculture & Natural Resources. She holds a degree in Business Administration from San Jose State University, with a specialization in Business Management.
Patricia Carrillo
Executive 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
Nathan Harkleroad
Education Program 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.
Christopher Brown Development Director
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.
Juan Garcia
Farm Manager
Brenna comes to ALBA with over 15 years of professional accounting experience. About half of her career thus far has been working in public accounting as an auditor specializing in government and nonprofit audits. The other half of her career has been working for government and nonprofit organizations in a senior accounting position. Her most recent role prior to coming to ALBA was working for 5 years as the General Accounting Manager for California State University at Monterey Bay. While in public accounting, Brenna was one of the few staff trained in single audits so it very familiar with the requirements of government grants. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Virginia Tech and has an inactive CPA license.
Brenna Dresser
Finance Director
Coming Soon.
Program Assistant
Antonio is ALBA’s Compliance Manager. He is an experienced Food Safety professional, who is committed to ensuring that farmers are well-prepared for food safety audits, organic inspections, and safety inspections. He conducts internal audits to ensure compliance with USDA group gap regulations with farmers at ALBA. Antonio holds an AA Associate of Arts degree and an AAS Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration with an Emphasis in Accounting from Heald College. In 2015, he started training on food safety and became a PSA train trainer to a USDA Harmonized auditor. His goal is to obtain a BA in food science, which will enable him to continue supporting small farmers. Antonio’s expertise and experience supporting local farmer with assistance in HR/Safety/Food Safety have given him an edge in the industry. He is driven to make a difference in the lives of farmers and contribute to building a more sustainable food system.
Antonio Acosta
Compliance Manager
Salvador Avalos joined the ALBA staff as Food Safety Assistant in Spring 2020. He gained an internship at ALBA through its workforce development partnership with Hartnell College. Salvador obtained his Associates of Science in Agriculture Business and began to take food safety classes right after to expand his knowledge within agriculture. In his role, he helps maintain good agricultural practices within the ranch as well as making sure that important food safety documents are up-to-date with regulations and standards within the industry. Salvador’s willingness to learn along with his experience have made him a dynamic team member that can adhere and overcome any obstacle that is put in front of him and his colleagues.
Salvador Avalos
Food Safety Assistant
Albert joined ALBA in March 2023 as the Agriculture Education Coordinator where he supported first year students enrolled in ALBA’s Farmer Education program. He was promoted to Sustainable Agriculture Advisor in May of 2024. Albert attended Fresno State where he received a bachelor’s degree in plant science with a minor in Plant Health. Albert has a passion for agriculture and helping the next generation of farmers.
Albert Fraide
Sustainable Farming Advisor
Julio Corona joined ALBA in November of 2023 in the role of market access facilitator. Coming from a family where Julio’s parents immigrated to the USA in 1960’s. His parents chased the farm harvest up and down California and eventually established themselves in Watsonville CA where his father became an experienced Farm Manager in strawberries and eventually started his own farm business as Strawberry grower in the Salinas Valley. And it’s where he got his first experience in working on a farm. From there, he went on to be an assistant in research and development in weed control, he experienced how a wholesale distributor operates, farm management for a farmer in Watsonville and procurement for a large berry company. Now at ALBA, his role will be to find different markets for ALBA farmers and facilitate the opportunities. Julio has a passion for the AG industry and highly supports ALBA vision.
Julio Corona
Market Access Facilitator
Omar provides technical assistance to the first-year incubator farmers teaching them how to use tractors, implements and irrigation tools properly and safely. Jaime helps to ensure that tractors are in working conditions by lubricating the equipment and adding water and diesel when needed. He also helps to maintain the ALBA ranch and shop, keeps the hedgerows clean from weeds, prunes shrubs, and straightens the roads on the farm.
Bio Coming Soon
Sustainable Farming Specialist

Our Partners

Small-scale, immigrant-owned farms are largely overlooked in the Salinas Valley agribusiness, which driven by industrial-scale growers who distribute produce nationwide and export to global markets. In response, ALBA has developed relationships with select private sector and non-profit partners who specialize in serving this demographic. Our longstanding partners provide ongoing business support through education, lending, marketing, land matching and other business development services. By the time they complete the 5-year ALBA program, farmers have a strong network of business contacts and service providers to carry them forward into independent farm ownership.

Farm Business Service Partners

California FarmLink provides operating and equipment loans to our start-ups farmers to help them get started and expand. They also find appropriate land parcels as they transition from ALBA and have begun to provide mortgage lending for purchases.
Coke Farm distributes much of our start-up farms’ produce, providing a steady sales channel for those just getting started.
Kitchen Table Advisors works with farmers on business management and strategy, helping them manage the transition from our land and to reach their business goals.
Monterey County Resource Conservation District provides on-farm technical assistance to farmers in soil management and irrigation.


Center for Land-Based Learning –  Through the FARMS Leadership program, provides experiential learning opportunities for minority high school students interested in agriculture. ALBA also helped CLBL develop its own farmer training program, the CA Farm Academy.
Hartnell Community College accredits our course. The units can be used towards certificates and degrees in agriculture, including Small Farm Operation and Management.
Kitchen Table Consultants (no relation to Kitchen Table Advisors) is a farm enterprise consultant which is helping us develop tools and case studies to enhance participant learning.

Santa Cruz Community Ventures who is providing financial literacy training and coaching to our participants to help them build credit, assets and wealth.

Our Donors

ALBA draws financial support from state and federal government agencies, the private sector and a growing number of local, regional and national foundations, which fund initiatives to bring about a more just and sustainable food system. Click on the logos below to learn more about our donors’ work.







American AgCredit



Private Sector