Our Board of Directors
Dawnie Andrak, board chair, is co-owner of Local Roots Food Tours, offering culinary diplomacy experiences. She graduated in 2017 with a Master of Arts, in the inaugural class of University of the Pacific’s Food Studies program. Dawnie is also a graduate of our Food Literacy Academy, as well as a graduate of the Center for Land Based Learning’s Farm Academy, a program for beginning farmers. Dawnie also founded and currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for Capitol WebWorks, LLC, an internet consulting firm specializing in political, governmental, association and nonprofit, and public affairs communications.
“Farmer Al” Courchesne has been a welcome sight at farmers’ markets around the Bay Area for over 30 years. And just like his peaches, Al is homegrown. He planted his first peach orchard in Brentwood in 1976. Thirteen years later, Al began farming organically in large part because of a commitment he wanted to make to the soil, water and community he lived in. Throughout his farming career, Farmer Al has been a vigorous advocate for sustainable land use, conservation, and organic farming practices. Al lives on the farm with his wife Becky, their two daughters Maddie and Millie, and their ever-present dog Noci.
Gowan Batist was born and raised on the Mendocino Coast into an agricultural family. She studied metal fabrication and sustainable agriculture in college, and farmed in Portland, Oregon on a 150-acre farm before returning to Mendocino to manage the Noyo Food Forest, Fort Bragg Unified School District’s farm-to-school program. During her three seasons as manager of the Noyo Food Forest program, she began composting spent grain from North Coast Brewing Company as a hobby. The hobby became a mission and a career, and Fortunate Farm was founded on 40 acres co-owned by North Coast Brewing Company in 2014.
John Bailey is a California licensed attorney based in Salinas, California. In his legal practice he represents small to mid-sized farmers and ranchers, and a variety of agriculture-related businesses. John is also the Executive Director of Top 10 Produce LLC, a brand holding company involved in produce branding, value-added agricultural manufacturing, and licensing of intellectual property.
Pete Price is a long-time member of the CAFF Board of Directors. He has been interested in sustainable agriculture since studying at UC Davis. He is recently retired from Waste Management, after serving for three years as vice-president for governmental affairs in the western U.S. Before that, he was environmental and natural resources advisor to two Assembly Speakers – John Perez from 2010 to 2012 and Willie Brown from 1988 to 1995. From 1995 to 2010, he founded and ran Price Consulting, a lobbying firm that represented sustainable agriculture organizations.
Cindy Lashbrook became a farmer in 1987 and a CAFF member a year later. She became involved in chapter activities, coordinated the early Northern San Joaquin Valley Lighthouse Farm Meetings and was on the Management Team of the first BIOS projects in the 1990s. She has hosted field days on her and neighboring farms in partnership with CAFF, local RCDs, Farm Bureaus, CCOF and UCCE. With partner Bill Thompson, she hosts an annual farm festival at their farm — Riverdance Farm — that celebrates local and organic food, the arts, the Merced River environment and local activists.
Tommy Irvine grew up and resides in Chico, CA. He graduated from California State University, Chico with a B.S. in business administration with an option in accounting in 2003. His career began as a CPA with K-Coe Isom, which is committed to agriculture and an appreciation for community. He also currently serves as the treasurer of Chico Sunrise Rotary and will be on the board for 2014-2016. His career has offered him a wide variety of experience, including both financial statement auditing and income tax services and provided him with the opportunity to work with a variety of family owned businesses.
Michelle moved to Sacramento from Central Appalachia in 2004. Michelle worked in county behavioral health and coordinated media and communications campaigns that sought to improve economic and social conditions for rural communities. Here in California, Michelle’s passion for sustainable food and farming practices inspired her run for the Board of the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op. She served the member-owned cooperative organization for almost 6 years in various leadership positions including Board President. Michelle has more than two decades of progressive experience as a communicator, with the last 12 years working in planning and implementing public policy communications. She also has a lifelong love of home cooking, entertaining, and local food.
Deirdre Holbrook has worked in land conservation for more than a decade, inspired by her love of the land, farming and food. She worked with leading land trusts pioneering agricultural conservation programs including Marin Agricultural Land Trust, and today with Sonoma Land Trust. Prior to that, she served as a communications consultant for Straus Communications with clients including CAFF, Rodale Institute and U.C. Davis. She earned a B.A. from U.C. Santa Cruz and an M.A. from Northwestern University.
Patricia Miller is a Community Engagement Manager with Edible Schoolyard Project based in Stockton, California. She is a co-founder of the Black Urban Farmers Association (BUFA) of Stockton, former Director of Special Projects for PUENTES and a retired Senior Community Service Officer for the Stockton Police Department. She migrated from San Francisco to Alameda and then Stockton as she was drawn to agriculture in the region and has lived and participated in food systems and economic development work for more than twenty-five years.
Rich Collins, emeritus Board Chair, has been involved in vegetable production since the age of 10 when he started a one-acre suburban market garden with his family in Sacramento. He went on to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural and Managerial Economics from UC Davis. Today, he is the original founder and of California Endive Farms (CEF) and owns the Collins Family Farm. Rich is a 2008 recipient of the Award of Distinction from the UCD’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. He is a member of the San Francisco Professional Food Society as well as the International Association of Culinary Professionals and Slow Food USA.
Judith Redmond is an emeritus member of the CAFF Board. She spends her days as a farmer at Full Belly Farm in northern California, and as a volunteer for a number of community organizations including CAFF. She is currently involved with organizations like California Climate and Agriculture Network; U.C. Davis Ag Sustainability Institute; and AGree (Transforming Food and Ag Policy). She is a Fire Commissioner with the Capay Valley Volunteer Fire Department and on the steering committee of the Annual Hoes Down Harvest Festival hosted by Full Belly Farm.