Councilmember David Alvarez, City of San Diego City Council


Elected to the San Diego City Council in 2010, Councilmember Alvarez chairs the Environment Committee and Otay Mesa Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District Public Financing Authority. He is a member of the Smart Growth & Land Use, Infrastructure and Economic Development & Intergovernmental Relations Committees. Additionally, he serves on the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System Board, SANDAG Borders Committee, Otay Valley Regional Park Policy Committee, and Bayshore Bikeway Working Group. He also is a member of the Board of Director’s for Local Progress, the League of California Cities Latino Caucus, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), a board member of the San Diego Coffee Training Institute, Workshop for Warriors Board of Advisors, and serves on the Advisory Board for The Science Exchange. 

Councilmember Alvarez has been successful in restoring vital city services in each year of the City’s budget, including funding increases for libraries, police and fire protection, more street repair and installation of street lights and reducing retiree health care costs. His achievements include the creation of Cesar Solis Park, the first park built in decades in the South Bay, development of a new library for San Ysidro, a long awaited safe pathway for San Ysidro students, and has spearheaded the revitalization of Barrio Logan, including the formation of the Barrio Logan Planning Group. He has been a regional leader in advocating for more park space in the South Bay, increasing and safeguarding San Diego’s water supply, border infrastructure and decreasing border wait times to increase trade and commerce, and creating more opportunities for local small businesses. 

David lives in Logan Heights with his wife Xochitl, their daughter Izel, son Javier and his father. 

Teresa Blanco, Viva La Salud Wellness Director, Northgate Gonzalez Market

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Teresa Blanco is the Viva La Salud Wellness Director, at Northgate Gonzalez Market. Blanco is very proud to be working for a Hispanic family owned for-profit company who has a passion for helping their associates and communities they serve. Viva La Salud is the cause-related marketing program in health and wellness for the retailer. Teresa Blanco has 21 years’ experience in Marketing with the last 11 years covering nonprofits. Her true passion lies in helping the community. Teresa manages monthly wellness theme events at the store level averaging 70 per month, some including their own Viva La Salud chef. She works with all store sales departments to bring in healthier products, oversees the bilingual nutrition tags at the shelf level, supports community grants involving the retail sector; including Southern CA Nutrition Incentive Program with UCSD, manages the yearly Northgate 5K’s and Cooking Up Change Orange County.

Northgate has been recognized and awarded multiple times by many community partners and retail industry for efforts on education for consumers and associates on chronic disease and nutrition at store level, free health screenings and wellness resources within the community.  These combined efforts are helping the stores become health portals. Teresa sits on advisory boards for Unidos Contra El Cancer for Susan G Komen and Kid Healthy, Obesity Prevention Program, both since 2011.

Steve Eldred, Senior Program Manager, The California Endowment

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Steve Eldred has worked in the San Diego Regional office for The California Endowment since 2001.  He currently leads The Endowment’s Healthy Communities strategy for San Diego County, with a targeted focus in the City Heights neighborhood in central San Diego.  This strategy is a comprehensive, 10-year commitment to support fundamental policy and systems changes at local and state-levels to build healthy communities where children are healthy, safe, and ready to learn.  The strategic vision for healthy communities is to achieve significant improvements in issues such as childhood obesity, youth violence, and access to prevention-oriented health care through improvements in physical, social, and economic environments and through systemic integration of efforts among health, human service, education, and other systems of care that impact opportunities for health among children and their families. He previously served as Program Officer for Community Health and Elimination of Health Disparities in the San Diego/Orange County Border Region. 

Eldred also serves on the Board of Directors of San Diego Grantmakers, where he co-founded the Social Equity Funders and Coming Home To Stay prison reentry workgroups. 

Prior to joining The Endowment, Eldred served as Health Planning and Program Specialist for the San Diego County Department of Health Service’s Office of AIDS Coordination, positions with the State of Hawaii Department of Health and the Governor’s Committee on AIDS, as the Self-Determination program director for the Quileute Indian Nation, and in non-profit organizations involved in community organizing, youth development, and specialized transit services.

Eldred holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Rudy Espinoza, Executive Director, Leadership for Urban Renewal Network

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Rudy Espinoza is the Executive Director of Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (LURN), a community development organization designing innovations to responsibly revitalize low-income, urban areas. At LURN, he leads their advocacy efforts in support of the working poor and their micro-finance programs that support microentrepreneurs. Rudy specializes in designing economic development initiatives in low-income communities, researching the informal economy, building private/nonprofit partnerships, and training the working poor to participate in the socio-economic revitalization of their neighborhoods. Rudy has worked at Emerging Markets Inc. and the AARP Foundation where he designed and managed place-based initiatives with financial institutions, foundations and regional non-profits. Most recently he worked at a CDFI in South LA providing micro-loans and business assistance to street vendors. He serves on Board of Transportation Commissioners for the City of Los Angeles, the Advisory Boards of the LA Development Fund, Investing in Place and the LA Food Policy Council, and the Board of Directors for the LA Kitchen and Esperanza Community Housing Corporation. Rudy holds degrees in Business Administration and Urban Planning.

Ariel Hamburger, Food Equity Specialist, County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency


Ariel Hamburger is a Food Equity Specialist with the County of San Diego's Health and Human Services Agency and manages the Live Well Community Market Program where she works to create a more equitable food system for all San Diego residents. Ariel has been instrumental in the county’s local food system efforts and helped with the establishment of the Live Well San Diego Food System Initiative and also co-chairs the San Diego Food System Alliance’s Healthy Food Access Working Group. In her current role, she oversees retail efforts funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Department of Agriculture. She also works on active transportation, active living, and land use projects. Ariel sees improvements to the food system and built environment as a proxy of social justice and believes these approaches have the ability to transform communities. Prior to working at the County, Ariel gained her interest and expertise on healthy retail through the UC San Diego Center for Community Health and also worked on cross-border issues through the County’s Office of Border Health. She graduated with honors from San Diego State University with a Master’s in Public Health and a Master’s in Latin American Studies.

Elyse Homel Vitale, Senior Advocate California Food Policy Advocates


Elyse provides leadership on CFPA projects and initiatives that aim to increase low-income children's access to the nutrition resources they need for healthy development. This includes leading our Early Childhood Nutrition, School Meal Enrollment, and Federal Advocacy teams. Prior to CFPA, Elyse worked as a preschool teacher, a research associate at UCSD, and as the Hunger Advocacy Network Coordinator for JFS San Diego. Elyse obtained her MPH in Community Health Sciences at UCLA and started with CFPA in 2010.

Elle Mari, Director of Urban Food Environments, UC San Diego Center for Community Health

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Elle Mari is the Director of Urban Food Environments at the Center for Community Health. Elle conducts applied community research and implements projects to improve the urban food environment in San Diego. Specifically, she directs the Live Well Community Market Program that aims to improve and promote access to healthy affordable foods by working with small neighborhood markets and community stakeholders. Elle is also an urban agriculture advocate and provides guidance to several local food system groups, projects, and policies in San Diego. Most recently, Elle started a new project working with San Diego’s urban growers to support the viability of small urban farms and increase fresh food access for limited-resource urban residents.

Elle holds a Master’s of Science degree in Food Systems and Society from Marylhurst University in Oregon. She has worked in the public sector supporting under-served neighborhoods and vulnerable populations for over 12 years, with a passion and drive to tackle issues related to health equity and food justice. She is also a motivated mentor and advisor, and thrives when working with students.

Elle was honored with the 2016-2017 UC San Diego Exemplary Staff Employee of the Year award. She recently published a chapter on mobile produce markets and food justice in Food Justice in US and Global Contexts: Bringing Theory and Practice Together (2017). Elle was also featured in the San Diego Union Tribune as a notable person in San Diego for her work with small neighborhood markets.

Diane Moss, Managing Director, Project New Village

N. Diane Moss is a social justice advocate and community organizer, currently Managing Director for Project New Village. A grassroots nonprofit organization which is transforming the political and economic environment using neighborhood-based agricultural cooperatives as strategies of resistance to food insecurity. Using community/civic engagement, she is working with others to build alternative food ecosystems in Southeastern San Diego, here she lives. Moss is alumni of University of California San Diego and employed as Program Coordinator for Be There San Diego- Southeastern San Diego Cardiac Disparities Project.

Joe Prickitt, Senior Director, Southern California Nutrition Incentive Program, UC San Diego Center for Community Health

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Joe Prickitt has developed and implemented a number of the nation's most successful health promotion/chronic disease prevention programs, coalitions and networks, including the Hawaii 5 A Day for Better Health Program and the Network for a Healthy California — Bay Area Region. As the lead for the 5 A Day for Better Health Program, for the Hawaii State Department of Health, Joe was recognized by the National Cancer Institute as having developed one of the nation's leading public/private partnerships promoting better health. This recognition ultimately led to his recruitment by the National Cancer Institute as Assistant Director of the National 5 A Day for Better Health Program. As the Director for the Network for a Healthy California — Bay Area Region, Joe was responsible for developing one of California's strongest Regional Networks addressing healthy eating and active living. Furthermore, as Director for the Network for a Healthy California — Bay Area Region, Joe was responsible for the development of the Rethink Your Drink Campaign which was ultimately adopted by the California Department of Public Health and FIRST 5 California as a model nutrition education initiative for children, youth and adults. As Director of Marketing for the Produce for Better Health Foundation for the Western United States, Joe was responsible for the development and implementation of national marketing campaigns for Dole Food Company, Washington Apple Commission, California Strawberry Commission, Sunkist Growers and other leading produce industry members. His produce industry work resulted in the incremental sales of hundreds of millions of dollars of fruits and vegetables and ultimately helped to increase the national consumption of fruits and vegetables.

Vanessa Rosales, Corporate & Government Affairs Director, Food 4 Less & Ralphs


Vanessa E. Rosales is the Corporate & Government Affairs Director for Food 4 Less and Ralphs (interim) – 2 of 20 divisions of the nation’s largest traditional grocery retailer The Kroger Co. Vanessa oversees the Food 4 Less and Ralphs Foundations, public relations, associate communications, community and government affairs.

Prior to joining Food 4 Less/Ralphs, Vanessa was managing a six-city diversity marketing program for Goodyear & NASCAR which aimed to introduce the sport to women and minorities. She has worked for both for-profit and nonprofits in public relations and social corporate responsibility positions and has contributed to organizations such as Kaiser Permanente, NASCAR, Honda, The American Heart Association and City of Hope Cancer Center. 

Vanessa holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in public relations and a minor in marketing from California State University Long Beach.  Vanessa and her husband Joe live in the greater Los Angeles area and have two children, Logan Orion, 4 ½ and Presley Soleil, 11 months.  

Amanda Schultz-Brochu, Senior Director of CalFresh & Advocacy, San Diego Hunger Coalition

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Amanda Schultz Brochu, MPH, leads the San Diego Hunger Coalition’s efforts to improve access to and utilization of the CalFresh program by San Diego County residents. With a background in public health and capacity building, Amanda develops innovative partnerships to connect with San Diego’s most hard to reach food insecure populations. In her work as Sr. Director of CalFresh and Advocacy for the San Diego Hunger Coalition, Amanda Schultz Brochu leads the coalition’s efforts to improve access to and utilization of federal nutrition assistance programs through systems and policy change.  Amanda provides leadership to two county-wide tables: the CalFresh Task Force, focused on collaborative and innovative strategies to increase CalFresh utilization, and the Hunger Advocacy Network, a multi-sectoral collective of more than 20 organizations across San Diego County committed to ending hunger through state and federal policy and has received statewide recognition for her leadership in CalFresh. Before joining the Hunger Coalition, Amanda was a University of Wisconsin Population Health Sciences Institute Fellow and worked internationally, engaging rural communities in environmental conservation, leadership development, and micro-enterprise.  

Catt Fields White, CEO, San Diego Markets

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Catt Fields White is the CEO of San Diego Markets, bringing farmers to the city and more than 25,000 visitors weekly to the table by developing and managing weekly farmers’ markets including San Diego County’s largest - the Little Italy Mercato – and the Pacific Beach Tuesday Farmers’ Market and North Park Thursday Market.  A former restaurant owner and publisher, she promotes entrepreneurship and financial sustainability for small farmers as producer of the annual InTents Conference, 3 days of workshops and networking featuring speakers like best selling author Forrest Pritchard of Smith Meadows Farm and Charlotte Smith of 3 Cow Marketing. Catt writes and speaks about food, farms, restaurants and business at and for regional and national publications, and advocates for small farmers as a Steering Committee member of the California Alliance of Farmers’ Markets and a member of the National Farmers’ Market Leadership Forum.