A. L. Anderson-Lazo, Evaluator, Rural Coalition

A.L. Anderson-Lazo, Ph.D. is an applied anthropologist who has conducted research and organizing in the U.S., Central America, and beyond. Today, she works locally in San Diego and throughout the U.S. with grassroots food, farm and farmworker justice organizations. In particular, she develops participatory research, assessment and evaluation tools to strengthen policy development, coalition-building and community organizing. Her scholarship focuses on how land-based, agriculturalist and indigenous peoples, and the movements shaped by urban and rural people of color communities can mobilize self-defined food sovereignty and holistic development strategies based in regenerative agriculture and social justice.

Anahid Brakke, Executive Director, San Diego Hunger Coalition

Anahid Brakke joined the San Diego Hunger Coalition as its Executive Director in January 2015. During her short tenure she has tripled the organization’s budget, doubled its staff and brought on six new board members and two new advisory board members. Additionally, the Hunger Coalition has launched its School Meals Program, Hunger Free San Diego initiative and has assumed facilitation of the Hunger Advocacy Network and Summer Meals Task Force.

Named by San Diego community leaders as an “emerging leader to watch in 2015,” Anahid brings more than a decade of experience in San Diego’s philanthropic sector and is a leading voice in the community on hunger and poverty.  Her areas of focus have included hunger and the food system, senior issues, preventive healthcare and access to care, social equity, workforce development and family asset building.

Prior to joining the Hunger Coalition, Anahid served as Director of Self-Sufficiency Programs for the Leichtag Foundation; Senior Program Officer for the Jewish Community Foundation; Director of Health and Human Services at The San Diego Foundation; and Program Officer at the Gary and Mary West Foundation.

Anahid has held several past community leadership positions including serving as a founding member and executive committee member of the San Diego Food System Alliance, the founding chair of San Diego Grantmakers Food Funders Collaborative, the chair of San Diego Grantmakers Homelessness Working Group, an executive committee member for the Alliance for Regional Solutions, and as a member of United Way of San Diego’s Income Vision Council.  She currently serves on the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative’s Leadership Council and Feeding San Diego’s Programs & Public Policy Committee.

Her diverse background also includes financial analytics and data management, marketing and communications, and hospital and medical education program administration. Anahid received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wellesley College.

Steve Eldred, Senior Program Manager, The California Endowment

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.

Sherry Guia, Intern, UCSD Center for Community Health


Sherry Guia was born and raised in San Diego. Sherry recently graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health. She plans on obtaining her Master’s degree in Public Health in the near future. Her career goal is to work in a community based environment where she can focus on improving the overall health of the people she serves. Sherry and her fiancé have a two-year-old son, with whom they love spending quality time with. They love going to the zoo and taking him to the Children’s museum.

Eric Larson, Executive Director, San Diego County Farm Bureau

Eric Larson is the Executive Director of the San Diego County Farm Bureau. He has held that position since January 1997. Eric began working in San Diego County's agricultural industry in 1971. His professional activities have included two years as president of the San Diego County Flower and Plant Association. He also serves as a director of the Southern California Water Committee and a member of the Southern California Ag Water Team. In addition to his work in agriculture, he served two terms as a member of the Carlsbad City Council and is a past director of the Carlsbad Municipal Water District, the San Diego County Water Authority, and the Encina Wastewater Authority.

Eric and his wife Jennifer live in Carlsbad and have two grown sons.


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.

Claire O’Connor, Staff Attorney and Policy Analyst, NRDC

Claire O’Connor focuses on the crucial relationship between water and agriculture, emphasizing solutions to water-resource challenges that will benefit both farmers and their non-farming neighbors. Her own family has operated a farm in rural Nebraska for five generations, which informs her understanding of the many challenges farmers face as they try to balance irrigation needs with conservation principles. She works closely with farmers, water managers, and stakeholders to ensure that the food we grow is not only safe and healthy but sustainable as well. O’Connor is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Georgetown University Law Center. She is based in Santa Monica.

Erica Phung, Senior Government Relations Director for Southern California, American Heart Association/American Stroke Association

Erica has served as Senior Government Relations Director for Southern California at the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association since 2006. In her tenure at the AHA/ASA, Erica has worked on numerous local, state and federal policy initiatives that impact cardiovascular and cerebrovascular health. She also serves as Chair of San Diego’s Tobacco Control Coalition, and helped orchestrate the passage of California’s landmark tobacco prevention policies including adding e-cigarettes to California’s Smoke-Free Workplaces Law, raising the minimum tobacco purchase age to 21 and passage of Proposition 56, California’s $2 tobacco tax. For Erica, health advocacy is both a personal and professional passion. This San Diego native also doubles as a yoga teacher and has taught over 800 yoga classes.

Lorette Picciano, Executive Director, Rural Coalition

Lorette Picciano has served since 1992 as Executive Director of the Rural Coalition, a Washington, DC-based alliance of more than 60 culturally diverse community based organizations representing small producers and farmworkers in the US and Mexico. She works with RC’s diverse Board and members to promote just and sustainable development in rural areas, particularly in civil rights in agriculture. She has participated in 7 Farm Bill Debates and coordinated a unified effort to assure equal access to USDA programs for farmers, ranchers, and farmworkers helping to secure more than 30 sections of new Farm Bill Policies.

Parke Troutman, Planning and Policy Development Specialist, County of San Diego HHSA

Parke Troutman works in San Diego County’s Chronic Disease and Health Equity unit. Previously, he helped the City of San Diego pass its community garden and urban agriculture ordinances and worked at the San Diego Hunger Coalition on state and federal legislation, including helping to found Californians for SSI.  He received his PhD from the University of California, San Diego in 2004 for research on San Diego land use politics (which was published in 2015 as Gone Awry: The Smart Growth Quest to Stop Urban Sprawl).