The composition of our Advisory Board and paid work team reflects Esperanza Community Farms members and regional supporters who have demonstrated full-family dedication to the overall health of the Pajaro Valley. We stand for a holistic and inclusive approach to using our current assets, personal experiences, and collective skills to understand the conditions in which we live in order to transform them in the direction of financially- accessible, organic, and high-quality produce, as a transformative aspect of living fully healthy lives. All advisors were CSA box recipients in the first two years of the program. Membership ranges from very-low income to middle income, from monolingual Spanish-speaking to Native English & bilingual, and from formally educated to primary school education completion. We are intentional in our search for members who are diverse in the many different aspects that our program addresses, including diagnosis of diabetes, parenthood, professional roles in positions of power/authority, and race. 

Our Team

Mireya Gómez-Contreras

Administrative CO-LEADER

I am a mother of two curious and fun children and I have three sisters. I’ve lived in Watsonville, California for almost 30 years and my favorite thing about living here is the passion & pride of the predominantly Latino community as well as the work ethic of a culturally diverse small rural city. As a little girl I grew up working alongside my farm laborer parents in the San Joaquin Valley and the Central Coast in California. I think I inherited my mom’s green thumb because I landed very naturally in the agriculture sector and I love everything about it. I studied at UC Santa Cruz and received my BA in Sociology with a minor in education. After 27 years of working in the regional nonprofit sector, I found my professional niche as a Language and Cultural Consultant. At Esperanza Community Farms I am able to practice my values of interdependence, dignity, and joy for all. Most of all I enjoy the farm’s focus on family and the invitation to connect more deeply with people and the earth. At Esperanza I’m able to combine my personal interests, professional goals, and my vision for a healthy community.

Guillermo Lazaro


I am originally from Oaxaca, Mexico, and a father of two teenagers. Since I was little I was raised in a farming environment. That may be the reason it was natural for me to enter the agriculture sector when I came to the Central Coast region in California. After 12 years as a farm laborer I became curious about becoming a grower and wondered about the possibility of working for myself. I was drawn to the opportunity to grow organic and natural produce. As I learned more about organic farming it changed my way of thinking. In 2018 I entered an intensive 4-year organic farming training program and I received my Certified Organic Farmer certificate. The training program, Agriculture and Land-based Training Association (ALBA) opened the door for me to obtain this certificate and taught me about organic practices. I’ve lived in the Salinas Valley, also referred to as the Salad Bowl of the country, for 21 years. When I’m not farming I enjoy going to the beach, exercising and spending time with my kids.

Alma Leonor-Sanchez (they/she)


I am proud to have roots in Watsonville, CA where I was born and raised, and in Jalisco, Mexico where my family is from. I am a graduate of Pajaro Valley High School and a current student at Cabrillo College. I will soon obtain my Bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Cruz in Environmental Studies. During my free time, I like to read, write poetry, enjoy the outdoors, and spend time with family. I am passionate about the intersections of food justice, climate/environmental justice, and social justice in my community, and healing my(our) relationship to the land.

Samantha Cruz


Inspired by nature, music, and laughter, I go through life creating and doing my job for any business or person that needs good publicity or design. I studied communication sciences in Mexico City, and I have a bachelor’s in communication sciences. Having a great interest in advertising and audiovisual production. I infinitely believe that teamwork does wonderful things.

Javier (Paco) Serrano


I was born in Mexico City where a surreal air flows through the streets, creating amazing stories and pictures. That air inspires me every day in my work as an editor and cinematographer and motivates me to keep learning every day in order to bring the best quality to the projects. I love photography, music, and movies. I’m a foodie and a fan of tea. I’m a dog lover and I love to do drone photography as a hobby.

Board of Directors

Lucila Sanchez


I was born and raised in Watsonville where I continue to live with my husband and our four kids. Growing up, my parents worked in the fields and canneries to support my five siblings and I. I spent the first years of my life living on a ranch where my father cared for farm animals and harvested various crops, and my mother kept plants throughout the house. I developed my sense of family and social justice as well as my relationship with nature because of them. Today, I’m happy to be joining ECF.

Ramiro Medrano


Ramiro Medrano is a Watsonville native and lifetime educator. He worked in PVUSD and UC Santa Cruz for nearly 15 years combined, promoting college and supporting some of the most vulnerable families and students through the educational system. He helped establish multiple community gardens in PVUSD schools, as well as the Farm2Cafeteria project at PVHS. He now works in Salinas, CA, as a high school counselor, where he lives with his wife and two daughters.

Emiko Stewart


Personal health and wellbeing is very connected to the nutrition in food we consume. I wish for everyone to have access to fresh produce especially in the Pajaro and Salinas Valleys as we are a major farm working community.

Noemí Romo


My deep love and respect for the people of Pajaro motivates me to work with Esperanza Community Farms to fulfill its mission. This community that provides our country with produce deserves economic justice, as well as fresh and local organic produce cultivated and with their health at the center of our commitment.

Tom Bently


Tom Bentley lives with his wife and two kids in Watsonville. He’s a high school teacher and is currently teaching and running an agriculture program at Soquel High. Besides serving on ECF’s advisory board, he is also involved with the Center for Farmworker Families’ Campaign for Organic Regenerative Agriculture (CORA). Tom loves enjoying time with his friends and family, especially outdoor activities like camping, surfing, swimming in lakes and rivers, and golfing.

Olga Medrano


Olga Medrano came to Watsonville as an immigrant at the age of 35. She has worked in early childhood education for many years. Olga has been an Esperanza Community Farms CSA member from the beginning. She is a mother to three adult children and grandmother to one.

Ana Rasmussen


For more than 30 years Ana has worked toward social justice and increased equity in Santa Cruz County—in health care, public education, food justice, and land access. She is grateful for the daily opportunities to learn and grow in relationships with people from backgrounds, traditions, strengths, and lived-experience different than my own. Ana is the mother of two 30-something sons who live locally, and a companion to one affectionate, beloved dog.