Board of Directors

IMG_7896 Blake Young - President (Board Chair)

Blake Young is President/CEO with Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services. He has worked in several capacities with the organization for over 14 years. Blake has a strong desire and commitment to improving communities by working with underserved populations, focusing on education, employment training and healthy food security.  He is married to Cyndie and they have two daughters ages 14 and 11.


IMG_7897 Paul Cultrera – Treasurer

Paul Cultrera has been involved in the management of food cooperatives since 1980.  He currently serves as the general manager of the Sacramento Natural Foods Cooperative, a position he has held since 1999.

Why I’m on the Board: My motivation to serve on the Board of Directors of Soil Born Farms comes from my passion to be involved in the agricultural revolution that it represents.  It is the perfect complement to the economic revolution in my work with food cooperatives. 


george cookGeorge Cook - Secretary

George Cook is a Vice-President for Union Bank’s Business Banking Group in the downtown Sacramento office. George, his wife Daria, and daughter, Ellie, reside in East Sacramento. He enjoys spending time with his family and many outdoor activities.



Dr MaxDr. Maxine Barish-Wreden - Board Member

 Dr. Maxine Barish-Wreden graduated from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine in 1985 and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at UC Davis Medical Center in 1988.  She has been practicing medicine in Sacramento since then and has been with Sutter Medical Group since 1992.  She has a long-term passionate interest in Complementary and Integrative Medicine, particularly Mind-Body-Spirit Medicine, and in the capacity of the human body, psyche, and spirit to heal, given the appropriate environment. Read more


mica bennett

Mica Bennett - Board Member

Mica Bennett is an independent consultant who works internationally on assessing impacts of sustainability initiatives for agriculture among smallholder farmers in developing countries.


Why I'm on the Board: We need agricultural sustainability in our American communities also. I love Soil Born’s mission to make explicit connection between food access and integrating food production into our landscapes.

maxineMaxine Clark - Board Member

Maxine has been interested in nutrition and food issues for 50 years.  Maxine and her husband David have two children and two grandchildren and are involved in the American River Parkway and everything that pertains to those 4700 glorious acres.

Why I'm on the Board: I am concerned about the public health crisis resulting from the way we eat and what poor health and obesity costs our society - physically, psychologically, and financially.



sara minnehan 150Sara Minnehan - Board Member
Sara Minnehan serves as Community Engagement Manager for Aerojet Rocketdyne.  Sara oversees the company’s employee involvement programs and works on many other corporate responsibility efforts across Aerojet Rocketdyne’s 15 sites in the United States. Sara resides in Folsom with her husband, Justin and her daughter, Kaitlyn. Sara enjoys spending time outdoors as well as celebrating life surrounded with friends, family and good, healthy food.


Why I’m on the Board:  The mission of Soil Born grabbed me from the beginning.  What other nonprofit organization supports three key areas or causes – environment, health and education?  The fact that multiple issues are being touched through Soil Born’s work is why I want to be a part of this long-term project.  We need to help the future generation understand why eating healthy and educating those around us to do so is an imperative.


IMG_7898Brian Sehnert - Board Member

Brian Sehnert is a registered Architect and LEED Accredited Professional. Recognized as an expert in the area of green building and sustainable design and construction he is Principal of bVerdant, a firm dedicated to making high-performance sustainable design more prevalent in buildings and communities.

Why I'm on the Board: I believe the vision of Soil Born Farms serves this community and the world; food access and education, an understanding of our earth and healthy living for all ages.


Why I'm on the Board: I am honored to serve as a volunteer board member for Soil Born Farms and enjoy being a part of a movement whose mission is to help people’s health and our environment’s well being.


Kurt Spataro - Board Member

Kurt is the Executive Chef for the Paragary Restaurant Group.

JanetJanet Zeller - Board Member

Janet Zeller has been a Board member since 2004 and served as the President of the Board of Directors during the formative years of Soil Born Farms. Janet has been involved in promoting healthy eating and sustainable agriculture in our region for over 25 years. She has a passion for cooking and bringing people together to eat, learn and celebrate. Janet is dedicated to giving back to the community, protecting our natural resources and improving the quality of life for children and future generations.

Why I'm on the Board:
We believe it is important to have one of the co-founders serve on the board of directors to help guide the growth and development of the organization in alignment with the mission of Soil Born Farms Urban Agriculture & Education Project as it was envisioned by the co-founders. I offer a historical perspective and a long term vision.


Shawn Harrison - Officer

Founder and Co-Director of Soil Born Farms


marcoMarco Franciosa - Founder & Honorary Board Member

Marco Franciosa co-founded Soil Born Farm with Shawn Harrison in 2000 as a 1-acre urban garden.  After nine years at Soil Born, he and his partner Kay Panek had a dream to start a farm by a river in the countryside, and after two seasons of searching for the perfect spot, their search ended in Brownsville, Oregon, where they founded Sunset Lane Farm.  At Sunset Lane Farm they grow a wide diversity of vegetables and fruits, keep milking cows, and run a CSA for the surrounding area.