Farmscape is the largest urban farming venture in California. Our mission is to connect city dwellers with fresh, organic produce through a network of urban farms, while creating living wage jobs for the new generation of farmers.
To date, we have installed over 600 urban farms and currently maintain more than 250 of those plots.
Dan, an Iowa native, is proud to practice a much different sort of agriculture than his home state is known for. As Farmscape's CEO, he oversees a multiple bottom-line approach that seeks to maximize the venture's social and environmental impact as well as its financial well-being. Dan is a Master Gardener and a member of the LA Food Policy Council's Working Group on Urban Agriculture. He is also a periodic contributor to The Huffington Post and Seedstock.
Favorite Veggie: Sun Gold Tomatoes
Lara's lifelong love of farming began working on landscaping projects in Chicago with her mother. As a college student, she maintained the Russell T. Kirt Tallgrass Prairie Restoration in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, where she specialized in propagating endangered plants. From there, she managed the 7 acre Vital Zuman farm in Malibu, CA. Since joining Farmscape in 2010, she has overseen the design and installation of over 300 urban farming projects. She has a B.A. from Columbia College and has recently completed a certificate in Project Management from UCLA extension. Lara has completed additional studies in Permaculture Design.
Favorite Veggie: Purple Top Turnips
Matthew was one of the first Farmscape interns, assisting with garden routes and nursery propagation. He earned a degree in Landscape Architecture from Cal Poly Pomona and after doing so, rode his bicycle 1,200 miles through Southeast Asia, stopping to volunteer at a natural building center in rural Thailand. Before returning to Farmscape as our Operations Manager, he was a gardener at the LA Arboretum, designing education gardens and working with Fritz Haeg to create the Wildflowering LA installation. Matthew enjoys cycling, hiking, photography, and postcards.
Favorite Veggie: Kabocha Squash
Farm Design Associate
Born in Brazil and raised in Los Angeles, Beba first found her love for gardening in the form of winemaking. She has a degree in Wine and Viticulture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. After working grape harvests around the world, she returned home to wed her affection for Los Angeles with her passion for horticulture. Working with plants brings inspiration, wonder, and calmness into her life and she hopes to share that experience with Farmscape members.
Favorite Veggie: Watermelon Radish
Prior to joining Farmscape, she worked with the LA Country Club and helped manage their organic vegetable garden, while assisting with beekeeping and greenhouse propagation. When she's not gardening, Nikki is an artist and graphic designer. If you'd like to check out her work, visit nikkipressley.com.
Francisco Ayala manages "Faithful Farm", our rooftop project at Levi's Stadium. Francisco is a San Jose native and the son of farmers. Prior to joining Farmscape, he worked at Urban Plantations, an urban farming company in San Diego. While there, he completed coursework in Urban Agriculture at San Diego City College. Despite being a lifelong Raiders fan, he still grows the most beautiful 49er squash on the planet.
Favorite Veggie: 49er Gold Squash
Kristen has a degree in Agriculture Science from Cal Poly Pomona. She works with the Garden School Foundation on their Seed to Table Program and previously served as a Nursery Intern with TreePeople. Kristen grew up right next to the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, which is where she developed her affinity for nature and the outdoors. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring LA neighborhoods on foot, trying out new restaurants, road trips, and taking ceramics classes.
Favorite Veggie: Sweet Corn
Before moving to LA and joining Farmscape, Ariel Chesnutt ran her own business growing microgreens in Colorado. Prior to that, she managed a crew of refugee farmers from Bhutan on urban farms in Denver. Ariel also trained with Will Allen (pictured above) at Growing Power, and workshopped with Eliot Coleman and Joel Salatin. When she isn't growing food, Ariel likes to paint, cook, annoy her two cats, and play card games with her husband.
Samantha is an LA native. Prior to joining Farmscape, she was the Vegetable Gardener at LA Country Club. Samantha is an Oregon Master Gardener and previously worked on a vineyard in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. She has a BA in Archaelogy and worked at the Fowler Museum at UCLA.
A graduate from the UCLA Horticulture and Gardening program, Ashley finds joy and creativity through gardening. With a background in Special Education, she loves to share and teach anyone who is curious about the earth and the process of growing food and flowers. In her free time, she enjoys Stephen King, chinchillas, and hiking with her husband.
Favorite Veggie: Carrots!
Nicole is originally from New York and moved to the Bay Area to pursue urban farming. After graduating from Stony Brook University with a BA in Sustainability Studies, she decided to pursue her love of growing food by working on organic farms in Poughkeepsie, NY and New Millford, CT. After five years of farming in Northeast, Nicole was ready for a new challenge and moved to California. She enjoys hiking, cooking, and traveling in her free time.
Favorite Veggie: Sweet Potatoes
Allison is a California Certified Nursery Professional with 6 years of professional gardening and farming experience. Prior to joining Farmscape, she managed the vegetables and fruit trees at Armstrong Garden Center's Wilshire location and was a school garden teacher at Rancho Vista Elementary Edible Learning Garden. Allison has a BS in Biopsychology from UC Santa Barbara.
Lowell has nearly a decade of organic gardening and landscaping experience. He worked for five years as the groundskeeper at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, maintaining ornamentals and edibles including their Japanese-style meditation garden, before joining Farsmcape. In his spare time, Lowell likes biking, hiking, reading, and fly fishing.
Favorite Veggie: Mr. Stripey Tomatoes
Melissa has been a Master Gardener since 2006, working on a variety of urban farming projects. Most recently, she was a Seedscapes Program Coordinator at WORKS. Before that she worked on a number of school garden projects, including Niemes Elementary in Artesia.
Ray Kidd is a born and raised Oakland resident. Ray started his career with Community Works West, helping young men re-enter the workforce after incarceration. After spending too much time inside, Ray got back to gardening with Kelly Carlisle at the urban farm associated with Oakland & The World Enterprises. Ray specializes in raised bed construction and fruit tree pruning.
Favorite Veggie: Swiss Chard
Eli hails from Chicago, where he earned a degree in psychology and volunteered extensively on the Sustainable Student Farm at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He has been tutoring and nannying for over 5 years with elementary to high school students in subjects from science to Spanish. Eli is a UC Master Gardener and regular volunteer at Wattles Farm Community Garden in Hollywood. He also enjoys teaching kids to play chess.
Stephen is a chef and a farmer with a passion for local food cultivation. On the weekends, he works at Red Bread in Culver City. Prior to joining Farmscape, he was a farm manager in Honaunau, HI, where he cared for livestock and tended vegetable plots. Stephen was also a head chef at Torta-landia! in Portland, OR, and a sous chef at The Curious Palate in Los Angeles.
Favorite Veggie: Beets
Todd, a Southern California native, is a Farmscape founder and our gardening expert. Before helping start Farmscape, Todd co-founded the non-profit Claremont Food Not Lawns, organized the Packing House Green Market, and has years of organic gardening experience. He enjoys playing banjo with his wife Mary Beth's band, the Sugar Mountain Mama Serenade.
Favorite Veggie: Carrots
Brent grew up on a vegetable and cattle farm in Alabama. During that time, he worked on the farm, helped his family with the farm-to-table restaurant "Aunt B's" and ran a local farmers market. Brent then graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Fruit and Vegetable Production, while working landscape and construction jobs at the school's Agricultural Heritage Park. He's a recent transplant to LA and is a stand-up comedian when he's not working on one of our urban farm sites.
Urban Farm Intern
Manaiya's passion for the environment began in middle school when she completed a project on air pollution common in low-income communities. She founded the Green Club at Oakland Tech High School, which her advisers are in the process of turning into a fully-funded academy within the school. Manaiya has also worked as an Environmental Investigator for Friends of Sausal Creek, as a Peer Instructor at Chabot Science and Space Center, and a Farm Resource & Management Coordinator for WOW Flower Farm in West Oakland. She plans to attend University of California, Santa Cruz to earn her Doctorate in Environmental Studies, and is currently managing our summer camp at Ironhorse in West Oakland.
Aaron grew up in Maine and worked for a landcaping firm in Scarborough before moving to California for his studies. He received a B.S. in Plant Science from Cal Poly Pomona and has worked done landscaping, construction and tended bar since graduation. In his free time, Aaron enjoys fishing, snowboarding and surfing.
Favorite Veggie: Asparagus
Nick’s interest in farming began with an urban agriculture field course he took at San José State University, where he obtained his B.A. in Environmental Studies. After college, he welcomed the opportunity to learn more about landscape construction and efficient irrigation design, working as an urban farmer in San Francisco, where he installed and maintained food forests and vegetable gardens. When he is not in the garden, Nick enjoys camping, hiking, fishing, cooking and watching his home-town Bay Area sports teams.
Sarah Zmay started her career in urban farming at UC Santa Cruz, where she volunteered at the Homeless Garden Project. She interned with PICA (Program in Community AgroEcology) and the College 8 Garden, a small campus farm. After graduating with a degree in Sociology and Politics, she joined Americorps. Her first station was in Gilroy (the Garlic Capitol of California) where she as a Farm-to-School Educator. From there she worked at Our City Forest in San Jose as a field specialist. Sarah currently farms San Jose, Fremont and the Peninsula for Farmscape!
Favorite Veggie: Bull's Blood Beets