Nutrition Advisory Board

Marla Feldman
Program Director, MAZON

Inspired by Jewish values and ideals, MAZON is a national advocacy organization working to end hunger among people of all faiths and backgrounds in the United States and Israel. For more than 30 years, MAZON has been committed to ensuring that vulnerable people have access to the resources they need to be able to put food on the table. MAZON is a leading voice in Washington D.C. on anti-hunger issues, especially those that involve populations or problems that have been previously overlooked or ignored.

Since joining the organization in 2002, Marla has been leading efforts to promote positive health outcomes and improve access to nutritious food for low-income communities. Marla spearheaded national initiatives, such as Healthy Options, Healthy Meals, which encouraged food banks to prioritize nutrition and implement strategies to procure and distribute healthier food through the charitable food system.  She also led a national food bank study summarized in the research report A Tipping Point: Leveraging Opportunities to Improve the Nutritional Quality of Food Bank Inventory.  Prior to joining MAZON, Marla spent nearly a decade managing small business development programs with the African Development Foundation and the Peace Corps. She holds a Bachelor of the Arts in Communications from the University of Maryland.

Dr. Lia Fernald
Professor, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley

Dr. Fernald is Director of Public Health Nutrition and Professor of Community Health Sciences. Her work has focused primarily on how inequalities in socio-economic position contribute to growth and developmental outcomes in mothers, infants and children, and on how interventions can address socio-economic and health disparities. Much of her work for the past decade has centered on looking at the effects of interventions (e.g. conditional cash transfer programs, parenting programs, microcredit interventions, and community-based nutrition interventions) on child development and maternal mental health, particularly focused on low and middle-income countries. She recently worked with a team of authors to write a review for The Lancet about strategies to address poor development among infants and children in low and middle-income countries.

She has worked in Columbia, Ecuador, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Nepal, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, and has also evaluated the impact of Oportunidades, a large-scale poverty alleviation program in Mexico, on health outcomes.

Dr. Fernald has a PhD from the University of London, an MBA from UC Berkeley, and a BA from Swarthmore College.

Dr. Christopher Gardner
Director of Nutrition Studies, Stanford Prevention Research Center; Professor of Medicine, Stanford University

Dr. Gardner is passionate about two central questions that keep him up at night and get him to jump out of bed most mornings. The first of these is: What can people eat and drink (or avoid/limit) to optimize their health? Most of his past 20 years of research and teaching have been dedicated to finding solutions to current controversies about such topics as garlic, soy, antioxidants, omega-3 fats from fish or flax, vegetarian diets, artificial sweeteners, and low-fat vs. low-carb weight loss diets. His rigorously designed and conducted human nutrition trials and publications on these topics have made him a nationally recognized leader in nutrition science. He currently serves on the Nutrition Committee of the American Heart Association.

Dr. Gardner has recently shifted much of his energies to a second and more challenging question: What forces and factors can successfully motivate people to improve their food and beverage choice behaviors? To address this question he has reached out and developed connections and collaborations with scholars and researchers from across all seven of Stanford’s undergraduate and graduate schools – Medicine, Business, Law, Earth Sciences, Humanities and Sciences, Education and Engineering. He is in the process of leading a team of colleagues in the development of a new Stanford Center for Education and Research in Food Systems.

He received his PhD in Nutritional Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley in 1993. His postgraduate training included a postdoctoral fellowship in cardiovascular disease epidemiology at Stanford.

Heidi Insalata Krahling
Restaurateur and Director, ExtraFood

Heidi loves to cook for people. Whether it was growing up in Southern California, where her father often did the cooking for huge Knights of Columbus dinners, working as a chef for others, or serving as the chef of her own restaurant, Heidi has always enjoyed making others happy with her food. Opening Insalata’s (named in honor of her father, Italo Insalata) in 1996 was a natural step in her culinary career. Heidi says that the creation of Insalata’s was also about timing, “You just know when it’s time to work for yourself.” In 2009 Heidi also opened a wildly popular restaurant down the street from Insalata’s called Marinitas, serving luscious Latin inspired food and libations.

For eight years before opening Insalata’s, Heidi was executive chef at Smith Ranch, an upscale adult community in San Rafael. She took this position after spending several years as chef at Butler’s in Mill Valley, where she earned high regard from customers and food reviewers, culinary accolades from magazines such as Gourmet, Food and Wine, and Esquire, and critical acclaim such as USA Today’s USA’s Best Women Chefs, and San Francisco Focus Best Chef.

Prior to working at Butler’s, Heidi honed her cooking skills as a student at Tante Marie’s Cooking School and with Mediterranean expert Joyce Goldstein at Square One.

Heidi’s passion for working is passed to others through classes at Tante Marie’s, the Culinary Institute of America, Ramekins, and other Bay Area cooking schools. She also uses her energy and commitment in serving her community. Food, community, and family are the cornerstones of Heidi’s life today as they have been throughout her life. Today, her restaurant, her food and her community involvement testify to how these influences have shaped her life.

Andy Naja-Riese
CEO, Agricultural Institute of Marin

Andy is a creative, visionary, and compassionate leader who has a wealth of experience in nutrition assistance and community agriculture programs. As AIM’s Chief Executive Officer, Andy leads AIM’s day-to-day operations, strategic partnerships and planning, and resource development.

Prior to joining AIM, Andy was the Chief of the Program Integrity Branch of the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service Western Region, where he was responsible for the implementation and oversight of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly called Food Stamps and known as CalFresh in California). Andy oversaw the administration of $12 billion in benefits redeemed by 8 million low-income households at grocery stores, farmers markets, and other retailers across Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and the U.S. Territory of Guam. Andy is also a nationally-recognized leader in the $421 million federal SNAP Nutrition Education grant, for which he executed the design of the National SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework to support health departments, cooperative extension services, and non-profit organizations in measuring and reporting outcomes from nutrition education, farmers markets, and community-wide coalitions. Andy has provided vision, facilitation skills, and guidance to many state, community, and tribal partners to create cost-effective programs with an emphasis on food access, community agriculture, and on-line and digital education.

Andy received his Master’s degree in Society, Human Development, and Health from the T.H. Chan Harvard School of Public Health and his Bachelor’s degree in Community, Environment, Science, and Health from Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Miguel Villarreal
Child Nutrition and Warehouse Director, San Ramon Valley Unified School District and Director, ExtraFood

In his role at SRVUSD, Miguel and his team serve 30,000 K-12 students. Immediately before his current position, Miguel was Director of Food and Nutritional Services for the Novato Unified School District, an ExtraFood food donor since 2015 – and, with 8,000 K-12 students, Marin’s largest public school district. He joined the Novato Unified School District in 2002 and immediately began to modify schools' menus offering nutritious real food and phasing out junk food.

Miguel's experience spans more than 30 years in public schools as Food Service Director in Texas and California. He has developed and implemented innovative strategies for improving children’s health and created “Total School Nutrition and Wellness Environments.”

Miguel is an active member of several National, State, and local organizations focused on educating and improving students' well-being. He also serves on several state and national non-profit Boards as an advisor including the National Farm to School Network, California Food Policy Advocates, California Farm to School Taskforce and Marin Food Policy Council.

Miguel holds a Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition from the University of North Texas and Masters in Business Administration from East Texas State University.

Howard Zack
Managing Partner, WhoKnew Ventures

Howard Zack has been an entrepreneur, developer and angel investor and presently is the Managing Partner of WhoKnew Ventures, an early stage angel fund and startup incubator focused on nutrition and health & wellness. WhoKnew's incubator, Marincubator, is located in Sausalito, CA. Howard brings an overarching consumer perspective to investing, as a former Procter & Gamble brand marketing executive. He co-founded 2 Internet startups and pioneered factory outlet development in Northern California. In addition, he is deeply involved in a range of nonprofit organizations, including the Center for Investigative Reporting, America's oldest and largest award-winning 501(c)3 investigative news organization. Howard holds a BA from Stanford and a MBA from Harvard.

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Supported in part by:

Marin Community Foundation County of Marin The San Francisco Foundation