top of page

Our Team

City Farm SLO is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization tasked with maintaining the Calle Joaquin Agricultural Reserve, educating and engaging the community in sustainable farming practices. Meet the dedicated people that make City Farm SLO an integral part of our local food system.

board members

Steven Marx


Anne-Marie Bergen


Gina Ruedebusch


Katherine Gorham


image0 (4).jpeg

Steven has been involved with City Farm SLO since 2011.  He started serving as President of the Board and Executive Director in 2016.  He has been motivated by the will of City residents to create an urban farm expressed in the General Plan of 1994. He was Professor of English specializing in Shakespeare at Cal Poly from 1988 to 2010. There he developed the Cal Poly Land Project, an interdisciplinary program that brought faculty and students from all Colleges together to produce a course, a book, and a website about the University’s 10,000-acre property.  He and his wife, Jan Marx, lived on an old homestead near the coast of British Columbia from 1970 to 1979, where they ran a summer camp for children.

A recently retired educator, Anne Marie Bergen connected with City Farm SLO through the farm box program which led her to volunteer and support the growth of this program! Anne Marie discovered the natural connection children and adults had for experiential learning at Foothill Horizons Outdoor School as an environmental educator. She continued as an elementary educator in Oakdale, California. During her final ten years in Oakdale, she created a laboratory and field-based science program. For the past decade she has been faculty at Cal Poly, creating and teaching science and STEM undergraduate courses for future educators. Her focus on science and STEM engaged her in many leadership roles to include the California Teacher Advisory Council (chair), Central Coast Science Project (co-director), and National Academies Consensus Committee. She was honored by President Obama in 2010.When not at City Farm or tending to her succulents, you can find her exploring the beaches and trails of the central coast!

Gina joined the City Farm Board of Directors in March 2021 after volunteering with the farm for a few months.  In her professional career Gina has a background in Sales and Sales Support and is currently the Director of Sales Operations for Mindbody.  She relocated to the Central Coast from Ohio in May of 2020 and enjoys all of the things that the area has to offer including hiking, road and trail running, and wine tasting.  She's passionate about health and wellness and in particular about helping both adults and children reap the benefits of an active lifestyle, sustained by delicious natural whole foods.  

Katherine is originally from Northern California and  relocated to the central coast to pursue her passion for wine and agriculture. She started serving at City Farm SLO last year and fell in love with the community! She is passionate about hospitality, fostering community and volunteering with the youth. On her off time, she enjoys surfing, hiking, wine tasting and anything outdoors with friends and family!

Leo Ontiveros

Board Member


Kayla Rutland

Executive Director

Shane Lovell

Farm Manager


Kayla has been involved as a volunteer then Vice President of the Board of City Farm SLO since moving to San Luis Obispo County in 2017. In 2021 she became Executive Director, bringing experience from the Health Promotion Division of the County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Department and previous roles in nonprofit organizations. Kayla’s personal mission is to advance community health and climate resiliency by helping all people connect with food and where it comes from. She is grateful for the opportunity to work towards this mission every day. In addition to this work, Kayla enjoys trail running, mountain biking, and backpacking in our incredible Central Coast. Kayla earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutritional Science from the University of Connecticut with a minor in Sustainable Crop Production.

Shane is passionate about designing ways for natural ecosystems and our modern ways of life to thrive together. He earned a bachelor’s degree of Industrial Design at The Art Institute of California then worked as a furniture designer for several years. While this was an engaging and creative career path, he longed to take his design interests into the natural world. With growing interests in gardening, natural ecology, and regenerative agriculture, he decided to pivot his career into farming. He discovered City Farm in 2019, and after a brief period of volunteering, he joined the team as Site Manager. In 2021 he became Farm Manager, overseeing the educational gardens and general farm maintenance. His focus has been to design a system that encourages people, ecology, and agriculture to all flourish simultaneously.

Outside his work on the farm, he enjoys being in nature. Whether it’s hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, or just relaxing under the trees, he is rejuvenated by observing the natural world.

Lauren Picone

Programs Manager 


Lauren is passionate about protecting our natural resources and inspiring the next generation to live a healthy lifestyle.  Lauren earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Environmental Management and Protection, with a Biology minor, and an emphasis in Education from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She has worked as an Environmental Educator for nonprofits in the past, along with being a substitute teacher for K-12th graders within San Luis Obispo County.  Lauren is excited to have the opportunity to educate students from diverse backgrounds about the importance of understanding where our food comes from and how interconnected we are with our land. When Lauren is not on the farm, you can find her hiking peaks all over SLO County, backpacking, surfing, scuba diving, and traveling to different parts of the world.  Lauren is grateful to be able to educate students about growing their own sustainable produce and teaching them ways to incorporate more seasonal fruits and vegetables into their diets!

Farm Education Coordinator 

Olivia is an outdoor educator ready to bring her experience to City Farm SLO! In 2017 Olivia worked at Shady Creek Outdoor School in North San Juan, CA and discovered her passion for teaching the next generation about the natural world. With an Anthropology and Geography degree from Cal Poly she brings a unique perspective to her curriculum. Having grown up in the Sacramento Valley, Olivia has been surrounded by and involved in agriculture her whole life. Olivia discovered City Farm SLO after a discussion with a Cal Poly professor about career opportunities in the area. When she is not on the farm Olivia is learning to surf, enjoying local breweries, and crocheting!

Olivia Hansel
IMG_1840 (1).HEIC
Emily Rose Friedman

Youth Empowerment Program Facilitator


As a lifelong Los Osos local Emily Rose has a strong connection to the native land here on the central coast. She is passionate about permaculture, ecosystem restoration, education and food as medicine. Emily Rose graduated from The University of California Santa Cruz in 2022 with a Bachelor's degree in politics with a concentration in systems change and regenerative farming. During her undergraduate she worked on the UCSC 30 acre produce farm as well as the Alan Chadwick garden where they focus on “french-intensive biodynamic” small scale gardening. Emily Rose will be co-leading the Youth Empowerment Program for the summer of 2024! She is excited to help our community's youth engage with the farm and help them hone their life skills! In her free time Emily Rose tends to her home urban garden, hikes the beautiful central coast, surfs and dances with Revive dance company.

Alyssa Murray

AmeriCorps VIP - Volunteer Programs Coordinator 

Alyssa started at City Farm SLO as a Summer 2023 Regenerative Farming Intern. She graduated from UCSB with a degree in environmental studies and an outside concentration in religious studies. During her time in college she took a handful of classes about sustainable farming and food systems, which piqued her interest in regenerative farming. In her free time Alyssa enjoys going on scenic walks, watching her favorite tv shows, cooking and baking, traveling up and down California's coast, and getting to know her new home SLO! She is now the Americorps VIP Volunteer Programs Coordinator and she is excited for her next year of service with the College Corp Fellows. Her goal is to help the farm's volunteer base grow and recruit those who have a passion for farming!

Caroline Smith


image0 (5).jpeg

Caroline moved from the San Juan Islands to SLO the Summer of 2023. She spent the bulk of harvest season at Farmermaid Flowers, and after volunteering at City Farm, she came on to help as a part time farmer herself.

Her interest in agriculture began in her early twenties when she went to Ireland for the first time. From there, she went on to live & farm in Hawaii, Washington, & Ireland once more. There again, she explored her Irish ancestry, relationship to land, and studied midwifery/birth work, as well as regenerative agriculture. During that most recent trip to Ireland, Caroline spent a few months at Moy Hill Farm as one of their regenerative ag interns. Working with sheep, cows, & a couple hundred laying hens, along with a few acres of market garden & tunnels, she was immersed in not only the landscape & culture of Ireland, but the fulfilling realities of day to day regenerative farming with a mixed flock & herd. Beyond farming & caring for little ones & birthing families, Caroline is a movement teacher at 9th Limb Yoga in Morro Bay, and enjoys writing poetry, creating textile art, spinning wool, and swimming in the sea.

Tenant Farmers

Meet the tenant farmers that form the collective of small, independent organic farmers on City Farm SLO’s 19-acre parcel.



MG Farms is owned and operated by Farmer Francisco Martinon. Frank provides wholesome, organic vegetables to local school districts, SLO Veg, and local farmers' markets. He grows a huge variety of crops including squash, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuces, tomatoes, leeks, beans, berries, herbs, and so much more! 

Francisco Martinon



Aviator acres family farm

Farmer Nathan Ecret has been farming for over 28 years.  Growing up in a farming community, Nathan has been involved in farming a variety of crops over the years.  Farmer Nathan is now retired and working harder than ever for family and community, growing healthy, fresh vegetables for the home cook or farm to table chef. 

Nathan Ecret



Monarch Hills Education is a child inspired, nature based enrichment program for students TK-6th grade. 

Erin Stehli and Hali Anaya 


blosser urban garden

Subtenant Blosser Urban Garden is a small-scale certified organic farm in Santa Maria operating since 1996, with a CSA of over 250 members and a farmstand on Blosser Road. It’s owned and operated by Jerry and Alejandra Mahoney. Jerry worked for eleven years as the Cal Poly organic farm manager, teaching future farmers the importance of sustainable organic farming practices. 

Jerry Mahoney


2021 HIGH RES LOGO.png


Info coming soon! 

Cyrus Bany

Tree Lees.jpg

Our Global family farm

Teresa "Tree" Lees promotes global unity and permaculture through regenerative agriculture techniques.

subscribe to our monthly newsletter!

bottom of page