Board & Staff
Amber K. Stott, founder and Chief Food Genius of Food Literacy Center, grows her own groceries in Sacramento, California. In 2013, she was named “Food Revolution Hero” by Jamie Oliver Food Foundation. She was also awarded the 40 under 40 Award by Sacramento Business Journal and the Legacy Feast 2014 Award in the Environmental Category from Valley Vision.
She blogs about living la vida locavore at Awake at the Whisk, a lifestyle guide about food that’s good for you and good for the planet. She writes for Edible Sacramento magazine and Sacramento Press. She also develops recipes professionally for food companies with healthy products.
She’s a steering committee member and Chair of the Sacramento Region Food System Collaborative, a coalition of public, private, and nonprofit stakeholders working to inform and influence policy initiatives relevant to the regional food system in the 6-county Capital Region.
With 13 years of nonprofit fund development, management, and marketing experience, Amber has raised $5.5 million for local charities including WEAVE, Freedom from Hunger, and Women’s Empowerment. She holds several first place honors from the Sacramento Public Relations Association for her nonprofit work, and recently served as President-Elect of the Association of Fundraising Professionals California Capital Chapter Board.
“Where I grew up, in rural Illinois, eating locally wasn’t a movement. It was just how people lived. I want everyone to experience the joyful flavors from eating good food grown by our local small farmers.”
Elaine J. Fok, Program Coordinator, is addicted to vegetables and passionate about food, health, and education. She enjoys cooking, watching bees, rock climbing and swing dancing, and has an appreciation for food with faces.
With a background in sustainable agriculture, Elaine first got involved with food education coordinating Yolo Food Bank’s Kids Farmers Market, distributing fruits and vegetables weekly at select Yolo County Title 1 schools. She focused on sourcing local produce, supporting local farms and small businesses within the county and doubled the variety of local produce provided to food insecure individuals.
Elaine joined Food Literacy Center full time in 2014 after many months of volunteering. She helps develop curriculum, organizes community volunteers, and teaches in schools and libraries throughout the Sacramento region. The energy and enthusiasm kids have about food inspire her to continue teaching kids to eat healthy. She is committed to increasing appreciation for fruits and vegetables.
Elaine is involved with the Sacramento Country Nutrition Action Plan Collaborative and the Sacramento Hunger Coalition. She is a fervent supporter of hunger and homeless relief organizations.
Elaine holds a Master’s degree in Entomology from Cornell University and a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from the University of California Berkeley. She has completed biological research throughout the world and is fluent in Cantonese.
“Let’s teach today’s children about the bountiful promises of tomorrow with the classic foods of yesterday.”
Aimee J. Darville, Community Relations Officer, believes good food has the power to bring families and communities together. To expand her own food literacy she buys a new vegetable at the farmers’ market each week and learns how to cook it. She enjoys gardening, practicing yoga and playing trivia.
Aimee joined the Food Literacy Center team as Community Relations Officer in September 2014 after a year and a half as a communications volunteer. She is a member of the inaugural Food Literacy Academy and a certified Food Literacy Genius. Raised on broccoli and Caesar salad, she brings a passion for fresh home cooked food and a background in project management.
Aimee’s responsibilities include community outreach, communications and events. One of her favorite duties is interviewing our students and hearing first-hand how food literacy education has impacted their lives and the health of their family. She is inspired by the children’s faces who light up when they feel, smell and taste a piece of produce for the first time. With her own childhood spent helping in the kitchen and harvesting a neighbor’s garden, she would like every child to have the opportunity to build healthy habits that last a lifetime.
Aimee is the Communications Chair for the American Advertising Federation Sacramento Ad Club and a member of the Metro EDGE Philanthropy Committee. She writes for Girls on the Grid and her local roots help further the mission of food literacy.
Aimee studied Communications and Economics in the International Studies Program at the University of California, San Diego. She earned the title Competent Communicator from Flying I Toastmasters in 2014 and speaks French.
“Eating food is one of the most fundamental ways that we connect with the natural world. If a child only eats food out of a box or carton, it might seem strange for them to eat a fresh fruit or vegetable. I hope to help change that.”
Melissa A. Granville, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator, believes community food education is a critical part of improving not only physical health, but improving the overall lives of children and families. She believes good food can create community, empower people, and inspire joy and that access to good food should not be a privilege, but a right. Melissa enjoys cooking and eating with friends, playing and coaching volleyball, and reading.
Melissa joined the Food Literacy Center team in October 2014 after many months of volunteering as a certified Food Literacy Genius. In her new role, she helps organize community volunteers, manage social media and website content, and teaches in schools and libraries throughout the Sacramento region.
Melissa is a member of the Placer County Nutrition Action Plan (CNAP) Committee, and two community-based hunger relief and food access groups: Food Full Circle and Auburn Interfaith Food Closet Nutrition Committee.
Melissa holds a Master’s degree in Communication and Bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communication from Wichita State University. She has conducted community-based research in a wide range of areas, such as civic engagement in wind energy decision-making, falls prevention, and hunger relief.
“I believe it is through coordinated community-based programs like Your Sandwich can Save the World!, where kids are engaged and empowered to take tangible steps toward implementing improved lifestyle choices, that we will create a more sustainable and healthy future for our community.”
Board of Directors
Nicole Rogers, chair of Food Literacy Center, lives the ultimate food literacy lifestyle. As Farm to Fork Manager for Sacramento Convention Visitors Bureau, Nicole collaborates with partners throughout the regional food system, from farmers to restaurants and nonprofits. Her background includes marketing for Chipotle and working for national public relations firms. She also serves on the boards of Center for Land-Based Learning and Child Abuse Prevention Center.
“When there are kids who have never seen a pear or broccoli, we have work to do! I want every child to taste the healthy food growing in this region.”
Callista Wengler, vice-chair of the board of directors, is marketing director of Paragary Restaurant Group which owns and operates 14 restaurants and bars in the Sacramento region. Her job gives her the ability to combine her passions for food and creativity in a way that is both professionally and personally fulfilling. She is excited to see restaurants focusing on using local, sustainably grown food and has enjoyed getting to know the many local farmers and producers in the region.
Callista is very involved in local non-profits and organizations and was named a ’40 Under 40′ business professional by the Sacramento Business Journal in 2011. Along with her passion for food and health, Callista is also dedicated to causes that support the growth of the Sacramento region.
“Growing up my mother always had a fresh bouquet of herbs that she picked from our garden. These are the kinds of experiences I hope food literacy students will remember.”
Dawnie Andrak, secretary of Food Literacy Center, is also the development director at Center for Land-Based Learning (CLBL). She is a graduate of our Food Literacy Academy and has volunteered in our classroom for several months. Dawnie also completed CLBL’s Farm Academy, a program for beginning farmers, and is the chief operating officer of Capitol WebWorks, LLC.
“There’s nothing more important than educating our kids about where their food comes from.”
Elise Bauer, treasurer of the board of directors, is the founder and publisher of SimplyRecipes.com, an award winning, popular food blog focused on simple, wholesome home cooking. Elise is considered a pioneer in the blogging field, having started Simply Recipes in 2003. Elise curates FoodBlogAlliance.com, a tutorial site for food bloggers, as well as produces FoodBlogSearch.com, a recipe search engine that searches over 3000 high quality food blogs. Elise is a veteran of Silicon Valley and Apple, Inc. She has a B.S. degree in Environmental Earth Science, an M.A. in Food Research, and an M.B.A., all from Stanford University.
“Kids are naturally curious. The best time to teach them about food—where it comes from, how to cook it, if it’s good for you— is now, when they are still young and open to the magic of it all. What they learn today can help them build healthy habits for life.”
Jillena Hernández, past chair of the board of directors, started learning to love incorporating unique and exciting whole grains and vegetables into her daily meals from her mother who refused to eat white flour and sugar. She blogs about creating delicious plant based meals on her blog Eat Well, Live Free. She is a founding member of the California Maternal Mental Health Task Force and currently works for the California State Assembly.
Jillena spent six years in Santa Barbara catering and is an avid vegetarian home cook. She is learning to grow her own food in her backyard garden, and loves to share the bounty with her neighbors and friends who frequent her Sacramento house. She is excited to bring her policy background and her love of sharing healthy foods to the Center.
“The work of the Food Literacy Center is critical to the education and health of our community, especially our children. In a society where there are dedicated aisles to ‘health foods’ in select super markets, it is imperative that people know what they are eating and where it comes from.”
Laura Braden, board member of Food Literacy Center, has over 12 years of experience in public affairs and strategic communications. She currently serves as Senior Director of Communications for the Sacramento Kings where she develops and directs all public relations and media activities for business operations, including the Sacramento Entertainment and Sports Center. Before joining the Kings, she ran her own consulting business, Braden Strategies, LLC and served as Vice President at Mercury Public Affairs. Prior, she served as Deputy Communications Director for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Event Director for Schwarzenegger’s 2006 re-election campaign. Laura is also the Co-Founder of GirlsOnTheGrid.com, a lifestyle blog for professional women that live, work and/or play on Sacramento’s grid.
“My food literacy education started the day I moved to California. I want to help ensure that we reach younger generations right from the start to set them on a path for a lifetime of health and wellness. I also believe that Sacramento is the epicenter of the food literacy movement – the innovation and dedication seen here can (and should) be replicated around the nation.”
Justin Nordan, board Member of Food Literacy Center, has worked in the events and music business for over 15 years. Justin is also a huge supporter of local creativity, embracing local change, and showing the world how Sacramento can be a leading city for social change through conscious events and music.
Also a husband, and father of two girls (Caleigh & Delilah), Justin understands the importance of fruits and veggiecation. Justin is a supporter of the “educational food revolution”, and is determined to spark change in school food programs.
“The more we educate our youth on the value of a healthy meal, the more they will ignite change in future generations.”
Past Board Members