A Warm Welcome to our Newest Staff Members
Nicodemus Ford
Cannery Farm Coordinator

Nicodemus spent the majority of his career in education, originally as a founding teacher of a progressive high school in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan, where he became deeply aware and passionate about notions of food justice and sovereignty.

He worked with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension with funding from the U.S.D.A to support the Community and Regional Food Systems project. More recently, Nicodemus worked with the Michael Fields Institute in partnership with the PEOPLE program in Madison, WI to develop the GULFS curriculum and leadership program to build high school leaders in food systems. For the last two years, Nicodemus was the Garden Manager at Oak Park Sol Community Gardens, a neighborhood-led community garden in the historic neighborhood of Sacramento.

Nicodemus lives in Sacramento with his family and when not working to pursue his dream to become a farmer, he enjoys running, cooking and listening to good hip-hop, jazz or soul music.

Shelley Donati
Monterey & Santa Cruz County FARMS Leadership Program Coordinator

A California native, Shelley grew up in rural San Benito County, where her parents run a working cattle ranch. After studying and living in cities around the world including Boston, Madrid, Phoenix, she returned to Monterey County. Her career has consistently centered on education, and expanding leadership capacity is her daily focus as an Executive Coach and Leadership Development Expert.

Partnering with FARMS Leadership is an opportunity to leverage her management and leadership development skills delivering a program with a wide breadth of resources to the local schools in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties. Shelley is excited to expand this program locally where she will bridge the gap between the realities of the rapidly changing career landscape in agriculture and classroom learning.

Jill Siegel
Central Valley East FARMS Leadership Program Coordinator

Jill grew up on an 88-acre farm in northwest Illinois. Although the main business that operated on that land and other nearby sites was a large hog confinement operation owned by her father, Jill was more directly involved with raising and showing Suffolk sheep. 4-H, county fairs, and bottle feeding lambs are all a part of her fond memories of growing up in the country.

She is thrilled to be returning to her roots and helping high schoolers learn about all of the different careers available in agriculture. Jill earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Arizona in Tucson and taught first and second grades in Southern California prior to spending time at home to raise her children. She lives in Visalia with her husband, three children, two dogs, and three cats.

Colleen Taber
Kern FARMS Leadership Program Coordinator

Colleen grew up on 5 acres raising horses, sheep, and dogs in the Santa Cruz mountains, participating in 4-H for 9 years. After college she worked in education at San Jose Unified School District and then with Santa Clara Unified School District.

Colleen has lived in Bakersfield for 6 years with her Bakersfield born husband and three children. They have been involved in 4H and now FFA.  Her and her husband live on a small ranch in west Bakersfield with their horses, hogs, chickens, dogs, and cats. She is very involved at her children's K-8 school district which is nestled right in the middle of several almond orchards, cotton fields, and vineyards. Colleen is excited to blend her passion for youth education and agriculture right in her own backyard.

Katie Wortman
Central Valley West FARMS Leadership Program Coordinator

Katie is originally from the small community of Gustine, California, located in Merced County. She is a graduate of Merced College with an A.S. degree in General Agriculture, a B.S. degree from California State University, Fresno in Agriculture Education with an emphasis in Agriculture Mechanics and received her Credentials and Master's Degree in Agriculture Education from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Katie is the proud mother of an almost 2 year-old daughter, Emma, she is the best thing that has ever happened to her! Katie is very excited to be the new Central Valley West FARMS Leadership Program Coordinator and looks forward to working with the local students as they explore the local agriculture industry, career opportunities, and develop leadership skills. This will be an exciting year for all the students and partners.

California Farm Academy Info Session This Weekend
For questions about California Farm Academy or to RSVP to the information session, call (530) 795-4146.

The Center for Land-Based Learning exists to
cultivate opportunity. 

For the land.
For youth.
For the environment.
For business.
For the economy.
For the future of agriculture.

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Thank you for your support.


CENTER FOR LAND-BASED LEARNING, 5265 Putah Creek Road, Winters, CA 95694  ■  (530) 795-1520