The Conscious Kitchen was founded in 2013 by Judi Shils, Executive Director of Turning Green, and Justin Everett, Executive Chef at Cavallo Point Lodge in Sausalito, California
Judi Shils | Founder & Executive Director, Turning Green & The Conscious Kitchen
Judi has spent the last 24 years of her life spearheading grassroots community projects. The dearth of answers around Marin County’s high cancer rates led Judi to found the nonprofit Search for the Cause, now Turning Green, a global student-led movement advocating for healthy food, safer products, and ethical businesses. She is also the force behind The Conscious Kitchen, a paradigm shifting model for school food service, transitioning school meals from pre-packaged, processed, heat-and-serve to chef-prepared, scratch cooked local, organic food, cooked in on-site zero waste kitchens. Believing that access to healthy food is a right, not a privilege, she began this work on a campus where 95% of children live below the poverty line, qualifying for free-and-reduced government-subsidized school meals. Moving to the Bay Area in 1989 and becoming a mother to daughter Erin changed the course of Judi’s life. Prior to this, she was an Emmy Award-winning television producer for 25 years with ABC Sports, FOX and Oxygen, founded The Diary Project forum for youth at the onset of the internet, and ran a successful student art exhibition, Celebrate Arts. Judi has been a consultant with the California Coastal Commission around public education for the past two decades.
Debbie Friedman | Program Director
Debbie is an attorney who practiced business law in San Francisco for 5 years. Since leaving the practice of law to pursue environmental work, Debbie has served in a variety of advocacy, communications and leadership positions including as producer for EcoTalk Radio which aired nationally on Air America Radio, and as a communications consultant for innovative nonprofits and businesses. Debbie also co-founded and led two environmental health nonprofits, and remains an advisor to both organizations. In her role at Moms Advocating Sustainability, Debbie led policy initiatives and organized coalitions, with an emphasis on shifting agricultural policies towards ecologically-oriented practices, to reduce the amounts of pesticides sprayed by state and local agencies. Debbie was lead organizer and negotiator with County Government Officials in a 2009 successful campaign to revise Marin County’s regulations to substantially reduce the use of pesticides on County property. She also organized a statewide coalition that successfully ended decades of pesticide spraying by California's agriculture department, in an unprecedented legal decision. Prior to joining Conscious Kitchen's team as Program Director, she was co-founder and served as Executive Director of GMOScience, a science-based educational and information platform that addresses the costs, risks and benefits of genetically engineered food. Debbie was selected in 2011 as a “Marin Hero for Children,” by Marin Advocates for Children.
Guillaume Pfahl | Executive Chef
Born and raised in the Bay Area, Guillaume has experienced many different cultures and beliefs. He sees food and family as the common denominator between people. His goal with the Conscious Kitchen is to create community for children centered around food, to unite the multi cultures in school settings. Prior to joining Conscious Kitchen, Guillaume had a wide breadth of cooking and restaurant experience, including working as sous chef for Saint Francis Yacht Club restaurants in San Francisco, and at a large SF based catering company, opening a farm-to-table restaurant in Sausalito, and training at several restaurants throughout France, including at a one-star Michelin restaurant.
Sue Waiss | Program Administrator
Sue has worked with Turning Green for 7 years and has helped bring all of our key programs to life. She is passionate about sustainability, education, and bringing our programs to students across the country and around the world. Prior to TG, Sue worked as a Project Manager and Studio Manager in the graphic design industry and co-founded two video production companies.
Kavya Velagapudi | Grant Writer Consultant
Kavya is a non-profit and development consultant who helps agencies achieve their fundraising goals. She is a creative, results-driven nonprofit professional with six years of diverse experience generating revenue and resources for nonprofits. With a Masters in Social Welfare and a concentration in Non-Profit Administration & Policy Advocacy, Kavya has a unique blend of development, management, and clinical skills. Before becoming an independent consultant and joining the Turning Green team, she was the Development Director of International Museum of Women, now part of Global Fund for Women, in San Francisco. Prior to joining the Museum, Kavya was the Western Region Director of Starlight Children’s Foundation in Los Angeles, where she oversaw all development, communications and program services in Starlight’s Western Region. Kavya has raised funds for various nonprofits through grants, special events, corporations, memberships, annual appeals, crowd-funding, e-appeals, silent auctions, and major gifts.
Heidi Locke Simon | Board Chair
Former Partner, Bain & Company
Heidi recently retired as a Partner of Bain & Company, a global strategy consulting firm where she worked for 20 years. She was a leader of the firm’s performance improvement capability area and managed Bain’s marketing and client development efforts on the West Coast. Prior to joining Bain in 1993, Heidi worked in investment banking for Goldman, Sachs & Company and spent time in brand management with Colgate-Palmolive Company. Heidi earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Politics and Economics with highest honors from Middlebury College, including course work at the University of Paris. Heidi began volunteering for Turning Green with its first Search for the Cause campaign a decade ago. She has served in numerous roles, including Board Chair for several years.
Al Baylacq | Board Member
Partner, Good Earth Natural Foods
Al has co-led the growth of Good Earth Natural Foods since 1999. Since the early 1970’s, Good Earth’s mission has been to bring organic food into grocery stores in a consistent way, while supporting innovative and ethical organic growers and ranchers. Al’s dream was to be part of a marketplace that reflected the community it served. At the time he joined Good Earth, it was his intention that Good Earth would play a role as a “community hub,” while influencing and educating people and businesses far beyond its local community. Al is proud to have initiated an organic school lunch program through Good Earth in 2003. Good Earth’s school lunch program began with 4 schools, and currently is in 17 Marin County schools. Al and Good Earth’s support has been instrumental in the founding and growth of The Conscious Kitchen program.
Mohit Gourisaria | Governance Chair
Attorney, Keker, Van Nest & Peters LLP
Mohit is a litigator who loves, in equal part, advocacy and resolution. He also believes in the law's potential to be an equalizer and maintains an active pro bono practice. Outside of his legal career, Mohit teaches writing and oral advocacy, is an ardent theatregoer, and a passionate ally of The Conscious Kitchen. Mohit earned a J.D. from Columbia Law School, an LL.M. from The London School of Economics, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater Arts and Economics, summa cum laude, from Brandeis University. Mohit serves on the Board of Directors for the Brandeis Alumni Association.
Justina Lai | Treasurer, Finance Chair
Director of Impact Investing, Wetherby Asset Management
Justina is a private equity investor that believes in harnessing the power of capital – and applying the discipline and rigor of conventional investing – to create meaningful social and environmental impact. Justina joined Wetherby Asset management in 2015 where she leads the firm’s impact investment strategy. Prior to Wetherby, she was a Director and Senior Investment Analyst focused on private markets strategies at Sonen Capital, an impact investment management firm. Previously, Justina helped manage the Rockefeller Foundation’s Program Related Investments portfolio comprised of domestic and international impact investments in private equity and private debt. She was also a core member of the Impact Investing team where she advanced and shaped the initiative strategy focused on building the field of impact investing. In addition, she has held positions with Legacy Venture in Palo Alto, CA and Rwanda Ventures, a business incubator launching and operating sustainable agricultural companies in Kigali, Rwanda.
Prior to her career in impact investing, she was an Associate in the New York and Paris offices of Vestar Capital Partners, where she diligenced and executed growth equity and leveraged buyout transactions across the US and Europe. Justina began her career in the sponsor coverage group within Citigroup’s Investment Banking Division in New York. Justina received a BS in Finance and International Business, summa cum laude, from New York University and an MBA with certificates in Public and Global Management from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Justina is proficient in Cantonese Chinese and Spanish and has lived and worked in Hong Kong, France, the UK and Rwanda.
Neka Pasquale | Board Member
Founder, Urban Remedy
Neka is a licensed Acupuncturist, Author and the Founder of Urban Remedy. She created Urban Remedy as a natural evolution of her passion for health and healing and living a lifestyle with “food is healing” as her mantra. Growing up in the farm-to-table culture of Northern California, Neka was inspired by people who care about what they eat and who strive to eat for health as well as pleasure. In her private practice of over a decade, Neka combined acupuncture and Chinese medicine with cutting-edge nutrition and lifestyle modifications to heal, balance and create optimal health. Neka started leading wellness retreats with her patients and over and over again they described experiencing life-changing results after just a few days. Inspired by these transformations, Neka knew she had found her calling and in 2009, Urban Remedy was born.
Beth Rattner | Board Member
Executive Director, Biomimicry Institute
Beth directs the Biomimicry Institute’s strategic vision, managing the organization’s program development, fundraising, and marketing efforts. She speaks publicly on how biomimetic design in products, cities, and agriculture can bring about a new level of resilience to our economy and ecosystem, which in turn spur new levels of social equity.
Prior to this position, Beth worked with William McDonough and Michael Braungart on The Upcycle, the sequel to Cradle to Cradle, before she helped co-found the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute and became its first Executive Director and then Vice President.
An attorney by training, Beth was also a managing director for one of the first sustainability business consultant firms, Blu Skye, and business manager for Hewlett Packard’s Emerging Market Solutions (EMS) group.
Beth is a graduate of U.C.L.A. and Loyola Law School and lives in Marin County, California.
James Schurz | Legal Advisor
Attorney, Morrison and Foerster
Mr. Schurz’s practice encompasses all manner of commercial transactions and intellectual property matters, including actions for breach of contract and business torts, including unfair competition, fraud, trade libel, products liability, and joint venture/distributor termination. Mr. Schurz has broad experience representing energy companies, resource companies, electronics manufacturers, and pharmaceutical companies. He has appeared extensively in courts throughout Northern California, and, in particular, San Francisco Superior Court, the United States District Courts for the Northern and Eastern Districts of California, and the California Courts of Appeal. He is an adjunct professor of law at the University of California, San Francisco, Hastings College of the Law (1998 to present) is the co-author of “How to Choose a Forum that is Right for You” (International Commercial Litigation 2002) and “Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Mechanisms in International Environmental Conventions and Multilateral Trade Agreements,” (United Nations Environmental Programme 1995) and a series of articles for California Law Business, California Real Property Journal, and International Commercial Litigation.
SUSAN GRIFFIN-BLACK, Co-founder and Co-CEO, EO Products
Susan is the co-founder and co-CEO of EO Products, the Marin-based parent company of two leading personal care brands: EO® and Everyone™. For nearly 25 years Susan has been a pioneer of the personal care industry, and has built a successful, exemplary company rooted in responsible business practices. Susan is an expert on safe, healthy personal care products and essential oils. She is involved with numerous advisory boards including Turning Green and Bay Cycle Project.
KELLY BROWNING, Teacher, Willow Creek Academy, Conscious Kitchen Teacher Liaison
Kelly is a 2nd grade teacher and Director of the Garden and Nutrition Program at Willow Creek Academy in Sausalito, California. She is passionate about inspiring students to eat and grow healthy food. A graduate of Dominican University with a Certificate in Sustainable Practices, she works to connect teachers and staff with the lunch program. Her focus and expertise is on education and curriculum building and connecting that to the FLOSN food her students eat daily. Previously, Kelly worked as a nutrition and cooking teacher in the Sausalito Marin City School District, and was the inspiration for the start of The Conscious Kitchen.
MATT DUFFY, Superintendent, West Contra Costa Unified School District
Superintendent Matt Duffy is the ninth permanent superintendent in West Contra Costa Unified School District history. He came to the District with significant leadership experience in urban schools and districts. Most recently, Matt served as Assistant Superintendent in Milpitas Unified. There he was in charge of teaching and learning, leadership, enrollment, technology, Special Education, and LCAP development. His recent accomplishments include starting a new Dual Immersion school in Milpitas, significantly expanding professional learning opportunities for all staff, and growing the music program each year.
Prior to Milpitas, Matt spent nine years in Oakland Unified serving as a principal and an area superintendent. In Oakland, Matt led Elmhurst Middle School as well as founding and designing his own district school, Elmhurst Community Prep. He is most proud of his work at raising the Academic Performance Index (API) over 200 points, having the highest African American API in the district and redesigning a school program in order to thoroughly engage parents. As an area superintendent, Matt oversaw a portfolio of 15 schools including middle and high schools throughout the city.
Matt originally hails from New York City where he spent 4 years teaching middle school in the South Bronx and 3 years as a Vice Principal in Harlem. Matt lives in Oakland with his wife Tamara and two boys Caelin and Leo.
JUSTIN EVERETT, Co-founder, Conscious Kitchen
NIMISHA GANDHI, BS, CNC, Founder, Moon Cycle Nutrition
Nimisha is a certified holistic nutritionist, certified Ayurvedic counselor, certified Yoga Nidra teacher, and former tech founder of a women's gaming company. She holds a B.S. in Psychobiology from UCLA and has years of additional education in clinical research, human biology, gut microbiome, and environmental health. Nimisha taught a high school nutrition program, where her proud moments were when the teens came back for seconds of the healthy, organic, local meals they cooked in the classroom.
Nimisha serves as an advisor for Anchor Meditation Studio, FemTech Collective, and Integrated Medicine Initiative For Teens. She also advises wellness providers and companies on how to build a holistic, forward-thinking, sustainable brand and service. Nimisha is a connector and collaborator. She gives workshops, talks, and classes and webinars regularly.
In her private practice, Moon Cycle Nutrition, Nimisha works with teenage girls, fertility, prenatal and postpartum woman, and those with chronic gastrointestinal conditions. Her work weaves ancient wisdom with modern medicine and is highly individualized to meet the needs of her clients. She practices in the San Francisco Bay Area and virtually across the country. Nimisha is passionate about creating equal access to organic, local, unprocessed foods for everyone.
PETER HEINEMANN, Co-founder and Managing Director, Passport Resorts, LLC
Peter is Co-founder and Managing Director of the San Francisco Bay Area based hotel management company, Passport Resorts LLC. It is known for creating small, upscale destination resorts, developed and operated in an environmentally friendly and socially responsible manner. Passport Resorts LLC and its affiliated companies presently operate the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, California and Cavallo Point Lodge in Sausalito, California - a project created by a unique private/public/non-profit alliance. Peter’s responsibilities include overseeing the properties' financial matters, arranging project financing, and structuring various business and real estate transactions. Peter also has the lead role in overseeing all of the day to day business operations at Cavallo Point Lodge. He received his law degree from Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley in 1977 and his Bachelor of Arts degree from UC Berkeley in 1973.
DANA KUEFFNER, Environmental Director, Passport Resorts
Dana currently serves as Passport Resorts’ Environmental Director. She also serves as Project Design Director on many of the company’s development projects. A design professional for 20 years, Dana is an American Society of Interior Designers Industry Partner. She is also certified as a Green Building Professional and received a specialty credential in Green Building Remodeling and Retrofitting.
Prior to working in the design field, Dana was involved in Healthcare and Social Services. She served as the Deputy Director of Heathcare for Alameda County for 12 years. She was responsible for the County’s Alcohol and Drug Prevention and Treatment Services, Maternal-Childcare Services and for a brief period served as the Head of Operations at Highland General Hospital.
STACY MALKAN, Journalist, Co-founder, US Right to Know
For over a decade, Stacy has led campaigns to shift the market to safer products, healthy food and clean production. She is a co-founder and co-director of US Right to Know, a nonprofit organization that investigates and reports on what the food industry doesn’t want us to know about our food. Stacy is author of the award-winning book, “Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry” (New Society 2007) and she co-founded the national Campaign for Safe Cosmetics in 2002. For eight years, Stacy was the communications director for Health Care Without Harm, an international coalition working to transform the healthcare industry so it is no longer a source of harm. Prior to her work as an environmental health activist, Stacy was a reporter and newspaper publisher. Follow her on Twitter @StacyMalkan and @SafeCosmetics.
JENNIFER RIENKS, PhD, Assoc. Director, UCSF Family Health Outcomes Project (FHOP)
Jennifer has been with FHOP since 1996. A native of Connecticut, Dr. Rienks received her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Connecticut before heading west to complete her Masters of Science degree and PhD in Social Psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research interests include the application of social science theories and methods to public health to change health behaviors and health systems, and the role of the physical and social environment in shaping health behaviors.
Dr. Rienks has worked on a variety of research projects and brings data analysis, research and survey design and project management skills to FHOP. Past projects include researching the use of a risk assessment tool for the targeting clinical outreach and HIV prevention services to high-risk women; an evaluation of a breast-cancer navigator project in Solano County; a community collaborative research project funded by the University-wide AIDS Research Project to compare the effectiveness of standard HIV testing and counseling vs. an enhanced intervention that included STD screening; evaluation of the Seven Principles Project - a project to reduce black infant mortality disparities in San Francisco conducted by SF Dept. of Public Health; leading the 2010 - 2015 Title V Needs Assessment for the California Department of Health Services' California Children's Services program. Jennifer also provides technical assistance to and leads trainings for the staff of local health jurisdictions on a variety of topics.
In her free time, Jennifer serves on the publicly elected Marin Healthcare District Board, having originally been elected in 2006 and re-elected in 2010 and 2014. She is passionate about ensuring access to high quality and cost effective healthcare for all, and enjoys photography, hiking and northern California's abundant flora and fauna.
LILY RIESENFELD, Co-Founder, The Pad Studios, Founder, Kinship
Lily has been in the wellness industry for 15 years and has founded several boutique wellness studios, the most successful being The Pad Studios. She recently launched a new project “Kinship”, where she consults for wellness start ups and produces wellness driven experiences through strategic partnerships and connecting people together. Having grown up in Berkeley, California she is an advocate for conscious living free of toxins and leading a natural lifestyle. Lily is an outdoor enthusiast and is passionate about supporting local agriculture at the Marin County farmer’s market, where you can often find her with her husband and two young children. Lily holds a degree in Nutrition and Psychology from Pepperdine University, and also studied holistic nutrition at Bauman College. Lily was magnetically drawn to the mission of the Conscious Kitchen, finding it a truly revolutionary concept holding the answer to solving entrenched problems with “big food.” By connecting and nourishing our children properly, we can strengthen the resilience of local food systems, while addressing public health, socioeconomic and cultural issues that are in dire need of repair.
ERIC ROBINSON AIA, LEED AP, Principal, Paulett Taggart Architects
Though he has practiced in locales as distinct as the Arizona desert and New York City, Eric’s work is unified by a passion for creating architecture that resonates with place and purpose. His interest in technical systems and considered approach to materials is revealed throughout a portfolio that includes custom residences, corporate interiors, cultural institutions, and multi-family housing. Whether using simple materials to poetically respond to an intense climate or integrating technical infrastructure into a refined space, Eric strives to find a beauty that emerges from honest, simple solutions. Within our practice, Eric is responsible for overall quality control and brings to each project a commitment to both design excellence and project delivery. Eric graduated Cum Laude with an AB in Architecture from Columbia University, where he also earned his Master of Architecture degree. Additionally, he completed studies at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in Switzerland and is a registered architect in California.
PAULETT TAGGART FAIA, LEED AP, Principal & Founder, Paulett Taggart Architects
Paulett founded the firm in 1986 with the premise that excellence in design not only enriches the lives of the people who live in, work in, and use our buildings, but also enhances the public realm and surrounding community. Whether housing, a community facility or a private commission, Paulett brings to each project sensitivity and commitment to our client’s needs and a focus on making elegant buildings that endure. The quality of the firm’s work has been recognized by dozens of awards, and by Paulett’s elevation to AIA Fellow in 2007.
Paulett received her Masters in Architecture from Harvard University and her Bachelors from the University of Oregon where she was first exposed to energy efficiency and sustainability issues. She has taught at UC Berkeley and the California College of the Arts, and has been a member of a number of local organization including LINE (the journal of the American institute of Architects San Francisco), the AIASF/SFMOMA Lecture Committee, the San Francisco School District’s Citizen’s Advisory Committee, and the Board of Trustees of the Universalist Church of San Francisco.
ALICE WATERS, Chef, Author, Food Activist, Founder & Owner of Chez Panisse & The Edible Schoolyard Project
Alice Waters has been a champion of local sustainable agriculture for over four decades. In 1995 she founded the Edible Schoolyard Project, which advocates for a free school lunch for all children and a sustainable food curriculum in every public school. She has been Vice President of Slow Food International since 2002. She conceived and helped create the Yale Sustainable Food Project in 2003, and the Rome Sustainable Food Project at the American Academy in Rome in 2007. Her honors include election as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007; the Harvard Medical School’s Global Environmental Citizen Award, which she shared with Kofi Annan in 2008; and her induction into the French Legion of Honor in 2010. In 2015 she was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama, proving that eating is a political act, and that the table is a powerful means to social justice and positive change. Her most recent honor was her induction into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2017. Alice is the author of fifteen books, including New York Times bestsellers The Art of Simple Food I & II, The Edible Schoolyard: A Universal Idea, and, a memoir, Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook.
BARBARA SOBEL, MS, CNS, LDN, Barbara Sobel Nutrition
Barbara is a clinical nutritionist specializing in the functional medicine approach. She practices in the San Francisco Bay Area and virtually across the country. Barbara believes that with the right raw materials, which include healthy food, nourishing lifestyle habits, and supportive social bonds, we all have the ability to achieve optimal wellness. Barbara’s extensive training and clinical experience includes a Masters of Science in Nutrition & Integrative Health from Maryland University of Integrative Health, advanced post-graduate training with the Institute of Functional Medicine with a concentration on treating clients with complex, chronic conditions, and certification in the Bredesen Protocol for Reversing Cognitive Decline, which takes a functional medicine approach to preventing and reversing Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition to working with clients in her own practice, Barbara works as a nutritionist at Functional Medicine SF, a specialized practice delivering personalized medical care to those with complicated conditions. Barbara began her professional career working for elected officials at the state and local levels. She later used her advocacy skills to help health-related, education, and environmental non-profit organizations. She lives in Marin County with her family and is often found on the trails of Mt. Tam.