Meet your Slow Food Urban San Diego's Board of Directors.
We’re volunteers dedicated to good, clean and fair food for all throughout the San Diego region. You’ll find that we’re also stewards of good food and healthy, thriving communities outside the organization.
Dan Mueller Co-Chair
A passion for intercultural exchange has sent Dan to Belize, Jamaica and Puerto Rico to support grassroots community development initiatives through various organizations, such as the U.S. Peace Corps. These experiences deepened her connection to Afro-Caribbean culture, allowing her understanding of complex social paradigms to broaden, while her passion for curious cuisine helped her cultivate the notion that food is a vessel for connecting to heritage that has otherwise been stripped away.
Dan’s work with food access and policy coalitions has allowed her to expand upon and put this theory into practice as she’s developed programming around agricultural and environmental education as well as health and wellness programming.
Dan has a degree in Communication, Culture, & Community, training in Intergroup Dialogue Facilitation and Program Design & Management, and currently serves as Managing Director to Mongol Tribe. When she’s not advocating or volunteering, Dan enjoys camping, exploring the local food scene, gardening, hiking, practicing Kemetic yoga, spending time with her cat, and visiting art museums.
Lisa Joy Co-Chair
Chicago native Lisa Joy came to San Diego by way of Washington D.C., Staunton, Virginia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. She began cooking in an assisted living facility as a teenager, became the executive chef at D.C.’s renowned Hotel Tabard Inn, and eventually owned her own restaurant in the Shenandoah Valley.
Her lifelong passion for food includes graduate studies under Madeleine Kamman at the School for American Chefs at Beringer Vineyards. In Virginia, Lisa worked with local growers and community members to found what is now one of the most successful farmers markets in the state. She is currently Acting Director of Dining Services at UC San Diego Housing, Dining and Hospitality.
Stephanie Parker Secretary
A craft beer enthusiast, dog lover and local foodie, Stephanie’s involvement with Slow Food came naturally. After a few farm volunteer days with Slow Food Urban San Diego, she was hooked!
Stephanie is the founder of Epicurean San Diego, San Diego’s only food, farm and libations tour company specializing in culinary tours, agritourism and events. Showcasing everything local, sustainable and delicious, she takes her guests on a journey through our local artisanal food, beverage and agricultural scene through behind the scenes tours, education and tastings.
Stephanie’s passion for supporting our local artisans is contagious. She loves learning about the new craftsmen around town and building relationships within our community. In her free time, you can find her outdoors with her dogs, trying out a new restaurant, cooking or hanging.
Darcy Shiber-Knowles Treasurer
An Oakland, CA native, Darcy fell in love with the Slow Food movement through the farmer’s markets of New York City, her home for almost a decade. Today, Darcy runs Operations Services and Innovation for Dr. Bronner’s, the organic and fair trade body care and food company based in Vista.
Prior to joining Dr. Bronner’s, Darcy worked in sustainability for Organic Valley, the nation’s leading organic dairy cooperative, and managed advocacy and organizational development efforts at an environmental nonprofit. Darcy earned a BA in Environmental Science from Barnard College, Columbia University and an MBA from the Yale School of Management.
In her free time, she enjoys practicing yoga, singing with the San Diego Master Chorale, and exploring San Diego’s many restaurants and breweries.
Julie Diaz Education Chair
Food has always been an important part of Julie’s life. She grew up in Louisiana in a family where cooking, eating and large family gatherings were central themes in her life.
She watched her mom and grandparents create delicious meals from simple, often home-grown ingredients. Her view towards food and sustainability was radically changed when she read Jane Goodall’s Harvest for Hope and Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. She began seeking out locally produced food in Dallas, then when she and her family moved to San Diego in 2007, she joined a CSA and never looked back.
In 2010, while teaching preschool, Julie began teaching kids cooking classes, introducing them to local foods and flavors they had never experienced. In 2011, with the encouragement of her co-teachers, she started the business, One Fresh Meal, with her husband. For five years, they made and sold organic vegetarian soups and salads in several local farmers markets, using as much local produce as possible.
Julie continues to teach both children and adults how to have fun in the kitchen by cooking with simple, fresh and local ingredients. She looks forward to serving Slow Food Urban San Diego and envisions the world coming together through local, sustainable food.
Ariel Hamburger Policy Chair
Ariel Hamburger is a Food Equity Specialist with the County of San Diego’s Health and Human Services Agency and manages the Live Well Community Market Program where she works to create a more equitable food system for all San Diego residents.
She’s been instrumental in the County’s local food system efforts and helped with the establishment of the Live Well San Diego Food System Initiative and co-chairs the San Diego Food System Alliance’s Healthy Food Access Working Group. Ariel sees improvements to the food system and built environment as a proxy of social justice and believes these approaches have the ability to transform communities.
Ariel has also worked on cross-border issues through the County’s Office of Border Health. She graduated with honors from San Diego State University with a Master’s in Public Health and a Master’s in Latin American Studies.
Rachel Hommel Communications Chair
When not rallying for fair food, Rachel can be spotted at the farmers market, practicing yoga and dancing to the “beet” of life. She’s the current Communications Coordinator at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy. In her freelance work, she’s written for Food Tank, Edible Magazine and the Santa Barbara Independent. A graduate of UC Santa Barbara, she helped found the Gaucho Certified Farmers Market on campus.
Inspired by culinary adventures, street food and world travel, she lives by the motto “eat well, travel often.” In her free time, she works actively with the American Marketing Association and Startup San Diego.
Janelle Manzano Communications Vice Chair
Originally from the Bay Area, Janelle came down to San Diego to work with San Diego Unified School District as the Farm to School Specialist. She works in promoting school meals, supporting school gardens, and advocating about health and wellness to students, parents, and communities.
Janelle has her bachelors in Nutrition from UC Davis and will be pursuing her Master’s in Public Health at UCSD this upcoming year. ]
Jennifer Ikoma Membership Coordinator
As a California native, Jennifer was brought up with the basic principles of Slow Food. Since becoming involved with Slow Food in culinary school, she’s attended Terra Madre in Turin, Italy in 2010 as a delegate, 2012 as an attendee, and most recently, Slow Food Nations in Denver, CO in 2017.
Julie has been volunteering for many years with Slow Food Urban San Diego and most recently she served as the Education Committee Vice Chair.
Tom Kiely Slow Beer Chair
Tom is from Whitman, Massachusetts, home of the first chocolate chip cookie. His time in Boston, San Francisco and San Diego has left him a grizzled, ten-year beer industry veteran. His final role with his former employer was as Operations Manager at Craft Beer Guild Distributing San Diego, a company he was employed with for over six years. Currently he handles sales and logistics for Thorn Brewing Company.
Outside of beer, Tom Chairs the Supervisory Committee at Point Loma Credit Union. He looks forward to the opportunity to find ways in which Slow Beer can help the San Diego Beer Community be more good, clean and fair.
Nathan Lou Food Justice Co-Chair
Nathan is a 2nd generation San Diego native with a keen appreciation for the rich biodiversity and cultural beauty the county has to offer. Nathan grew up in the suburbs of El Cajon where one of his favorite childhood memories was enjoying time at his grandparents’ urban garden.
Food and arts are at the center of his family’s culture, from culinary and fine arts to agriculture and fishing. Nathan’s enriching upbringing supported his interests in health and wellness through food and medicine. He completed his AS in Agriculture at Yuba College and continued on to Oregon State University receiving his BS in Natural Resources, specializing in Fish and Wildlife Conservation. Nathan’s professional endeavors are as diverse as his interests.
Nathan has worked as a sous chef at a local seafood bistro, performed endangered plant surveys at Camp Pendleton, and most recently as an agriculture consultant for Mt. Hope Community Garden. Nathan and his wife Alicia are the co-founders of Mongol Tribe, a non-profit organization that provides consultation and educational programs uniting health and wellness with civic ecology.
Nathan enjoys spending time with his family of four at their urban farm, in-shore fishing, and exploring the beauty of the natural world.
Belinda Ramirez Food Justice Co-Chair
Belinda Ramírez is a Ph.D. researcher in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California San Diego. Her research deals with the social, political, and economic dimensions of urban agriculture in the San Diego-Tijuana metropolitan region. While researching these topics, Belinda was exposed to the fulfillment found in experiential learning and working firsthand to change her local food system, receiving agricultural training from local farms and through her involvement with community gardens in southern San Diego.
She has also engaged in statewide political advocacy for young farmers through the National Young Farmers Coalition. Considering herself a farmer-scholar, Belinda manages food production at Project New Village’s Mt. Hope Community Garden in the southeastern neighborhood of Mt. Hope. Looking to the future, she is excited to contribute to the transformation of the global and local food systems through agricultural education efforts based within her own food production spaces as well as through political advocacy and writing.
Jordyn Kastlunger Seafood Co-Chair
Born and raised in San Diego, Jordyn is a third generation fishermen. Her grandfather and father both have fished commercially in San Diego for 40 years. She loves life on the water because it allows her an escape from everything on land to experience something that people are rarely fortunate enough to see, it continues to draw her back to the ocean.
Jordyn has always been an advocate for bridging the gap between the fishermen and the consumer because she believes in the importance of know where your fish is coming from. She looks forward to continuing to bring awareness and education to the consumer while continuing to do what she loves.
Sasha Escue Development Chair
Sasha Escue currently serves as the Director of Nutrition Services for Jewish Family Service of San Diego. After many years working internationally, Sasha is happy to be back in her home town of San Diego. The concept of Slow Food first caught her eye while living in Florence, Italy and stayed with her over the years as she attended Apicius culinary school, became a nutrition educator in the United States Peace Corps, and even in her current role today. Sasha is passionate about healthy food systems, sustainability, nutrition, practicing yoga, and always has an overseas adventure lined up. She strives to uphold the standard of good, clean, and healthy food for all. In foodie solidarity we stand.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in joining our Board.