Catherine Sieck - Community Garden Coordinator

Catherine is both an artist and gardener, born and raised in Santa Rosa. She views these practices as mutually beneficial, as her eye for detail and harmony is honed by both, as well as her appreciation of the more-than-human worlds and the life/death/life cycle. She has lived and worked at the Occidental Arts and Ecology center, studying and practicing Permaculture design and bio-intensive gardening. She is passionate about the intersection of land tending, food growing, community building and art making, and she is grateful to share these passions in her role as the Garden Coordinator for the Larkfield Community Garden.


Nancy Johnson - School Garden Educator. 

Nancy grew up with a love of nature gardening and the outdoors! She spent 33 years teaching young children as a early childhood educator. The best part of her job and her passion was always getting children outside who had little opportunity for outdoor education. Gardening was always a daily part of her curriculum. As part of her shift to outdoor education, she completed the California Naturalist certification and started working as a Naturalist leading field trips getting students outside! She also worked as a docent leading field trips at the children's museum and that is where she met the wonderful teachers from Mark West Elementary and heard about the Larkfield Community Garden and Learning Center.  She came on board in February 2017 and feels so blessed to find a job where she can work with students in the garden and collaborate with their teachers to provide wonderful rich learning experiences in our outdoor classroom. She also feel honored to work with the other members of our team for the larger goals of Community Soil Foundation. 



Yarrow Sandhal - Advisor


Yarrow has worked with the team for over 4 years and contributed to building funding for our wonderful garden and employees.




  • For over two years Yarrow consulted with Sonoma County Conservation Action on their fundraising strategy

  • Previous to moving back to Sonoma County, Yarrow worked on the east coast fundraising for women’s rights and has over 14 years of experience in the nonprofit sector

  • Received a Master’s in Public Administration with an emphasis in nonprofit management from San Francisco State University

  • Former board president of the national Young Nonprofit Professionals Network

Kerri Rosen - Health and Wellness Educator 

At Community Soil Foundation, Kerri teaches about healthy minds and healthy bodies. She shares her love of cooking and eating whole foods by engaging students in growing, harvesting, and cooking with a variety of vegetables. Her degrees in Psychology and Early Childhood Education are the foundation of her 20 years of work with children, including practices to help them self-regulate and build resilience. Through her work as a teacher and parent volunteer, she has seen the value of hands-on curriculum to promote exploration and experimentation, develop critical thinking skills, and foster a life-long love of learning. 



Jeff Shields - Co-Founder and Advisor​


  • For over 4 years, Jeff managed the kitchen garden and 80-acre landscape at Mayacamas Ranch in Calistoga

  • Co-founded Community Soil, an edible/restorative garden design and install business

  • Coordinated community gardens with the San Francisco Department of Public Works -- Researched urban forestry with the organization SF Environment

  • Learned and performed natural building at Emerald Earth

  • Taught environmental education with The Center for Social and Environmental Stewardship

  • Former Co-Chair for the Sierra Club Redwood Chapter's Climate and Energy Division

  • Received Master's in Public Administration from San Francisco State University

  • Participant in the Leadership Course for Community Gardeners through the Sonoma County Community Garden Network

​Paolo Tantarelli - Co-Founder and Advisor


  • Completed 1-year garden internship at the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center (OAEC) -- Achieved Permaculture Design certificate at the OAEC

  • Completed 1-year internship with the Solar Living Institute -- Helped manage Golden Nectar Farms, overseeing their orchards, livestock, apiaries, and vegetable gardens

  • Managed the kitchen garden and landscape at Mayacamas Ranch -- Co-founded Community Soil, an edible/restorative garden design and install business

  • Obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Cultural Anthropology at CSU Chico

Staff & Advisors

Kristin Maharg Suarez - Executive Director 


Kristin believes personal connection to nature is an essential ingredient in creating genuine curiosity and deep appreciation for the world. With extensive experience in collaborating with non-profits, government agencies and educational institutions on behalf of environmental leadership, Kristin's ultimate goal is for humans to have a good time on Earth while adopting principles of diversity as the measure of health. Her University of Wisconsin-Madison degrees focused on wildlife & agroecology, Spanish and water resources management. She refined her strengths for many years at Water Education Colorado and now eagerly serves as the Executive Director for Community Soil Foundation, providing support and strategy for staff and volunteers. An advocate of preparing colorful food with children, rainbow salsa with blue corn chips is her favorite garden snack. Kristin's respect for youth development has recently expanded to her own little ones and alongside her partner, her family enjoys playing outside with the pooch, tracking critters, and learning new tricks!


1745 Copperhill Parkway, Suite 5

Santa Rosa, CA 95403

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