SLOLA BOARD BIOS:
David King – Chair
David King is the founder and first Chair of the Seed Library of Los Angeles. From the beginning the mission of the Library centered upon the idea of clean, wholesome, non-GMO food for every one in the Los Angeles region, especially the under-served and compromised communities. With the ideas that food, uncontaminated with pesticides and questionable technologies, is a right of all people and seeds belong to humanity, he called for a meeting of like-minded people on December 4th, 2010 and from there, the Seed Library of Los Angeles was born.
A transplant from northeast Kansas, David started gardening as a five year old under his grandfather’s tutelage. He lives his life full-time as an author, writer, gardener and activist in Los Angeles, working to make home grown food a part of the Los Angeles’ culture. As a speaker and instructor, he shares his knowledge of growing food with quick witted humor and an infectious passion for the subject.
As the gardenmaster/director for The Learning Garden, a community and school garden located on the campus of Venice High School, King has been published in a number of different horticulture and gardening venues and has appeared on TV and radio. He teaches for UCLA Extension, writes for gardening and ecological magazines and blogs. He fervently hopes to publish his first book on gardening, Growing Food In Southern California, in the very near future.
Lucinda Zimmerman – Vice Chair
Lucinda is a co-founder of SLOLA and a UCCE/LA County Master Gardener. She became increasingly interested in growing edibles when she moved to Los Angeles 8 years ago. Taking classes at UCLA Extension, she developed the skills to take advantage of Southern California’s year-long growing season. She is especially interested in helping children, including her three sons, reconnect with their food supply. Prior to moving to LA, she was a Special Education teacher in Northern Virgina.
Kathryn Brown – Secretary & Website Chair:
Kathryn Brown is an adventurer, educator, and not-so-closet geek. She holds Sociology and Media Studies degrees and has been blogging for quite some time on living more sustainably for less in urban settings. After years in the multimedia industry, these days, when not either learning or teaching, Kathryn can often be found exploring and photographing the diverse deserts of the greater southwest (saving seeds along the way!). A naturalist from a young age, she has spent a large portion of her life outdoors, and holds a particular love for educating people about the wonders of reconnecting with natural cycles of existence. Kathryn joined SLOLA because the future of our world depends upon finding a better way to provide clean, nutritious food to its inhabitants while protecting biodiversity and regenerating ecosystems. She believes it is organizations like SLOLA which will be the front line in finding a way to make that happen.
Wendy Temple – Treasurer
Wendy started volunteering at the Learning Garden in June 2010, where she met David King and asked if he needed any help. The annual July 4th Ice Cream Social was her first project, which featured amazing fresh flavors from the garden. From that beginning, Wendy found the Learning Garden to be the hub of many worthy activities: Westside Produce Exchange, What to Do and When to Do it monthly classes, Our Time Bank, Mar Vista and Culver City Transition Groups, and of course, SLOLA. Wendy is thrilled to be part of this community which shares the common bonds of socially conscious gardening and eating! She serves as the treasurer for SLOLA and looks forward to seeing you at the next meeting!
Azita Banu – Membership Chair
Azita Banu started as a volunteer seed librarian with her sister Kieanna Jolaei to learn more about growing and seed saving. What started as an extracurricular activity for sister time turned into a life changing experience.
Inspired by nature writers like Gary Snyder and Thoreau, Azita was intrigued by the SLOLA email inviting her to one of its first meetings in 2011. Now as Membership Chair she is writing the monthly newsletters in hopes of raising awareness about the importance of food security.
Despite being involved with SLOLA for over a year, Azita’s gardening skills are still basic. In her garden you can find Mexican Rue, Arugula and Bean varieties.
Albert Chang – Best Practices Chair; Chair, SLOLA San Fernando Branch
Albert Chang caught the gardening bug as a young boy in the Midwest. Growing up with fresh fruits and vegetables, he is dedicated to spreading the knowledge of how to grow one’s food. He spent two years as strategic advisor to Green Arrow Nursery in North Hills. Albert is currently on the boards of the Southern California Garden Club and the LA Mushroom Society. He is the co-Chairman of the Scholarship Committee for California Garden Clubs, Inc. Albert is an active member of the California Rare Fruit Growers and the San Fernando Valley Rose Society.
Linda Preuss – Database Chair
Linda has been saving seeds for over 20 years. Since 1999 she has been volunteering at a Domestic Violence shelter, co-directing its gardening and cooking program. The women and children at the shelter learn about a healthy cycle of life—from planting a seed, to caring for the seedling to harvesting the food and then saving the seed.
She has presented at the American Horticultural Therapy Association Conference, as well as the American Horticultural Society’s Symposium on Gardening with Youth. In 2010 Linda traveled to Denmark to share her work at the University of Copenhagen and at Dannerhuset, Denmark’s largest shelter for battered women.
Working with the Westside Permaculture group and many other local garden-related projects has helped balance out her work as a database designer and computer consultant. She views seed saving as the key to diversity in our food system and loves sharing her knowledge with the community.
Patty Kestin – Volunteer Chair
Patty Kestin is a novice seed saver and avid volunteer with nearly twenty years experience as a community activist working for equal access to the courts, health, education, and food for individuals and families in low-income areas of Los Angeles.
Patty is committed to building awareness in children of the importance of where the food we eat comes from, how it is grown, and the power and impact of our food choices on health, nutrition, the environment and economy. She is a UC-CE Master Gardener, School Garden Teacher at Mark Twain Middle School in Venice, Project Manager at the Los Angeles Leadership Academy Urban Farm Project in Lincoln Heights, Vice-President of the Board at the Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law and a member of the LA Food Council School Garden Subcommittee. She was a Founding Member of the Slow Money Alliance and a volunteer at the LA Free Clinic and Growing Great. She has an M.B.A. from U.S.C. and a J.D. from New York Law School.
Susan Elaine – Outreach Chair
Susan Elaine is reaching out to everyone in Los Angeles and around the world, to join with SLOLA and learn the art of seed saving as well as growing your own organic garden.
Susan was one of the Westside leaders on the Label GMO campaign & Prop 37, where she met David King speaking on behalf of Mother Nature and the importance of food diversity. This grassroots approach, revitalized her understanding of the value we share with freshly grown organic food and how seed saving is important for our future generations, health & success.