Todo Verde founder, Jocelyn Ramirez, is a vegan chef, college professor, yoga instructor, and advocate for healthy food access in her community. After Jocelyn’s father was diagnosed with cancer for the second time, she created a plant based superfood smoothie diet that made him dramatically stronger and helped with a quick recovery. In this process, she noticed the disproportion of healthy food options in the LA area after years of driving across town in search of healthier food for her and her family.
This inspired Jocelyn to create a healthy food option for the Eastside community. She founded Todo Verde in 2015 with a mission to create delicious and healthy plant based food inspired by her Mexican and South American roots. She left her career in higher education to pursue a new path in foodways related to culture and tradition. She has referenced traditional recipes passed down for generations within her family, and has explored new techniques using native ingredients. As she continues to learn about the health benefits of nutrient dense food and healthy ecosystems, she offers knowledge on healthy living with the community through workshops, dialogues, food demonstrations, and speaking engagements.
Jocelyn’s academic degrees include a BA in Fine Art and Design and an MBA in Business where she focused on entrepreneurship and marketing. She has also trained at the Matthew Kenney Culinary Institute specializing in plant based cuisine. Jocelyn has partnered with local nonprofit organizations to offer workshops ranging from healthy food demonstrations, social media strategies, and dialogues in relation to critical analysis of the industrial food system and traditional foodways. She now sits on the Leadership Board for the Los Angeles Food Policy Council.
Melissa Gallardo grew up in Southeast Los Angeles surrounded by factories and freeways where access to locally grown and organic produce is limited. However, she considers herself fortunate to come from a family that has always practiced growing fruits and vegetables. Much like her parents, she became involved with urban gardening and now even makes her own yogurt and kombucha. Melissa is currently a nutrition student at Cal State Los Angeles working towards bringing more sustainable, alternative food options to the community.
Elvira Arvizo grew up in East Los Angeles. Like most families in the area, her mother fed her family on a low budget, which meant unhealthy food. As a teenager Elvira noticed how much meat and unhealthy options her family consumed, so she decided to become vegetarian. In her late teens, her mother’s eating habits caught up with her, and was diagnosed diabetic. Elvira became aware that preventable diseases are an epidemic in communities of color, so she began to educate herself on better food options. She became an urban farmer at Proyecto Jardin in Boyle Heights, and now grows her own food at home. Elvira is a firm believer that feeling good physically and mentally means looking at what we put into our bodies and incorporating plant based food into our diet.
Claudia Arandia is an artist from Pasadena with roots in Bolivia. She grew up with 3 siblings, lots family pets, and an abundance of fruits & vegetables in their home garden.
Growing up, Claudia remembers making juice, cooking with the fruits and vegetables from the garden, and picking eggs from the family hens. All this has given her more appreciation for locally grown produce. Now, working with Too Verde, she feels good knowing our team provides healthy options made with fresh ingredients from the local farmers. Claudia now has her own backyard home garden and is learning more and more about healthier living.
Daniela Sarmina was born in Mexico City and immigrated with her family to California at age 3. Her family made their new home in the San Joaquin Valley, where her parents worked in the campos/fields, picking uvas through the summer and naranjas in the winter. One of her favorite memories is watching her father lay clusters of grapes across their rooftop, to make raisins in the hot valley sun.
Daniela graduated with B.A. in theater from UCLA and will be pursuing an M.A. in Social Welfare in Fall 2018. As a mental health professional she hopes to further explore cultural relationships with food and integrate conscious eating as a component of treatment.
Bri grew up in Monterey Park, though she has called many places home. She first learned about organic foods and holistic health from her family and noticed that access to these resources were limited in her community. While studying Social Welfare and Justice at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI, Bri recognized the greater challenge to food access and preventative healthcare resources especially in POC communities. After graduating in 2015 she spent 13 months volunteering with a non-profit in Duran, Ecuador at a nutrition and holistic health center. Working with community partners, Bri assisted with the preparation of plant-based medicines, participated in weekly nutrition classes held for mothers and children, and spent time visiting the families in the community. Now back in Los Angeles and working with Todo Verde, she continues to be a strong advocate for accessible holistic resources, most especially for WOC, and is on her own journey of finding sustainable practices of healing and health.
Nicole is a native Northeast L.A. writer, resident and community member. Born and raised in NELA, Nicole spent her formative teenage years living in the Central Valley, in a small town centered on agriculture and farming. After moving back to the city and into her old neighborhood, she realized the importance of belonging to a constructive and educational community. She also realized that the ease and access to fresh fruits and vegetables in Highland Park was not as attainable as she remembered. She had grown accustomed to the ever available fresh from the farm fruit and nut stands just walking distance from her home.
As a freelance writer, Nicole has been able to work with local non-profit organizations, working as the literary and poetry coordinator at Avenue 50 Studios in Highland Park, as well as co-founder and co-editor of Puro Pinche Poetry – Gritos del Barrio, a POC poetry column in Razorcake, the nation’s largest and only non-profit punk-rock zine. Raised by a strong-willed, single working mother, Nicole has always been drawn to supporting other determined and like-minded mujeres. Todo Verde’s mission of health education and healthy food access is a revolutionary cause that Nicole is eager to help spread through TV’s social media platforms and blog. She is elated to be part of such a passionate and purposeful team of mujeres!
There a lot of great organizations doing work across the city of Los Angeles to create more access to good food for all of it’s residents. Learn more about what they do, and how you can get involved, here!