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.
Olivia nació en el pueblo pequeño, Monte Escobedo en Zacatecas, México. Llego a los Estados Unidos en sus veintes, y empezó a trabajar para una ábrica de costura de salario mínimo por un tiempo. Después, trabajo en la factoría de yogurt, conocida como Yoplait. A partir de su jubilación, tuvo la oportunidad de apoyar a su hija, Jocelyn, a preparar la comida de Todo Verde. Muchos de los sabores de Todo Verde vienen de los guisos de la mama de Olivia. Cuando no esta cocinando, Olivia pasa tiempo con sus nieto/as, esposo, chihuahua Goliath, su jardín, y árbol de mango.
Martha was born in Michoacán Mexico where her roots began, and love for food and nature grew. After being a full time stay at home mother of two, she decided to return to school and completed an Associate’s degree in Sociology. She is currently completing her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work at CSULA and hopes to integrate the culinary and gardening field into therapy. As a UC Victory Gardener, she has learned to connect with nature everyday. Martha has a beautiful home garden where she grows grapes, oranges, white and purple mulberries, tomatoes, papaya, moringa, passion fruit, loquats, avocados and different varieties of chiles and herbs. She describes going out to her garden and picking food to eat as one of the best feelings. Having a garden not only provides her family food, it also creates a habitat for other animals. She has a strong commitment to her community and volunteers with several local nonprofit organizations such as Food Forward, The West Hollywood Foundation, Muir Ranch, MEND and The LA Kitchen. She has shared her culinary talents at the 2017 Five Star Sensation, a Food and Wine event that benefits the Seidman Cancer Center in Cleveland, Ohio that features renowned chefs from across the country.
Growing up, Lucia learned how to cook by observing her mom cook for her family. Lucia’s mom did not cook Mexican dishes with lard or excessive meat. Instead, her mom cooked healthier options such as enchiladas stuffed with potato.
Lucia attended culinary school and received her certificate in baking. Two years later, she began to work for vegan restaurants. During this experience, she discovered her real passion for holistic nutrition. Lucia believes that her involvement with vegan food will give her the experience and skills to help her community fight obesity and disease.
Claudia Arandia is an artist from Pasadena with roots in Bolivia. She grew up with 3 siblings, lots of family pets, and an abundance of fruits & vegetables in her 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 Todo Verde, she feels good knowing our team provides healthy options made with fresh ingredients. 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.
Jessica remembers waking up every morning to the aroma of her Mami’s cooking, and describes it as one of the best feelings in the world. She believes that may be a part of the reason she became a chef. Being Puerto Rican and Mexican, she always had her beans and tortillas for breakfast. Black beans, pinto beans, arroz con gandules, and deep fried plantains were staples in her household. Being the pastor’s kid, she had the opportunity to prepare snacks and food such as homemade tortillas for her church. The service she provided to her church members inspired her to become a chef.
Going to school and graduating from Le Cordon Bleu Pasadena has changed her life forever. Attending culinary school allowed her to become more educated in everyday things people take for granted such as simple ingredients, food preparation labor and vegetable varieties. Playing with ingredients and spices is what she believes will help her become a better chef! School has not only helped her become ready for the real world but has opened many doors. She’s worked for the Oscars, celebrities, and has met great chefs. Until this day, she is learning from different chefs and gaining experience to be ready for the day that she opens her own restaurant. In the meantime, she’s here to live, love and learn at Todo Verde!
Yasmin Flores was born and raised in East Los Angeles by her Mexican parents who had a great passion for food. The kitchen was the special place in her home that allowed her to dance to salsa music with her mother while cooking. She was able to gain appreciation for food because it brought families together.
In 2006, Yasmin’s mother passed away from cancer. Yasmin believes that preventative care and a healthy diet could have possibly saved her mother’s life. However, healthy food options are not as accessible in her neighborhood, which is a big factor in the high obesity and preventative disease rate in low-income POC communities. She believes that preventative care and educating our communities about healthy food options are the keys to healthy living. Yasmin will be pursuing a career in health education and will specialize in disease prevention.
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!
Growing up Krystal was always drawn to food; it brought joy and nourishment to her family. Her parents’ hustle to provide a meal on the table each day inspired her to also want to help communities like hers have access to food because she knew it wasn’t easy. Krystal was born and raised in Anaheim, lived her teen years in Riverside and moved to San Diego to pursue her BS in Public Health at UCSD.
As care coordinator for a Nutrition Health Education Center, she facilitated and taught classes on nutrition, physical activity and other diabetes related topics to underserved patients. After moving back to her hometown, she began working for the Los Angeles Food Policy’s Healthy Neighborhood Market Network veggie voucher program where she gained more knowledge on how accessibility and affordability affect low income communities. Krystal is grateful to be part of the amazing mujeres of Todo Verde to help bring food equity to the community.
Albacely grew up in LA’s Valley, Arleta. At the age of 16, she decided to live in Mexico with her grandparents for a short time. In this time, she noticed a very different way of life, one that is more family orientated and where food is mostly obtained from your own labor. This had a profound effect on her appreciation of food and how it is sourced. Fast forward some years — she became a more conscious eater and strayed away from all the bustle of fast food that’s so easily available in her neighborhood to explore new ways of eating and purchasing food. Taking on this new lifestyle wasn’t easy but has tremendously opened her to many new experiences that not only helped in a physical way but in a mental and spiritual way as well. Now working in a hospital and seeing countless people arriving sick, some due to dietary circumstances motivates her to continue to strive to learn the countless ways someone can not only benefit but enjoy even the smallest changes in one’s life.
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!