Bios

Hop-bio-picHop “Poppa Hop” Hopkins,
Co-Founder PANTHER RIDGE FARM

Poppa Hop is a certified Arborist, a Master Gardener, has his Basic Permaculture Design Certificate and is a certified Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) instructor. Hop was born in Dallas, Texas and has been a Grassroots Environmental Justice Community Organizer in Seattle, WA, Portland, OR and Los Angeles, CA. He received his BA from New College of California as a graduate in the Culture Ecology & Sustainable Communities program. There Hop focused on natural building, ecological design and analyzing race and class within the Intentional Communities movement. He and his wife, Adalila Zelada-Garcia, homeschool their two daughters and steward a quarter of an acre of land inhabited with chickens, honey bees, and multiple compost piles

For seven years Poppa Hop contributed his talents to the Los Angeles Conservation Corps in various roles including Urban Forestry Manager and Director of Vocational Programs. In these roles he spearheaded program implementation, created training programs and assisted with curriculum development for underserved youth in the areas of Wildland Firefighting, Environmental Remediation, Water Efficiency and Solar Installation. He then spent a year and a half with the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust where he was the Director of Programs and managed the Youth Education and Urban Agriculture program. Poppa Hop has also served as a Board Member for the Community Coalition for Environmental Justice, Western States Center and People’s College of Law. Presently, Hop sits on the Advisory Committee for the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, is a Board Member for Village Playgarden (where he earned his nickname) and an active member of the Urban Agriculture Working Group of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council.

Additionally, Poppa Hop is a long time vegetarian, Nonviolent Communication practitioner and recently completed the Ojai Foundation’s Center for Council Practice Training for Social Justice Organizers. Hop believes that life is not a competitive struggle and he is driven by his vision to create a network of residential food forests, in order to support the development of stable, human-scale, solar, self-reliant neighborhood communities integrated with cooperative local economies.

On the farm, Hop is the Farm Manger, Lead Steward for PANTHER RIDGE FARM educational programming and Ambassador of Humor.

Adalila Zelada-Garcia, Co-Founder Panther Ridge FarmAdalila Zelada-Garcia,
Co-Founder PANTHER RIDGE FARM                                                                                                  

Adalila Zelada-Garcia is a practicing attorney and homeschooling parent. Adalila is passionate about nature and agriculture experiences for children. She has completed parenting classes based on the model of non-violent communication through The Echo Center. On the farm Adalila serves as legal counsel, Chief Financial Officer, Lead Homeschooling Instructor, and Spanish Instructor.

Adalila received her Bachelor’s Degree from UCLA in 1998 with a double major in Sociology and Political Science, with an International Relations emphasis.  She received her law degree from Loyola Law School in 2001, where she was a Public Interest Scholar and recipient of the Dean’s Service Award.  While in Law School, she served as Community Relations Chair for La Raza de Loyola, a student-led campus organization dedicated to supporting Latino law students, as well as increasing the number of lawyers willing to serve the Latino community.

Upon graduation from law school, Ms. Zelada-Garcia received one of Loyola Law School’s coveted Post-Graduate Fellowships to serve as staff attorney for the National Lawyer’s Guild International Law Project, for Human, Economic and Environmental Defense (HEED).  With the HEED project, she focused primarily on bilingual (English/Spanish) legal analysis, policy advocacy, and community education of international trade agreements and their impact on environmental and human rights. The daughter of immigrant political activists, Ms. Zelada-Garcia has been organizing in the Los Angeles area since she was a teenager. In 2002, Hop met Adalila at a conference on Sustainable Jobs and the Environment, where she was a featured speaker. The two found they shared a deep interest in sustainable community development. They married in 2003 and have since been on the path to realize their dreams together.

Jessica Handy DietitianJessica Handy,
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Jessica Handy is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, a mother, a wife, and a lover of nature. Her interest in nutrition began at a young age when she saw the ill effects poor eating habits had on those she loved most. This sparked a deep interest in searching for answers, which led her to study Food and Nutrition at Cal Poly Pomona. She then went on the complete her dietetic internship in San Diego and become an RDN. She began her career working for Public Health Foundation Enterprises where she provided nutrition education to underserved communities. After serving for 3 years, she had her first child and decided to work from home to allow for more flexibility. She has since created Handy Dietitian, a company that provides nutritional resources and services to the community. She has provided cooking demonstrations at local farmers’ markets, led infant and child nutrition talks, taught cooking classes for elementary school children and delivered fresh organic baby food to new parents. She is truly passionate about her work and wants to inspire those around her to live healthy.

Jessica is a California native who resides in Pasadena with her husband, two sons, and 8 chickens. She has a deep love for nature and the amazing nourishment it provides our mind, body, and soul. She also enjoys working in the garden, hiking, cooking, crafting and shopping at farmers’ markets.

ayanna-webAyanna Hopkins-Zelada
Program Assistant-in-Training, The Outdoor School

Ayanna has grown up with her hands in garden soil, feet in river water and head in books. She is homeschooled and loves to knit, hike in the mountains, play soccer and eat really good vegetarian food. She plays the cello, rides horses and enjoys being on her mountain bike whenever possible. Ayanna thrives in multi-age settings, demonstrates amazing sensibilities with children younger than her self and has willingly attended (ok, sometimes been dragged) many workshops, trainings and speaking engagements with her parents. She has a very hands-on approach to learning and graciously shares what she knows with others. Ayanna’s passion for horses leads her to want to be an equine veterinarian

.Julieta Reynoso
Program Associate

Julieta Reynoso is currently assistant teacher at the Peace School, a cooperative pre-school in Highland Park with a strong focus on the socio-emotional development of children. The school’s practices are deeply rooted in the tenets of non violent communication, parenting, and education.

Outdoor learning is a large component of the school’s daily functions and as a lover of nature and the great outdoors, Julieta is excited to join Panther Ridge Farm as a Program Associate for the Outdoor School summer camp program.

Julieta has walked a parallel path in education and the arts, with her own arts practices being focused on photography and printmaking. She has joined Panther Ridge Farm’s Mountain Keepers for 2 terms and looks forward to more outdoor adventures with her son and the PRF family.

Yara Herrarte
Program Associate

Born with an ever-lasting love for nature and aided studying botany and ecology, Yara is dedicated towards restoring and encouraging more appreciation towards our California natural environments. California has the richest floral diversity than any other state (over 6,300 plant species) which has drastically reduced in half which of the remaining is still threatened. Her aim is to inspire our younger generation in reconnecting to nature by first familiarizing themselves to the nature found living synchronous within our own cities. In beginning to observe and acknowledge biodiversity in our common urban settings, the youth are likely to become more conscientious towards sharing and preserving further natural landscapes, as well as recognize their own potential and strength in being important voices for the future.

Yara is a certified California naturalist and credentialed in early childhood education. She volunteers as a community naturalist for the Audubon Center (and occasionally for Eaton Canyon Nature Center as well) where she teaches local ecology to neighborhood schools, leading groups of all ages on interactive hikes while sharing the importance of native plants for everyone including the co-existing wildlife habitat. She has also worked as the LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden as an interpretative horticulturist for the Crescent Farm that is open to the public and showcases a flourishing, water-harvesting native habitat landscape that originally used to be just an ordinary, resource-draining lawn.