For far too long, food insecurity has been stigmatized in our communities. Those affected are often left out of decision-making and have been isolated by inequitable policies and practices. We believe access to food is the backbone of thriving economies and communities, and no one deserves to live without it.
Since our inception, Activate Food Arizona and Farm Express mobile markets have been on a shared mission to provide better access to healthy, affordable food for Arizona community members battling food insecurity in both urban and rural regions of our state.
But the work we do goes beyond simply the sourcing and delivery of fresh, afforable food. Our larger, overarching goal is to ensure all individuals have the ability to make their own food decisions and to, in turn, build more connected and united communities across Arizona.
At Activate Food Arizona, we’ve already served nearly 50,000 individuals and families in the state. As proud as we are about the difference we’re making, we know there is plenty more work to be done, and we won’t rest until all Arizonans have equitable access to the food they deserve.
MEET OUR TEAM
“Do-Tank” of compassionate community members who take pride in our work. In all that we do, we strive to be a trusted resource for communities across Arizona.
Click on a Team Member’s Photo for More Information
Executive Director, she/her
Elyse's earliest food memories involve family and connection with community. It is these memories that propelled her to work in public health, ensuring all communities have opportunities to thrive, to connect with each other, and to access to healthy food. Her work experience includes health policy planning and development as well as local food system advocacy. As Executive Director, she works with local and regional partners to create thriving food systems across Arizona.
Program Manager, she/her
Casey began working in food and food justice as a farm worker on several small-scale organic farms in California and Arizona. Agriculture led to a passion for cooking, which began an almost decade-long career as a pastry chef and program manager for a variety of restaurants and cafés. As Program Manager of Farm Express, she blends her experience from many different facets of the modern food system to benefit Farm Express communities.
Alisa's industry expertise includes workforce and economic development, higher education, including university and community college policy, and commercial real estate development advocacy. On behalf of Activate Food Arizona and the Farm Express mobile market program, Alisa provides leadership support and administrative consulting to organization management and staff.
Sales Associate, he/him
Jacob Pettinato is an Arizona native from Mesa and has worked in the Valley for the past 10 years. As a working musician, Jacob spent years working retail and restaurant jobs until he decided he wanted to do more for his community. In Fall 2020, he joined forces with Farm Express to give back and provide all community members access to healthy, affordable food. Whether driving a bus or serving customers, Jacob is committed to doing his part for the Farm Express community.
Sales Associate, she/her
Lilly May started serving in restaurants at age 14, which led to her becoming the talented cook and bartender she is today. Having to put a hold on both jobs as a result of the pandemic, she leaned into what was once a hobby, canning and distributing preserves and pickles. She works hard to accommodate any allergies, sensitivities, aversions, and price points, which translates well to her work with Farm Express, ensuring everyone has access to high-quality produce.
Sales Associate, she/her
Sara has volunteered and worked for several non profits over the last 3 years. She has an increasing passion for health and wellness both physical and mental. Having grown up in Arizona and Tennessee she has had opportunities to live in several different types of biomes and loves spending time in nature with her senior dog.
Sales Associate, he/him
Aaron Valdivia was born and raised in San Diego, California. He has 11 years of experience of working with produce. In the summer of 2021 Aaron joined the Farm Express team. He is happy to help customers with any questions they might have and any recommendations they may need.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Lloyd Ramsey, Board Chair
Global Engineering Leader, DLR Group
Sara Dial, Board Treasurer
Principal, Sara Dial & Associates
Assistant General Counsel, Field Operations, West and Northwest, US Foods
Dr. Christine Bracamonte Wiggs
Director, Community Development & Health Advancement, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
Dr. Charlton Wilson
Chief Medical Officer, MercyCare
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