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About Us

Food Exploration and Discovery (DBA: Food ED) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization collaborating with San Gabriel Valley communities and schools to construct and sustain edible education sites hosting programs on ecosystem stewardship, healthy living, and environmental innovation and entrepreneurship. Our mission is to create programs that utilize gardens to inspire community building, problem solving, and stewardship rather than just growing food. We reimagine school and community gardens alongside our partners. We want to integrate holistic learning and STEAM education as well as innovative entrepreneurship programs in a dynamic way across K-12 education. We desire to incorporate the community-at-large into the work by opening the gardens to families and community members to learn about environmental stewardship, eco-justice, and healthy living practices through gardening, nature, and cooking workshops.

Kristin Ritzau, PhD

Executive Director

For 15 years, Kristin’s life has revolved around urban agriculture and education. She helped found the Monrovia Community Garden and most recently was the Director of Sustainable Edible Education at California Lutheran University. She has degrees in Leadership Studies and completed her PhD in Religion, Education, and Ecology where she studied female farmers around the U.S. Having spoke and presented her research at national conferences and taught for over a decade, she now finds herself partnering in her local community to bring together neighbors to collaborate and innovate in exciting ways.

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Jennifer Ming

 Second Year Climate Change Action Corps Fellow

Garden Coordinator and Educator

Feeling a growing conviction to enter the fight against climate change, Jennifer was glad to discover California Climate Action Corps and  Food ED.  She is dedicated to helping San Gabriel Valley communities become more sustainable and resilient through gardens and green spaces.  Continuing a career that has ranged from engineering to client advocacy, she is particularly interested in how cities partner with community members and organizations to build healthy ecosystems and sustainable infrastructure.  She is a budding gardener and has a growing appreciation for bugs.


Rochelle Hoffman

Volunteer Coordinator

Rochelle is our newest member of the team bringing a passion for ecological education and a love of the great outdoors! Rochelle desires to introduce more people to the wonders of the world around them and overseeing our volunteer program is a great fit as our volunteer days include environmental work and education. 

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Giangelo Leos

Education & Garden

Program Director

Lifelong Monrovian, “Gio” is a Master Gardener, Master Herpetologist, California Rare Fruit Tree member, certified California Naturalist, and Certified Climate Steward. His background includes creating and designing creative curriculum that meets NGSS standards and educating all ages about soil and plants. His studies include published work on representations of animals throughout history and his Master of Library and Information Science degree focused on botanical libraries. An avid gardener and community scientist, he is constantly experimenting with new heirloom varieties, and working to identify microbial life in soil.

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Kelly Launchbaugh

Second Year Climate Change Action Corps Fellow

Garden Educator and Social Media Coordinator

Having grown up in Monrovia and attending Monrovia public schools, Kelly's desire is to give back to her community. Having volunteered with Food ED in the past, she is now a Climate Change Corps fellow with Food ED activating her heart for service. She is also pursuing her bachelor’s degree in accounting and hopes to become a CPA with a focus in nonprofit accounting. On her days off she enjoys painting, hanging out with her pets, and listening to Taylor Swift.


First Year Fellows

Climate Change Action Corps

Our first year CCAC fellows are at the heart of Food ED's school education and community outreach programs. From left to right meet Emily, Chloe, Jackie, Ivonne, and Ky. They are passionate about the environment and empowering communities to make sustainable choices to help our local ecosystems. 

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Board of Directors

Chaili Trentham

Leadership Consultant,

Coffee on Leadership

Judy Gomez

Master Gardener

Retired Deputy Director of Nutrition Services, WIC

Michael Martinez

Founder & Executive Director, 

LA Compost

Dan Allen

Founder and CEO


Jennifer Perez


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