We are a group of go-getters who want to make a change in the world around us. We are farmers, techies, writers, lawyers, yogis, and people who believe in the power of food to unite and to lay foundations for healthy communities. Together, through hard work and dedication, we have transformed an unused parcel of land into an urban farm producing thousands of pounds of produce each year. And we are just getting started...
Brad "The Vision" Pregerson
Brad Pregerson is acting President, co-founder, and board member of GrowGood. In 2011, Brad Pregerson co-founded GrowGood with his friend Andrew Hunt, in order to provide a sustainable solution to the lack of fresh food options available for the residents of The Salvation Army's Bell Shelter. Passionate about environmental and social issues, Brad has spent his professional career in the public sector working for Former U.S. Congressman Henry Waxman and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Brad earned a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Southern California and a J.D. from Southwestern Law School. A criminal prosecutor at the Los Angeles City Attorney's office, Brad has been recognized for his work involving Homeless Ticket Clinics, which help the homeless resolve legal issues they face on the path to self sufficiency.
Andrew "Means Business" Hunt
Andrew Hunt is acting Secretary, co-founder, and board member of GrowGood. In 2010, Andrew was first introduced to the Bell homeless shelter while completing his master's thesis in social enterprise at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. In 2011, Andrew and his partner Brad Pregerson founded GrowGood as a way to provide job pathways for the shelter residents, and as a vehicle to capitalize on the underutilized real estate at the Bell site for the benefit of the homeless.
Andrew is a software entrepreneur and has founded several successful companies. He has a BS in computer engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and an MBA from UCLA Anderson. Andrew has over 15 years of commercial experience including administration, finance, sales, product development, and marketing. In addition, he has a strong passion for helping others and for leveraging the power of food for social good.
Mary "The Pen" MacVean
Board member, Executive Director
Mary MacVean is acting Executive Director and board member of GrowGood. She spent a career as a journalist, covering news and writing features for The Associated Press and The Los Angeles Times, in Pennsylvania, New York, Russia and China, among other places. For the last several years, her beat included health, nutrition, food in culture and politics. After leaving The Times, she came to GrowGood. She is also a senior fellow at the non-profit Community Partners.
JJ "The Brains" Figlin
Board member, Secretary
JJ is an acting board member of GrowGood. JJ is currently a Managing Director at Mozaic, LLC, a multi-family office in Beverly Hills. JJ previously served as an Associate Portfolio Manager at City National Rochdale (CNR) in Beverly Hills. JJ earned a Master of Science degree in Finance and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and minors in Economics and Marketing, both from the University of Denver. In addition, he holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and is a member of CFA Los Angeles.
Mark "The Man" Anderson
Mark Anderson, aka “Farmer Mark” is acting board member of GrowGood. Mark operates Certified Farmers’ Markets within Los Angeles & Orange County. A former investment banker, Mark received his MBA from The Anderson School at UCLA in 2002. He then ventured into a hybrid seed upstart, which sprouted into a four-acre farming venture. He spent six years running an organic, hydroponic and conventional greenhouse and open field farming operation with Los Angeles farmers’ markets being its primary distribution channel. During this time, Mark gained intimate knowledge of the operations of Los Angeles farmers’ markets and the local food scene. Mark currently serves as Vice President on the State of California’s Certified Farmers’ Market Advisory Committee. Mark presented at the TEDx Santa Monica. He gave his talk “How I Fell In Love with a Tomato.”
Jorge Inda Meza
Jorge is the Head Of Marketing - West for Anheuser-Bush. A senior marketing executive with +15 years of international experience at 2 of the Top 5 world's largest FMCG companies, Jorge is an experienced team leader with successful track record of growing market share, improving brand performance and bringing to market successful technology innovations.
Andrea is the Chief Marketing Officer for Pharavite. Andrea is a 20-plus-year global CPG marketing veteran with experience across multiple industries and business models at major CPG companies, including P&G and PepsiCo. At PepsiCo, Andrea served as CMO and VP/General Manager for its emerging health and wellness division focused on the Naked, IZZE and KeVita brands. At Pharmavite, she leads all aspects of the marketing organization including brand development, consumer insights, media and advertising.
Andrea holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Stanford, and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Michigan.
Jayne "Garden Goddess" Torres
Jayne Torres was GrowGood’s first employee, hired in 2014. Jayne is a UC-certified Master Gardener, and among other responsibilities, leads GrowGood’s “Food for Life” workshops utilizing the GrowGood farm, orchard, and California native plant sensory garden as a classroom for shelter residents. Jayne works with resident participants to observe and connect with the patterns, processes, and relationships among the natural world. In 2017, each workshop hosted an average of 15 participants.
Katie "Can Do" Lewis
Katie joined the GrowGood team in 2015 as farm hand and is currently GrowGood’s Farm Manager. Katie has a background in social work and fine art, with additional training in urban farming and gardening through the UC-certified Master Gardener program and an apprenticeship with Sarvodaya Farm, in Pomona, CA. Katie is also a treatment free beekeeper and involved with education around healthy pollinator populations.
Eric "The Chef" Tomassini
Director of Culinary Programs & Farmhand
Eric Tomassini has worked as a farmer and chef for the past 10 years, including cooking at Two-Michelin Star Providence and as Chef de Cuisine at SQIRL in Los Angeles. Leveraging his experience growing food and cooking at some of the country's best restaurants, Eric is spearheading GrowGood’s effort to work collaboratively with The Salvation Army to develop a culinary program for veterans living at the shelter. Eric’s farm-to-table curriculum will enable graduates to enter the job market uniquely experienced in the process from preparing beds and planting seeds to plating a finished dish for service to a diner. The curriculum will also include standard kitchen skills and required safety certifications.
Velva Flemings IV
Assistant Farm Manager
Velva is one of GrowGood’s most popular and hardest working team members. Velva began working at GrowGood as a TEP participant. After completing TEP, Velva began working at GrowGood on a part-time basis and in 2019, was elevated to the position that he occupies today.
Ryley "The Foodie" Schlachter
Ryley joined the GrowGood team in the Summer of 2018 to lead the Social Enterprise efforts and manage our new commercial greenhouse. Since 2014 Ryley has worked at a range of certified organic and biodynamic production farms, as well as taught at garden & culinary education non-profits. Ryley uses her love of all food and restaurant culture to bridge the gap between the worlds of sustainable urban agriculture and sustainable food.