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We are currently seeking members for our Board of Directors. Download the FERN Board of Directors Job Description and Application.

Tina Bartsch
(President) holds a B.A. in Native Studies, a B.Ed. in Adult Education and a credential in the Montessori method. She was raised on a farm in Saskatchewan, Canada, the first part of her formative years. She has experience teaching upper elementary and middle school students in the Montessori method, and also has experience in environmental education through her past employment with the Canadian Parks Service. She is a past owner of Walking J Farm with her husband Jim McManus.
Kara de Zubeldia
 (Vice President) focuses on events and fundraising for the organization. Kara is the co-owner of ReZoNation Farm.  Along with her husband and partner Jaime, she produces ethically raised chickens, pigs, veggies and honey for market.  Kara is also employed at the University of Arizona in the Eller College of Management. Kara holds a B.S. in Psychology with a thematic minor in Astrophysics and Mathematics from the University of Arizona.
Debbie Weingarten 
(Secretary) is a mother, freelance writer, and food/farm activist. She is a former co-owner of Sleeping Frog Farms and co-founder of FERN. She helped create the Community Food Bank’s Youth Farm Project, served as the Arizona Organizer of the National Young Farmers Coalition, and currently serves on the Leadership Council of the Pima County Food Alliance. She believes that food systems are stronger when communities prioritize policies and economic opportunities that keep food producers thriving and agricultural lands preserved. Debbie holds a B.A. in Global Studies and Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC. .
Before Varga Varland came to Tucson, she earned a PhD in Child and Family Development from the University of Georgia and worked in the juvenile justice system on behalf of children and their families for 25 years. Since 1998, she has worked in Tucson’s local food system, where she has learned (and is still learning) about our complex local and industrial food systems. From its beginning in 2001, Varga served as the director of the Community Food Resource Center of the Community Food Bank. In 2010, she moved to New York state to be a gardener, and to develop a small farm and food justice education at Stony Point Center, a multifaith retreat center. Now that Varga is back in Tucson, she works at Rattlebox Farm and continues to work developing our local food system to support the health and well-being of all of us.
Cie’na Schlaefli has worked for over 11 years in the field of Agriculture. After graduating with a degree in Horticulture from New Mexico State University, she moved to Tucson in 2005 to develop and manage the Community Food Bank’s Marana Heritage Farm, a 10 acre education/demonstration farm. Since the fall of 2011, she has worked as the Food Production Manager for the San Xavier Cooperative Farm on the Tohono O’odham Nation. She is dedicated to the vision and goals set forth by the O’odham landowners– to be good stewards of the land and water, and to create future agricultural opportunities for O’odham community members. Since 2011, Cie’na has served on the Leadership Council of the Pima County Food Alliance (PCFA). Cie’na was elected by the PCFA to serve on the Commission for Food Security, Heritage and Economy for the City of Tucson, a new initiative beginning in 2015.
Dana Helfer is the co-owner of Rattlebox Farm with her husband Paul Buseck. With their two small children, they have been farming since 2009 raising organic vegetables for CSA and market. Prior to starting their family farm Dana worked at the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and was responsible for building a home gardening program and a 10 acre production and education farm. She is passionate about growing the next generation of farmers and building the community and political infrastructure to support small-scale agriculture. She holds a M.S. in Community and Regional Development from University of California at Davis.