JULY 22, 2017 ANNOUNCEMENTS:
...is a project of the Novato Live Well Network (www.NovatoLiveWell.org) a community based 100% volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Novato.
THE VISION of the Novato Live Well Network is to build a healthy, sustainable community where people from diverse backgrounds come together to reconnect with the land, procure, grow, and preserve food in a sustainable manner for themselves and others, and cultivate a truly integrated community. We define sustainability as, "meeting the needs of all people "without threatening the health of the natural environment or the well-being of future generations." (Source: Worldwatch Institute)
THE MISSION of the Novato Live Well Network is to: build and support a network of local community gardens that enable people from diverse backgrounds to grow food and foster community in a sustainable manner; work with and educate families, schools, and our community about the positive benefits of choosing sustainable ways of eating, gardening and living by providing programs that support nutrition education, our local food-shed, school and community gardens, and sustainable living practices.
JANUARY 2014 ANNOUNCEMENT: New Board Member.
We are delighted to welcome Sunita Stablein to our board. She became involved with us back in September 2013 as part of a school project. We were so impressed with her professionalism, her contributions, and her willingness to roll up her sleeves to help with the "dirty work" -- and still maintain a positive attitude -- that we couldn't help but to ask her to join the board. We are thrilled that she said, "Yes!" We should have her bio shortly to add to our list below.
NOVATO LIVE WELL NETWORK BOARD MEMBERS
Veronica Valero, Executive Director & Garden Chair – Veronica has been a resident of Novato since 1996. Health and wellness issues have always been important to Veronica. But, after her brother's death at age 44 of a rare sarcoma cancer (Ewing's Sarcoma/PNET) that is usually found in children, Veronica became a passionate volunteer health advocate as a way to "do something about it" in hopes that her son and all children and their families would never have to experience cancer or other such life threatening illnesses. Since 2003 she has advocated for healthier food choices for children and their families in the schools and community at large. She founded the Novato Healthy Food Coalition that had successful letter writing campaigns to bring Whole Foods and Trader Joes to Novato. Veronica is a founding member and Executive Director of the Novato Live Well Network. She is a 2006 graduate of Novato Chamber of Commerce's "Leadership Novato" Program and recipient of the "Leadership Novato" Ed Stark Award. She has taken courses at College of Marin on gardening and ecology, including the first class offering of the course, Principles and Practices or Organic Farming and Gardening. Veronica initiated the Novato Community Garden Project with Karen Losee. When she is not volunteering, Veronica is "The Computer Tutor of Marin"—a one-on-one computer tutor/consultant. Veronica has an M.A. in Biblical Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and a B.A. in Religious Studies from San Jose State University.
Veronica's Cancer (7/22/2017 Update): We are saddened to share that Veronica was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer in August 2016. Veronica has refused “standard of care” treatment and is using scientifically based non-toxic treatments to manage and “cure” her cancer. Good news: Veronica is doing well a year into her treatments and is still able to advocate for the community garden, but on a limited basis. To learn more about her situation and how you can support her, visit: www.VeronicaValero.com
Her contributions to our organization are too long to list. Unfortunately, with her diagnosis, she has been unable to do the caliber of volunteer work she’s done in the past. We are looking to expand the board, if this interests you, visit our "Helping" page to learn more.
David Selzer – David’s interest in nature started when he was growing up in Santa Cruz along the San Lorenzo River. He studied Limnology (freshwater ecology) at UC Davis and Washington State, served in the Peace Corps in Ghana, and then went on to teach middle-school math and science in the Imperial Valley, San Francisco, and then for 17-years in Mill Valley. David’s passion embraces both healthy ecosystems and human communities, which is what led him to take the SPAWN Naturalist Training Program, just before he retired. He quickly became inspired by fellow volunteers in the program who cared about the salmon and streams but who also took a more holistic, watershed perspective to conservation. In addition to leading Creekwalks for the public and students in the winter he also has acted as the Volunteer Creekwalk Coordinator.
Dietrich Stroeh - “Diet” is one of the founding partners of CSW/Stuber-Stroeh Engineering Group, Inc. (www.cswst2.com) Diet’s primary focus is on the planning, design and management of water and sanitary sewer distribution systems, including on-site waste disposal systems. He is also experienced in hydrology, hydraulics design, small dam design, contract negotiations, construction management. He is thoroughly familiar with the engineering, institutional, economic, planning and environmental aspects of water resource management. The majority of Diet’s early professional expertise comes from working for Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD) for 20 years, finishing the last 6 years of his career there as General Manager. Under his management, MMWD developed a major new in-County water supply and implemented a comprehensive water management plan, including conservation education. Diet was also instrumental in achieving a record in County-wide water conservation during the 1976-1977 drought. His experiences during that time are the basis of a published book, The Man Who Made it Rain by Michael McCarthy. Diet is a graduate of the University of Nevada and received a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering. He is active in many community and professional organizations and currently serves as a Director of the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District.
Diet Stroeh Update (7/22/2017): We are greatly saddened by the loss of our dedicated board member, J. Dietrich Stroeh. He joined our board in 2008 and was a key player on the Novato Community Garden Project. His contributions and expertise to our project are many, including his humor, his belief in people, and his hope in our project in the midst of many obstacles. He began gardening with his grandfather when he was 4 and never stopped. Diet believed Novato needed a public community garden. He was 200% committed to seeing the project through. He will be greatly missed. Click here to read his obituary.
Charlotte Torgovitsky – is a naturalist, educator, and garden consultant who has lived with her family in Novato for most of the last 27 years. An organic gardener since 1975, she is currently developing her own two acre property; working in a sustainable and resourceful way with native soils and plants to create gardens that provide for the human caretakers as well as sanctuary for wildlife. Working in collaboration with the Marin County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program and Marin Municipal Water District, Charlotte helped found the Eco-Friendly Garden Tours, now in its fifth year. As Garden Education and Outreach Manager at the Marin Art and Garden Center from 2001 to 2009 she created and developed California native gardens, a plant nursery and composting demonstration site. These facilities were used to teach hands-on courses in Bay-Friendly gardening, home composting and plant propagation. In addition, Charlotte collaborated with numerous other organizations to create curriculum and programs for elementary school field trips, high school community service and college internships. As an educator Charlotte teaches Wildlife Friendly Gardening and Home Composting courses at the College of Marin, Adult Community Education. She also teaches Bay-Friendly gardening classes, and has been invited to lecture on these subjects at Sonoma State Sustainable Landscaping program, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Tilden Regional Parks, and numerous bay area garden clubs.
Sunita Stablein – Sunita joined the NLWN network in 2014 after volunteering with the organization in the fall of 2013. She is currently pursuing her Master of Social Work degree and is inspired by NLWN's vision of promoting health and sustainability through education and increasing access to healthy and sustainable food options. She sees the value and importance of the interconnections of health, ecology, culture and spirituality and seeks ways to nurture and integrate these into her work with individuals, groups and communities..
NOVATO LIVE WELL NETWORK FOUNDING BOARD MEMBERS:
THANK YOU TO OUR FOUNDING BOARD MEMBERS: Miguel Villarreal, Barb Curtice, Norma Eckert, Heidi Kertel, Annie Spiegelman, Vicky Meblin, Veronica Valero, and Nichol Marelich. Your vision, dedication, and creativity have made positive change here in Novato and beyond.
HOW WE CAME TO THE TABLE
Our organization grew out of two events: (1) The Lunch Buddies program developed by Veronica Valero, a volunteer parent, and Miguel Villarreal, Director of Food and Nutrition Services (FANS) for the NUSD, in 2005 and, (2) the 2006 Novato Eat Well Festival put on through the collaboration of the Lunch Buddies parents, community volunteers, FANS Staff, and the Marin Food Systems Project of the Environmental Education Council of Marin. The collaboration, synergy, and experience complemented and expanded our personal visions so much so that we decided to form the Novato Live Well Network to continue to make a difference in our community and to share our vision, goals, and experience with others.
To learn more about our successful projects, please visit:
The Novato Community Garden is a project of Novato Live Well Network, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.