BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Norma I. Hernandez / Board President
Norma Hernandez can attribute her attraction to the North Coast Food Web to her open mindedness to possibility – that and her love of good food!! Look around Astoria and it won’t take long to find an organization in which Norma plays a part. She’s President of Astoria Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Vice President of Astoria Co-op Members, and board member of the Astoria Downtown Historic District Association. She’s also served on the Clatsop United Way Board, Astoria Warrenton Chamber of Commerce Board, Columbia Memorial Hospital Foundation Community Development Committee, and as the Executive Director of the Lower Columbia Hispanic Council. Norma attended college at Colegio La Providencia in Puerto Rico and Herbert Lehman College in NYC. She became a certified Diversity, Emotional Intelligence and Employee Engagement trainer (2011). Currently, Norma is Clatsop County’s WIC Coordinator, Spanish interpreter for Clatsop County Public Health, and Home Visitor for Healthy Families of Clatsop County.She loves to dance, eat, travel and get together with friends over a cocktail to resolve world troubles. She also must go see and listen to the ocean at least once a week. If you come to a North Coast Food Web cooking class, you might find yourself measuring out ingredients next to Norma. “This group of people inspires me,” she said, “It is an honor to be a part of it.”
Favorite Food: Lately, mushroom lasagna but my ultra favorite is from back home in Puerto Rico: white rice with pork fat, pink beans with pumpkin/squash in it and chicken cracklings (cut up chicken and then fried) tomatoes and avocados. Ok, I am hungry now!
Mary Blake / Vice President
Mary Blake says she joined the North Coast Food Web team because she fell in love with the people: “I knew each board member individually and was wildly impressed with the collection of knowledge, talent, enthusiasm and community commitment they all had for their mission.” A community activist with a servant’s heart, Mary dedicated 28 years of love and hard work to the North Coast community as the General Manager of the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District (1984-2012). During that time, Mary was also an active volunteer with American Red Cross, Special Districts Association of Oregon, Seaside Food Bank, and Seaside Rotary as one of the first women Rotarians! Mary received her Bachelor of Science in Leisure Studies and Psychology from University of Northern Colorado (1973) and Masters of Leisure Services from University of Oregon (1980). Currently, she serves on the Oregon Community Foundation Leadership Counsel, Friends of Clatsop County Community Gardens board and White Water Institute. Mary was drawn to the North Coast because of the water and that’s the likely place to find her! She loves swimming in open water (preferably with dolphins and whales!), walking with her ‘good dog’, gardening or adventuring. Her favorite part of the food web is the cooking classes. Mary, who didn’t grow up cooking says, “cooking at the Food Web has been transformational for me and has lead me to the best health I’ve been in.” Mary encourages all to “Live, Love, Laugh, Always, Smiles!”
Favorite Food: Angel Food Cake
Rod Nichols / Treasurer
Rod Nichols has been a part of the North Coast Food Web board since 2011. He’s acted as Board President, Interim Executive Director and now, Treasurer. Though an Illinois native, Rod has ventured around the U.S. and world to study and work. After a stint at Southern Illinois University as an Arts major, he naturally, landed a career in food service. Rod has operated and owned restaurants (including Vista Sea Café in Seaside) though more recently, you’ll find him volunteering for local organizations like Columbia Senior Diners, Meals on Wheels (Astoria 2012-17), Clatsop Community Action Food Bank (2012-14), Clatsop Community Gardens (2014), White Water Institute (2011-2017) and of course, North Coast Food Web where he’s one of our fabulous Cooking Class Instructors. “I’m interested in observing people’s relationship with food and cooking,” said Rod. In his free time, you’ll find him oil painting or walking the beach with his dog Spudnick.
Favorite Food: The next meal or homemade Rhubarb Bread Pudding
Kayla Warner/ Secretary
Kayla credits an interest in food and the culture of food in communities to reading Michael Pollan’s book A Place at the Table. In 2014, Kayla accepted a position with The AmeriCorps VISTA-Oregon Health Authority Partnership where she worked toward developing healthy behaviors in rural Oregon. She packed-up all her belongings from where she grew up in Pennsylvania, to explore a whole new area of the country – Astoria! Through her work as a VISTA, she learned about the North Coast Food Web and it didn’t take long for her to realize the organization shared many of the same desires to increase food security in the community- she jumped in as a volunteer for the River People Farmers Market! In 2017, Kayla accepted a position with Oregon State Extension as a SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) Nutrition Educator, alongside board member Joyce Senior and former board member Miki’ala Souza. She works to increase knowledge of general nutrition and healthier lifestyles on a budget in low-income populations. Kayla earned her B.S in Environmental Psychology at The Pennsylvania State University and has additional experience with environmental campaign fundraising, medical research with Oregon Health and Science University, and volunteering with a handful of organizations. “I am enthusiastic to work side by side with talented and passionate professionals. I have high hopes to bring fresh, bright ideas to increase food security while encouraging and teaching our community how to cook with local, delicious food,” she said. Find Kayla running on the River Walk, out exploring new terrain to hike, testing out homemade funky recipes, and anywhere there’s a conversation going on about community health.
Favorite Food: My grandma’s Eggplant Parmesan, or cheese… I love cheese.
Merianne Myers / Board Member
Merianne Myers has been a board member, prep cook, grant writer, teacher and tent schleper since 2010. Saying ‘yes’ to the Food Web fit perfectly with her love of food and her requirements for volunteerism. She can be found doing everything from cooking batches of soups for Astoria Warming Center to deep cleaning the kitchen after a week of Young Chef’s Cooking Camp. Most all Food Web activities have seen success in part due to Merianne’s abiding presence. In addition to her work with NCFW, Merianne has been an on-air programmer at Coast Community Radio since 1993, co-hosting NCFW’s Food Talk with Linda Perkins and spinning tunes on four music shows. Merianne’s monthly food column in Hipfish, Chew On This, is sometimes a treatise on food and sometimes a rant accompanied by a recipe. She served on the Astoria Co-op Board of Directors for six years (three years as Board Chair). Merianne has been a small business owner, a street performer, author, manufacturer, mail order business owner, food service professional and restaurateur.
Favorite Food: That’s a moving target. I’m an omnivore.
Joyce Senior / Board Member
As a recent transplant to the Northwest, Joyce Senior started working at Clatsop County’s Oregon State University Extension office in March 2016 and was invited to check out the North Coast Food Web by her co-worker Miki’ala Souza. Her role, SNAP-Ed Coordinator (Supplemental Nutrition Access Program Education) works to provide resources and skills to low income populations so they can make healthier food and fitness food choices and stretch their food dollars. “It fits wonderfully with the mission of the NCFW,” said Joyce, “ it was like love at first sight!” Three months later she became part of the board. Joyce grew up in Costa Rica and as an international graduate student at Clemson University, she was Society for the Advancement of Chicanos, Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Board President which taught her important leadership skills like of teamwork and resilience. She also accredits SACNAS with cultivating her love of service to her community and her dedication to encouraging younger generations to dream big and pursue higher education. Joyce has a PhD in Food Technology from Clemson University (2015) and Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition from the University of Costa Rica (2009). She’s also a proud licensed Zumba instructor! She says she enjoys getting a chance to do everything at the Food Web, but in particular she’s appreciates meeting the local farmers and community members at River People Market. Oh and dancing during the market pie walks, of course!
Favorite Food: I’m definitely a foodie and I have a big list of foods that I enjoy, but if I have to choose I would say my mom and aunt’s amazing paella and their Caribbean rice and beans with chicken. Nothing compares to food that tastes like home.
Andy Catalano/ Board Member
Bio pending 🙂
Jessika Tantisook / Executive Director
Jessika Tantisook first participated in North Coast Food Web as a farmer at the River People Farmers Market. Her and her partner started, Starvation Alley Farms, Washington’s first certified organic cranberry operation in 2010. When the Food Web announced it was expanding its team in early 2017, Jessika jumped at the opportunity to throw her hat in the ring for the part time role and was elated to be offered the job! Jessika’s favorite Food Web activities are Farmer-Chef Connection and Meet Your Farmer because she understands how meaningful it is for local producers to connect to their customers. Jessika’s other experience includes receiving her Master’s in Business Administration from Bainbridge Graduate Institute, aiding in sustainable food and agriculture curriculum design and working as an urban community garden coordinator in Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, you’ll find Jessika thinking about new ways to improve her small town of Ilwaco, playing outside with her two dogs or traveling to warm places to eat tasty food and see good friends.
Favorite Food: Poke and mochi, plus pretty much all Southern fare.
Wendy Jo D’Agostino / Kitchen Coordinator
Wendy D’Agostino has a passion for cooking and has spent much of her professional and personal time soaking up food knowledge from butchery to cheese making. She’s attended Quillisascut Farmstead School of the Domestic Arts (2013) and La Boucherie at Sea Breeze Farm (2012). She also has a background in healthcare as a Licensed Practical Nurse. Prior to moving to Long Beach, Washington in 2015, Wendy taught at Sizzleworks Cooking School in Bellevue, WA. There she met her mentor Carol Dearth whom she credits with teaching her thoughtful, organized and encouraging presence in the kitchen. At the Food Web, she manages the Teaching Kitchen including class curriculum planning, leading classes and organizing our CSA pick ups and Egg Day each week. Wendy spends much of her free time volunteering and has worked with several great food non-profits including Community Kitchens Northwest, Seattle Tilt, Fare Start, F.O.R.K.s (formerly Seattle Chef’s Collaborative) and Farms for Life, to name a few. Cooking classes are, not surprisingly, one of Wendy’s favorite parts about the Food Web “ I simply love sharing in the kitchen,” said Wendy, “ it’s rewarding to see participants having fun in the kitchen while learning tips to take to their home to try.”
Favorite Food: Green!