Staff

Roseann (Rose) Cohen
Roseann (Rose) CohenExecutive Director of CAN
Rose is the Executive Director of the Community Agroecology Network (CAN) and a passionate advocate for amplifying the voices of youth and women to lead grassroots social change. At CAN, Rose engages in participatory community-based learning and action, and establishing strategic partnerships to further agroecology and food sovereignty at the intersection of gender justice, alternative economies and immigration. She is a bicultural, bilingual Latina and daughter of Colombian immigrants. Her doctoral research in Colombia focused on campesino and indigenous land claims under conditions of insecure land tenure, forced displacement and violence. This experience shaped her decision to work at an organization committed to co-creating knowledge with small farmers, migrant communities and the people most deeply connected to soil, land, plants, animals and growing food. Rose holds a Ph.D. from the Environmental Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a specialization in Latin American and Latino Studies. Rose was a fellow at the Agrarian Studies Program at Yale University, and serves as a Research Associate at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) at the University of California, and the Agroecology Livelihoods Collaborative at the University of Vermont.
Carmen J. Cortez
Carmen J. CortezAssociate Director of CAN
Carmen is the Associate Director at CAN and is driven by her deep commitment to community processes of exchange, food sovereignty, and the connection of land, culture, and community self-governance. Through her involvement in research, community organizing and teaching, Carmen has developed multiple collaborations with farmers, scientists, and community member by co-creating agroecology and food systems courses in Santa Ana, Los Angeles, and Belize Central America. Through such collective learning experiences, community members and students compliment their own traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) with scientific knowledge on traditional farm management, land use, indigenous self-governance, alternative economies, and the economic and political realities of community land tenure in a globalized market.

Carmen holds a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of California Davis Graduate Group in Ecology (GGE). Her dissertation work on human ecology focused on examining agroecological strategies used for intensifying milpa farming by Maya farmers and the impact of the formalized school system on time spent acquiring TEK by young people in the Maya region of Southern Belize.

At CAN Carmen supports with strategic planning on programing and fund development for collaborative knowledge production.

Sophia Bassett
Sophia Bassett Growing Justice Coordinator
Sophia is CAN’s Youth Network Coordinator, working with Growing Justice, FoCAN, UCSC students, and the international youth exchange network. She is a graduate of UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Politics and Latin American & Latino Studies. Through CAN she has worked as an advocate for international alternative trade markets, youth empowerment and local and global food justice.
Maria Eugenia Flores
Maria Eugenia Flores Las Segovias Project Manager
María Eugenia Flores was born in Nicaragua in 1976 and grew up during a time of social conflict, struggle and changes. She studied popular theater as tool to help communities recover from the impact of natural disasters and graduated in 1998 from the UCA, Nicaragua with bachelors’ degrees in social psychology and humanities. She also has post-graduate certificates in anthropology and community development and sustainable organizational management. Finally, she has more than 15 years of experiences as a professional working for peace, women rights and participatory social development in Nicaragua and Central America.
Yadira Montenegro
Yadira MontenegroProject Manager
Yadira first learned of CAN’s work in 2008 and by 2011, she was coordinating the Youth Leadership for Food Security and Food Sovereignty Project with CAN’s network partner, the Union of Cooperatives Augusto Cesar Sandino San Ramón (UCA San Rámon). She also has coordinated CAN Field Studies with UCA San Ramón. Yadira currently oversees AgroEco® Coffee’s Funds for Sustainable Agriculture and the Unpaid Work of Women, as well as CAN’s International Youth Network (RIAC-Jóven). She graduated in 1993 as an Engineering Agronomist, and worked for 21 years as the Director of Community Development at the UCA San Rámon.
Norma Villaron
Norma VillaronAdministrative Assistant
Norma was born and raised in Watsonville. She graduated from San Francisco State University in 2010 with a degree in Spanish. She received an AA degree in Business from Cabrillo College in 2007. In 2003 she received an AAS degree in Computer Business Administration from Heald College. She comes to CAN as a graduate of the LEAD (Leadership Education and Development) Institute training program through the Community Foundation for Monterey County for Non-Profit Organizations. Norma spent the last 8 years supporting administration and event program coordination as Gallery Coordinator for the Pajaro Valley Arts Council. At CAN, as Administrative Assistant, Norma works closely with CAN staff and partner organizations to maintain administrative operations and assist in event coordination. Norma’s favorite thing to do during her college years in San Francisco was viewing art at The Legion of Honor. When she’s not working Norma loves spending time with her young son Santiago.

Friends of CAN (FoCAN) Leadership Team

FoCAN
FoCANStudent Leadership Team
Mariana Aguilar, FoCAN Coordinator
Lauren Arnest, Intercambio Coordinator
Aaron (Che) Godinez, Marketing Assistant
Natalia Ubilla, Media and Documentation Coordinator
Aaron Rolden, Action Education Coordinator