LIFE (Liberating Investment for the Food & Farm Ecosystem) Coordinator
Candace has over 10 years of combined experience in technology, project management, and community organizing. Growing up in Montgomery, AL, Candace was introduced to technology at an early age, going on to work with various nonprofit organizations helping teams use technology to automate processes to increase capacity and effectively utilize resources. Candace is a registered lobbyist and entrepreneur in Illinois taking a special interest in tech policy, social equity, and economic development of the Black community. Candace completed her BS in Computer Science at Troy University and now lives in Chicago with her husband and 4 children.
At HEAL, Celize connects members to campaigns, programs and the alliance's greater network. Celize comes to HEAL's campaign and policy work by coordinating farmer-led education programming, advocating for BIPOC farmers in Iowa, and coalition building and organizing with sustainable agriculture organizations. Celize earned her B.S. in Animal Science and Global Resource Systems with a minor in Spanish from Iowa State University and a M.S. in Rural Sociology and International Agricultural Development from the Pennsylvania State University. Celize's work has taken her globally working with livestock farmers in Uganda, Rwanda and Italy. Celize roots her advocacy efforts around the stories, voices and experiences of both urban and rural farmers of the Midwest. Celize currently lives in Ankeny, Iowa on occupied Iowa, Sauk and Meskwaki Land and enjoys exploring local businesses/shops, drinking ginger tea, and playing with her miniature pinscher pup, Luz.
Eloni is a storyteller and strategic communicator who crafts messages, builds strategies and conducts research to inform communications and development for HEAL and its members. Her previous experience includes research, digital comms and media relations in global health, community development and nonprofit sectors where she specialized in gender health issues impacting BIPOC communities in the US and women across the Global South. Eloni has a B.A. in Communication Studies and minor in International Studies from Northeastern University and is currently based in the Washington, DC - Baltimore region on Piscataway land.
En builds communications strategies to support HEAL’s campaigns and creates content for HEAL’s social media channels that educates and encourages HEAL’s partners to take collective action towards food systems rooted in racial justice that center people, communities, and climate - not corporate profits. Before joining HEAL, En led campaign and legislative strategies with Public Citizen to advance digital rights in the US, fight junk-food marketing, and expose corporate abuse. En is an artist of various mediums and believes deeply in the power of artivism, has a Master's degree in Public Policy from American University, and is currently based in Oakland, CA on Ohlone land.
With a long history in labor organizing, Jose has served in several leadership positions at Casa Guatemala, Chicago Interfaith Workers’ Center, Interfaith Worker Justice’s National Workers' Centers Network, Center for Community Change, and the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United - the national organization of restaurant workers. Jose was the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance a national coalition of food-worker organizations that collectively represents over 350,000 workers. Jose is also a 2017 James Beard Award recipient and a 2018 American Food Hero Awardee.
Maleeka is HEAL’s National Organizer, where she builds the people power we need to create food systems that are good for our communities, good for our health, and good for the planet. Prior to working at HEAL, Maleeka mobilized coalitions to advance equitable climate policy as Co-Director of Policy at Climate Action Campaign and Chair of the San Diego Green New Deal Alliance. Maleeka has served as Director of Membership for the San Diego Democrats for Environmental Action and Assembly District Delegate to the California Democratic Party. Maleeka has also served on the Steering Committee for the California Green New Deal Coalition, the Stewardship Committee for the San Diego Food Systems Alliance 2030 Food Vision, and County Board of Supervisor Nathan Fletcher’s COVID-19 Equity Task Force. Maleeka has lived and worked in South Korea, Thailand, and Brazil, and has a B.A. from Colorado College. Maleeka currently lives in San Diego on Kumeyaay land and enjoys playing in the ocean and walking dogs in her free time.
Marla Karina Larrave
Political Education Director
Marla heads up HEAL’s School of Political Leadership (SoPL) and works alongside members to build political education and alignment for a just food and farm system. Having grown up in Los Angeles with deep farming roots in Guatemala, her previous experience includes progressing community-led policy and advocacy initiatives with people of color, migrants and indigenous communities both in the U.S. and abroad. Marla holds an M.A. in International Development from American University and a B.A. in Global Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is based in Washington, D.C.
Political Leadership Coordinator
Marlene has 11 years of experience supporting community-based initiatives through the non-profit sector and in academia. Born and raised in Sunnyside, a rural agricultural town in Washington state, they spent summers picking cherries with their mother and sisters. As the child of Mexican farmworkers they have witnessed firsthand the challenges many land workers face. They hold a deep respect and connection to the land thanks to their family’s passion for farming, fishing, bee keeping, and gardening. Their commitment to community resiliency and environmental protection is their guiding force for ongoing work with HEAL. Marlene earned their B.A. in Society, Ethics, and Human Behavior from the University of Washington. They are based out of Washington, D.C., occupied Piscataway territory.
Navina Khanna is a co-founder and the Executive Director of HEAL. For over 20 years, she has worked toward social and ecological justice through food and farming systems, and her leadership is widely respected for uniting changemakers across sectors and communities. Navina holds an MS in International Agricultural Development and has formal training in somatics, as a yoga teacher, and in permaculture design. She has previously served on the leadership teams of Urban Tilth, the US Food Sovereignty Alliance, Oakland’s Food Policy Council and as a member of Oakland’s Equitable Climate Action Plan Committee and the Young Climate Leaders Network. She currently serves on the board of Friends of the Earth Action and as a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Food and Nutrition Security Task Force. A first-generation South Asian American living in Oakland on occupied Ohlone land, Navina’s worldview is shaped by migration and grounded in movement. She most easily finds joy immersed in soil, music, and community.
Neshani is the Communications Director for the HEAL Food Alliance. Neshani has over a decade of experience working in communications and strategic development at international and domestic non-profits and is excited to use art and narrative to build power with HEAL’s members. Neshani received her BA in Anthropology and Spanish from UC Davis and MA in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University. She lives, works, and hangs out in Oakland, CA.
Operations & Events Manager
Rosie comes from a lineage of landworkers and is excited to continue radically building a better food system. Her advocacy has taken many forms, including: managing the award-winning Logan Square Farmers Market for four years, producing the annual Chicago Food Policy Summit, organizing young farmers throughout the state of Illinois, and working on farms across the country. When not producing an event, Rosie has her hands weaving between the strings of a loom, color-coding her planner, or working with clay. She's based in Chicago.