Biographies of Presenters 

2023 Climate Action & Agriculture Symposium
May 25, 2023, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM


Bea Alvarez
Climate Resilience & Soil Health Projects Coordinator - Foodshed Small Farm Cooperative

Bea Alvarez is an Uruguayan native, raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Since moving to San Diego in 2010 she’s been a part of several environmental and educational initiatives driven by innovation, regenerative practices, community, and the development of positive leadership for the next generation. In her role at Foodshed Bea manages Carbon Sink Incentive Programs, working closely with farmers providing assistance in soil health assessments, curating training sessions, and connecting farmers with resources for their ongoing regenerative efforts. In the advocacy arena, she amplifies the voices of local producers by elevating carbon farming as a natural climate solution in policy and systemic change efforts that are shaping our collective future around climate and food systems.



Tom Corringham, PhD
Staff Research Economist, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego

Dr. Corringam's research is focused on understanding the economic impacts of climate change and extreme weather events. His areas of specialization include catastrophic floods, wildfires, atmospheric rivers, El Niño, water resources, agriculture, public health, and economics. His published work includes an assessment of the value of climate forecasts and climate information to wildland fire managers, analyses of the costs of flooding in the western U.S. associated with El Niño and atmospheric rivers, and a study on the impacts of wildfire smoke on public health in Southern California.

His current research projects include projections of the increasing costs of atmospheric rivers over the 21st century, an assessment of the economic impact of atmospheric rivers on road transportation networks, a study of flood vulnerability in communities of color, and the development of natural language processing tools to evaluate climate action plans.

Born in London England, Corringham received a BA and MA in philosophy, politics and economics from the University of Oxford, and a PhD in environmental economics from UCSD and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Corringham is affiliated with the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes (CW3E), the California Nevada Climate Applications Program (CNAP), the Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center (SWCASC), and the San Diego Supercomputer Center’s WIFIRE program.

Retrieved from, 5/22/2023.



Maria Gomez
Deputy Director for Policy, Outreach and Data, Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures, County of San Diego

Maria Gomez is San Diego County Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures’ (AWM) Deputy Director for Policy, Outreach and Data. At AWM, she directs a cross-functional unit that supports data-driven policies and enhanced outreach on the region’s agricultural programs. Ms. Gomez previously served as an intelligence officer at the Central Intelligence Agency working Middle East and North Africa affairs, and led homeland security programs for the State of California as an appointee for Governor Brown. Ms. Gomez has a Master’s in International Affairs from George Washington University and a Bachelor’s in Journalism from San Diego State University.



Meghan Kelly
Project Manager, Climate Action Plan | Sustainability Planning Division, County of San Diego

Meghan Kelly is the Project Manager for the County’s Climate Action Plan. She has Master of Science degree in Environmental Science and Policy and a Master of Business Administration with a focus on Sustainability. She has been working with the County’s Planning and Development Services department to implement and update their Climate Action Plan since 2018.


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Ramiro Lobo
Small Farms and Agricultural Economics Advisor – San Diego County, University of California Cooperative Extension

Ramiro Lobo has been the Small Farm and Agricultural Economics Advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension in San Diego County since 1997. He conducts research and educational activities to support small scale agricultural producers in San Diego County. Ramiro’s work focuses primarily on topics related to agricultural business and risk management, new crop development and evaluation, new entry grower startup/education, market development through agricultural tourism and direct marketing, food safety, IPM and farm/pesticide safety education. His current research efforts have focused on the evaluation of Pitahaya or dragon fruit (Hyloceresus sp.) for commercial and backyard production in California; the evaluation of water/irrigation requirements for pitahaya/dragon fruit production; evaluation of potting size and potting media for container-grown blueberries; and the evaluation of coffee varieties and production practices for ornamental/backyard and commercial production in Southern California.


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Elias Marvinney, PhD
Project Scientist, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Davis

Dr. Elias Marvinney is a Project Scientist in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at University of California, Davis. He has worked in the area of climate change, environmental impacts and life cycle assessment modeling of modern agricultural systems, with a primary focus on perennial crops and livestock – particularly as relating to carbon storage and nutrient/ energy flows in the agro-industrial landscape. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Conservation Biology from Boston University, with a focus on Neotropical Ecosystems, followed by a masters in International Agriculture Development and a PhD in Horticulture and Agronomy from UC Davis, including certificates in Industrial Ecology and Development Practice. He has been engaged in agricultural research and development projects in California, Australia, Ecuador, Sri Lanka and Cambodia, and published a number of peer-reviewed articles and white paper reports on environmental impacts modeling in the perennial crop and livestock industries.


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Mary Matava
Proprietor, AgriService, Inc. and Past-President, San Diego County Farm Bureau

Mary obtained her degree in Agronomy from Oregon State University in 1979. After moving to California, she started an agricultural consulting and laboratory business Agri Service, to serve the local farming and landscape industries. The laboratory afforded a unique opportunity to study the local soils and our diversified Southern California crops.

In 1994 Agri Service entered the organics recycling industry partnering with the City of Oceanside as the operator of El Corazon Compost Facility, which processes over 70,000 tons per year of yard trimmings, food discards and wood waste into high quality compost and mulch. She has developed and built facilities in Los Angeles and Riverside County and recently opened a new facility in Otay Mesa.

Mary is involved in the community as a San Diego County Farm Bureau member, volunteers overseas as a consultant and farms avocados and coffee in Oceanside.


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Eric Morgan
Vice President of Environmental Science and Resources, Braga Fresh

Prior to this role with Braga Fresh, Eric was a Pest Control Advisor and manager for Valley Farm Applications

In 2009, Eric founded Soil Health Laboratories, LLC to help growers reduce fertilizer inputs daily based on real-time laboratory results and his professional experience. Still in operation today, this soil lab provides same day analysis of soil and water for nitrate, ammonium, and pH levels for cool season vegetable growers in the Salinas and Imperial Valleys.

In 1928, the Braga family started farming Salinas Valley. Today the third generation continues the family values of sustainable farming. Now vertically integrated, Braga Fresh combines innovation with tradition to grow, harvest, and process fresh vegetables and leafy greens through the Josie’s Organics brand.

With Eric’s leadership, Braga Fresh sets aside 10% of farmland to beneficial habitat and has launched Regenerative Farming trials.



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Tapan Pathak, PhD
Specialist-Climate Adaptation in Agriculture,
University of California, Merced and University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Dr. Tapan Pathak is a Cooperative Extension Specialist in climate adaptation in agriculture with University of California Merced and University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Dr. Pathak has years of experience in agricultural climatology, crop modeling, and adaptation research. He is involved in various state and multistate efforts and collaborates on state and federal projects to study trends and impacts of climate change on various aspects of agricultural production and translating climate and weather data into useful agricultural decision support information that can assist agricultural community in making strategic decisions.


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Elizabeth Whitlow
Production Executive Director, Regenerative Organic Alliance

Elizabeth Whitlow is the Executive Director of the Regenerative Organic Alliance (ROA), a nonprofit organization that oversees the certification standard, promotes and supports the Regenerative Organic Certified® program. Combining the best practices from USDA Organic, Fair Trade and high-bar animal welfare standards, Regenerative Organic Certified® is a revolutionary new certification for food, fiber and personal care products. It goes beyond current certification criteria and meets the highest standards in the world for soil health, animal welfare, and farmworker and social fairness. Elizabeth boasts an impressive 25+ year career in the field of organic agriculture. Prior to joining the Regenerative Organic Alliance (ROA), Elizabeth worked across a broad spectrum of elevated certifications, both in farming and ranching.

Elizabeth’s work as the leader of ROA has been featured in a variety of national publications. Wine Enthusiast Magazine featured her on its “Future 40” list in 2022. She has delivered keynote speeches at numerous conferences on the importance of regenerative organic farming as an aspirational objective for global agriculture practices and as a necessity to mitigate climate change and social equity in the agricultural sector. Her 2020 TEDxTysons Talk, “Better Health is Literally Underneat Your Feet,” has been viewed globally.

Above all, Elizabeth’s greatest honor is to serve a planet that is in tremendous need of each and every one of us. As she’s known to point out, “In the 37 seconds it may have taken to read this brief bio, the Earth has lost the equivalent of 18 soccer fields of living topsoil. The solutions to our modern-day ecological crises lie right beneath our feet.”


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Jan Gonzales
Community Education Supervisor | Project Coordinator, University of California Cooperative Extension - San Diego