New staff members to support sustainable mission at 21 Acres

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

21 Acres Staff
Courtesy photo Left to right: 21 Acres staff: Robin Crowder, Deb Sternagel, Ramon Mendoza, Kurt Sahl, Gill Dey, Pepe Nunez, Kathy Jordan, Brenda Vanderloop, Cat Brimhall, Carlos Mendoza, John Eizuka.
Sustainable issues are gaining traction in the media these days. Local food systems are being looked to as ways to solve food security issues and to address obesity prevention. Alternative energy is becoming more widespread and considered as a viable way to limit green house gas emissions. Here in Woodinville, community members are excited about the opportunity to learn new ways of growing, eating and living their lives to minimize the impact on the Earth and to experience healthful, prosperous lives.

The 21 Acres Center for Local Food and Sustainable Living is significantly expanding programming and hiring staff to address this growing demand for information in these areas and meet the educational needs of the community.

The 21 Acres School just completed its first offering of courses and received rave reviews from students.  Many more courses and classes are on the schedule and new offerings are being planned. The commercial kitchen is providing a home for its first food entrepreneurs, the educational facility is being rented for public use, and the organization is pleased to announce that the new 21 Acres Market opens in early May. In order to provide this wide breadth of offerings, 21 Acres has hired new staff members in all areas of programming and operations.

New 21 Acres team members include:

Cat Brimhall, 21 Acres retail manager, grew up attending local farmers markets in the area with her mother where she would sell her handmade goat milk soap, homegrown lavender, garlic and tomatoes and home-harvested honey. In her previous position as produce manager of the Sno-Isle Natural Food Co-op in Everett, Brimhall focused much of her efforts on sourcing locally farmed produce. She is a passionate farmer advocate and brings her expertise to the new 21 Acres Market upon opening this May.

Robin Crowder, 21 Acres marketing and development director, returned to the Northwest most recently from the University of North Carolina where she directed research related to local foods, agriculture and economic impact projects. Her previous experience as operations manager with the Bellingham Farmers Market helped farmers and small businesses position themselves to attract a broader customer base. Crowder brings her vast experience in sustainable marketing initiatives and new program development to the 21 Acres team.

Gill Dey, 21 Acres culinary classes director, has 25 years experience as a food writer, cookbook author and magazine editor. She gardens organically, is a Master Recycler and Composter and loves growing herbs. Originally from Scotland, Dey formerly worked in the Seattle area as a food consultant, judging national recipe contests, developing new specialty food products and writing recipes. She comes to 21 Acres with recent experience from Preservation Kitchen in Bothell and Sur la Table in Kirkland.

John Eizuka, 21 Acres farm manager, has farmed organically in the Sammamish Valley for the previous 10 years with the Root Connection Farm. There he served as operational field manager growing fresh produce for over 500 households in the community. Eizuka’s motto is “What we eat is what we become. We eat to live, not live to eat!”  He believes growing food is one of the most important tasks in society and that keeping the balance between Mother Nature and civilization is critical and that sustainability is the key to that relationship.

Carlos Mendoza, 21 Acres facilities manager, enjoys a hands-on approach in his management of the 21 Acres Center’s new green-built building along with his maintenance and landscaping responsibilities. Mendoza worked on family farms throughout his youth and his ultimate goal is to have his own farm one day.

Deb Sternagel, 21 Acres administrator and event coordinator, continues her long standing commitment to the community sharing her interest in sustainable education with the public.  As president of the Northshore Youth Soccer Association, Sternagel was a leader in partnership development and advocacy. In her administrative role, Sternagel is often the first point of contact to 21 Acres.

In addition to the new staff, the 21 Acres team includes employees Tiffany Cole, chef; Pepe Nunez, farmer, Ramon Mendoza, facilities; Kathy Jordan, project manager; along with independent contractors Brenda Vanderloop, public relations and communications; and Kurt Sahl, sustainable energy education.

21 Acres is located at 13701 NE 171st Street, Woodinville, Washington. For more information, visit or find them on Facebook and Twitter @21acres.

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