Our Team

Paula Sirola, Executive Director

Paula, whose garden name is Ms. Peppermint, is experienced in organizing communities, developing programs, and building grassroots organizations in Los Angeles and Latin America.  Her work revolves around helping people build community and access healthy foods, be it through street vendors, community and school gardens, or community-based agricultural projects.  Paula is a UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardener and has a M.A. in Urban Planning from UCLA, where she also did her doctoral research. Contact: pmsirola@gmail.com

Patty Kestin, Founding member 

Patty Kestin, or Ms. Poblano, is a UC-CE Master Gardener and a School Garden Educator connecting food and the natural world with academic curriculum, healthy communities and experiential learning at Mark Twain since 2010.  She has over 25 years experience as a community volunteer, activist and fundraiser working to secure equal access to health, education, food and the courts for low-income individuals and families in Los Angeles.  Patty holds an M.B.A. from U.S.C. a J.D. from New York Law and has worked as a volunteer attorney, Vice-President and Director of the Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law for 10 years and with the Saban Free Clinic.  She is a member of the LA Food Policy Committee, the Venice School Green Team, former board member of The Seed Saving Library of LA (SLOLA), and a founding member of Slow Money. Contact: pattykestin@gmail.com 

Renee Meshul, Founding member

Renee Meshul, also known as Ms. Raspberry, has been a garden educator at Mark Twain Middle School since 2010. Before coming to Mark Twain, she spent 25 years as a child development specialist working with high risk populations and 25 years running her own successful land use consulting business.  She has a MEd in Counseling Psychology and became a Master Gardner in the UC Cooperative Extension Program in 2013. Contact: rmeshul@gmail.com.

LIBERTY BRADFORD, Food club Coordinator

Liberty Bradford is an artist, yoga educator and Mark Twain parent with a background in non-profit events and marketing. Having spent the past year teaching yoga in Westchester elementary schools, she has been delighted to work with the students at Mark Twain, integrating her affinity for California cuisine cooking and nutrition-based health modalities. Contact: yoliberty@gmail.com 

Caryssa Lim, Global Food Initiative Fellow

Caryssa Lim, also known as Ms. Clementine, is a Master of Public Health student at UCLA, studying Community Health Sciences. Caryssa is largely interested in the power of school and community gardens to improve physical, nutritional, social, and emotional wellbeing of students. Before beginning her graduate program, she graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences and Human Rights from the University of Chicago where she worked with Chicago Public School students on a pipeline program that encouraged careers in STEM and the health professions. When she is not at the garden, she enjoys taking care of her houseplants, eating picnic lunches at the Getty museum, and walking around UCLA's botanical garden. Contact: cnlim@ucla.edu.

Our spring 2018 Student volunteers from UCLA

Oryan Levi  

Monica Aguilar

Anasazi Levy

Joan Binalinbing

Patience Olsen

Whitney Ly

Abigail Ahlers

Sam Malinao

Lindsay Fulton

Arnold Dimas

Shiyu (David) Ji 

Victoire Maciejowski

Brigit Szeibert




[At Seeds to Plate], students are supported by a caring group of individuals who have made a commitment to their overall well-being, something our kids can never get enough of.
— Kerry Olinger, Special Education Teacher