Gorge Grown Staff

Gorge Grown Food Network is operated and supported by our dedicated team.


Yeli Boots

Mercado del Valle Coordinator 

Yelitza (Yeli) Boots, plays two roles in our community one as the Bilingual Outreach Specialist for the Hood River County Library and has now joined our team to help support Mercado del Valle. Yeli has a great love for her culture and ethnic background as her mother migrated from Mexico and began working in the cherry orchards in Yakima, WA.  Yeli has built her career working with and supporting children and families from diverse backgrounds for over 12 years in the Oregon region. She believes in the process of building communities and community partnerships. Yeli loves spending her free time with her 3 children, husband, family & friends.

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Melissa DeCook

Hood River Farmers Market Assistant Manager

White Salmon Farmers Market Manager

Melissa is a Master Food Preserver with a passion for good food and good community. Her interest for local food systems was sparked during her food preservation education. Witnessing collaboration between elder food preservers and local farmers to teach people about food sovereignty had a big impact on how she viewed her own connection to food. Melissa enjoys canning and toddling around the woods with her son. 

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Peter Fink

Gleaning Coordinator

Peter has been ‘gleaning’ fruits and vegetables from his neighbors since he was young, but joined Gorge Grown as Glean Coordinator in 2023. Passionate about climate justice and building a more fair and sustainable food system, Peter believes in the power of community, cooperation, and the productive capacity of the overlooked. He lives in White Salmon where he’s trying his hand at cooperative farming.

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Hannah Ladwig

Farmers Market Operations Director

Communications & Outreach Director

WSFMA Regional Lead- Columbia Gorge

Hannah joined Gorge Grown as the 2014-2015 a JVC Northwest AmeriCorps Volunteer and became part of the year round staff after her year of service. She was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she attended Marquette University and studied International Affairs, Peace Studies and Spanish. Her work with Gorge Grown is fueled by her passion for local agriculture, food systems, entrepreneurship, community, politics and social justice. Hannah is happiest when cooking for others, hiking, swimming and woodworking.

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Nikole Mathews

Hood Rive Farmers Market Assistant

Nikole is new to the Gorge area and thrilled to join the Gorge Grown team. She has a passion for farmer’s markets and sustainable foods cultivated during her time at UC Santa Cruz. With a professional background focused on engaging with diverse communities, she enjoys working with people from all walks of life. Off-duty, you’ll find Nikole gardening, traversing the trails, and immersing herself in the beauty of the Gorge.

Gary McFarlen

Hood River Farmers Market Assistant

Gary has been a longtime supporter and volunteer of Gorge Grown Food Network. His professional career touched many different business facets and was an independent, self-employed IT professional for over 20 years. Originally from Texas, he sold flavored pecans for a local producer at the Downtown Waco Farmers Market in 2012. He and his wife, Sandy, began visiting Hood River in 2001 and frequented the Hood River Farmers Market during their trips. The two moved to Hood River in 2013. “I am very excited to support our local farmers and ranchers. Their hard work allows us to experience some of the best, healthiest bounty available anywhere. It is my privilege to be a part of GGFN to support its efforts and those of other worthwhile organizations in this area,” says Gary. 

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Joel Pelayo

Latinx Outreach

Joel helps engage the Latinx community in Gorge Grown programs including the Mercado del Valle (Odell Farmers Market). He serves of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee of the Food Security Coalition. Joel has been a Community Health Worker for more than 20 years. He is co-founder of Raíces Cooperative Farm, and co-chair of the Community Advisory Committee of the regional Columbia Gorge Health Council. Joel co-facilitates trainings in diversity, equity and inclusion through The Next Door Inc.  

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Juan Reyes

Community Outreach Consultant

Juan has lived in the Gorge his whole life and has passion for serving the community he grew up in. Recently Juan has joined Gorge Grown to help grow the LatinX Community Outreach efforts. For the past 11 years Juan has served in various roles for many non-profit organizations and projects throughout the Gorge and is currently working for Hood River Valley High School as their Prevention/Graduation Specialist. In his free time Juan enjoys spending time with his 3 beautiful daughters, working on DIY projects, his art and learning new skills.


Sarah Sullivan

Executive Director

As former Executive Director of both Hawaii SEED and The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, Sarah has extensive experience in movement-building, organizational management and agricultural policy. She directed the award‐winning school-garden program at Abernethy Elementary in Portland, and trains teachers in garden-based education as an adjunct Professor at Lewis & Clark College. She is a trained Permaculture designer and has dabbled in plant breeding and seed saving. Sarah believes in the power and practice of collaborative leadership.