Raul Lozano is the Founder and Executive Director of Valley Verde with more than 22 years of experience in nonprofit leadership.
Raul is a master gardener and is a senior fellow of American Leadership Forum Silicon Valley and has a commitment to social justice.
He first brought his love for gardening together in a program he created for Sacred Heart Community Services in 2009.
La Mesa Verde would be the precursor to Valley Verde, which Raul founded as a separate nonprofit two years later.
For more than ten years, Raul served as executive director of a San Jose-based Chicano theater company Teatro Visión. With a strong commitment to multiculturalism in the arts, he was one of the founders of the Multiethnic Arts Leadership Initiative, a leadership development program for people of color in arts and culture.
He was also a founding member of 1st ACT Silicon Valley, a civic and arts initiative that spurred development of an arts district in San Jose.
Operations & Special Events Manager
As an Operations/Special Events Manager, Lovepreet is responsible for managing the operational needs of the program and organizing events. She has a degree in Health Science and she is passionate about helping others. While studying Health Science, she learned the importance of being culturally aware, and building resilience in the community to help the communities thrive. She has worked with various communities, and enjoys thinking of innovative ways to help communities thrive. Lovepreet has a garden at home, and enjoys being in nature. She enjoys learning about new vegetables and is constantly experimenting with recipes from different cultures. Lovepreet is excited about working with Valley Verde, and is looking forward to promoting food sustainability.
Greenhouse & Super Jardineros Program Manager
As a Greenhouse Manager, Claudia is responsible for the production of healthy seedlings for our programs, maintaining the demonstration garden - La Finca, and coordinating the Super Jardineros program.
Claudia has a degree in forestry engineering and she is passionate about sharing her enthusiasm for growing food and other plants organic and sustainably. Her science background invites her to constantly explore new ways to do things. She enjoys the challenge of trying new techniques for growing vegetables, controlling pests, learning new cultural treatments, but overall she loves trying new varieties of vegetables each season.
As Greenhouse Coordinator, Anna has the wonderful (as she will describe to anyone who asks) responsibility of helping produce the organic seedlings for all of our programs and maintaining the demonstration garden at The Finca, where she loves to observe and learn from nature at work. Born and raised in San Jose, Anna has fond memories of helping her mother tend a small plot in the Jesse Frey Community Garden, where she states her passion for Environmental Justice and Regenerative Agriculture first began. This passion, along with her excitement for learning, grew during her time at the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies with an Emphasis in Food and Agricultural Sciences in 2019. When she’s not working at Valley Verde, you can find Anna rock climbing, nurturing her garden at home, or soaking up new information from whatever books she can get her hands on.
Home Garden Program Manager
Rachelle is the Home Garden Manager at Valley Verde. She comes to the organization with many years of teaching, program development, management, and gardening experience. She graduated from Northwest University with her Masters in International Community Development. Rachelle is passionate about social justice issues and seeks to work alongside communities to help them thrive and become resilient. Rachelle grew up gardening alongside her mom in their urban vegetable and flower garden. She is passing on her knowledge to her own children whose favorite veggies are sugar snap peas and butternut squash, or as her children call them, "squash babies." Rachelle knows the positive impact of gardening on family health, nutrition, and the environment and looks forward to sharing her knowledge and experience with the communities in Santa Clara County.
Home Garden Program Coordinator
Rita was born and raised in East Side San Jose and attended Evergreen Valley College before transferring to San Jose State University. Rita is a recent graduate of SJSU, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies with a minor in Sustainable Water Resource and focus in Agriculture. While attending SJSU, Rita participated in the UC Master Gardener Program, a public service and outreach program under the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, she received her credentials as a Master Gardener by participating with the UC Cooperative Extension program. Rita grew up on her grandparent's farm. She believes that everybody should have access to healthy affordable fresh produce. As the new Home Garden Coordinator, Rita's goal is to help families develop a passion for sustainable urban gardening physically and mentally, and overall help families develop a personal healthy lifestyle.
Home Garden Program Coordinator
Mary Lou’s favorite activity is growing her organic vegetables in her garden. Her grandfather and mother were avid gardeners growing garlic, tomatoes, onions, and all kinds of fruit trees. She was fortunate to live on a very large ranch as a newlywed with two small sons. They had chickens, cows, goats, and a horse. The best part
of living on a ranch was having a very large vegetable garden. She canned most of the crops to make jams and jellies or sun dried the herbs. She continues to garden as a small part in leaving this earth a healthier place than it is today. Her education was in business and psychology, but if she had to do it all over again, she says she would have been a biologist, landscape architect or botanist. Her three favorite veggies are string beans, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts.