Meet the people behind Slow Food Lake Tahoe!

President | Directress of Communications | Community Soup Night Coordinator | Farmer's Market Liaison

Board Member Since 2016

Trish moved to the Truckee-Tahoe community from her hometown outside of Chicago, IL in November 2010 in search of turning her dream of living in the mountains into a reality. Inspired by the simple, clean, natural beauty of the Sierras and Lake Tahoe, her awareness expanded and she began to look at food in a different light. Trish began to connect more closely with the local food systems via Community Supported Agriculture programs and Farmers Markets. She quickly became fascinated with how whole, unprocessed foods can help to heal the body.  She decided to take her curiosity to the next level and earned her Holistic Nutrition Consultant certificate from Bauman College in 2016, as well as joining the Board with Slow Food. Through various types of jobs and roles as a Nutritionist, her scope of knowledge of what 'health & wellness' means is constantly evolving. Ultimately, her goal is to help 'bridge-the-gap' between traditional and holistic medicine in a way that is affordable and accessible. In her free time, Trish enjoys her giant backyard near Prosser Reservoir and loves to snowboard, bike, hike and practice yoga. Her most favorite thing to do, however, is to prepare food and share it with the people she loves.

Directress of the Food Bank Garden & Composting | Grow-Your-Own Coordinator

Board Member Since 2016

Katie Townsend-Merino is the Director of the Food Bank Garden. She looks forward each season to having her hands in the dirt and her heart in the food we harvest. A retired psychology professor and college administrator she fulfilled her life dream of moving to the mountains full-time in Truckee and . . . found her people!  With a fervent belief that food IS medicine and as a long-time gardener descending from many other long-time gardeners, she is passionate about using and teaching organic and regenerative gardening practices to humans of all ages. Katie is the Mom of three and Gramma of (almost) five and delights in bringing her family to help in the garden as often as possible, hoping to ensure future gardeners in the family tree. Katie also teaches mindfulness and mindful self-compassion which she practices both in the garden and out.  

Secretary | Directress of Marketing | Community Soup Night Lead | Grow-Your-Own Coordinator

Board Member Since 2018

Amy began her journey with the Slow Food Movement in college at San Francisco State University.  There, she studied Holistic Health which included philosophies about health and healing with natural resources and food playing a major role.  These studies led her to be more curious and conscious about food, its sources, and its power.  She moved from San Francisco to Truckee in Fall of 2011.  Once settled, she was inspired by the volunteer opportunities offered by SFLT to learn more about local food resources and the challenge of gardening in the Sierras. Her goals with SFLT include bringing people together to teach and inspire them about food and gardening – creating a self-reliant and sustainable community for all who live here.  Amy is also a Certified Massage Therapist who loves to travel and come home to Donner Lake.

Directress of Grow-Your-Own | Grant & Fundraising Coordinator


Board Member Since 2019

Terese found Slow Food as many in our community do - by volunteering in the organization's Food Bank Garden. In the garden she learned a love for “grow your own” and the many opportunities that exist for growing food at high elevation. But maybe more importantly, she found a group that was working to provide nutritious food to those who don't have easy access to it. As someone who has enjoyed the gardening classes, soup night, and digging in the Food Bank garden, she is dedicated to Slow Food's commitment to fostering community and a  self-reliant food culture.

Treasurer | Directress of the Community Garden | Grant & Fundraising Coordinator

Board Member Since 2019

Patti moved from Chicago to California in the early 80s.  She is a life-long gardener, learning her love of the earth from her mother, who was a founding member of the Illinois Garden Club She is especially interested in promoting healthy eating habits among low income groups in order to affect social determinants of health. Social determinants of heath are resources that enhance quality of life that can have a significant influence on population health outcomes. Examples of these resources include safe and affordable housing, access to education, public safety, availability of healthy foods, local emergency/health services, and environments free of life-threatening toxins. She spearheaded the creation of a raised bed garden on property owned by Children’s Hospital Oakland, where she worked for 25 years. Patti and her family became second home owners in Truckee in the early 90’s, and in 2018, after retiring from her full time career as a physical therapist and hospital administrator, Patti became a full time resident of Truckee. She began volunteering in the garden in 2019 and felt an immediate kinship with the mission of Slow Food Lake Tahoe. Patti is the mom of two children and has three amazing grandkids.  In addition to gardening, Patti is an avid skier and ski instructor for persons with disabilities.  She enjoys sewing, reading, and creating wedding flowers for friends and family. 

McKenna Bean.jpg
Directress of Social Media | Food Bank Garden Manager | Farmer's Market Liaison

Board Member Since 2020

McKenna grew up in an agricultural valley in sunny San Diego, where she developed her love for growing food. McKenna also grew up with countless, severe food allergies. This meant she had to be hyper aware of all of the food she would put in her body from a very small age. She came to realize that many ingredients of common processed foods did not align with her and her heath. McKenna decided that she wanted to dedicate her life to giving more people access to the clean food she spent her whole childhood needing. She came to Lake Tahoe in 2016 to pursue a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Sustainability at Sierra Nevada University. After graduating from SNU, she was granted the opportunity to intern at the Slow Food Lake Tahoe Food Bank Garden. That summer her relationship with the earth and the food that grew from it flourished. Not only did she delve deep into local food production through the garden, but she also managed Slow Food’s Truckee Community Farmers Market. There she got a look at the community aspect of local food and now believes that there is no way to have a local, sustainable food structure without the community backing it. She is excited about bridging the gap between the two and educating the community about good, clean, and fair food!

Directress of Volunteers | Communications Coordinator | Grant & Fundraising Coordinator

Board Member Since 2020

Jennifer and her family moved to Truckee 20 years ago and began to learn about the trials and tribulations of gardening in the High Sierra. Her greenhouse home garden has become a labor of love and her tomato plants are cared for like children, getting tucked in cozy and warm on chilly nights. After retiring from Real Estate she has thoroughly enjoyed volunteering in the Food Bank garden and is excited about her growing role in the Slow Food Lake Tahoe program and serving this wonderful community. She rides her bike to the community garden from Glenshire in frost, smoke or shine to join the ever dedicated team of volunteers in getting their hands dirty! Jennifer also looks forward to sharing her passion for gardening with others, particularly with the youngest generation of her family, sharing the magic of gardening with her little granddaughter, Emersyn.