our team + story
Todo Verde founder, Jocelyn Ramirez, is a plant-based chef, college professor, yoga instructor, and advocate for healthy food access in her community. After Jocelyn’s father was diagnosed with cancer for the second time, she created a plant-based superfood smoothie diet that made him dramatically stronger and helped with a quick recovery. As she drove across the city in search of healthy food options, she was astounded by the lack of access to good food in her neighborhood.
Jocelyn founded #TodoVerde in 2015 with a mission to create delicious and healthy plant-based food inspired by her Mexican and South American roots for the Eastside community. She left her career in higher education to pursue a new path in foodways related to culture and tradition, and references traditional recipes passed down for generations within her family. As she continues to learn about the health benefits of nutrient dense food and healthy ecosystems, she offers knowledge on healthy living with the community through workshops, dialogues, food demonstrations, and speaking engagements in relation to critical analysis of the industrial food system and traditional foodways.
Jocelyn’s background includes degrees in Fine Art, Design and Business and has also trained at the Matthew Kenney Culinary Institute. Her work has been featured in several press outlets including Los Angeles Magazine, Vice, Spotify, Buzzfeed, Smithsonian, Mitu, and more. In 2017, Jocelyn co-founded Across Our Kitchen Tables, an organization focused on uplifting women of color in the food industry, that hosts skillshares and an annual symposium. She currently sits on the Culinary Advisory Board for Food Forward and the Leadership Board for the Los Angeles Food Policy Council.
Oliva nació en el pueblo pequeño, Monte Escobedo en Zacatecas, México. Llego a los Estados Unidos en sus veintes, y empezó a trabajar para una fábrica de costura de salario mínimo por un tiempo. Después, trabajo en la factoría de yogurt, conocida como Yoplait. A partir de su jubilación, tuvo la oportunidad de apoyar a su hija, Jocelyn, a preparar la comida de Todo Verde. Muchos de los sabores de Todo Verde vienen de los guisos de la mama de Oliva. Cuando no esta cocinando, Oliva pasa tiempo con sus nietos, esposo, chihuahua Goliath, su jardín, y árbol de mango.
Elena is Todo Verde’s Administrative and Events Coordinator. She was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas and considers herself a Tejana at heart. She became interested in food justice and policy as an Urban Environmental Policy student at Occidental College. Around the same time Elena began eating a plant based diet and eventually became completely vegan. Elena’s professional pursuits have included administering EBT and Market Match at several LA Farmer’s Markets and coordinating volunteers and community programs at The L.A. Kitchen. She continues to stay rooted in non profit work with LA Compost as Outreach Manager. Elena is excited to support Todo Verde’s administrative arm through working with customers, coordinating events, and creating educational workshops that help others embrace a plant based diet. She is passionate about creating conversation around the one thing we all have in common…food!
Being raised in Arizona made it easy for Brenda to often visit her family in Mexico, therefore exposing her to her culture, roots and of course… Mexican food! She also spent her summers in her hometown of Salinas California, walking fields of lettuce, strawberries, cauliflower and more with her dad. He traveled often between states throughout the years initially as a field worker, then on to become a well respected supervisor/part owner of a produce company called Tanimura and Antle. His familiarity and love of produce along with the endless amount of recipes and home cooked meals passed on by Brenda’s mom, are what have inspired her to stay in the food industry. Binge watching the Food Network as a kid and cooking with her older sister also played a tremendous part in her love for cooking and trying new food! Growing up, no meal was complete without meat, but now it’s all about the veggies for Brenda. After realizing how poor her own eating habits were and how they affected the planet, she decided to make a drastic change to her life by going vegan! Now the challenge of veganizing her mom’s signature dishes and introducing healthier options to her family is what inspires Brenda to continue learning about where our food comes from.
Jessica remembers waking up every morning to the aroma of her Mami’s cooking, and describes it as one of the best feelings in the world. She believes that may be a part of the reason she became a chef. Being Puerto Rican and Mexican, she always had her beans and tortillas for breakfast. Black beans, pinto beans, arroz con gandules, and deep fried plantains were staples in her household. Being the pastor’s kid, she had the opportunity to prepare snacks and food such as homemade tortillas for her church. The service she provided to her church members inspired her to become a chef.
Going to school and graduating from Le Cordon Bleu Pasadena has changed her life forever. Attending culinary school allowed her to become more educated in everyday things people take for granted such as simple ingredients, food preparation labor and vegetable varieties. Playing with ingredients and spices is what she believes will help her become a better chef! School has not only helped her become ready for the real world but has opened many doors. She’s worked for the Oscars, celebrities, and has met great chefs. To this day, she is learning from different chefs and gaining experience to be ready for the day that she opens her own restaurant. In the meantime, she’s here to live, love and learn at Todo Verde!
Jannine was born in Boyle Heights and raised in East LA. Outside of Todo Verde, she works part-time for a public library as a Library Assistant. She enjoy helping our community find the resources they need to improve themselves and their families. When she’s not working, you can find Jannine at school pursuing a degree in Anthropology and Chicano studies and volunteering at the East Los Angeles Women’s Center. There, she is a part of the sexual assault respond team (SART) where she helps answer the calls that come in through the hotline. Her time at the East Los Angeles Women’s Center, specifically, has been a beautiful experience because she gets to help women heal from their traumatic experiences and see them transform into strong survivors who are full of love and life. Her hobbies also include reading, spending time outdoors, and going salsa dancing any chance she gets.
As part of the Events Team, Julissa supports Todo Verde by preparing food and helping deliveries and events like Smorgasburg run smoothly. In the summer of 2016, after graduating from Occidental College with a B.A. in Urban and Environmental Policy, Julissa's new post-grad free time allowed her to realize how much she loved creating food in the kitchen. At the same time, she began learning about the environmental impact of western, animal-based diets. Armed with this knowledge, she immediately pursued a whole-foods, plant-based lifestyle. A weekly goal of hers is to either make one new recipe or try one new food; of course, she is also always asking her sister to taste her creations, feeding her friends or having them over for dinner! Although exploring new cuisines is fun, Julissa cannot deny her deep love for her Mexican and Salvadoran roots. She is still learning to veganize classic dishes while learning about their respective country’s history and culture. To Julissa, food is an opportunity to make a difference, make memories, and create something beautiful. When she's not cooking or working with Todo Verde, you can find her salsa dancing throughout Los Angeles!
Karen was born in Inglewood, California and raised in Hawthorne and Gardena. Currently, she is attending El Camino College studying American Sign Language to get her AA in Interpreting. Two years in and Karen loves that she has learned not only the beautiful language, but the wonderful culture and the issues surrounding the deaf community. In addition to sign language, being fluent in Spanish allows her to connect with a variety of people on a deeper level and provide them the space to feel more comfortable; most specifically when working with Todo Verde and at her second job. Working for vegan companies and being vegan herself, she loves that she gets to advocate for a better alternative, while at the same time, experiencing people’s reactions to plant-based food. Outside of work, she enjoys playing/watching soccer, going on trips and cooking with her girlfriend, reading poetry books, and going on hikes!