our team + story
Todo Verde founder, Jocelyn Ramirez, is a vegan 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. In this process, she noticed the disproportion of healthy food options in the LA area after years of driving across town in search of healthier food for her and her family.
This inspired Jocelyn to create a healthy food option for the Eastside community. She founded Todo Verde in 2015 with a mission to create delicious and healthy plant based food inspired by her Mexican and South American roots. She left her career in higher education to pursue a new path in foodways related to culture and tradition. She has referenced traditional recipes passed down for generations within her family, and has explored new techniques using native ingredients. 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.
Jocelyn’s academic degrees include a BA in Fine Art and Design and an MBA in Business where she focused on entrepreneurship and marketing. She has also trained at the Matthew Kenney Culinary Institute specializing in plant based cuisine. Jocelyn has partnered with local nonprofit organizations to offer workshops ranging from healthy food demonstrations, social media strategies, and dialogues in relation to critical analysis of the industrial food system and traditional foodways. She now sits on 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 ábrica 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!
Martha was born in Michoacán Mexico where her roots began, and love for food and nature grew. After being a full time stay at home mother of two, she decided to return to school and completed an Associate’s degree in Sociology. She is currently completing her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work at CSULA and hopes to integrate the culinary and gardening field into therapy. As a UC Victory Gardener, she has learned to connect with nature everyday. Martha has a beautiful home garden where she grows grapes, oranges, white and purple mulberries, tomatoes, papaya, moringa, passion fruit, loquats, avocados and different varieties of chiles and herbs. She describes going out to her garden and picking food to eat as one of the best feelings. Having a garden not only provides her family food, it also creates a habitat for other animals. She has a strong commitment to her community and volunteers with several local nonprofit organizations such as Food Forward, The West Hollywood Foundation, Muir Ranch, MEND and The LA Kitchen. She has shared her culinary talents at the 2017 Five Star Sensation, a Food and Wine event that benefits the Seidman Cancer Center in Cleveland, Ohio that features renowned chefs from across the country.
Growing up, Lucia learned how to cook by observing her mom cook for her family. Lucia’s mom did not cook Mexican dishes with lard or excessive meat. Instead, her mom cooked healthier options such as enchiladas stuffed with potato.
Lucia attended culinary school and received her certificate in baking. Two years later, she began to work for vegan restaurants. During this experience, she discovered her real passion for holistic nutrition. Lucia believes that her involvement with vegan food will give her the experience and skills to help her community fight obesity and disease.
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.
Daniela Sarmina was born in Mexico City and immigrated with her family to California at age 3. Her family made their new home in the San Joaquin Valley, where her parents worked in the campos/fields, picking uvas through the summer and naranjas in the winter. One of her favorite memories is watching her father lay clusters of grapes across their rooftop, to make raisins in the hot valley sun.
Daniela graduated with B.A. in theater from UCLA and will be pursuing an M.A. in Social Welfare in Fall 2018. As a mental health professional she hopes to further explore cultural relationships with food and integrate conscious eating as a component of treatment.
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. Until 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!
Nicole is a native Northeast L.A. writer, resident and community member. Born and raised in NELA, Nicole spent her formative teenage years living in the Central Valley, in a small town centered on agriculture and farming. After moving back to the city and into her old neighborhood, she realized the importance of belonging to a constructive and educational community. She also realized that the ease and access to fresh fruits and vegetables in Highland Park was not as attainable as she remembered. She had grown accustomed to the ever available fresh from the farm fruit and nut stands just walking distance from her home.
As a freelance writer, Nicole has been able to work with local non-profit organizations, working as the literary and poetry coordinator at Avenue 50 Studios in Highland Park, as well as co-founder and co-editor of Puro Pinche Poetry – Gritos del Barrio, a POC poetry column in Razorcake, the nation’s largest and only non-profit punk-rock zine. Raised by a strong-willed, single working mother, Nicole has always been drawn to supporting other determined and like-minded mujeres. Todo Verde’s mission of health education and healthy food access is a revolutionary cause that Nicole is eager to help spread through TV’s social media platforms and blog. She is elated to be part of such a passionate and purposeful team of mujeres!
Claudia Arandia is an artist from Pasadena with roots in Bolivia. She grew up with 3 siblings, lots of family pets, and an abundance of fruits & vegetables in her home garden.
Growing up, Claudia remembers making juice, cooking with the fruits and vegetables from the garden, and picking eggs from the family hens. All this has given her more appreciation for locally grown produce. Now, working with Todo Verde, she feels good knowing our team provides healthy options made with fresh ingredients. Claudia now has her own backyard home garden and is learning more and more about healthier living.