Tyler Mitchell, Farmer, Mike Mitchell Farms
Kate Greenberg, Commissioner of Agriculture, Colorado Department of Agriculture
Liza Marron, Director, San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition
Brad Udall, Senior Water & Climate Research Scientist, Colorado Water Institute
Jesus Flores, Manager, Rio Grande Farm Park
Brayan Flores, Assistant Manager, The Rio Grande Farm Park
Tyler Mitchell is a third-generation potato grower in the San Luis Valley. He graduated from Colorado State University in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in Bioresource and Agricultural Engineering. That is where he met his wife Melissa, and together they have two daughters, Madeline and Sophia. Following graduation, Tyler moved back to the San Luis Valley and worked for a potato equipment dealer servicing potato equipment. Three years later he was able to join the family farm. With his brother, Clay, they farm approximately 2400 acres under center pivot irrigation. Their primary crop is potatoes, but they also grow rye, quinoa, and green manure cover crops as rotational crops.
Tyler's primary responsibilities are on the production side of the farming operation. He finds that farming is a very rewarding profession knowing that you are helping feed the world, but it also comes with ever changing challenges such as drought, high input costs, and crop destructing weather events. Tyler and his brother enjoy the challenges and are constantly trying to improve the land and the farming operation to be able to pass it on to the next generation and many generations to come.
Kate Greenberg was appointed to serve as Colorado’s Commissioner of Agriculture by Governor Jared Polis in December 2018. As Commissioner, Greenberg provides leadership and direction to the Colorado Department of Agriculture and its 300 employees. Commissioner Greenberg has worked in agriculture for more than 12 twelve years, from boots-on-the-ground experience to advocating for family farmers through two federal Farm Bills.
Prior to her appointment, Greenberg was the Western Program Director for the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC), where she established and grew the organization’s presence and membership across the West. In her role as Western Director, she organized farmers and ranchers to advocate for state and federal policies that best serve them. Her work focused on farmland affordability, ag education, protecting water for agriculture and expanding access to capital and credit for young and beginning producers.
As Commissioner, Greenberg serves on numerous boards and commissions, including the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and the Colorado State Fair Board. While she currently spends much of her time on Colorado’s Front Range and traveling the state, she still calls Durango, Colorado home.
Liza is the founding director of the San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition in rural southern Colorado. She has been a community organizer with a focus on social justice, wellness and prevention for many years.
Ms. Marron has a Master’s Degree in Community Counseling and a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish. Her skill set includes grant writing, government, visioning and strategic planning, non-profit management, finance, coalition building, economic development, education, fund raising, public speaking, and managing a budget.
Liza is an avid gardener, horsewoman and student of life.
Brad Udall has an extensive background in water and climate policy issues, including as Director of the Western Water Assessment (University of Colorado), as the first Director of the Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment (University of Colorado), and currently as the first senior water and climate research scientist/scholar at the Colorado Water Institute (Colorado State University). He has written extensively on the impacts of climate change on water resources in the American West. He was the lead author of the water sector chapter of the Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States (2009), a publication of the United States Global Change Research Program, and was an author of the Western Water Assessment’s Climate Change in Colorado Report. He was formerly a consulting engineer and the managing partner at Hydrosphere Resource Consultants. The California Department of Water Resources awarded him its Climate Science Service Award for his work in facilitating interactions between water managers and scientists, and the Department of Interior bestowed the Partner in Conservation Award on the Western Water Assessment for his work on the groundbreaking 2007 EIS on Colorado River shortages and coordinated reservoir operations. He has an engineering degree from Stanford and an MBA from Colorado State University.
Jesus is from Charcas, S.L.P. Mexico. He grew up in a farming family in Mexico, and he is the third of twelve: eight brothers and three sisters. Early in his life, Jesus learned the importance of healthy and locally grown foods and hard work. His father had a 2-acre garden where he grew many things, like beans, beets, squash, fava beans, cilantro, broccoli, jalapeño, chili de marrones, carrots, and cauliflower. His father began teaching Jesus and his brother about agriculture at an early age. Jesus brings a great love and knowledge of agriculture to the farm park. He is skilled in vegetable production, irrigation, soil health and caring for bees.
As the RGFP Manager, Jesus applies his extensive farming and agriculture knowledge as well as his other professional experience in business administration, community support, education, and advocacy. Jesus is very passionate about farming. He says, “Where there is a lot of water, there is a lot of life.” Jesus enjoys conversing with people, hearing their stories, teaching what he has learned along the way, and sharing experiences and risks.
Brayan is the Assistant Manager for The Rio Grande Farm Park. He is also a full time student at Trinidad State Junior College where he runs track.
During the summer, he is one of the on site managers at the Alamosa Farmers Market. He's also a Community Leader for the Colorado Trust. In his free time he likes to travel, fish, and learn new skills.