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About Us

Working Towards a Better Tomorrow

 The Nourishing Generations Team is a group of professional nutritionists,  chefs, credentialed  teachers and skilled volunteers dedicated to inspiring positive diet and lifestyle changes through education.  Our passion for healthy cooking, eating, and moving and our desire to positively impact the health of our community 

is what inspires our work. 


The Nourishing Generations Team

Karen Haralson | MA NC

Karen is the Executive Director and Operations Coordinator for NG. She is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and Educator. She holds a Masters of Humanities and Leadership from New College of California and is a graduate of Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts in Santa Cruz, CA. Karen manages and coordinates all aspects of NG program preparation and implementation.

Rebecca Mastoris | CNC

Rebecca is a Certified Natural Chef and Certified Nutrition Educator and Consultant. Rebecca has been cooking professionally for over 40 years, as a chef, restaurant owner, and teacher. She was an instructor of Culinary Arts at Bauman College in Santa Cruz. She oversees all the NG cooking activities from recipe creation and testing to overall management of the cooking activities.

Marianne Perhach 

Marianne is a California Certified Science Teacher with a Masters in Biochemistry, the chemistry of life. As a Lead Nutritionist, she brings her joy of teaching to the enrichment program to inspire and inform, empowering the next generation to make healthy choices.

Mary Simkin | CNC

Mary is a Certified Therapeutic Natural Chef and a Bauman College Honors Graduate. Mary has been cooking for over 20 years, and currently is a Vegan/Vegetarian Natural Chef cooking for families in the Santa Cruz & Bay Area. Mary also has a BBA and over 20 years of experience in the Tech industry. 

Alexis Underwood | B.S.

Alexis graduated with a B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Maryland and has been teaching children since 1972. She has lived in Santa Cruz since 1979 and has taught in the Live Oak School District since 1984. She is happy to share her enthusiasm for making healthy food choices and being healthy and fit.

Leeann Gervais

Leeann has 35 years of restaurant experience, including work in a 5-star restaurant, a successful catering career, and as owner/operator of a restaurant in Lake Tahoe. Leeann joined NG in 2017. She is a valuable member of our Team who brings her culinary skills and generous heart to every class.

Lauren Galvez | B.A.

Lauren graduated with a degree in Psychology and has a passion for living a healthy lifestyle through nutritional education, physical fitness, and mental wellbeing. She has volunteered for many local nonprofits and currently leads our marketing team where she has designed and maintains our website and contributes to our blog, newsletter, and social media.

Elizabeth Link | CNC

Elizabeth is a Certified Natural Chef and Nutrition Educator/Consultant, receiving her training from Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Natural Culinary Arts in Santa Cruz, Ca. She is a personal chef, starting her business, Magnificent Meals in mid-2013, and works with a variety of clients, including those with cancer, diabetes, and auto-immune diseases. She is a California Credentialed Teacher and works as a lead chef with NG.

Kathy Cummins | NC

Kathy is a Natural Chef, Certified Nutritional Educator, and Consultant. She was a lead instructor in the Therapeutic Chef program at Bauman College for over 13 yrs. She cooked for New Leaf Markets (now Wild Roots) for 10 yrs, organizing and creating healthy grab-n-go recipes. She has 30 yrs. experience as a private chef in the health care field and professional cooking experience for over 50 yrs. Kathy is an avid supporter/instructor of Natural Farming and container gardening.

Robin Fillner BSN, RN

Robin is a Chemotherapy-Certified Oncology Nurse with over 20 years of nursing experience and is a Certified Functional Nutrition Counselor through the Functional Nutrition Alliance.  As a Health Writer, she is a content contributor to Nourishing Generations and other health-related publications.  The role nutrition plays in disease prevention and management is near and dear to her heart. 

The Nourishing Generations Board Members

Nancy Birang, B.S, MT (ASCP), NC

Nancy is the co-founder, and former executive director of NG. A Licensed Clinical Laboratory Scientist and a Board Certified Nutrition Consultant, she runs her own nutrition consulting firm in Los Gatos, CA. She is a former instructor at Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts and currently works at Cancercarepoint where she provides nutrition consultations, group talks, and food demos for individuals and families on the cancer journey.

Karen Haralson | MA NC

Karen is the Executive Director and Operations Coordinator for NG. She is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and Educator. She holds a Masters of Humanities and Leadership from New College of California an is a graduate of Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts in Santa Cruz, CA. Karen manages and coordinates all aspects of NG program preparation and implementation.

Mica Hall | Ph.D.

Mica holds a BA from Williamette University, MA, and Ph.D. from the University of Washington, and an M.S. in Public Administration from Golden Gate University. She is a career educator that believes the way to positive change is by educating children and supporting them in making healthy choices a way of life. Mica is an American Council on Exercise Certified Group Fitness Instructor and Fitness Nutrition Specialist.  

Amy Lombardi | Ph.D.

Amy is the Director of Operations and grant writer for Nourishing Generations. She has a Ph.D. in Linguistics and has taught academic writing in various colleges and university settings, often crafting her courses around themes related to health, wellness, farming, and food systems. Amy is a dancer, yoga practitioner, and meditator who believes optimal health is an integration of the physical, mental, social, and spiritual. Her interest in nutrition extends back to her childhood, where she enjoyed the luxury of eating fresh fruits and vegetables from her mother’s garden.

Rosa Orea | MSW, PPSC

Rosa holds a Masters in Social Work from San Jose State University and is currently working on her Associate clinical social worker license. Her career has been devoted to education, with more than seventeen years working in various capacities. Rosa is one of three social workers in the Santa Cruz City Schools district. She is a board member in two other nonprofit agencies; Senderos and the Santa Cruz Education Foundation.
Rosa is very involved in the community and brings to Nourishing Generations a dedication to reaching underserved populations.

Harsha Ramchandani | B.A., M.P.A.

Harsha graduated with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Symbiosis University, India, and a master's in Public Administration from State University of New York. Passionate about a holistic lifestyle that incorporates fresh, nutritious food, physical fitness, and mental well-being, she joined Nourishing Generations as a volunteer and assisted with fundraising and social media communications before joining the Board. 

The Nourishing Generations Advisory Board

Ed Bauman | Ph.D.

Dr. Ed Bauman has been at the forefront of the holistic health and nutrition renaissance for the past 50 years. He holds a MEd. from the University of Massachusetts, an MS. in Nutrition from Heartwood College, and a PhD. in Community Health Promotion from the University of New Mexico. He was the founder of Bauman College: Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts, and co-founder of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP).

He is the founder and director of Bauman Wellness, a non-profit institute that nourishes cultures of wellness through healing foods, arts, and community learning.


Yeyen Gunawan

Yeyen was the co-owner of the award-winning La Vie Organic Cafe in Santa Cruz. She co-founded Inner Fit Science providing wellness education to health gyms in Northern California. She is now the owner of La Vie Pure Food Collective, a farmers market business focusing on delicious wellness drinks and cleanses built on the power of probiotics to support digestive health and overall wellness.

Jan McCormack | BS, CRIM, CPIM, CNE

Jan has over 28 years of experience in Silicon Valley in various manufacturing industries in the area of Information technologies. She was on the board of directors of the National Brain Tumor Foundation/ Society from 1992 until 2009 and a member of NG’s Board from 2011-18.

Laurie Zerga

Laurie, a Strategic Business Advisor and founder of Chef-K®, provides culinary education that is the link to a longer healthier life.  Through Chef-K she’s trained almost 20,000 children and families over 15 years nationally.  Her primary clients are organizations that support youth and families in schools, Boys & Girls clubs, and military youth programs.  Chef-K material has been reviewed and included in resource libraries from USDA, SNAP-Ed, California Healthy Kids and After School Resource Centers, as well as other U.S. states and agencies. 

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