I grew up in Boston where I developed an early love of all things marine, except, ironically, the taste of seafood. I arrived in Santa Barbara in 1999 to get a Ph.D. in marine ecology at UCSB. I have been a Research Fellow at UCSB’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) for 12 years now and have projects on marine spatial planning, coral reefs and genetics.
In 2011, I teamed up with famed urchin diver Stephanie Mutz and budding fisheries activist Jon Gonzalez to launch a Community Supported Fishery program called Community Seafood. Finally obligated to consume seafood to show support for my own CSF, I quickly realized that fresh seafood is delicious and easy to cook! Unfortunately, Community Seafood faltered from lack of capacity and ended in 2015; ever since I've wanted to start a new one.
In 2016, I began working with the Chamber of Commerce and Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara (CFSB) on a new initiative called FishSB to boost local support for our fisheries. I continue to serve as part-time executive director of CFSB and board member to the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishing Associations.
I am supported in these many endeavors by my partner, Ben Halpern, and my kids, Sadia and Max, who have all become pescatarians and benefit directly from my insider access to local seafood.
I was born in Santa Barbara and moved away at a young age. I remember the shock I felt when the ocean was suddenly nowhere to be found. Seafood was always a given, if only for its inclusion in the broader category of food in general, which I learned to cook by following recipes and making meals for my family and myself. I loved Alice Waters’ unconventional produce pairings and Shirley Corriher’s pragmatic instruction, and ate up everything Jamie Oliver made on his show. As a teenager, I worked on CSA farms up and down the Midwest and east coast and moved to Beijing to research sustainable food producers after studying Chinese in college. There, I spent some time on the Little Donkey Farm, Beijing’s first CSA. When I came back to the States, I worked in pastry and later helped found a robotics startup that was trying to make fresh, healthy meals more convenient and affordable in urban areas. The way we connect with our food and its origins has always been a fascination of mine, and Get Hooked is helping me discover a side of my hometown that I never knew, as it broadens my seafood horizons. It’s such a pleasure to be here to help build our online storefront, create new systems and seafood products, and support customer communications. I love being part of a community that is centered around good food and invested in supporting our amazing local resources.
I grew up in Santiago, Chile. A landlocked city but as thin as Chile is, the coastline is an hour away. From an early age, I developed a high appreciation for the ocean and seafood. I got a degree in Ecology and worked with small-scale fisherman in Chile, trying to understand how can collective action improve coastal resource management. I have been delighted by the interconnected human-ocean system learning about how to manage marine resources sustainably. This way, provide livelihoods to fishers now and in the future.
I moved to Santa Barbara in 2016 to get my Master’s degree at the Bren School of Environmental Management and Science. During my master’s, I worked with fishing communities in Quintana Roo, Mexico trying to understand the social, economic, and ecological benefits for fishers of marine no-take zones.
Working with fishers, it has become clear to me that we not only need to learn about fisher’s attitude towards the resources they depend on, but we also need to involve the broader audience. Connecting the local community to the ocean by providing access to fresh local seafood, helps boost up the local economy, provides environmental benefits, and enhances the coastal heritage.