Ileana Mar

Executive Director

Ileana Mar was born in the border town of El Paso, Texas — descendent of Braceros and migrant farmworkers — and raised in the concrete swamp-lands of Washington, D.C. Her stewardship and love for D.C. urban trees propelled her into the science of Botany, which she pursued in the forests of Connecticut, with an anthropological focus. Her education continued in farmlands of southeast Austria and later at the University of California Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, Santa Cruz. Her passion and commitment is to the development of resilient and equitable communities; with her hands in the soil she looks to share in the cultivation of bonds to make this possible.

Herman Yee

Program Manager

Herman Yee grew up in San Francisco and feels fortunate to enjoy going to the playground, the Academy of Sciences and to other places and exploring Golden Gate Park. Both his parents worked around food, so he always remembered eating well as a child, whether from produce or food coming from his dad’s clients, or his mother intrepidly feeding her family. Being in the back of groceries, supermarkets, and restaurants helped him appreciate all the work that goes into food. Herman started gardening in a class at UC Berkeley. When not looking at insects in the microscope for another class, he was starting seeds in the greenhouse, learning about food and farming by visiting and later working at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market, and cooking all the produce from local farmers and producers. He has started and worked in various gardens in community and school settings in the Bay Area and is interested in connecting with communities around nourishing food.

Adriana Blanco

Program Manager

Adriana enjoys the natural landscape the Bay Area has to offer. Hiking, running and biking has drawn her closer to something that brings many peace and joy, nature! She has been an educator for the past 12 years and her love for gardening grew into pursing a future in it. She obtained her Horticulture Certificate at CCSF and worked as a landscape gardener in the city. Her favorites are propagating plants, designing small gardens, and sharing the harvest. She is committed to the food justice movement because she believes that the choice to have good health is a right. She is also for building networks and bonds that will help flourish the community garden effort.

Violeta Sandoval

Community Health Educator

Violeta Sandoval emigrated from El Salvador to San Francisco twelve years ago. She studied Culinary Arts and Odontology, and has extensive training in working at the community level to advocate for healthier lifestyles. As a volunteer with Urban Sprouts (previous to her employment), Jamestown Community Center, Fresh Approach, and CARECEN, Violeta has brought valuable skills, knowledge, and resources to her community. She has a strong track record in creating practical and understandable programs that make effective change in lowering rates of diabetes, cholesterol, and obesity in her Latinx community in San Francisco.


Dakota Hafalia-Yackel

Farm Manager

Dakota manages food production, and agricultural training, and supervises the TAY program. He was born and raised in the Excelsior District and is of mixed Filipino descent. Through his work, he hopes people will acquire the skills to positively impact their food system on a local and global scale while also feeling culturally connected to their food. Urban Sprouts employed Dakota in its TAY program. UCSC, 2017, B.S., Economics & Environmental Studies; CASFS at UCSC, 2018, Advanced Certificate, Ecological Horticulture.


Marissa Alexander

Director of Operations

Originally hailing from Washington State, Marissa has spent the last twelve years in San Francisco, where she found her passion for food, parks and environmental justice. Over the last decade she has worked with communities across California to create just, healthy and beautiful places. She worked most recently at the San Francisco Park Alliance, where she focused on building capacity and unique neighbor spaces in the central and southern areas of the city. Prior to that, she worked at the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, a non-profit that works with farmworker communities in California’s Central Valley. Seeing up close the negative social, health and environmental impacts of industrial agriculture reinforced her desire to focus on local food systems and the healing that comes from a personal connection to food and land.


The Urban Sprouts Advisory Board

Jenny Park • Amika Bist • Brandon Oldham • Rachel Russell • Heather Murphy • Elisa Baier • Priscilla Parrett