We have assembled a talented group with diverse backgrounds, but we are always
looking for others with enthusiasm and expertise who want to help us make this
ambitious project a success. Contact us if you are interested in joining the team.
Our Story - Imagine looking out across a vast plain, a winding strip of green...
Board of Directors
Mark Hintzke, Executive Director
Mark has been involved in volunteer and non-profit work for 25 years in a diverse range of
endeavors,. This includes training low-income people to build their own houses, helping
communities in Mongolia and Nepal to restore culturally significant monasteries and
implementing the building of a wooden tall ship to teach kids about the San Francisco Bay.
A Wisconsin native, who has been around the Bay Area since 1987, he has seen first-hand
the drastic changes in the agricultural and urban landscapes of America. Mark’s passion
for waste reduction and sustainability has driven all of his projects including his 35 years
in the construction industry.
Mark holds a Bachelors degree in Construction Administration and a Master of Science in
Environmental Studies from the University of Wisconsin.
Brian Baker, Board President
Brian is an attorney and real estate developer with a focus on small to mid-size urban in-fill
development. Over the past five years, Brian has overseen the renovation and rehabilitation
of over a dozen older residential and commercial buildings in the San Francisco Bay Area. In
addition, he and his other partners at Cirios Real Estate, a San Francisco based real estate
investment company, have shared a collective desire to advance urban farming in the Bay
Area and jumped at the opportunity to collaborate with Growing Up Farms to build out
Growing Up Farms’ first aquaponics facility in a vacant warehouse managed by Cirios Real
Brian brings a broad legal background to the Growing Up Farms board of directors. Prior to
joining Cirios Real Estate, he was an attorney with McDermott Will & Emery, where he
specialized in patents and licensing as well as corporate governance. Aside from urban
farming, Brian enjoys playing tennis and obsessing over professional soccer.
Ayano Hattori, Board Secretary
Native to the area, Ayano has seen the extraordinary change the Silicon Valley industry has
had on agriculture in the Valley. She is excited to be part of a urban agriculture movement
addressing the challenge with quality of food in this metropolitan environment. Her initial
mock project addressing food deserts was in her MBA program and she is enthusiastic about
Growing Up Farm's direct approach in providing local food in an urban area.
Ayano works in the green building industry providing support to energy and construction
projects with over a decade of experience in adaptive re-use and rehabilitation projects. She
enjoys serving on nonprofit boards, especially with sustainability and educational missions.
She received her BAs from UC Berkeley and her MBA from CCA.
Dick Morten Board Treasurer
Dick has been a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sarawak (Borneo), Malaysia at the federal
regional office in various poverty programs, Vice President of Economic and Public Affairs
for San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, executive in Solem and Associates, a public
affairs consulting company, and a manager in the Accenture Consulting Strategy Group.
In retirement, including his commitment to Growing Up Farms, he is active with the
Borneo Project, San Francisco Park Alliance, Red Cross Disaster Action Team, and public
policy and advocacy with the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association
Maura Jeffery, Certified Public Accountant
Maura is a Cash Operations Project Manager at AirBnB in San Francisco, where she weaves
together third party accounting software with the company’s internal systems and
proprietary databases. With an expertise in complex accounting reconciliation and payment
processing across multiple currencies, Maura has a deep understanding of operational
accounting best practices. Before joining AirBnB, Maura was a Senior Accountant at Xoom
Inc., a global payments company.
Prior to moving to San Francisco, Maura worked in New York in the financial services
industry. She performed operational and financial due diligence on a wide range of financial
assets for Fortress Investment Group, and worked closely with traders and portfolio
managers to account for complex financial products and hedge positions. Maura is a finance
graduate from Rochester Institute of Technology, and a Certified Public Accountant.
In her free time, Maura is Dive Master and avid runner.
Alex Ong, Chef
Born and raised in Malaysia, Alex apprenticed at the Shangri La Hotel in Kuala Lumpur for 4 years before
coming to United States where he was recruited by the Ritz Carlton Buckhead in Atlanta. In 1995, he
moved to San Francisco where he worked with chef Jeremiah Tower at "Stars" for 3 years. Though he was
trained in classical French cooking, he decided to return to his Asian roots and opened Le Colonial’s kitchen
and then Xanadu in Berkeley where in 2000 he was named Rising Star Chef by the San Francisco Chronicle.
In 2001, he became Chef and managing partner of Betelnut Pejiu Wu in San Francisco. Under his
leadership, Betelnut was awarded 3 stars by the San Francisco Chronicle and has been one of San Francisco
Chronicle’s Top 100 restaurants since 2001 and a Michelin Guide’s Bib Gourmand recipient since 2007.
Chef Ong is a member of the Culinary Institute of America’s Asian Cuisines Advisory Council. He also serves
on the Advisory Board for Asia Society of Northern California.
He currently is a consulting chef for the University of Massachusetts’s $70 million dining & retail program.
Sabrina Walasek, Education Specialist
Sabrina Walasek has dedicated most of her professional career to education -
approaching it from all sides. She has taught multiple subjects to students of all ages, in
public and private schools, here and abroad. Sabrina was an executive producer at
Leapfrog Enterprises, Inc., crafting educational products for the global market. She has
also worked in non-profits, focusing on community outreach and program development.
As a traveler to more than 50 countries, she considers herself a global citizen.
"Knowledge is the key to so many solutions in the world. My passion is helping
communities take action to enhance the quality of life for all."