Meet our 2002 Winners:


10805369882?profile=RESIZE_400xKaitlin Roach, Rising Star

Kaitlin Roach is the founder and president of the Miramonte Climate Action Club. She has a deep passion for the environment and is constantly looking for ways to help our community reduce its carbon footprint. The success of the Cleaner Contra Costa Challenge in Moraga caught Kaitlyn’s eye. After learning more about the Challenge from Outreach Director Laura Wehrley, she met with the Orinda mayor to see if the program could be added to a future city council agenda. Kaitlyn and Laura presented the Cleaner Contra Costa Challenge at an Orinda city council meeting, where the city voted unanimously to sponsor and fund the program in Orinda. 

To date, the Miramonte Climate Action Club has helped get Orinda into 2nd place (out of 27) on the City Leaderboard with 542,100 points, with 1 point equivalent to every pound of CO2 saved or 10 gallons of water reduced per year. Over 250 households in Orinda currently participate in the program. Kaitlyn is advocating for the availability of Community Choice Energy in Orinda and providing community education and outreach on wildfire prevention for the Moraga-Orinda Fire District.

Kaitlyn’s ability to lead and engage other environmentally-minded youths at her school, her willingness to engage with civic leaders to effect change, and all her efforts to enhance sustainability in our community make her a Rising Star in our County. 


10805371268?profile=RESIZE_400xBike Concord

Bike Concord is a loosely structured, grassroots, nonprofit organization that aims to make bicycling a mainstream transportation option in Concord and Central Contra Costa. Bike Concord was founded in 2014 through a collaboration between Concord residents and Bike East Bay. Bike Concord is an all-volunteer organization made up of people who share a common passion for sustainable, two-wheeled transportation and are generous with their time and energy on behalf of the County. Bike Concord puts passion into action by:

  • Running a free bike repair tent at the Todos Santos Farmers’ Market,
  • Engaging with the City of Concord to encourage bike-friendly transportation decisions
  • Creating bike-centered social events for the public
  • Educating and equipping bicycle users to maintain safety for themselves and others on the road.

Through the efforts and advocacy of grassroots organizations like Bike Concord entire communities will benefit from safer roads and bike paths, individuals interested in bikes and biking can learn about them first-hand at public events, and a community of support and camaraderie is being created among those dedicated to creating sustainable transportation options for all.


10805371501?profile=RESIZE_400xMary Cherry, Family Harvest Farm

Mary Cherry is the senior farm manager at Family Harvest Farm (FHF), a 3.5 acre organic, regenerative farm in Pittsburg. She transformed the land, formerly a vacant lot with power lines looming overhead, into a thriving, biodiverse landscape that feeds the local community and empowers residents. Mary leads a team of foster youth, 18-24 years old, in agricultural practices that include no-till farming, occultation, composting, cover cropping, incorporating pollinator habitats and hedgerows, and rainwater collection. Mary’s strong passion and drive is rooted in her own transformative experience at the Homeless Garden Project as a foster youth: “It was a turning point in my life. It helped build my confidence, taught me how to be healthy, and helped me gain awareness about what is going on in the environment. Eating healthy food in my own community gave me the opportunity to feel valued, significant, and confident.”

Mary’s work lies at the intersection of environmental, social, and economic justice. FHF acknowledges that people of color and resource restricted communities are disproportionately impacted by the child welfare system, climate change, and lack of access to land-based resources. Mary’s exceptional, inspiring leadership is at the heart of FHF’s work to improve the lives of transition age foster youth and increase food security in Contra Costa County.



Chris Gray & County Quarry

Chris Gray is the manager of a very unusual sustainable business, County Quarry. County Quarry dramatically reduces the local waste stream by recycling thousands of tons of concrete and asphalt from roads, parking lots, and buildings that are being demolished. These products are then ground or crushed into a valuable product that can be reused. Chris Gray and County Quarry are also good neighbors. Their offices are across the street from AgLantis’ CoCo San Sustainable Farm (“The Farm”). When The Farm undertook the ecological restoration of its soil, County Quarry’s employees spread about 15 acre-feet of manure over the farm (15 acres, 1 foot deep). It took years and hundreds of hours to complete this task. 

County Quarry built a 100-foot long recycled asphalt entrance and driveway into The Farm. When the farm flooded and had no vehicle access, County Quarry staff extended the driveway another 100 feet.  All materials, equipment, and labor were donated. Chris Gray’s employees have ripped irrigation ditches and knocked down acres of the cover crop so that it would not be a fire hazard.  The company even offered to donate the materials and build the recycled asphalt floor of a new 6,000+ square foot hydroponics greenhouse at The Farm that will teach farmers how to increase revenues and reduce water use. The company’s community efforts will have a lasting, positive impact on our environment well into the future.


10805372900?profile=RESIZE_400xGrowing Healthy Kids

Growing Healthy Kids (GHK) provides unique outdoor educational opportunities to over 7,000 students at ten mostly Title 1 (economically disadvantaged) schools in the Mount Diablo Unified School District, including Bay Point, Clayton, Concord, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek. GHK is sponsored by UC Santa Cruz’s LifeLab and provides garden-based education in line with Next Generation Science Standards. The mission is to cultivate children’s love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden education, with a commitment to equity and inclusion so that all cultures and identities are respected and celebrated. Accomplishments during the 2021-22 school year include:

  • Hosted a visit from Jennifer Siebel-Newsom and representatives from California Department of Food and Agriculture.
  • Provided free field trips, including transportation for 64 classes to Riverview Middle School garden for hands-on experiential learning opportunities.
  • Helped secure funding and arrange delivery for nearly 5,000 bucket seats to facilitate outdoor learning.
  • Hosted 16 farm stands distributing free, local organic produce to families at Title 1 schools.
  • Purchased and planted 65 trees on school campuses with community volunteers.
  • Coordinated onsite cafeteria tours for over 600 students to make their own veggie pizzas.
  • Presented at the first national school garden symposium in Colorado on effective partnerships.
  • Participated in Contra Costa County’s first School Gardens and Farms Focus Group to support local efforts to sequester carbon in school settings and help build local networks.


10805374071?profile=RESIZE_400xJay Lifson - Lifetime Achievement

Jay Lifson is the executive director of the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and was an early voice for green business practices. He consistently puts actions behind words and launches events and programs that promote the financial and environmental upside of sustainable business practices. Under Jay’s leadership, the Chamber of Commerce launched Lafayette’s first Earth Day Event in 2006 and implemented a Green Business Program in the Bay Area in 2008. The Chamber’s annual Art & Wine Festival draws 80,000 attendees, and Jay encourages vendors to set up organic/composting, recycling and landfill containers throughout the festival and avoid using plastic water bottles. The event achieved a remarkable 89% diversion rate in 2019 and expects to attain zero waste in the future.

“There’s a cultural shift going on, and we can all get onboard by changing the way we think about business and our environment,” explains Jay Lifson. The Chamber developed a self-driven survey on how to become a Contra Costa County Green Business Network Certified Business and promotes the upsides of sustainability.

Jay is a good-hearted, community oriented, green champion who has inspired countless businesses and individuals in Lafayette and created a ripple effect throughout the county. He retires in October 2022

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