Nita Kurmins Gilson
Co-Founder, Program Director
In 2009 Nita started a grassroots program she called CropSwap. She and a growing group of volunteers gleaned excess fruit on neighborhood trees and hand-delivered it to local food pantries. In 2014 Nita and two others, Alexandra White and Jerilyn White, founded ProduceGood as a nonprofit to ramp up CropSwap and roll out other sustainable programs to recover fresh produce to feed San Diego’s food-insecure and reduce waste. CropSwap may have begun as one woman, one box and one car, but it has expanded to over 300 volunteers who have harvested over 100,000 pounds of fruit from over 50 residential growers in North San Diego County.
Nita has been able to take her passion and hard work to the next level by serving as Program Director for CropSwap and ProduceGood’s other programs, Market Share, Bumper Crop and First Pick. She is also the corporate ambassador, operating as an agent of change in the sustainability movement and representing ProduceGood in organizations with similar missions. In the spring of 2016 she was selected to attend Harvard’s Food Recovery Entrepreneurs Conference and she chaired the county’s First Annual Gleaning Convening. She also speaks at Zero Waste and hunger advocacy events, promoting gleaning as a means of reducing waste and hunger.
Co-Founder, Community Director
Jeri is a former secondary educator and college instructor, as well as a 30-year marketing veteran whose experience spans publishing, software, hardware and other industries. She founded and directed a successful advertising agency focused on print media for trade publications, client communications, and large-scale industry events. She has collaborated with government agencies, as well as private and public companies of all sizes. Maintaining a lifelong devotion to community service, she was Volunteer Director and Executive Director of Oceanside’s StandUp for Kids, recognized nationally as Program of the Year. In 2011 she was named Volunteer of the Year by the Veterans Association of North County.
In September 2014, Jeri’s interest in building a multigenerational community of volunteers devoted to supporting sustainable programs that reduce hunger and waste motivated her to come out of retirement to join her daughter Alex and friend Nita in the incorporation of ProduceGood as a nonprofit. Besides sharing in leadership and operations, her roles include administration, grant writing and compliance and community development. She is now working on an enhanced volunteer program that will continue to empower and reward volunteers while supporting the greater community.
Co-Founder, Operations Director
Alex brings her unique skill set to ProduceGood’s strategic planning, reporting, grant writing and financial management. Her work over the previous eight years in technology included the development of global training programs to enable sales and streamline operations. Before that, her experience as an educator and worker in international development, first as a Peace Corps Volunteer and later as a program manager in West Africa, nurtured the seeds of community cooperation to effect change. Her skills in monitoring program activities and evaluating program performance help her address the challenges of capacity, responsibly predict outcomes and lead ProduceGood’s organizational development.
Eight years in planning, finance and operations in the food industry, including management for a Community Food Cooperative in Bozeman, Montana, elevated Alex’s consciousness around food ethics and justice, and ultimately led to her interest in joining Nita and Jeri to create ProduceGood. Responsibly farmed and harvested foods remain a priority for Alex, influencing her consumer choices and personal interests. She remains focused on sustainability and the development of community partnerships to build a strong infrastructure that recovers fresh, wholesome food for those who need it most.