Our Team

Vicente Lara, MPH – Executive Director

Vicente joins Mesa Verde Gardens following several years of community organizing in Salinas and Central Coast for the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water (EJCW). Vicente led EJCW's effort to build institutional capacity to advance the human right to water in Central Coast communities. He holds a Master's degree in Public Health from UCLA, with an emphasis on community-based health education and health metrics. Vicente is bilingual and lives with his wife and daughter in the Salinas Valley.


Abel Herrera – Facilities Manager

Abel Herrera learned traditional farming growing up in Guerrero, Mexico.  Skilled in many trades, Abel has applied his talents to building much of the infrastructure of the Mesa Verde Gardens, laying irrigation pipe, building gates and installing fences, and much more!  Abel is the go-to person for fixing irrigation breaks, assisting gardeners with their drip tape, making sure cover crop is planted in the fall, and working to reclaim the garden spaces in spring with a mower and weed wacker.  Abel is the keeper of traditional varieties of corn, beans, and squash, which he shares widely.  Abel is a welcoming presence in the gardens, friend, and champion to all!

Mesa Verde Gardens is a community-based program, run primarily by our own member families and Peer Leaders.