CATA Headquarters New Jersey and Pennsylvania
Jessica Culley has been working with CATA since the year 2000, starting as an intern and now working as CATA's General Coordinator. She is responsible for coordinating CATA's work throughout southern New Jersey, southeastern Pennsylvania, and the Delmarva Peninsula. Jessica is originally from Cumberland County, Pennsylvania but has lived in the Philadelphia area for 20 years. In her former life, she studied Environmental Science in Northwestern, PA, lived and worked in rural Honduras, and studied massage therapy. Her favorite farm produce is a slice of watermelon on a hot day in July.
My name is Edgar Aquino-Huerta, and I come from a small town in Puebla, Mexico, called San Nicolas Tolentino. In 1998, when I was two, my mother and I migrated to South Jersey in search of opportunities. I am a filmmaker with a focus on screenwriting but also an educator, community organizer, and public speaker.
My stories come from my own experience and different influential people in my life, such as family friends, agriculture workers, and undocumented entrepreneurs. My vision is to tell coherent stories with different scenarios that center around Mexican leads and culture; because people of color have narratives that are more than social justice/immigration.
One of my biggest dreams is to write/direct my first feature film, "Made in America," before I turn 30 and use my earnings to open a film school in my hometown to provide opportunities, resources, and jobs for my community.
José Manuel Guzmán
Lead Organizer. New Jersey and Pennsylvania
Originally from El Rancho de las Penas, municipality of Moroleón, Guanajuato, Mexico. Very proud to be “panza verde.” He came to this country in the early 80's and worked in the mushroom industry for 14 years in Chester County, Pennsylvania. In 1993 he helped form the Kaolin Workers Union, organizing workers to achieve better conditions and fair treatment at work. Manuel started working at CATA in 1994 as an organizer. Since then, he has trained thousands of workers on health and safety programs such as the pesticide program and the Voces program, promoting the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS and training workers on rights at work.
Policy and Advocacy Organizer
Meghan Hurley began working for CATA - The Farmworker Support Committee in 2012, first as Communications Coordinator and currently as the Policy and Advocacy Organizer. She manages CATA’s community radio station and coordinates their advocacy work on local, state, and national issues impacting the immigrant community. Before starting at CATA, Meghan spent two years living in Peru as a volunteer with the Good Shepherd Volunteer program working with youth and indigenous communities around Cusco. She has a Bachelor's Degree in English and Communication and a Master's Degree in Global Development and Social Justice.
Margaret Niedda, originally from Niagara Falls, New York, has worked with CATA since 1994 as Program Coordinator, then Program Developer in 1996, and as the Administrator since 2005. Marge is responsible for the grant writing, reporting, and financial management of the organization. She received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Niagara University and her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Temple University.
Over the years, Marge has committed herself to social justice and brings with her the grant writing and financial skills needed to assist CATA in its advancement. Before CATA, Marge was a volunteer in Philadelphia with the Vincentian Service Corps working with low-income communities and individuals with mental disabilities. She worked for the Retired Senior Volunteer Program and the US Department of Treasury. Marge enjoys spending time with family and friends in her off-hours, cooking Italian cuisine, and playing bocce.
Food Justice Co-Coordinator
Erika Perez is the daughter of Peruvian immigrants, granddaughter of farmers, and a native to South Jersey. Before joining CATA, Erika dreamt of saving the kiwi birds in New Zealand. However, after working as a tutor for students from K-12, interning at the Stockton University Sustainable Farm, and volunteering as a canvasser in low-income neighborhoods, she has found her passion: justice for the people by the people. She can be found reading, hanging out with friends and family, and attending the Shore Points Church in her spare time.
Her favorite thing about working with CATA is learning about the interconnectedness of the work. Whether immigration, workers' rights and food justice, each component is just as important as the other for her. She believes this approach will be the key to dismantling a very complex and broken food system. Furthermore, she feels it will pave the way towards rectification and reclaiming the power that the community of farmworkers can truly accomplish with the support of their allies.
Food Justice Co-Coordinator
Jose continues his journey in agriculture, engaging youth and interacting with the community in the garden. Before joining CATA, he spent time learning how to grow food and cultivating friendships on both the east and west coasts. Jose is eager to share his passion and enthusiasm for exploring food and culture through the lens of the food justice system.
His path to agriculture began by seeking to make homemade salsa that he missed from his childhood, and it has led him to explore the interconnectedness of the systems that put food on our table.
His family has settled their roots in South Jersey, where Jose, his partner, and his kid are constantly growing.
Rigoberto Siva Mendez
Food Justice Youth Leader
I am an upcoming senior at Bridgeton High School. I've been a part of the Youth Food Justice Internship since it began, and I'm glad to say that now I'm a Youth Leader at the C.A.T.A community garden in Bridgeton.
I'm so excited to work in this position because I see so much potential in the garden, and I love the community of Bridgeton. My favorite part of working with C.A.T.A is the opportunities I get to create and the meaningful relationships with members of my community.
It's great to work with this organization that highly values its community members and has goals to improve the well-being of these fantastic communities. I will work my hardest to achieve greatness in this position and execute my diligence to the best ability I can.
Food Justice Youth Leader
"A garden is a delight to the eye and a solace for the soul."-Saadi.
Hello! My name is Xitlalic Flores, and I am a junior at Bridgeton High School. I love working at the garden and C.A.T.A because I gain excellent communication skills. I also get to connect with my community. I will work on making our garden even more beautiful by adding a little art to our community garden and our wonderful greenhouse! My favorite fruit is blackberry!
My name is Katherin Zepeda, I was born in Honduras, but I have lived in the United States for the last 22 years. My passion for helping others has led me to work with organizations that greatly support the Hispanic community in the United States.
I have an M.S.M. from the University of Wilmington, Delaware, that I hope to enhance by helping the community.
One of my great passions is traveling around the world. Traveling allows me to get to know different cultures in all their aspects, which as a result, brings to my personal and professional life a range of experiences that make me live a life with fewer prejudices and a clear mind. It also helps me be more open and evolve daily into a better human being who helps others with empathy and love.
PR and Communications Manager
Diana is originally from Colombia. She completed her Master in Business Administration at the University of Texas at El Paso, TX.
Diana helps organizations to deliver unique content experiences and to connect with their communities authentically. She designs, implements, and evaluates CATA's communications and digital marketing strategy. Diana is a self-motivated leader, passionate about creating social change, with diverse experiences, including public administration, event planning, and community engagement.
She has strong cultural competency, and she has experience working with Latinx and Spanish-speaking communities. Diana is Bilingual in English and Spanish.
Leila Borrero Krouse.
Organizer/Immigration Specialist, Maryland Office
Leila is Puerto Rican, from the city of Quenepa, Ponce. She came to the USA in 1975, and she lives in the state of Maryland. Since 1986 Leila has worked with migrant workers in various areas that affect the migrant. She started working on Social Services in Cambridge, MD, helping with the food stamp program. After that, Leila began working with health clinics as a medical interpreter and farmworker health educator. Later on, Leila started working on Legal Services and visited all the fields in Maryland and Delaware, and this is how, in one of those camps, she met Manuel, CATA’s Lead Organizer. Then Leila went to work with Catholic Charities addressing immigration matters and from there to CATA in 2012. She has learned so much from all the people that she has been in contact with. Leila likes to know and share the cultures and traditions of all of them.