Mary started with Land-Based Learning in 1998, and has led its growth since that time; in 1998, there was one program and 30 high school students. Today, Land-Based Learning runs five different model programs more than 25 California counties, including the California Farm Academy, the only beginning farmer training, business incubator, and apprenticeship program of its kind in Northern California.
Raised on a small farm in Yolo County, Mary is very active in local, regional and statewide groups, including:
- Board member of the Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District,
- Member of the Esparto High School Agriculture Advisory Committee,
- Member of the California Community Colleges Agriculture & Natural Resources Statewide Advisory Committee, Agriculture, Water, and Environmental Technology,
- Industry Representative to the California Community Colleges Doing What Matters for Jobs and the Economy statewide committee,
- Board Member and Chair, Green Tables Committee, Les Dames d’Escoffier, Sacramento Chapter.
Additionally, Mary served on the Yolo County Planning Commission from 2006-2014 (including two terms as chair), as a member of the Board of the Yolo Land Trust from 2004-2014, including three years as President, and is a founding member of the Yolo Food and Ag Alliance. Mary holds a Master's Degree in Human and Community Development from the Ohio State University (1996), and a B.S. Degree from the University of California at Davis in Agriculture Science and Management, Plant Science Option (1992).
She is an alumnus of the California Agricultural Leadership Program (Class XXXII) and the American Leadership Forum, Mountain Valley Chapter (Class XV). Awards include the C.A.R.E. Award, Wells Fargo (2016), 2014 Profiles in Leadership Award, California Agricultural Leadership Foundation, and the Award of Distinction, UC Davis College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (2003).