BALT was established in 2002 to preserve Contra Costa's productive agricultural land and work with farmers and the community to create a vibrant local agricultural economy. BALT has permanently protected nine farms and has been instrumental in reforming County zoning to support a sustainable economic future for Contra Costa farmers. Together with local government and other community-based organizations, BALT is creating food connections between Brentwood farmers and their urban neighbors.
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Board of Directors
Tom Bloomfield, Chairman. A founding Board member of BALT, Tom is a third generation East Contra Costa farmer. He also serves on the Harvest Time Board, the Contra Costa Resource Conservation District Board and the Contra Costa Food Systems Alliance. Tom farms over 200 acres of wine grapes, 400 acres of alfalfa, and 30 acres of cherries.
Janet Caprile, Secretary. Janet has been the UC Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor in Contra Costa County for over 20 years. Her research and extension work has been focused on promoting sustainability among the wide diversity of growers. Janet has also served on numerous local task forces to encourage agricultural viability and resolve agricultural-urban interface issues. She is currently the Vice Chair of the Contra Costa County Agricultural Advisory Task Force.
Jon Harvey, Treasurer. Jon is a retired engineer. In addition to serving on the BALT Board, Jon is the Chairman of the East Alameda County Board of Zoning Adjustments and a Board member of Greenbelt Alliance. Previously, Jon served as Board member of the Tri-Valley Conservancy, a land trust that preserves farmland and open space in Alameda County.
Patrick Johnston, Stewardship Director. Patrick is the managing partner at Dwelley Farms, an 800-acre diversified fruit and vegetable farm in Brentwood. Patrick manages Dwelley Farm’s expansion into organic production.
Vin Rover, Director. A licensed architect, general contractor and real estate broker, Vin is the president of Private Island Homes and Sunrise Island Communities. Vin has been building residential communities in California for the past twenty-five years. Vin is one of the founders of EC2, the informal East Contra Costa chamber of commerce, and Vin represents EC2 on the Contra Costa Food System Alliance.
Taylor Bell, Director. A Vice President, Commercial Banking Officer for ECC Bank. Taylor has been involved in banking since beginning his career at Bank of America in 1968. Taylor and ECC Bank are committed to preserving East County's small farmers and their agriculture community. Taylor also sits on 1st Tee of Contra Costa's Executive Board, and he earned his undergraduate and MBA degrees at St. Mary's College in Moraga.
Jim Gwerder, Director. A real estate broker with extensive experience in mitigation and conservation properties, easements and credit sales. At last count, he has been instrumental in the sale of at least 8,000 acres of land for conservation purposes, in addition to thousands of acres of land used for agriculture and other purposes. Jim is an air force veteran and a proud husband/father/grandfather with a lovely wife, three sons, two daughters-in law and three grandchildren. Jim has a 3rd degree black belt in Taekwondo, is an avid mountain biker and a lifelong musician, who performs keyboards and vocals for solo gigs and as part of an active band.
Kathryn Lyddan, Executive Director.Kathryn was hired in June 2003 as BALT's first executive director. Prior to her work at BALT, Kathryn practiced land use and public finance law for ten years. Kathryn also serves on the Harvest Time Board and Bay Area Open Space Council Advisory Council.