Meet The Team
Jean Okuye Board Member
Jean Okuye has been an almond farmer with 73 acres near Livingston, Merced County since 1980. Her interests have focused on church, family, farming, and protecting our natural resources. Since retirement from teaching, she has kept busy volunteering in the community: serving on several boards; past president of Merced County Farm Bureau, a charter member of Valley Land Alliance, president of East Merced Resource Conservation District, past president Funeral Consumers Alliance of California (FCACA) and the affiliate, FCA Stanislaus & Merced Counties. She feels blessed to have good health and be actively able to give back to her community.
Trevor Hutton Board Member
Trevor Hutton grew up in Modesto, but spent the summers working on his family's sweet potato, peach, and almond farm in Livingston. After completing studies in music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he ended up working for an ag-biotech firm in the poultry industry for nine years before returning to the family farm in 2014. Trevor first became involved in issues surrounding environmental sustainability in college as a member of the UNC renewable energy special projects committee. In his spare time, Trevor enjoys live music performances, cooking, and playing board games.
Jake Magneson Board Member
My name is Jake Magneson, and I've been working at my family's farm my entire life. I studied philosophy at CSU Stanislaus, and want to work towards a sustainable future for agriculture in the valley.
Robby Avilla Board Member
Robby Avilla lives in Stevinson, where her home sits on thirty acres of land which is currently used as rangeland to support a local rancher. Her children are the fourth generation of the Avilla family to have been raised there. Robby has worked towards saving farmland within Merced County for the last 18 years. Now retired, she owned and operated an office supply and gift store for over thirty years. She serves as an elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Turlock and is a founding member of the Stevinson Citizen's Group. Robby has held several positions on VLA board and is the current treasurer.
Ursula Stock Board Member
Ursula Stock lives in Merced. She is interested in the resiliency and sustainability of ecosystems, both environmental and economical ones. Ecology teaches that everything is interconnected, and economics teaches about resource allocation. Valley Land Alliance has a compelling and challenging mission that links these. Preserving and protecting small family farms and ranches, as well as premium farmland from development, can help us all to keep eating good, nutritious food while providing greater resiliency to the challenges facing us and our planet. Her professional background includes biology, teaching, business, food service and production.
Viviana Radilla Board Member
Hi! I am Vivi(ana) and I grew up in Modesto, CA. My childhood home was only a couple of streets over from the local almond orchards; however It wasn’t until much more recently that I became aware of the importance of them.
Three years ago I uprooted my life in the valley to move to Santa Clara - where I currently live and work full time. I was originally recruited to assist with creating the newsletter for VLA, now I am a board member! I feel lucky to be a part of this organization, as it has given me a much better understanding of why it’s so important to preserve the land that we have here in the Valley.
My hope in putting together these newsletters is to help educate people like myself on the issues of land conservation and ecology. Additionally to showcase the perspectives and of those who live here through photos and stories. If you have a photo or story you’d like to share, please send them to our email*.
I’m excited to see what you all have to share and would love to possibly feature it in the next issue!