Rosa Ríos Valdez’ farm-to-table experience began as a child when her father worked as a bracero in the Texas winter garden fields and brought home local farm-raised onions, cabbage, cantaloupe and other produce. The family later moved to work on a dairy farm in Central Texas.
A University of Texas graduate, Ríos Valdez has worked with agribusiness and food producers for over twenty years. Her business and commercial lending expertise has led to the financial and locational growth of Business & Community Lenders of Texas (BCL). She has grown BCL’s net assets thirty fold, and the service region is now statewide. In 2010, she completed Achieving Excellence, an executive management program at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.
In 2012 Ríos Valdez led the formation of Salud Corporation, the only minority-owned and Latina-managed olive oil company in Texas.
As a graduate of Texas A&M University, John Gambini chose the hilly, limestone terrain of Dripping Springs, Texas, as the ideal location for his olive orchard and 6,000-sq. ft. olive oil production and tasting room, complete with an indoor demo kitchen – perfect for hosting cooking classes. John’s Texas Hill Country Olive Oil Company produces Sola Stella (Italian for “Lone Star”) – a beautiful golden colored, buttery flavored extra virgin olive oil made from arbequina olives.
Gambini collaborates with Salud Corporation to produce Salud de Paloma extra virgin olive oil. “I like the Salud brand philosophy, and its corporate board of directors. Our two firms are leading the industry in Texas olive oil production. Salud is the only Hispanic-owned and Latina-managed olive company in Texas, and I am pleased to have been selected as the General Manager of the Salud production operations, “says Gambini.
Margie V. Moore, a native Texan, grew up in San Marcos and earned her college degree at Texas State University. Moore got her first experience in business and marketing as the owner of a restaurant, which she ran for thirteen years. During that time, she also worked in Senator Gonzalo Barrientos’ office, representing him at public hearings and meetings, and acting as the liaison for the residents of Hays County. She then went on to work as Regional Director of the Americas in the Office of International Business at the Texas Economic Development Department.
In 2003, Moore founded Global Marketeer Group Inc. to assist small and medium sized companies market and promote their products or services into emerging international regions. GMG is a Texas Certified Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) with state, national and international contacts. In October 2005, GMG was awarded the City of San Marcos contract to provide economic development services.
Alexandra Maria Landeros grew up in Los Angeles, California and Aguascalientes, Mexico, where her parents are from. She graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 1998 with a B.A. in History & Public Policy, and in 2004 she earned an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Texas State University. She has lived in Austin since 1998.
While in graduate school, Landeros co-edited the book Wiley’s Way, published by the University of Texas Press, and she taught literature and writing to high school and college students. Her columns and articles have been regularly featured in Popular Hispanics, TODO Austin, Latinometro, and Austin Post.
Landeros has done communications work for the Texas FFA Foundation and Mexic-Arte Museum. She currently works as a freelance public relations professional, promoting eco-friendly, healthy lifestyle, and cultural art and literature projects. She is actively involved in the local food and farm-to-table community.