AIM (Agricultural Institute of Marin), the organization that manages seven certified farmers’ markets in the San Francisco Bay Area, has announced Andy Naja-Riese is its new CEO.
He is set to start as CEO on May 7. The group runs two markets in San Rafael, two in San Francisco and one each in Oakland, Newark and Hayward.
AIM’s prior executive director, Brigitte Moran, retired in December after leading the San Rafael-based organization for 14 years. Beth Schecter, MPH, MBA, stepped in to serve as interim CEO until Naja-Riese arrives.
Prior to joining AIM, Naja-Riese was chief of the Program Integrity Branch for the Western region of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service. According to the group’s announcement, he was responsible for the implementation and oversight of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. SNAP was formerly called Food Stamps and is now known as CalFresh in California.
In that role, he oversaw the administration of $12 billion in benefits, redeemed by 8 million low-income households at grocery stores, farmers markets, and other retailers across the Western States. He has provided vision, facilitation skills, and guidance to many state, community, and tribal partners resulting in vibrant local food systems and innovative, nationally-recognized education and marketing programs in schools and retail settings.
Naja-Riese received his bachelor’s degree in community, environment, science, and health from Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He received his master’s degree in society, human development, and health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
He is currently the secretary of the city of San Rafael’s Citizens Advisory Committee on Economic Development and Affordable Housing.