Candace Russo - Manager

Candace Russo

Candace Russo, MS, is the Manager of the Healthy Youth Program. She has 20 years of experience in youth and family education and outreach, and has enjoyed gardening and healthy eating since she was a child. Candace started her work at the Healthy Youth Program in 2011 as the Garden Manager, sharing and exploring the process of “soil to seed to plate,” which highlights environment and lifestyle links between quality soils, nutrient-rich food, and healthy bodies. As Program Manager, Candace is committed to developing the belief of the Healthy Youth Program’s founder, Simone Frei, that “it takes a village” to fight childhood obesity and raise a community of healthy, happy, and active children. Through community partnerships, Candace strives to further develop strength-based youth and family programs that support sustainable and long-term behavioral change, the foundation for the Healthy Youth Program’s core values. In addition, she manages the Healthy Youth Program's three school gardens, and contributes art and design work. Candace is also a lucky mom to two young, loveable, giggly daughters; one of her favorite places to be is in the backyard garden, getting their hands dirty as a family.

Julie Patterson Jacobs - Nutrition Educator 

julie patterson jacobs

Julie Patterson Jacobs, BA, is a Nutrition Educator for the Healthy Youth Program. She has a background in teaching and mentoring children of all ages. Her nutrition education, through the Cleveland Clinic, led her to become a nutrition coach, which she has been doing since 2011. She is eager to combine these various skills into a single position as a Nutrition Educator. She enjoys sharing the principles of healthy living with others through the practice of healthy eating and exercise. Julie loves to play sports, like soccer, and hiking with her husband and dog. She is also a certified Zumba instructor, which keeps her moving and grooving every day! As a Nutrition Educator for the Healthy Youth Program, Julie is involved in educating children and families about healthy living using the evidenced-based nutrition research from the Linus Pauling Institute. She leads cooking classes at the programs' various garden sites and in the schools during the school-year. She loves cooking with the wonderful kids and families of this great community.

 Aliesje King - Garden Educator

photo of Aliesje King

Aliesje King, MA, is passionate about Food and Social Justice, Seed Sovereignty, community connections, and bringing people closer to the place we live and the food we eat. She started her adventures in outdoor, experiential, and Place-Based education.  Since then, she worked collectively and independently to create programs and adventures for adults and children alike that foster a creative, and hands-on approach to learning in the nature. She is an AmeriCorps Alumna, an urban gardener, and spent over 10 years in the food industry.  She was the founding director of Earth Art Ag, a school garden education program in Portland, Oregon. Additionally, she has worked internationally with women farmers, and on a local small scale seed farm. She is also currently managing the Albany Farmers Market, and growing food and starts with a small farming collective.

Gerd Bobe - Faculty Advisor

Gerd Bobe

Gerd Bobe, PhD, MPH, and MS, is the Faculty Advisor of the Healthy Youth Program. He has more than 10 years of professional experience in public health nutrition, specifically dietary disease prevention. His passion is to “translate scientific knowledge into healthy choices” and support people to be successful and achieve their goals. He works with the staff of the Healthy Youth Program to evaluate family and youth programs to better serve our communities and families. He believes that empirical and evidence-based theoretical approaches ensures better formulation and evaluation of effective and efficient health programs to influence health behavior among individuals and populations as “better theories lead to better practices”.


OSU Student Workers:

Jennifer Randall
Nutrition Education Assistant
Sandra Mecinas-Estevez
Bilingual Education Assistant
Liz Graham
Garden Education Assistant