Our Staff

  Dr. Barbara Eiswerth - Director & Founder, CEO

  Dr. Barbara Eiswerth moved to Tucson in 1992 to work as a research geologist specializing in GeoSpatial Information    Technologies with the US Geological Survey. After ten years working extensively with technology transfer in Latin      America, she pursued a career as an environmental scientist working at the Office of Arid Lands, Arizona Remote  Sensing Center with projects in East and West Africa.
 After receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona, Eiswerth founded a community-based organization that  empowers United Nations refugees from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East by creating opportunities to use their  knowledge and skills from their countries of origin. The network, made up of refugees and volunteers, is called  Iskashitaa Refugee Network, which means "working cooperatively together". The program has evolved from a few  thousand pounds of fruit harvested to an all time largest annual harvest of over 100,000 pounds annually of fruit, nuts,  and vegetables from backyards and local farms and orchards with a cumulative one million servings of local produce.  In addition, Iskashitaa has integrated projects including producing and marketing refugee culinary goods and sustainable crafts. During Isakshitaa project activities, residents of Tucson are educated about the refugee community as well as the local food system and food waste.
A sampling of the recognitions Eiswerth has received include being a National Finalist in Community for Sustainable Food, the Baha’i “Vision in Action Award”, National Garden Crusader Award for Feeding the Hungry, the Church Women United's Human Rights Award, The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona's Meyer and Libby Marmis Humanitarian Award, and Interfaith Community Services' Silver Spoon Award. Iskashitaa’s work was recognized by the White House through the Community Based Initiative for one of the winning videos in “Portraits of Compassion”. In 2011, Eiswerth, one of six recognized each year, was awarded the distinguished Hon Kachina Volunteer Award in the State of Arizona for community volunteer efforts that make a difference and for encouraging others to volunteer.


Jamie Booth, MSW - Volunteer Coordinator / Faith Based Liaison

Jamie Booth grew up in Southern Illinois, but lived the 12 years in Lexington, Kentucky prior to coming to Iskashitaa.  In 2007, she graduated from Asbury University in Wilmore, KY with a Bachelors of Arts in Bible and Theology.  Jamie also completed a joint program between Asbury University and Asbury Theological Seminary and obtained a Master of Social Worker and a Master of Divinity in 2011.  She has experience directing after school programs and providing in-home social work services to children and families.  Jamie is a Global Mission Fellow US-2 (young adult missionary) through the United Methodist Church.  The Global Mission Fellow program is a two year program that encourages young adults to engage local communities, connect the church in mission, and grow in personal and social holiness.  At Iskahitaa, Jamie will be working as a Food Justice Coordinator as well as being a liaison between Iskashitaa and faith based organizations in the area.  Jamie is excited to learn from persons from other cultures and is excited to learn more about the edible plants in Tucson!


 Lisa VanWagenen - Harvesting Coordinator

Born and raised in southern Arizona, Lisa VanWagenen is no stranger to the unique culture and beauty that’s alive in the Old Pueblo. She graduated in 2014 from the  University of Arizona, earning a degree in Environmental Studies with a minor in Italian Language. Lisa got her first taste of Iskashitaa while working as an intern for UA’s branch of Linking Edible Arizona Forests, where she helped to plan and execute campus-wide edible plant harvests. Too, she developed a passion for waste management while working as an undergraduate compost technician for The UA Compost Cats. After graduation, Lisa spent time traveling, exploring and learning about new places and cultures in both Europe and the United States. While working as an Anti-hunger and Opportunity AmeriCorps VISTA member for Iskashitaa, Lisa looks forward to expanding her knowledge of different cultures, traditions and locally grown foods.

Chloe Sovinee-Dyroff - Resource Coordinator

Chloe moved to Tucson from Boston to work with Iskashitaa. She graduated from Connecticut College in the Spring 2014 with a degree in Anthropology, focusing on issues of food, migration and nutrition. Chloe worked as the Harvesting Coordinator from August 2014-August 2015 through the New York City Coalition Against Hunger. She is currently working as the Resource Coordinator focusing on developing Iskashitaa's relationships with restaurants, cafes and local food businesses who are interested in supporting refugees and the local food system. She was fascinated to learn about the exchange of knowledge about food preparation when she first began working with Iskashitaa and is excited to take on a new role!

Our Board

Joan Hall - Chair

Allison Davis - Vice Chair

Dr. Anne Padias - Secretary

Alaa Al Ani - Member

Fabien Chindandali - Member

Robbie Dick - Member

Merrill Eisenberg - Member

Bereket Mehari - Member


Jo Anderson - Harvest Support

Marcela Ball - Family Mentor 

Marie Bampamulolwa - Cooking Demonstrator

Roy DeBise - Food Workshops

Joanne Finch - Harvest Support

Sarah Griffiths - Family Mentor 

Faeza Hililian - Cooking Demonstrator

Eric Hubbell - Harvest Support

Ken and Barbara Newman - Food Redistribution

Jane Ruggill - Family Mentor

Dayla Sarkees - Speaker's Bureau

Paula Schlusberg - Crafting Support

Natanya Siegel - Farmer's Market Support

Carol Tierney - Family Mentor

Sue Troutman - Photographer

Cadie McCarthy - Harvest Support, Culinary Adviser 


Gina Gresham - Public Relations and Social Media Assistance

Ty Trainer - U of A Campus Citrus Education and Harvesting, Linking Edible Arizona Forests