Community Food Systems Mentor Profile: Lydia Villanueva

The Community Food Systems Mentorship Program offers Network members the opportunity to work directly with a food systems expert to support their growth, learn best practices, and connect with seasoned food movement leaders. 

Lydia Villanueva, Director/Founder of CASA del Llano, INC

About Lydia: 
Lydia Villanueva is the Director/Founder of CASA del Llano, INC., (Established since Oct. 2000) a nonprofit rural outreach center that unites the regional education and training interest of other groups with the goals of a community-based, grassroots organization. CASA del Llano is a job placement center where they offer applications to job seekers in Deaf Smith County from several companies in the Texas Panhandle. The organization works toward identifying Latino farm owners in the Texas Panhandle (Hereford, TX) and works to build leaders who are empowered to take ownership of their own communities. She was the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) Policy Education Coordinator from 2005-2013. Served on the Board of Directors of National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and Co-Chair of the Diversity Committee with NSAC (National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition) since its inception.  She also serves on the Board of Directors of Panhandle Community Services.  

She attended the University of California, Davis, and West Texas A& M University. She is also a member of The White House Project  and Advisory Council Member of the Growing Food and Justice Initiative Education Committee.  Villanueva served on the Organizational Council for several years with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Coordinating Council,  and  was part of the Merger Team of National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture and SAC (Sustainable Agricultural Coalition) Board President and Board member of Community Food Security Coalition.  She was the Project evaluator for the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Program with the Kerr Center and Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative in Oklahoma, Grant Evaluator for 4 (four grant proposals) October 15, 2010-2013. Lydia currently serves on the Board of Directors of Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group and Panhandle Community Services and is a member of the Community Based Partnership with USDA Ag-Census and the Texas Food Policy Group.

Lydia is a former Pastoral Assistant of San Jose Catholic Church- Pastoral Assistant-Church bulletin, Religious Education Director Grades K-12, Youth Coordinator, Ministry Coordinator, Training, curriculum director, data processing, and program designer. 

Areas of Expertise

  • Running a non-profit by, for, and with POC 
  • Community organizing with/for limited resource farmers 
  • Policy & advocacy
  • Immigration

Seeking to Mentor

I am interested in mentoring women food systems leaders of all ages and ethnicity, and leaders who are working in a faith-based setting.