President, Capay Valley Farm Shop; Director, New Season Community Development Corporation
Thomas Nelson is the President and Co-Founder of Capay Valley Farm Shop, a community-owned social enterprise that markets and distributes local, seasonal food from over 40 small to mid-sized family farms in the Capay Valley.
Nelson leads overall strategy for the venture, including marketing, finance, investor, customer, and vendor relations, in addition to hands-on management of operations. Since launching in 2007, Nelson has managed the growth of the organization from a small startup to forge dozens of partnerships with hospitals, schools, and businesses, through which member subscriptions are distributed. Nelson has also developed wholesale accounts that have helped bring fresh food to neighborhood markets, community groups, and large institutions around the Bay Area and Sacramento.
Nelson has devoted his life to building sustainable food systems that connect rural and urban areas and ensure the ongoing economic and environmental viability of rural farming communities. Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Community Food Security Coalition, and Capay Valley Vision have all benefited from his broad expertise in coalition building, organizational development, strategic planning, project management, and marketing and communications. In 2011, Nelson was invited to participate in the Entrepreneur’s Showcase at Slow Money’s national gathering, where he spoke about the Farm Shop’s business model. In addition to California FarmLink, he serves on the boards of New Season Community Development Corporation and The FruitGuys Community Fund. He is also on the Governance Committee for California FarmLink and currently serves as Board Treasurer.
Nelson earned his MBA from the Graduate School of Management, UC Davis, with a focus on social entrepreneurship.