Help Us Grow

Wendy Horton

Executive Director

Wendy is a passionate advocate of consuming nutritious, home-grown foods. Growing up on a farm, she gained a great love for the earth and the bounty it provides. Wanting to share this with her two sons and the East Palo Alto community, she co-founded the nonprofit educational farm, City Limits Urban Farm, which she ran with her husband for seven years. She has extensive experience working with the East Palo Alto, East Menlo Park, and Redwood City communities, providing volunteer opportunities through City Limits, business training, and nutritional guidance through workshops.

Wendy also brings to Collective Roots a breadth of business and nonprofit experience critical to the responsibilities of being an executive director, including extensive fundraising, event, and financial management (plus a past CPA certification). As president of the PTO for her son's elementary, she appropriated funding and coordinated the staff, parents, and upwards of 80 volunteers to ensure the nonprofit's success.

While working at a big-six accounting firm, she oversaw tax-consulting projects and managed large international teams. She has experience organizing forums and managing international delegates from her days at the nonprofit, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, in Washington DC. She received master's degrees from Harvard University in world religions and international relations and from Brigham Young University in tax. She looks forward to helping Collective Roots grow, from the ground up!

Najiha Al Asmar

Manager of Community Initiatives

Najiha Al Asmar grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from the University of California, Irvine in 2012 with a B.A. in Psychology and Social Behavior. She has interned for various organizations that focus on social justice and nature preservation, such as Irvine Ranch Conservancy, Acterra, Hidden Villa, and the Pachamama Alliance.

Her work as health promoter for the non-profit, Nuestra Casa, in East Palo Alto sparked a passion for building community in underserved communities. She is now pursuing a Master’s of Science Degree in Integrative Eco-social Design from Gaia University International; designing sustainable systems in urban societies. She loves the outdoors, growing organic produce, and cooking. 

deepak maharaj

Market Manager

As a native, born and raised here in East Palo Alto, Deepak has long realized the disproportionate suffering from diet-related diseases within the community, including diabetes and hypertension within his own family. As a first generation student, Deepak sought to study how diet might affect human health under chronic metabolic stresses like obesity, receiving his Bachelor of Science in Human Physiology and Metabolism from UC Berkeley. He also received his Pharmacy Technician Certification in 2014, which deepened his understanding of human health in the treatment and prevention of diet-related diseases.

Deepak’s passions lay in working with marginalized communities. He has worked in West Berkeley, East Palo Alto, East Los Angeles, and even parts of Rome, Italy, teaching nutrition and advocating for equal access to health resources and education, including access to fresh produce through farmers’ markets and K-12 tutoring, respectively.

Deepak loves to travel and learn new skills. He recently spent eight months in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Madrid, Spain, in a complete Spanish-immersion program, while learning how urban architecture, policy, and education affect the health of individuals and cites. He speaks fluent Spanish, Hindi, and English. Deepak is also a professional photographer and is excited about utilizing his 5+ years of community health experience, as well as his advanced media and communication skills, in supporting nutritious eating and activity into the very culture of East Palo Alto today.