Belén became active in the environmental field early on at nineteen as Co-Founder and Director of Youth Programs for Wilderness Regroup, LLC. She designed and implemented backpacking trips throughout California, habitat restoration projects with local nonprofit partners, and community gardens for low-income housing developments. Since then she has held project management positions in environmental conservation and regulation and sustainable community development for several nonprofits and government agencies including the Sierra Club, Engineers Without Borders, Bay Area Students International Community, The Russian River Watershed Cleanup, Sonoma County Community Development Commission, and the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.
Her most recent adventure is starting La Cabrona Farms, a 10 acre polyculture farm using permaculture principles. As a first generation Mexican American and the second youngest of six children raised by a single mother, Belén feels a strong connection to food security and decolonizing the American diet. The struggle for food is the struggle for memory. Her goal is to start the first Mexican American CSA program in Sonoma County and eventually a mentorship program for young Latinas interested in their heritage as land stewards.
Belén holds an undergraduate degree in community development with a focus on environmental studies and a graduate degree in sustainable development: international policy and management. Academically, her focus has been on climate change adaptation in particularly vulnerable communities. Her graduate thesis focused on building community resilience through adaptive land management under a changing climate regime.