Angel Mendez

Angel Mendez

Luis Angel Mendez’s journey at Red Tomato began 21 years ago. At the time, he was a warehouse manager for an organization named Thrift Village Incorporated (TVI) , owner of the Savers thrift stores. Angel’s had dabbled in College, attending Mt Ida College in 1996 and Northeastern University in 1998. Angel says “I was trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up!”. At Mt Ida college, he studied early childhood development, and at Northeastern University, he studied to be a Food Safety Inspector. Angel lost interest and did not complete either program. The birth of Angel’s first child Luis Angel Mendez Jr in 1998, catapulted him back into the workforce as a warehouse manager. Angel’s older brother Hector had taught him how to lift heavy things, organize big rooms, and work well with his hands. Warehousing was a great fit for his skill set. At TVI, Angel mastered skill as a forklift operator and dry-load logistics managing multiple trailer loads weekly, shipping throughout the US and Canada. Angel worked with TVI for four years before joining Red Tomato. In 2001 Angel met Michael Rozyne, Founder, and Kate Larson, former Operations manager and founding sister of the Red Tomato organization. Michael and Kate were searching for two things, warehouse space, and a warehouse manager!  Angel was interested in the opportunity of warehouse manager as Red Tomato was in its infancy and in a start-up phase where the learning potential felt infinite.

The potential Angel saw in Red Tomato outweighed any possible risk, he saw this organization was brand new, cultivating its path into the future. This was meaningful work. Angel took a leap of faith and joined Red Tomato as a warehouse manager. Angel had no background in agriculture or food systems work, more in warehousing, logistics, operations, and general business management. Angel spent his first year in Red Tomato’s warehouse working with one warehouse associate, Jose Sanchez. We also had trucks and three amazing truck drivers. Angel quickly learned to handle over 50+ fresh produce items, organic and conventional. He began to learn much more about farm economics and agricultural science and started to see how food, agriculture, and food systems work connected to all things in the world!  Angel grew believing that farming was fun, happy work, not arduous, uncertain, and so volatile. Angel grew up in a low-income family and prides himself in helping others, especially those in need. The more he understood his work, its impact, and its ability to be the vehicle to change food systems and the world as food is connected to all, the more intrigued and excited Angel became at Red Tomato!  Angel has worn many hats during his tenure at Red Tomato as a warehouse manager, logistics manager, purchasing & sales, and director of operations, and today he is Red Tomato’s proud Executive Director; he often jokes about how long he has been here at Red Tomato saying “I got lost in the sauce.”

Angel is passionate and excited about Red Tomato’s ambitious staff, mission, and core purpose of small and mid-size farms’ long-term viability and bridging his team’s 25 years of food systems change work into the future!

“My journey here at Red Tomato has been an extreme learning experience. I have learned so much about agriculture and the politics that surround it. I love every aspect of the business.”

Angel is a Boston native and a father of three. He likes to spend his free time with his family and tending to his home garden and chickens. In addition to his leadership at Red Tomato, Angel also serves on the Board of OKE USA Bananas, the Urban Farming Institute in Boston, and Farm Fresh Rhode Island. Read about Angel’s life and his journey to Executive director here