The people of the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems are integral to our success. The diverse skill sets of CSFS Staff, CSFS Associates, and the CSFS Advisory Committee reflects the diversity of the food system and highlights our strength for collaboration, uniting research, learning, and community through the food system, as we work towards a more sustainable, food-secure future.
Sean Smukler, PhDDirector
Sean is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems holding the Chair, Agriculture and the Environment, and Principal Investigator of the Sustainable Agricultural Landscapes (SAL) lab. In addition, he serves on the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Food’s 17-member Advisory group for Regenerative Agriculture and Agritech (RAA). Sean has been involved with the CSFS as an associate member since joining UBC in 2012.
Clare CullenOperations Director
Clare Cullen took the helm as Operations Director at the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems in March, 2015. She plays a key leadership role in the Centre’s daily operations, business development, and financial and human resources management. Clare holds a B.A. honours in Film and Communication from Queens University and an M.Ed in Art and Environment from Simon Fraser University. Prior to joining CSFS, Clare worked with UBC’s Beaty Biodiversity Museum as the Administrative Manager. With a rich background in arts, environmental education, finance, entrepreneurship and non-profit organizations, Clare brings a diversity of skills and a wealth of experience.
Tim CarterField Manager
Tim Carter has been a member of the UBC Farm team since 2005. He started as a field worker and soon took on leadership of the field and sales program. His work ranges from site care and food production to training, management, and research collaboration. As the lead architect of many of the Farm’s systems, he plays a key role in the ongoing development of the Farm site and organization.
Camil DumontEducation Manager
After completing an interdisciplinary BA at UBC with a focus on Political Science and Creative Writing, Camil Dumont completed his MSc. at UBC in 2017 in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems. Prior to completing his Master’s degree, Camil worked for a decade, seasonally, at the Vancouver Park Board, in horticulture. Camil is a founder of Inner City Farms Society (ICF), a Vancouver urban farm, in 2009. Camil has been Head Farmer and Executive Director of ICF since 2010. Elected in the 2018 civic election to represent Vancouverites as Commissioner at the Board of Parks and Recreation, he currently sits as Chair of the Vancouver Park Board. Camil is a lifelong environmentalist, a dad, a baseball player, a home chef and a connector of people. He loves his family, his community, his city and our little blue planet, very much.
Melanie KuxdorfCommunications and Marketing Manager
Melanie oversees the marketing and communications strategy of the CSFS at UBC Farm. Melanie is a strategic communicator experienced in multi-platform communications and knowledge mobilization. She has been working in communications for over 10 years, previously working in journalism and the arts including at CBC Radio. She holds a Master’s in Journalism and a BFA in dance. She is passionate about food and environmental sustainability, and in making complex information accessible, usable and compelling.
Andrew Black, PhDProfessor, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Department of Applied Biology
Professor Black has worked at UBC since 1969 in the Department of Soil Science as a biometeorologist. His research puts emphasis on the energy and water balance of forests and understanding the processes controlling carbon balance of forests by measuring forest-atmosphere CO2 exchange. Prof. Black also monitors our climate through the climate station based in UBC Totem Field.
Jennifer Black, PhD, RDAssociate Professor, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Department of Food, Nutrition and Health
Dr. Jennifer Black is an Associate Professor in Food, Nutrition and Health at the University of British Columbia in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems and leads the Public Health and Urban Nutrition research group. Her research aims to improve understanding of the complex social and contextual factors that shape the health of individuals, communities and of the environment. Between 2010-2015, Dr. Black served on the Coordinating Committee of the Think&EatGreen@School project and continues to work with local community partners and the UBC Farm to create healthy, sustainable school food systems in Vancouver.
Kira Borden, PhDPostdoctoral Fellow
Dr. Kira Borden investigates how plants and soil interact, the effects of environmental change on these interactions, and how management can regulate these processes. Her field-based research spans forested, riparian, intercropping and agroforestry systems, in temperate and tropical regions. With the Sustainable Agricultural Landscapes lab and CSFS, Kira is investigating the dynamics of crops, nutrients, and water in soil at UBC Farm in order to evaluate management practices that can meet food production and environmental sustainability goals.
Sandra Brown, PhDInstructor, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Department of Applied Biology
Sandra Brown is a lecturer in Applied Biology in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems. Her areas of expertise include soil and water resources. She teaches introductory and upper-level soil science courses, and actively engages students with CSFS and the UBC Farm. This student involvement with the UBC Farm provides both hands-on experiential learning for our students and a mechanism by which our courses (and students) provide data in support of sustainable soil management at the UBC Farm.
Juli Carrillo, PhDAssistant Professor, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Department of Applied Biology
Carrillo leads the Plant-Insect Ecology and Evolution Lab where research focuses on plant defense against herbivory. Their approach is primarily through experimental comparisons of populations that have diverged in evolutionary history or that span a gradient of plant-insect interactions. Carrillo’s lab is affiliated with the CSFS where her insight in plant-insect interactions helps CSFS explore and exemplify strategies for small scale organic and diversified production systems.
Simone Castellarin, PhDAssociate Professor, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, UBC Wine Research; Canada Research Chair Tier II in Viticulture and Plant Genomics Wine Research Centre
Dr. Castellarin is an Associate Professor at UBC, and a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Viticulture and Plant Genomics. He does research that focuses on grape production, and how the climate affects grape ripening and quality. In 2009, he received the Rudolf Hermanns Prize (Geisenhem, Germany) for outstanding scientific achievements in horticulture and viticulture. He further examines the ripening processes in grapes and the biological mechanisms that determine grape and wine quality. Moreover, he studies how grape quality is affected by environmental factors (temperature and water). Currently, he is developing viticultural strategies (irrigation, crop management, hormone applications, leaf removal) to improve ripening and the production of phenolics and aromatics in grapes.
Kai Chan, PhDProfessor, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, Institute for Oceans and Fisheries Canada Research Chair (t2, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services)
Kai Chan is a professor at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia. Kai is an interdisciplinary, problem-oriented sustainability scientist, trained in ecology, policy, and ethics from Princeton and Stanford Universities. He strives to understand how social-ecological systems can be transformed to be both better and wilder. Kai leads CHANS lab (Connecting Human and Natural Systems), and is co-founder of CoSphere (a Community of Small-Planet Heroes). He is a UBC Killam Research Fellow; a Leopold Leadership Program fellow; senior fellow of the Global Young Academy and of the Environmental Leadership Program; a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists; Lead Editor of the new British Ecological Society journal People and Nature; a coordinating lead author for the IPBES Global Assessment; and (in 2012) the Fulbright Canada Visiting Research Chair at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Patrick Culbert, PhDAssistant Professor, Faculty of Forestry, Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences
Dr. Culbert is a tenure-track instructor in the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences in the Faculty of Forestry. He is a landscape ecologist who has researched land-use change and agricultural intensification. Dr. Culbert’s current research focuses on classroom practices to improve student learning. He teaches a number of courses including a field course that makes use of UBC Farm.
Leonard Foster, PhDProfessor, Faculty of Medicine, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Dr. Foster is a professor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, as well as a member of the Michael Smith Laboratories. His group develops and applies high-throughput and high-content proteomic methods to understand host-pathogen interactions. Recently, his team have described a novel method for mapping the protein interaction network within cells that drives the time and cost involved in such an analysis down by nearly two orders of magnitude. He also has a long-standing interest in honey bees. Dr. Foster maintains the hives located at the UBC Farm and uses them in his bee research activities. In particular, they are developing methods to use molecular profiling to guide selective breeding for disease resistance. This is aimed at helping honey bees and beekeepers overcome the biggest threats facing bees, pests and pathogens.
Andrea Frommel, PhDAssistant Professor and Chair in Sustainable Aquaculture, Faculty of Land and Food Systems
Originally from California, Dr. Frommel has a BSc in Marine Biology from UC Santa Cruz, an MSc from the University of Southern Denmark and a Ph.D. from the Helmholz Institute for Marine Research in Kiel, Germany. She is now an assistant professor and the chair of Sustainable Aquaculture at LFS.
Her research bridges climate change, fisheries and sustainable aquaculture, with a focus on the early life stages of finfish. With the rapidly expanding aquaculture industry, the industry's future depends upon increasing its sustainability. This includes minimizing environmental impacts, shifting to sustainable feeds and maximizing fish welfare. She has recently become very interested in kelp aquaculture, for its potential in mitigating high aquatic CO2 levels, while improving fish health and welfare in co-culture, as well as an alternative feed ingredient.
Kerry Greer, PhDInstructor, Faculty of Arts, Department of Sociology
Kerry Greer is an Instructor 1 in the Department of Sociology at the University of B.C. Her goal is to develop ways of helping UBC serve the communities surrounding its campus by connecting students to opportunities to do research and projects that benefit community organizations. As a scholar, Kerry studies non-profit community organizations and the ways they replace and compliment federal efforts to meet local need. Kerry works with the CSFS to provide leadership, guidance, and support for UBC teaching and learning on topics related to sustainable food systems. Kerry is part of the CSFS Teaching & Learning Committee, which aims to increase the diversity and quantity of curricular tools available to UBC educators to increase student’s sustainable food system knowledge and practice.
Cara Haney, PhDAssistant Professor, Faculty of Science, Department of Microbiology and Immunology & Department of Botany
Dr. Haney's lab (haneylab.msl.ubc.ca) studies the genetic, molecular and ecological mechanisms that govern plant-microbiome associations. Plants depend on their associated microbial communities (“microbiomes”) for pathogen protection and nutrient uptake. Consequentially, the plant microbiome holds tremendous potential to improve agricultural productivity and sustainability. Dr. Haney's lab uses model systems to fill in missing gaps in our basic understanding of plant-microbiome associations, and tests their findings in agronomically important species. Dr. Cara Haney is an Assistant Professor in the department of Microbiology and Immunology and Michael Smith Labs and is a Canada Research Chair in Plant-Microbiome interactions.
Solveig Hanson, PhDPostdoctoral Associate
Dr. Hanson’s work explores the science, social dynamics, and seed sovereignty potentials of participatory plant breeding. Solveig supports the Canadian Organic Vegetable Improvement Project (CANOVI) by leading a participatory carrot breeding project and co-facilitating decentralized vegetable variety trials. The trialing projects help farmers in identifying suitable crop varieties, with the longer-term objective of supporting local seed production.
Tara Ivanochko, PhDSenior Instructor & Director, Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
Tara Ivanochko’s research examines curriculum development in Environmental Science, community service learning, educational portfolios and development of sustainability education in EOAS, Faculty of Science and UBC. She teaches the three core environmental science courses that focus on integrating discipline specific knowledge while taking a broad perspective of the environment, employing critical thinking, assessing scientific evidence, effectively communicating science and working in teams. She is currently in the CSFS Advisory Committee in CSFS.
Mark Johnson, PhDProfessor, Institute of Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES) & Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences (EOAS)
Dr. Mark Johnson is working to understand how land use practices influence interactions between hydrological and ecological processes, and how these ecohydrological processes further affect ecosystem services including carbon sequestration. Unraveling interactions between the water cycle and the carbon cycle is essential for improving the sustainability of land and water management, especially under changing climatic conditions, he guided the investigation of the potentials of biochar for soil carbon sequestration and improved soil productivity that took place at the UBC Farm with the collaboration of Fraser Common Farm Coop.
Emily Huddart Kennedy, PhDAssistant Professor, Faculty of Arts, Department of Sociology
Dr. Emily Huddart Kennedy is an Assistant Professor in Sociology at the University of British Columbia. Her research seeks to understand how individuals, groups and communities try to effect positive changes to the natural environment. Relatedly, her research examines how people’s efforts to protect the environment can inadvertently exacerbate divisions between social classes and along gendered lines. Emily sees food as a powerful topic for exploring questions about the influence of social class on our tastes, about gendered expectations of feeding practices, and about how individuals try to make their lives meaningful and their communities livable.
Sara Knox, PhDAssistant Professor, Faculty of Arts, Department of Geography
Dr. Sara Knox is an assistant professor in the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia. She received a B.Sc. in Earth System Science from McGill University, a M.Sc. in Geography from Carleton University, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from the University of California, Berkeley. She studies the exchange of energy, water and greenhouse gases between the land surface and the atmosphere, and the effects of natural and human-induced disturbances on this type of ecosystem function. Her research combines methods from atmospheric science, hydrology, and ecology to further our understanding of carbon cycling and water & energy exchange within agricultural and wetland ecosystems.
Claire Kremen, PhDProfessor, Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability, Department of Zoology
Professor Kremen’s research investigates how to reconcile biodiversity conservation with agricultural production. Using field, lab, and modeling studies on a variety of taxonomic groups, her team investigates questions such as: How do different forms of agricultural land management influence long-term persistence of wildlife populations by promoting or curtailing dispersal movements and population connectivity? How do we design sustainable landscapes that promote biodiversity while providing for people?
Maja Krzic, PhDAssociate Professor, Faculty of Science, Department of Applied Biology ∓ Faculty of Forestry, Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences
Dr. Maja Krzic's research focuses on development of soil quality indicators for assessing management impacts on grassland and agricultural soils, and forest soil response to severe mechanical disturbance. To augment and extend her study of land-use impacts on soil processes, Maja has taken an initiative to integrate research, teaching, and community education through the application of information technology. In 2004, Maja initiated the Virtual Soil Science Learning Resources (VSSLR) Consortium, which has become the focal point for collaborative educational efforts among scientists, students, and multimedia experts from various institutions in Canada. For her educational contributions she received numerous awards from national and international organizations including one of the most prestigious Canadian awards for a university instructor - 3M National Teaching Fellowship (2016).
Angela McIntyre, PhDPostdoctoral Fellow
Dr. McIntyre has over 25 years’ experience in policy and academic research, program development and evaluation in food security, public health, community development, global advocacy and post-conflict peacebuilding and reconciliation. Her PhD research investigated household food security and nutritional health outcomes of post-apartheid social policies in rural, agrarian communities in South Africa. She has worked for, and collaborated with, multinational agencies, government ministries, non-profit and community-based organizations and post-secondary learning institutions throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. McIntyre is currently a Research Associate at the Centre for Collaborative Action on Indigenous Health Governance at Simon Fraser University and Scientific Director of an Indigenous community-led study of COVID-19 responses. She maintains close ties with her African networks and the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Pretoria. She is a Canadian citizen who resided in Southern Africa for 21 years and has working knowledge of Portuguese and French.
Zia Mehrabi, PhDResearch Associate, Faculty of Science, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability
Zia Mehrabi is a Research Associate at the University of British Columbia, where he works on the food system, climate change, digital technology, and biodiversity conservation. He is appointed at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs and the Institute for Resources Environment and Sustainability. At UBC he helps teach and mentor students, develop ideas, data sets, software, data science, and data analysis on sustainable food systems. He is an active member of the Global Land Programme, the working group lead on developing baselines for data driven farming for the CGIAR's Platform for Big Data in Agriculture, a contributing author to The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Global Assessment, and a co-author of Ceres2030: Sustainable Solutions to End Hunger, and the forthcoming World Bank’s World Development Report 2021: Data for Better Lives.
He is engaged in public outreach and communication for a better understanding of science, and launched the data driven open art exhibit "The Colours of Food Security” with the Land Use and Global Environment Laboratory at The University of British Columbia. He holds two degrees (BA, DPhil) from the University of Oxford.
Matthew Mitchell, PhDResearch Associate, Faculty of Land and Food Systems
Matthew Mitchell’s research focuses on how to manage human-dominated landscapes, including agricultural and urban landscapes, for both people and nature. This includes understanding how the arrangement of different land uses and habitats across these areas affects ecosystem services and biodiversity, how to effectively quantify both the supply of ecosystem services and their demand by people, and identifying key management actions that can lead to win-win situations for multiple ecosystem services and biodiversity. He also leads the long-term biodiversity monitoring program at the UBC Farm and is working to develop new tools to effectively monitor agricultural biodiversity on diversified farms and link this to key socio-ecological outcomes. He completed his Ph.D. at McGill University in 2014, a M.Sc. at the University of Alberta in 2006, and a B.Sc. (Honours) at the University of Victoria in 2002.
Anubhav Pratap-Singh, PhDProfessor, Faculty of Land and Food Systems
Dr. Anubhav Pratap-Singh holds the BC Ministry of Agriculture Endowed Professorship in Food and Beverage Innovation. Dr. Pratap-Singh’s research group explores novel technologies for obtaining sustainable improvements in food quality and nutrition. Dr. Pratap-Singh has authored more than 50 research articles on novel thermal and non-thermal processing, encapsulation of plant-based ingredients and food fortification technologies. Dr. Pratap-Singh and his research group works with various BC-based plant-based food processors, berry growers and processors, and nanotechnology based companies and is currently leading the academic planning for the UBC Food and Beverage Innovation Centre.
Cindy Prescott, PhDProfessor, Faculty of Forestry, Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences
Dr. Cindy Prescott is a Professor in Forest Ecology and Management at the University of British Columbia in the Faculty of Forestry. Her research focuses on topics related to nutrient cycling and soil organic matter, including: litter decomposition, influences of tree species on soils, effects of forestry practices on soil processes, linking soil organisms and nutrient cycling processes, and restoration of soils and forests. She teaches courses in agroforestry and ecological restoration, which benefit from having opportunities for hands-on experience in close proximity at the UBC Farm.
Navin Ramankutty, PhDProfessor, Faculty of Science, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability
Navin Ramankutty’s research program (http://www.ramankuttylab.com/) aims to understand how humans use and modify the Earth’s land surface for agriculture and its implications for the global environment. Using global Earth observations and numerical ecosystem models, his research aims to find solutions to the problem of feeding humanity with minimal global environmental footprint. Ramankutty has given multiple lectures on Sustainable Farming and Food Systems affiliated with CSFS and instrumental in Global Sustainable Food System Research and Policy at UBC Farm.
Loren Rieseberg, PhDProfessor, Faculty of Science, Department of Botany
Professor Loren Rieseberg’s lab integrates high-throughput genomic methods, bioinformatics, ecological experiments and evolutionary theory to study the origin and evolution of species, domesticated plants and weeds. Dr. Rieseberg used the UBC Farm as a living laboratory for his research “Divergence in Gene Expression in Uncoupled from Divergence in Coding Sequence in a Secondarily Woody Sunflower”.
Andrew Riseman, PhDAssociate Professor, Faculty of Science, Applied Biology and Plant Breeding
My research interests include understanding the role of plant genetics in the design of sustainable production systems, identifying relevant traits useful in these systems, combining them within superior germplasm, and integrating this germplasm into an optimized system. General areas of interest include plant breeding, intercrop interactions, nutrient use efficiency, root physiology, biotic and abiotic stressor resistance, and edaphic selection. Beyond biological research, I have strong interests in Community Based Action Research (CBAR) and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). Specific interests include understanding the effects of community engagement on student learning, using technology to enhance the learning environment, and promoting storytelling and digital communication skills for student outreach. In addition to my research interests, I am passionate about the UBC Farm and its future evolution into a world-class academic resource.
Risa Sargent, PhDAssociate Professor, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Department of Applied Biology
Risa Sargent is interested in the adaptation of wild and managed (agricultural, urban) ecosystems to global change. She holds a PhD in biology from UBC’s Biodiversity Research Centre where she focused on how interactions with animal pollinators influence the biodiversity of flowering plants. After a NSERC funded PDF at UC Berkeley, where she studied how pollination impacts plant community assembly processes, Risa held a faculty position in the University of Ottawa’s Biology department for 12 years. In the summer of 2020, she accepted a new faculty position on global change in agriculture at UBC’s Faculty of Land and Food Systems. Risa’s current research focuses on applied questions about how changes to plant and insect communities, through processes such as land use (including agriculture), climate change and species invasions can impact plant fitness and crop production. Risa’s resarch has been awarded funding from a variety of external sources, including NSERC’s Discovery, University Faculty Award and Strategic Network programs, MITACS, and Ontario’s Early Researcher and Species at Risk programs. Risa has received speaking invitations from around North America and has served as associate editor for the American Naturalist since 2016. Risa regularly organizes events and works towards policy change that will improve EDI in science.
Sean Smukler, PhDAssociate Professor, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Department of Applied Biology and Soil Science
Dr. Sean Smukler’s research program is focused on working with farmers, and other managers of agricultural landscapes to find ways to better monitor, protect and enhance biodiversity and the availability of ecosystem services including food, fiber, fuel and timber production, greenhouse gas mitigation, and water quality and quantity regulation. He and his Sustainable Agriculture Landscape lab are also currently working with CSFS at UBC Farm to better understand the nutrient dynamics of various local amendment options for organic production system.
Jerry Spiegel, PhDProfessor, Faculty of Medicine, School of Population and Public Health ∓ Global and Indigenous Health Theme Co-Director, Global Health Research Program
Dr. Jerry Spiegel’s academic training is in economics and sociology; environmental health and health administration; and Community Health Sciences. Dr. Spiegel’s research interests include the effects of globalization on health, ecosystem approaches to human health, understanding and addressing influences of physical and social environments on health, global health and human security, the economic evaluation of interventions, and health and equity in Latin America. He currently leads a Canadian-Ecuadorian research on “Food systems and health equity in an era of globalization: Think, Eat and Grow Green Globally (TEG3)”
Terry Sunderland, PhDProfessor, Faculty of Forestry, Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences
Terry Sunderland is currently a Professor at the Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia, Canada focusing on the biological and human dimensions of the sustainable management and utilization of tropical forests. He was previously a Senior/Principal Scientist at the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Indonesia, where he coordinated CIFOR’s work on forests and food security, biodiversity conservation and integrated landscape management. Prior to joining CIFOR in early 2006, Terry was based in West Africa for over fifteen years and worked on numerous conservation and livelihood-focused projects. Having both a field practitioner and academic background gives him a wide perspective on conservation, livelihoods and related issues. Terry has a Masters degree in Forestry from the University of Oxford and a PhD from the University of London. He has published more than 240 research papers, book chapters and books. Terry is an active blogger and engages regularly with the media on disseminating research for policy influence and outreach.
Will Valley, PhDSenior Instructor, Faculty of Land and Food Systems & Academic Director of the Land, Food and Community Series
Will Valley is a senior instructor in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems and the academic director of the core curricula in the faculty, the Land, Food, and Community Series. His research focuses on sustainable food system education, K-12 food systems, food literacy development, urban agriculture, and community-engaged scholarship. He is also co-director of Inner City Farms, an urban farming non-profit in Vancouver, BC. Will’s dedication to food system thinking being taught at UBC makes him an asset and key collaborator of CSFS.
Rob VanWynsberghe, PhDAssociate Professor, Faculty of Education, Department of Educational Studies
Dr. Rob VanWynsberghe’s research expertise is in sustainability and the related areas of social movements sand capacity building. His research is made up of three components: sustainability education, sport mega-events and green economy and these all connect to Land-based knowledge systems and health at UBC Farm. Since 2010, he has been on the CSFS Advisory Committee.
Kristen Walker, PhDInstructor, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Department of Applied Animal Biology
Dr. Kristen Walker is an Instructor in the Applied Animal Biology program in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at UBC. Her background as a wildlife welfare scientist includes the development of pain management protocols, studies of behavioural ecology, and projects focused on the humane treatment and co-existence with wildlife. She has worked with a variety of species including giant pandas, polar bears, sea otters, sea lions, more recently urban coyotes and beavers. Kristen focuses on educating students on compassionate conservation topics, wildlife management, and animal behaviour and welfare. She provides her students with experiential learning opportunities in the area of wildlife welfare, including involving students in monitoring vertebrate species present at UBC Farm.
Siyun Wang, PhDAssociate Professor of Food Safety Engineering Graduate Advisor of Food Science Program
Dr. Siyun Wang is an Associate Professor of Food Safety Engineering at UBC and the principal investigator of the Wang Laboratory of Molecular Food Safety. Her research group employs systems biology and Omics approaches to understand the microorganisms that post major threats to food safety, food security and public health. Dr. Wang works with the UBC Farm to develop sustainable strategies for reducing human and plant pathogen contamination of food crops.
Hannah Wittman, PhD
Dr. Hannah Wittman’s research examines the ways that the rights to produce and consume food are contested and transformed through struggles for agrarian reform, food sovereignty, and agrarian agriculture.
Her projects include community-based research on farmland access, transition to organic agriculture, and seed sovereignty in BC, agro-ecological transition and the role of institutional procurement in the transition to food sovereignty in Ecuador and Brazil, and the role that urban agriculture and farm-to-school nutrition initiatives plan in food literacy education.
Jenn BywaterVolunteer and Field Coordinator
This is Jenn's third season at the farm and she is excited to get her hand's dirty in her new role here at the UBC Farm. Jenn is nearing the end of her Agricultural and Environmental degree where she has learned the value of long-term sustainability and food security. Outside of the farm, you can find Jenn participating in all things outdoors, cooking food with friends, or playing with the neighbourhood dogs and cats.
Hailey CaiFinance Assistant
Juliana CaoCommunications and Knowledge Translation Assistant
Juliana has joined the CSFS in 2022 to support communications, knowledge translation and the B.C. Food Web. She is a recent UBC grad with a BSc in Natural Resources Conservation, during which time she was a long-time volunteer with UBC Sprouts, a member of UBC Common Energy's Emerging Green Builders team and the Zero Waste Squad. As a Work Learn student she worked with the UBC Sustainability Hub (previously USI) as their Communications and Engagement Assistant and since graduation has been the Events and Communications Coordinator for the Columbia Institute. She also was the owner of a pop-up vegan bakery, Very Loaf, in her hometown of Calgary.
Rae CramerHoop House Field Assistant
This year is Rae’s fifth season with The UBC Farm, and first year working as the Hoop House Field Assistant. She worked in several positions for the Farm, with the most recent being our Sales Assistant last year, and various roles while completing her Master’s at the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability at UBC. Rae’s passions outside of food systems work include all things related to movement in the mountains – she can be found trail running, climbing, skiing, or just slogging up steep trails in most moments of spare time. She also has a background in art, which she still takes time to create (reserved for times when the weather doesn’t cooperate in the mountains).
Kevin CussenProduct Lead, LiteFarm
Kevin joined the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm in 2020 as LiteFarm product lead. He now leads the effort to put LiteFarm in the hands of 10,000 sustainable farmers worldwide. Before joining the CSFS, Kevin occupied roles across the technology sector from helping entrepreneurs integrate technology into their businesses as a Peace Corps volunteer, to building a “campus-in-a-box” for use by educational partners of the US National Parks system, to employing blockchain technologies to ensure responsible sourcing of goods. Kevin holds a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Texas and an MBA with a focus on Global Business from the University of Washington.
Elena DonskikhFinance and Human Resources Coordinator
Elena has been at UBC since 2014 and joined the CSFS in 2019. She has over 8 years of finance and administration experience in education sector. She provides finance and human resources support and coordination for the research and academic activity of the CSFS and the Farm Operations.
Andrew EhlertPerennials and Field Coordinator
Andrew joined the CSFS in 2022 to coordinate perennial crops and our seed saving initiatives. Andrew grew up on the East coast of the US, where he learned to love blueberries, pawpaws and mushrooms. He had the opportunity to work and learn on a wide variety of farms and is coming most recently from working at a University of Hawaii research farm, where he focused on sustainable agriculture and perennial crops.
Seth FriedmanPracticum Coordinator
Seth has been Practicum Coordinator since 2014, and has coordinated public workshops at the Farm since 2015. He has been involved in environmental education and agriculture for two decades, and holds a master's degree in environmental studies from the University of Montana. In his role coordinating adult educational programming at the Farm, Seth strives to create a space whereby students of all ages will be inspired to connect deeper to the land and towards supporting the development of sustainable food systems.
Mathilde NewmanSales Assistant
Former Practicum alumni of 2018, Mathilde returns to the UBC Farm as part of the sales team for the 2022 season. Previously farming in the UK where she originally hails from, Mathilde spent the last three seasons in the lower mainland, most recently overseeing post-harvest operations at an organic farm in Delta. A passionate marketeer, Mathilde is excited to once again focus her energies on her combined love of sustainable agriculture and sales! Now in her seventh season of agricultural activities, Mathilde's hobbies include sleeping.
Jaylin MelnichukAdministration and Site Coordinator
Jaylin coordinates programming on the UBC Farm site, from leading Farm tours, to planning celebrations of our beautiful space with fundraising events such as our Long Table Dinners or FarmAde.
She first joined the UBC Farm community in 2015 as an intern in the xʷćićəsəm: Indigenous Health Research & Education Garden, assisting the Feast Bowl, a monthly community kitchen, as well as growing and sharing food and medicine and developing an understanding of land based learning in this place that Musqueam peoples have lived and learned in since time immemorial.
In 2017, she continued with the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm as an academic assistant, and completed her bachelor's degree at UBC in Linguistics and First Nations Language studies.
Her interests are in spaces that facilitate land based learning, community building, and accessible connections to our food systems.
Katherine AskePracticum Field Coordinator
Katherine is a Maritimer who is excited about agroecological farming because it is essential, creative, collective, and political. She previously farmed at the Tsawwassen First Nation Farm School, and in Alaska. She is a proud National Farmers Union member and the current Chair of its Farmland Committee. Her MA research through the University of Manitoba analyzed the extent and implications of the financialization of farmland in Alberta. She believes in the farm school model because she believes in a future of far more farmers, and in experiential, community learning. She's often pondering how we can organize to transform our land and food systems as rapidly as possible, and how to make farming less hard. She loves to swim, hike, canoe, read, and write.
Wilson Mendesxʷćićəsəm Garden Coordinator
Wilson Mendes is a doctoral candidate with the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at UBC. He is the xʷc̓ic̓əsəm garden coordinator and Indigenous land-based researcher. Wilson works closely with the Indigenous Medicine Collective and with xʷməθkʷəy̓əm Musqueam knowledge holders. A community planner by trade he works to revitalize Indigenous cultures through intergenerational land-based education. Wilson’s Ph.D. research examines the intersection of Indigenous land-based learning and Indigenous food sovereignty within urban Indigenous Youth.
Alex PomeroyAllium & Cucurbit Field Lead
Alex joined the field team in 2020, after completing the Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture the previous year. He manages about 2 acres of the farm, growing the alliums, potatoes, various legumes and all the summer and winter squash we all love to eat. He is interested in perennial food systems, food forests, regenerative agriculture and grazing, and co-operative farming practices.
Pierce PimiskernSales Lead
Pierce has a passion for playing in the kitchen, getting his hands dirty in the garden, and growing community. He jumped at the chance to join the UBC Farm team after wrapping up seven seasons of growing and running his own small farm business in his native Ontario. The Easy Farm was known for knockout farmers market displays, a free choice CSA, pretty produce, diversity among crops, pushing the limits of seasonal extension, fun recipes, and the odd cooking demo. Like the name says, he always brought a relaxed and positive approach to the challenges of small scale organic farming. Pierce is grateful for the unique opportunity to be eagerly sharing all of his experiences with the UBC Farm team and continues to look forward to growth and collaboration amongst likeminded farmers.
Kyne TsaiCSA & Saturday Market Coordinator
Kyne has been a part of the farm sales team since the summer of 2019. His contact with the UBC Farm began after volunteering with the UBC Christmas Tree Farm while he was still in his undergrad within the faculty of Forestry. He is responsible for coordinating the CSA program, which includes registering members, coordinating weekly box contents, handling member inquiries, distributing boxes, and preparing weekly newsletters. When he isn't doing CSA-related tasks, he can be found helping market operations, coordinating and liaising food donations, rotating culls, and pressure washing crates. If you're curious about what sparks joy for him, he'd talk about the way people's faces light up when they see the marvelous veggies that are a combined result of the passion, love, and effort put in by the most amazing people on earth.
Dakota VarenLead Field Coordinator
Hailing from small town Nova Scotia, Dakota first got involved in the world of organic agriculture during her years studying International development. Her desire to learn how to grow food came from a fierce discontent with Canadas broken food system and an excited drive to propel local communities toward food sustainability. Having since then spent the last ten years working on and building up to managing various small farms both within Canada and abroad. This initial drive has since grown to envelop a much broader understanding of what small scale organic agriculture represents and how it has the ability to bind communities.
Dakota calls herself a farming nerd and always down to discuss varieties and spacings! She can't wait to get into the swing of things at UBC farm. Starting this week at the Farm, she's got some catching up to do and can't wait to get growing.
Noah ZimberoffLandscape Coordinator
Noah has been a part of the farm team since the Summer of 2019. He started off working in the hoop houses and has since worked in the field growing onions, squash, and other delightful cucurbits. Noah just graduated from UBC with a Bachelors of Science in Plant and Soil Biology. He is thrilled to be finished with school and is presently working as the Landscape coordinator. Noah is passionate about plant propagation and composting and is always willing to barter house plants.
As part of the University of British Columbia, the CSFS is governed by the UBC Board of Governors and the UBC Senate as detailed in the provincial University Act. For mid-level internal governance, they oversee the Farm’s programs and provides advisory and professional support. Current members are: