The team at the Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems programs includes researchers, faculty members, and technical staff.
For opportunities to join our team, please check our listings here.
Dr. Kent Mullinix
Director, Institute for Sustainable Food Systems
As Director of ISFS, Dr. Mullinix oversees all of the Institute's research projects, two farm school programs, and other initiatives. He works closely with staff and faculty in the Sustainable Agriculture program here at KPU. Mullinix's research focuses on ecologically sound crop production, agriculture education programming, sustainable agriculture and food systems, and family-based agriculture revitalization as a foundational and integral element of sustainable society. Additionally Mullinix conceived and led the development of the B.A.Sc. Sustainable Agriculture degree at KPU and is now closely involved in its implementation. He also led the conceptualization and implementation of the Richmond Farm School and Tsawwassen First Nation Farm School. Mullinix is an Adjunct Professor in The Faculty of Land and Food Systems at the University of British Columbia and serves on the editorial board of the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Journal.
Mullinix attended the University of Missouri where he earned a B.S. in Agriculture (major horticulture with emphasis on fruit and vegetable production), M.S. in Horticulture (specializing in Pomology) and Ph.D. in Agriculture Education (specializing in curriculum and program development, crop sciences and soil conservation). He also earned a Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia in Plant Science (specializing in integrated pest management). He is a Professional Agrologist- British Columbia Institute of Agrologists. Before joining KPU, Mullinix held the Endowed Joint Chair in Pomology and was an Associate Professor (fruit crops production/ degree program administration), Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Washington State University. Prior he was a fruit crops research specialist for the Universities of Missouri, Minnesota and Kentucky.
Mullinix has lived and worked on a diversified family farm in central Missouri, owned and operated (with his family for 15 years) a pear orchard on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains, and for 14 years provided direct oversight for the planning, establishment and management of a 45 acre organically farmed apple, sweet cherry and peach teaching and demonstration orchard in north central Washington.
Senior Research Associate, Institute for Sustainable Food Systems
Caitlin holds an MSc in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems from the University of British Columbia (UBC), a BSc in Global Resource Systems (UBC), and was a Richmond Farm School student in 2012. She has been a full-time Research Associate at ISFS since 2010. Her major research foci at ISFS include food system modeling, food self-reliance assessments, and community food security research. Caitlin currently serves as Co-Chair of the Vancouver Food Policy Council and is a canning workshop instructor with a number of local organizations.
Dr. Wallapak Polasub
Research Associate, Institute for Sustainable Food Systems
After graduating from the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2005, Wallapak worked as a lecturer and researcher at Kasetsart University, Thailand. She moved to Canada and made Vancouver her new home in 2011. Wallapak joined ISFS as a research associate in September 2013. Her interests are on economic impacts of local food, small-scale farming, farm product direct marketing, co-operatives and sustainable economic development. She also loves extension and outreach works that allow her to work with producers and consumers of farm products.
Research Associate, Institute for Sustainable Food Systems
TFN Farm School Administrative and Business Coordinator, Institute for Sustainable Food Systems
Caroline holds a B.Sc. with a major in Food Market Analysis and a Masters of Food and Resource Economics, both from UBC. Before joining ISFS, she worked in the Statistics Unit with the BC Ministry of Agriculture. She has been a full-time research associate with ISFS since 2013 and since then, she’s been involved in the economic analyses for all ISFS projects. Her work includes data research, farm survey facilitation, report writing and developing business plans. At the same time, she manages the administrative and business coordination of KPU’s Tsawwassen Farm School. She also graduated from KPU’s Richmond Farm School Program last year and is now farming her own half acre focusing on Asian greens and mushrooms. She is acquiring additional skills and knowledge in sustainable farming and wishes to pursue further in farm business management and agriculture production field research.
Payal Batra, PhD
Post-Doctoral Researcher, Institute for Sustainable Food Systems
Dr. Payal Batra has joined our research team to develop a comprehensive long-term research program in community nutrition and health as it relates to sustainable, bioregional food systems. Dr. Batra recently completed her Ph.D. in Nutrition Science from the Friedman school of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University. Her research focused on the interplay between eating behavior and weight loss with a specific focus on processed foods. She has also worked internationally, in India and West Africa on a range of household nutrition research initiatives. ISFS appreciates the support provided for this position by KPU’s Office of Research and Scholarship through the Katalyst Grant.
Graduate Student (Candidate - MA Environment and Management)
Karin is an environmental consultant with over six years of experience in natural resource management and solid waste management. Karin holds a Diploma of Technology in Environmental Protection from Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Environment and Management though Royal Roads University (RRU). Karin has joined our research team to work on a project funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to study the value and ownership trends of agricultural land in the City of Surrey and the City of Richmond since the inception of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). She has experience in project planning, development and management. Her experience includes the coordination of multi-disciplinary projects related to sustainable community development, integrated watershed management and fish habitat enhancement. She is experienced in working with staff and volunteer groups to develop practical tools and resources to support the implementation of sustainability initiatives. Karin’s experience also includes working on an organic farm and biological station in the Galápagos on a project focused on invasive plant management and improving waste reduction and diversion.
Richmond Farm School Coordinator, Institute for Sustainable Food Systems
Ashala is the Coordinator of the Richmond Farm School program. She is a 2012 graduate of the program and has been farming on the incubator farm land since 2013 with two business partners. Together they form Three Feet Below, and grow all their produce for preserving, selling at local markets and in a CSA box program. Previously, Ashala has been in many administrative roles in Vancouver and Calgary. She managed chiropractic offices, veterinary hospitals and most recently a private boarding school. Ashala is a married mother of two human children and one furry child and has been an avid grower for most of her life. She thoroughly enjoys spending a day in the dirt and the elements, encouraging food to grow.
Tsawwassen First Nation Farm School Coordinator & Farm Manager, Institute for Sustainable Food Systems
Corine is the farm manager and farm school coordinator for the Tsawwassen First Nation Farm School. She has been a farmer and a community organizer for over a decade. She recently migrated back to the Lower Mainland from Bella Coola where she managed the Bella Coola Community Supported Agriculture project while starting her own farm, growing market crops and raising animals. Above all, Corine loves sharing knowledge about growing food, land stewardship and self-sustenance. She strives on the challenges of breaking new ground and overseeing the development of new farms. She is a graduate of the Land and Food Systems Faculty at UBC.
Dr. Rebecca Harbut
Faculty, Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems
Rebecca Harbut is a native of British Columbia and is delighted to have returned to BC after spending several years in Ontario and the US. Rebecca received both her BSc and MS degree from the University of Guelph in Ontario and then completed her PhD in Horticulture at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY where she conducted research on fruit crops. Most recently, Rebecca was a faculty member in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Wisconsin where she developed a fruit research and extension program. Rebecca recently joined the faculty at KPU where she is the lead faculty in the Sustainable Agriculture program.
Dr. Michael Bomford
Faculty, Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems
Mike has returned to BC from Kentucky, where he spent 10 years at Kentucky State University (KSU), leading research, extension, and teaching programs related to organic agriculture, with an emphasis on small farms. Before going to Kentucky, he completed a PhD at West Virginia University, conducting companion planting research on a newly-certified organic farm. He grew up the son of a District Agriculturalist among the expansive grain farms of BC's Peace River region and earned degrees in plant science and agricultural pest management at UBC and SFU.
A passionate teacher, Mike helped launch a new Sustainable Agriculture degree program at the University of Kentucky in 2006; followed by a new Master of Science in Environmental Studies at KSU in 2010; and a new Bachelor of Agriculture, Food and Environment degree at KSU in 2012. In 2013 he was given his College’s Outstanding Teacher award and the USDA’s Honor Award for Excellence. He looks forward to applying this experience at KPU during the growth and development its new Sustainable Agriculture degree program.
Mike is very interested in the intersection between food and energy.He has explored energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions associated with farming and food systems, and experimented with renewable energy production techniques for small farms.
Research & Education Farm Coordinator, Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems
Anna is the Coordinator of the future farm facility to be utilized by the Sustainable Agriculture program. Previously, she coordinated the Richmond Farm School program and engaged in food systems research with the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems and continues to work with other ecologists involved in the research in southwestern BC. Anna has been working in sustainable agriculture in education and in practice since 2010 and was a graduate of the first Richmond Farm School year. She holds a BSc in Environmental Sciences from UNBC and has interests in organic best practices, biodiversity in farming and permaculture.