The ISFS team includes our:
- Research and Extension Program Manager
- Research and Extension Associates
- Administrative Staff
- Student Assistants
- Visiting Scholars
- Post-doctoral Fellow
- Graduate and Undergraduate Students
- Research and Extension Affiliates from other KPU departments and other Institutions
Our team also works closely with staff and faculty in the BASc Sustainable Agriculture program.
Kent Mullinix, Ph.D. - Director
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.
Wallapak Polasub, Ph.D. - Research and Extension Program Manager
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 the 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.
Naomi Robert, MLWS, P.Ag. - Senior Research Associate
Naomi has a deep appreciation for how food can forge connections between individuals, communities, and land. Her work has allowed her to engage with the food system in several meaningful ways, including organizing food access projects in Québec's non-profit sector, volunteering on organic farms, and undertaking food system policy research in BC. Naomi draws on her background in agricultural science and policy to coordinate food system research and projects as a bridge between academic, practitioner, and community initiatives.
Naomi holds Master of Land and Water Systems from the University of British Columbia where she studied natural resource management in agriculture and a B.Sc. from McGill University in Earth System Science. She is a Professional Agrologist with the BC Institute of Agrologists, practicing in research, transfer, and application, and a board member of Food Secure Canada. Naomi is a settler on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the Coast Salish people and is grateful to live and work on these lands.
Kristi Tatebe, MCIP, RPP - Senior Research Associate
Kristi joined the ISFS team in 2017. She is a community planner with an MSc. from the School of Community and Regional Planning, and a BSc. from the Faculty of Agriculture (now Land and Food Systems) at UBC. Living on a small farm in the Okanagan with her family of four, she coordinates ISFS’s Okanagan projects. She is passionate about sustainable local food systems and their role in building healthy, resilient communities. Her previous work has included sustainability planning and research coordination with UBC’s Design Centre for Sustainability, and the Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning. She has also been a planning consultant, first with Smart Growth on the Ground, and later as a sole proprietor working on agricultural climate change adaptation projects in the province, and local government roles in supporting sustainable food systems. She brings her planning perspective and interest in food policy.
Jenn Cline, BA - Research Associate
Jenn joined ISFS in 2021 after hanging up her hat as Assistant Farm Manager with the environmental conservation organization, A Rocha. She has a certificate in Culinary Arts from Vancouver Island University (2005), BA in International Development with a focus on food systems (2011) and is a KPU Richmond Farm School graduate (2015). Jenn is passionate about the intersectionality of food, and has focused her career on work in food security. She has spent many years farming, working in the Non-profit sector, and is currently the Manager of Farm Operations at the Sandown Centre for Regenerative Agriculture in North Saanich. Her research at ISFS is contributing to community and regional food system sustainability.
Kaelan Watson, MA Planning - Research Associate
Kaelan joined the ISFS Team in 2021 after finishing her Master's Degree at York University in Environmental Studies with a specialization in Environmental Planning in 2020. Kaelan first realized her passion for food and sustainability while running her breakfast pop-up shop in Toronto. Her business provided her with firsthand experience in many design flaws associated with all facets of the food supply chain. From there she decided to pursue a Master's degree that allowed her to draw attention to food systems as an integral concept in planning for sustainable communities. Kaelan has experience working at the Organics Council of Ontario and as a consultant for small businesses and non-profits in developing programs to reduce emissions through food policy. Her research at ISFS will continue to focus on planning for sustainable food systems.
Shannon Hanson - Indigenous Food Ways Community Outreach Facilitator
Shannon Hanson is a Coast Salish from the Klahoose First Nation located on a remote community of Cortes Island. She brings over 15 years of experience working with Indigenous communities within the Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky and Fraser Valley and North Island. Part of her background includes Studying Self Governance with an associate degree in First Nation Studies plus a Certified Career Development Practitioner, Advanced Strategy Certification at Sauder School of Business, and also Advanced Management Ch’nook Program at UBC. Her work history includes working for Federal Government, Crown Corporation, Non-Profit Sector, Provincial Government, many Band Offices, Health Authorities and Post Secondary Institutions. Shannon will also focus on supporting Indigenous communities and a focus on food sovereignty with willing Indigenous communities.
Kalista Pruden - Indigenous Food Ways Community Outreach Facilitator
Kalista Pruden is a Métis woman and mother of three, currently residing in the Columbia Valley of BC on the traditional and shared territory of the Ktunaxa and Secwépemc, and the chosen home of the Métis. Kalista has been delivering education programs, consulting and performing technical services for over 15 years, with a background in environmental science, permaculture and Indigenous knowledge. After completing a Permaculture Design certificate in 2017, Kalista launched her own business, Avalily Permaculture and The Earthskills Institute, offering permaculture education, consulting and design, and earthskills education. Kalista has worked with multiple community organizations focused on food security, organized skill-sharing events, assisted with delivery of international permaculture education programs to over 750 students and to indigenous groups and schools across the province seeking to create resilient, regenerative food systems and spaces to connect in community.
KPU Farm Schools
Micheal Robinson - Extension Associate
Originally from Vancouver Island, Micheal’s passion for agriculture led him to Vancouver and KPU’s Sustainable Agriculture program. After the program, Micheal spent time managing an organic livestock operation on Vancouver Island.
Micheal was involved with the Tsawwassen First Nation Farm School as Farm Manager from 2017 to 2019. Currently, Micheal is taking on the role as a research technician for the Institute's Hog Grazing and Pasture Rotation project, bringing his expertise and skills from his farm school work. He will continue to build BC's sustainable agriculture extension system and conduct production agriculture research.
Ben Alles - Farm Schools Coordinator
Ben moved back to Canada in 2021 to complete his bachelor’s degree in Sustainable Agriculture at KPU after working with a non-profit in Germany for 8 years. While abroad Ben became deeply interested in the role that Regenerative Agriculture has in strengthening and positively developing communities in all parts of the globe. Ben spent several years coordinating training for individuals in Europe who were interested in learning the basic principles of regenerative agriculture and its far-reaching impacts. Participating in these trainings inspired Ben to return to Canada and restart his own journey as a student to better equip him to engage in positive food systems change in the future.
Ben loves no-till vegetable production and finds joy in tending chickens and other livestock. He is convinced that a large part of positively changing the food system is having as many people as possible farming with sustainability and ecological regeneration in mind.
Yankee Cheung - Administrative Assistant
Yankee joined the ISFS team in 2022 with a passion for bringing smooth administrative support, a friendly work atmosphere, and facilitating hiring and research project finance processes. She moved to Canada with her family in late 2021. Yankee is an experienced academic administrator and has worked with multiple universities including the City University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and the University of British Columbia.
Stephanie Sun - Student Research Assistant
Stephanie is a 3rd year accounting student at KPU. She takes pleasure in delving into diverse realms within the business landscape, and her previous role involving the sale of agricultural products (Chinese premium oranges) has ignited a profound fascination with the agricultural sector. Furthermore, her professional stint at an accounting firm has equipped her with valuable insights that prove advantageous in her current endeavor. During her leisure hours, she derives joy from culinary pursuits, and she embraces the opportunity to contribute her skills and enthusiasm to the ISFS team.
Ria McKenzie - Student Extension Assistant
Ria is a fourth-year creative writing student at KPU who has been dedicating her time and skills to the ISFS since 2021. As a student extension assistant, she has been documenting and creating videos for the ISFS, with a focus on the Tsawwassen and Richmond Farm Schools. Ria has enjoyed working with the incubator farmers and organizations involved with Farm Schools, and she is grateful for the opportunity to contribute to such an important program.
Byeongyong Lee, D.V.M.
Byeongyong graduated his bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine and completed a Master’s degree in veterinary medicine from the University in Republic of Korea(ROK). He is working for Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs(MAFRA) as a veterinarian and veterinary officer in ROK. He have been in charge of various sectors including quarantine, animal disease control and sanitary management of livestock products in MAFRA since 2002.
Byeongyong has joined ISFS team to work on his project and he is working with the ISFS as researcher. His research focused on major policies and practices related to the New Deal in the agricultural and livestock industries of Canada, eco-friendly agriculture and livestock industry system.
Email : email@example.com
Maayan holds an NSERC postdoctoral fellowship based at ISFS, studying transitions to perennial-based agricultural systems in Canada.
Maayan’s research focuses on perennial crops, perennial agriculture landscapes, and the environmental and agronomic dimensions of transitions to perennial food systems. She did her undergraduate studies at UBC with a focus on botany (BSc. Biology) and did her Masters' in bioinformatics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (MSc. Genetics).
Maayan worked at the BC Cancer Agency’s Genome Sciences Centre as a bioinformatician before returning to UBC for her PhD at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability. She serves as the Secretary of the Association for Temperate Agroforestry, and works as a part-time researcher at the Savannah Institute. She also volunteers on the board of the BC Green Party's Vancouver Riding Association.
ISFS Research and Extension Affiliates
Dr. Akshit Puri, PhD, Department of Sustainable Agriculture , Faculty of Science and Horticulture
Dr. Akshit Puri is a soil scientist with interests in soil biodiversity, soil health, and sustainable soil management. His research expertise lies in soil biology, plant-microbe interactions and nitrogen cycling in diverse ecosystems including natural forests and grasslands, managed agricultural systems, and anthropogenically disturbed environments. He is also interested in comprehensively studying the interlinkages between belowground communities and soil physical and chemical properties, with the ultimate goal of improving soil health. Before joining KPU, Dr. Puri was an Assistant Professor in Environmental and Applied Microbiology at the School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin, Ireland. He completed his PhD degree in Soil Science from the University of British Columbia in 2020 and his MSc degree in Soil Science from the University of British Columbia in 2015.
In addition, he has experience teaching courses related to general soil science, plant nutrition, soil ecology, environmental microbiology, and circular bioeconomy. He is passionate about conveying soil science knowledge to the next generation of professionals to assist them in tackling the challenges of contemporary land management.
Dr. Parthi Krishnan, Msc (Aberdeen), MPhil (Edinburgh), PhD (Reading), Geography Department
Dr. Parthi Krishnan is a faculty member of the Geography Department at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. One of his main teaching and research realms is the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to address real world problems in both the physical and human environments. These include environmental sensitivity mapping, hazards and emergency mapping, parks and recreation planning, community needs assessments and housing studies. In addition to GIS, he is also trained in environmental remote sensing. His has worked in both the public and private sectors, as well at the local and federal government levels. His experience comes from his work in North America, Europe and Southeast Asia.
Melissa Cuthill, MLIS, BA (Psychology), Research Data Management Librarian
Melissa is responsible for developing and providing research data management support and services based on the KPU Research Data Management Strategy.
Thom O'Dell, Ph.D., P.Ag., Nature Tech Nursery, Ltd.
Thom is a broadly skilled biologist with expertise in plants and fungi and a passion for sustainable food production. He has a Ph.D. in Botany and Plant Pathology from Oregon State University, held positions with the US Forest Service and National Park Service, and worked on commercializing mycoremediation of contaminated soils before immigrating to Canada. Thom manages lab, greenhouse and nursery production, and offers agrology consulting for tissue culture, hazelnut and m ushroom cultivation, at Nature Tech Nursery Ltd. He recently conducted a seven-year variety trial with the BC Hazelnut Growers Association and served as an Agroecologist for the BC Ministry of Agriculture.
He teaches mushroom identification and cultivation workshops and has produced mushroom spawn and kits commercially. He often volunteers with public education and outreach, serves on boards and committees in his areas of expertise, and loves to share his knowledge with others of all ages and backgrounds. Thom has big ideas for regional food security tempered by a farmer’s practicality and the critical lens of science.
Caitlin Dorward, MSc, A.Ag., Food System Planner
Caitlin has extensive experience working on BC food system issues in various roles she has held academic, government, and the non-profit sector. She previously worked with ISFS as a Research Associate from 2010-2014 and as Senior Research Associate from 2015-17. She now serves as a Research Affiliate who consults on various ISFS projects.
Caitlin holds an MSc (Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems) and BSc (Global Resource Systems) from the University of British Columbia, was a Richmond Farm School student in 2012, and is pursuing her Professional Agrology designation with the BC Institute of Agrologists.
Dr. Sean Smuckler, Associate Professor, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia
Sean Smukler is an Assistant Professor in Applied Biology and Soil Science and the Junior Chair, Agriculture and the Environment, for the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at the University of British Columbia. His research currently focuses on evaluating farming practices that can enhance ecological functions to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture, while at the same time improve climate change adaptation capacity.
Sean received a PhD in Ecology from the University of California, Davis where he also did his undergraduate studies. He holds a MSc in Forest Soils from the University of Washington, Seattle. For more information about Sean's research program, visit his lab's website: http://sal-lab.landfood.ubc.ca/
Dr. Rebecca Harbut, Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
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, Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Mike moved to Richmond in 2014 to assist with KPU's new Sustainable Agriculture degree program. Before returning to BC, 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. He completed his 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.
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. His teaching responsibilities at KPU include the senior series in Agroecosystem Management, and courses in Vegetable Production, Ecologically-Based Pest Management, and Agriculture and Energy. He also guides a full-year series of Research courses for senior students.
Dr. Meidad Kissinger, Department of Geography and Environmental Development, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Dr. Meidad Kissinger professional interests and academic background are interdisciplinary. He is a geographer and sustainability scientists specializing in bio-physical accounting and sustainability policy and planning. He is a faculty member at the Department of Geography and Environmental development at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in which he is leading the 'Sustainability and Environmental Policy' research group and head of the BGU 'Negev Centre of Sustainability'. He holds a PhD in urban and regional planning from the 'School of Community and Regional Planning' at the University of British Columbia and a M.A in Natural resources management from the University of Haifa.
His research explores variety of linkages between human activities and the natural environment (dependence and impact). He uses and develops bio-physical (i.e., land, energy, water, waste) and sustainability accounting tools (such as footprint analysis, life cycle assessments, material flow analysis etc.) and examines the policy implications of human – environment interactions at several spatial and cross spatial scales. His research in recent years covers wide range of sustainability research themes including: Urban sustainability, Food systems sustainability, Energy society nexus, behavior and the environment.
As part of the interests at 'Food System Sustainability', his research explores direct and indirect connections between food consumption and production and different aspects of sustainability. Selected studies include: A study which analysed the bio-physical inputs and outputs of Israel's grain and meat system; a study on Israel's food security exploring the extent to which Israel can advanced self-sufficiency; a study which explores households' food consumption and footprints; a life cycle assessment of Dairy products and a study of vegetables grown in the desert. Several of his food system related research is connected to Canada including a research of Canada's food footprint, an analysis of its food system related food miles and an analysis of local vs. import food commodity bio-physical performances.