The ISFS team includes our:
- Research and KPU Farm Schools staff
- Graduate and undergraduate students
- Affiliates from other KPU departments and other institutions
Our team also works closely with staff and faculty in the BASc Sustainable Agriculture program.
Dr. Kent Mullinix
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, PhD - Senior Research Associate
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.
Caroline Chiu, MFRE - Project Manager
Caroline graduated from the Masters of Food and Resource Economics program at UBC. Before joining ISFS, she worked in the Statistics Unit with the BC Ministry of Agriculture. She has been a research associate since 2013 and since then, she has worked in several positions with the Institute. She started her career as an economist working on the Southwest BC Bioregion project doing economic analyses. Then in 2015, she pursued further education by enrolling in the Richmond Farm School to learn more about agriculture production. Since then she started and operated her own farm business, Riverside Farm, for two years while taking on the role of Program Manager at ISFS for the Farm School programs. Her work included administration, community engagement, business planning and student coordination of the programs, while also assisting the Director in planning future farm school development. In 2020, her position changed to being the Project Manager for the Institute where her responsibilities include community engagement, project oversight, grant writing, administration, and resource management.
Payal Batra, PhD - Research Associate
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.
Naomi Robert, MLWS, P.Ag. - 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 extension 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, a working group member with the Vancouver Food Policy Council, 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.
Emily Hansen, MA Planning - Research Associate
Emily is a settler on the traditional and unceded terriroties of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Peoples. She holds a Masters in Planning from the School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP) at UBC. As a Research Associate at the ISFS she is focused applied research projects related to food policy development and the emergence of food systems planning. Emily joined ISFS in 2016 and since has employing her skills and experience in farmer networking, capacity development and food systems research. Emily grew up on a small scale organic vegetable farm in Ontario and prior to joining ISFS has engaged in food and agriculture as a farmer, education coordinator and volunteer. She also holds an undergraduate degree in Landscape Architecture and certificate in Permaculture Design and remains passionate about the art and design of productive, regenerative landscapes. Emily is an advocate for community food security and is a board member of the Cedar Cottage Food Network.
Grace Augustinowicz, Hons. BA BSc, BASc - Research Associate
Grace graduated from a four-year degree program in Applied Science at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), where she completed a Sustainable Agriculture major and a Policy Studies minor. She has an Honours Bachelor Degree in Arts and Science from the University of Toronto, with a double major in Botany and Ecology. While at the University of Toronto, Grace worked as a research assistant for the Urban Forest Center at the Department of Forestry. Over the last seven years, Grace has been working as a research associate for the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems in a variety of projects related to policy, planning and science. She has also extended her training to farming by working for the Department of Sustainable Agriculture at KPU. Recently, Grace completed her Masters in Soil Science at UBC (Land and Food Systems).
Kristi Tatebe, MCIP, RPP - 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 to the work of the ISFS.
Leah Sandler, PhD - Organic Agriculture Research Associate
Leah comes to B.C. with a history of work and study experiences in a variety of different farming systems. For several years after university she worked on a research agricultural station in Missouri doing field research on over 70 trials covering various crop production systems as well as fertilizer management, integrated crop and pest management and irrigation and water drainage management. Following that, she worked on several small scale organic vegetable farms throughout the US Midwest before she moved to Ghana to do agricultural development and extension in the Eastern region. She completed her PhD at Purdue University in botany with a focus in agroecology, conducting research in organic hemp production both agronomically as an alternative crop and from a social sciences perspective looking at farmer adoption rates and techniques. In her most recent position before arriving in B.C., she worked as an education director and research associate at a non-profit working in sustainable agriculture conducting field research and operating in an extension role, working with farmers across the state of Wisconsin. Her interests lie in farming and creating environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable local and regional food systems through engagement with farmers and communities. Leah joins the ISFS team in order to continue to build B.C.’s sustainable agriculture extension system and conduct production agriculture research.
Tel: 604-598-6187; 314-598-6217
Charlene Seward - Indigenous Foodways Community Outreach Facilitator
Charlene Seward is a proud member of the Squamish Nation with close family ties to the Snuneymuxw Nation. She is honoured to join the ISFS team and brings a decade of experience in Indigenous engagement, with a passion for developing meaningful relationships that support change at multiple levels. Charlene is an experienced facilitator, who values creating safe spaces for rich dialogue, and frames all the work she does with a lens of reconciliation and decolonization. Charlene has studied Geography, English Literature, facilitation, and Indigenous food systems from institutions and community-based Indigenous leaders from across the country. Charlene is grateful for the opportunity to support the transformative work of the ISFS by creating space for Indigenous ways of knowing and being.
KPU Farm Schools - Extension Associates
Daniel Garfinkel - KPU Farm Schools: Richmond Farm, Manager and Lead Instructor
Daniel has been with ISFS since 2018. He is both the teacher and manager of the Richmond Farm School. He is deeply passionate about food, farming, and community. He has been growing, cooking, and educating for nearly a decade. His earnestness and dedication to the local food movement is highly contagious and evident through his work as a chef, Master Gardener, Beekeeper, Permaculturist, farmer, educator, and consultant. His non-conventional path of learning has led him to both applying and expanding his knowledge at multiple farms in the Lower Mainland as well as living in the Middle East in search of new sustainable agriculture practices and the best hummus. In 2016, Daniel intertwined his passions as well as his background in small business management and founded Vancouver Farming Co., a non-profit farming organization dedicated to feeding the members of our community who need it most, first.
Sarah Clements, BSc - KPU Farm Schools:Tsawwassen First Nation, Manager and Lead Instructor
Sarah's formal food systems education began at UBC where she completed a Bachelor of Science in Land and Food Systems as well as the Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture at the UBC Farm. Before joining the ISFS team in 2017, Sarah spent three seasons working at the UBC Farm as the Practicum Mentor, CSA manager, and manager of several production fields. She also worked for Victory Gardens Vancouver, building food gardens in the city and teaching people how to grow food in their own backyards. Sarah is passionate about growing local, sustainable food and hopes to empower BC’s next generation of organic farmers! In her spare time, she enjoys singing and playing the fiddle in a bluegrass band.
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.
Paige Leslie - KPU Farm Schools: Tsawwassen First Nation & Richmond Sales, Communications and Program Coordinator
Katherine Hastie - KPU Farm Schools: Tsawwassen First Nation Vegetable Production Manager
Rodrigo Ochoa Jurado, MUDD., MA., B.Arch., PhD Candidate, ITESO
Rodrigo completed his bachelor's degree in Architecture and holds both a Master of Urban Design and Development (MUDD) from the University of New South Wales, Sydney Australia, and a Master of Agro-Ecology and Regenerative Food Systems from the University of the Environment, Valle de Bravo, México. He is currently a PhD candidate in Social Studies at ITESO (Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente), Guadalajara, México, where he is focused on urban and agricultural land use planning and regional governance. Rodrigo’s research explores the family farm unit and its multifunctional contributions within comparative studies in the Metro-Guadalajara region and Metro-Vancouver region. Prior to joining the ISFS, Rodrigo worked as Research Professor at Tecnológico de Monterrey and as the Director of Public Space for Jalisco State, México. He has also been implicated in the Public Space Survey in Sydney Australia, conducted by Jan Gehl. Rodrigo has lived and worked in a number of countries including Australia, Mexico, Ecuador, Spain and Switzerland. He has been involved in food and urban agriculture for several years now, conducting community garden and urban public space projects. He remains passionate about cities, landscapes, regenerative design, and food systems.
Undergraduate and Graduate Students
Karin Johnson - 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 through 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.
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. Aimee Taylor
Aimee holds a PhD in Soil Science from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Throughout her research, Aimee collaborated with industry partners to investigate soil physical conditions and the effects on the emergence of sugar beet.
Aimee worked for provincial government social housing initiatives as a Registered Horticultural Therapist (HTR). In this capacity, she uses horticultural techniques as a modality for improving well-being, health and teaching life skills. In her position at BC Housing, Aimee managed the province-wide program for assisting vulnerable adults and families in learning to grow food either in communal spaces or in their own yards. The program aimed to improve food security by teaching the skills required to grow and prepare food and by providing a method for community development through partnerships, empowerment and inclusion.
Aimee arrived in Canada in 2002 as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia. At UBC Aimee worked with Dr Cindy Prescott in the Faculty of Forestry, where she investigated the decomposition rates and nitrogen mineralization of forest litters.
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.
Greg Harris - Biology Instructor, Faculty of Science and Horticulture | Faculty Research Affiliate, Institute for Sustainable Food Systems
Greg is a passionate educator currently teaching undergraduate courses in biology at KPU including ecology and conservation biology. He served as Co-Chair of the Biology Department from 2011 to 2013 and is actively involved in developing new biology courses and supervising undergraduate research projects. Having helped to develop the BSc. Biology degree and the B.A.Sc. Sustainable Agriculture degree, Greg joined ISFS as a research affiliate in 2010 to investigate the ecological parameters of Bioregional Food Systems. His research now focuses on the development and application of a methodology for delineating Bioregional Food Systems in BC.
Greg received his M.Sc. in Behavioural Ecology at Sydney University in Australia and has a Diploma in Education from Wollongong University (Aust.). Before migrating to Canada in 2007, he spent many years developing and teaching numerous biology courses and other educational programs including Interdisciplinary Environmental Education for the National Parks and Wildlife Service where he also conducted research into the ecology of possums and sugar-gliders. Greg worked on a project to establish the historic Laperouse Museum aimed at showcasing the unique historical, cultural and natural resources of the Sydney region. He went on to manage the museum for its first year of opening and was instrumental in establishing its reputation as a prominent public education facility.
Tel: 604 599 2385