The ISFS team includes our:
- Research and farm school 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 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.
Curriculum Vitae: CV_Polasub CV 2017.pdf
Caroline Chiu, MFRE - Farm School Coordinator
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’s been involved in the economic analyses for all ISFS projects. Her work includes data research, farm survey facilitation, report writing and business plan development. Since 2015, her role at ISFS has changed and is now managing the outreach programs at the Insitute, specifically the Farm School programs. She manages the administration, business and student coordination of the programs, while also assisting the Director in planning future farm school development. She also graduated from KPU’s Richmond Farm School Program in 2015 and is now an owner-operator of Riverside Farm in Richmond. 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 - 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.
Corine Singfield - Research Associate and Tsawwassen Farm School Animal Agriculture Lead
Corine is an Organic Agriculture Researcher and the Animal Agriculture Lead at the Tsawwassen Farm School. She has been a farmer, teacher and community organizer for over a decade. She joined the ISFS team in 2014 to initiate and build the Tsawwassen Farm School. Before then, Corine lived in Bella Coola, BC 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 student in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at UBC where she is investigating the impact of animal grazing systems on small-scale market garden production systems.
Naomi Robert, MLWS, P.Ag. - Research Associate
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. Prior to joining the ISFS, Naomi worked in the non-profit sectors of Quebec and British Columbia, where she focused on local food systems and policy research. Naomi’s passion for connecting with the diverse components of our food system has brought her to work in urban agriculture gardens in Montreal, community kitchens, bicycle-powered farmers markets, Panamanian forests and one Costa Rican cocoa farm. Naomi joins the research team at ISFS to develop accessible policy tools to support planning practitioners and communities in advancing regional food systems in BC. She is a Professional Agrologist with the BC Institute of Agrologists.
Emily Hansen, BLA, MCRP - Research Associate
Emily holds a Masters in Planning from the School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP) at UBC where she focused on land use planning and regional governance. Her specific interests included agricultural policy and the emergence of food systems planning. Additionally, her graduate thesis explored the idea of resilience in working landscapes and the potential for ecosystem focused, landscape scale approaches to planning, governance and policy making. Emily joined ISFS as a Research Assistant employing her skills and experience in farmer networking, capacity development and food systems research. Emily grew up on a small scale, intensive, organic vegetable farm in Ontario and has since been involved 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, restorative landscapes.
Grace Augustinowicz, Hons. BA BSc, BASc - Research Associate
Grace has recently 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, majoring 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. In 2014, as a policy student, Grace partnered with the City of Surrey’s Sustainability Department to review the City’s Sustainability Charter. In 2015, she was part of the team that revised the City of Richmond agricultural policies, leading to the creation of their first agricultural park, in order to create a zoning policy template to be used by cities and municipalities in the region. Over the last three years, Grace worked as a research assistant for the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, collaborating in the creation of a regional food systems online hub. She has also extended her training to farming by working for the Department of Sustainable Agriculture at KPU for the past three summers. Grace is currently starting her Masters in Soil Science at UBC. She is also a research associate for the ISFS, where she collaborates in the development of several regional food systems projects.
Annelise Grube-Cavers, MSc - Research Associate
Annelise has an MSc in Geography, Urban and Environmental Studies and a BA Honours in Urban Planning from Concordia University. She grew up on a veggie farm in Chase, BC and in Kamloops, where she and her family were actively involved with the Kamloops Regional Farmers Market. After returning to BC from university in Montreal she has managed farmers' markets, completed an affordable housing research contract with the City of Kamloops and worked on her family's farm. She now runs a pasture-raised livestock farm with her partner in the North Okanagan. With experience working with farmers, being a farmer, and studying food systems through academia, Annelise comes to the ISFS team with a unique perspective. She joined the institute in 2016 as a research associate working remotely from the Okanagan.
Kristi Tatebe, MCIP, RPP - Reseach 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.
Gerard Garcia, GIS SP, B Eng - Geographic Information Systems Specialist (GIS)/Research Associate
As the in-house GIS Analyst, Gerard is in charge of overseeing and supporting all GIS - related enterprises at the Institute. Gerard holds an Advanced Diploma in Geographic Information Systems from the British Columbia Institute of Technology and a Bachelors Degree in Computer Systems from Merida Institute of Technology in Mexico. Before becoming a Canadian resident in 2016, Gerard worked as a GIS specialist at the Mexican Ministry of Environment, as an IT and GIS Technician at Yucatan State University, as well as freelancing at select NGOs as a GIS consultant.
Gerard is passionate about the intersection of technology and sustainability. A drone aficionado, he is continuously researching new gadgets and frameworks to streamline what is possible in this fast changing technological landscape. He loves the outdoors and travelling and is very much looking forward to putting ISFS on the map!
Mariko Wijekoon, PhD - Research Associate
Mariko holds a Ph.D in economics from Clark University, Massachusetts U.S.A. She specialized in the economics of household food and nutrient consumption in the broader fields of development economics and applied econometrics. Before moving to Vancouver in 2018, Mariko taught introductory economics and development economics at Worcester State University in Massachusetts. Afterwards, she worked as an independent researcher for the United Nations Development Program on their 2018 National Human Development Report for Sri Lanka titled: “Reducing Inequalities: Shared Growth”. She joined ISFS as a research associate in January 2019. Her research interests are on the topics of local food demand and the economic and health impacts of local food systems.
Farm School Staff
Daniel Garfinkel - Richmond Farm School Manager
Daniel 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 - Market Crop Production and Practicum Instructor, Tsawwassen Farm School
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 fiddle in a bluegrass band.
Micheal Robinson, Tsawwassen Farm School Manager
Originally from Vancouver Island, Micheal’s passion for agriculture lead him to Vancouver and KPU’s Sustainable Agriculture program. After the program, Micheal spent time managing an organic livestock operation on Vancouver Island. Micheal then returned to KPU as Head Farm at the Tsawwassen Farm school in 2017, and is thrilled to be the Tsawwassen Farm Manager. Micheal looks forward to building upon the groundwork done at the Tsawwassen farm and using his training and education to continue developing efficient and intuitive agricultural systems for community benefit.
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.
Connor Vincent, B.A – Research Assistant
Connor is completing the GIS Advanced Diploma Program at BCIT, and joins the ISFS team as a practicum student. Connor aims to become a GIS professional after his studies, and is hoping to gain valuable experience within his field. In 2016 Connor graduated from Concordia University with a B.A in Urban Studies, and a minor in Anthropology. Throughout his studies, Connor has developed skills in community planning, social geography, and GIS. Within his time in Montreal, Connor completed projects with affordable housing organizations along with urban garden initiatives. Connor is excited to further his technical abilities at BCIT and to apply those skills within the sustainable agriculture realm.
Caitlin Dorward, MSc, A.Ag - Food System Planner
Caitlin has extensive experience working on BC food system issues in various roles she has held academia, 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, Assistant 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, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
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.
Before teaching at KPU, Aimee worked for provincial government social housing initiatives. She is 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 mineralisation 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. Arcadio Viveros Guzmán, Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Before joining the teaching team at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Arcadio Viveros Guzmán completed his Bachelor of Science in Agronomy focusing on Extension and Outreach Services at the Universidad Veracruzana in Mexico. As part of his undergraduate degree, he conducted research on biological control of pests in corn plantations. Later on, he accomplished a Master of Science in Tropical Agroecosystems at the Colegio de Postgraduados Campus Veracruz, where he studied the potential role of weeds in controlling agricultural pests. In Canada, Arcadio completed a Master of Education in Educational Communications in the Department of Curriculum Studies and a Doctoral Degree in the School of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Saskatchewan. His doctoral dissertation concerned sustainability aspects of temporary foreign worker programs in the agriculture sector in Canada.
In Mexico, Arcadio has taught different agricultural subjects at university level and worked as an agricultural extensionist to assist small-scale farmers through capacity development programs. In Canada, he worked as a university teaching and research assistant in the Department of Plant Sciences, Environment and Sustainability, and the Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan, where he has also worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow.
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