Thanks to all who applied for the Growing Schools position! The competition is now closed and we will be introducing our newest staff member shortly...
FROM LifeCycles' Director:
A Fond Farewell to Jeanette, and Welcome to Maurita
I’m sitting at my desk trying to find words to express my gratitude for my time with LifeCycles and stumbling over how to say goodbye to a community that has meant much to me. I’m looking out glass doors at a balcony that over looks the city, a balcony that is more than double the size of our old office. As I look at the blue sky I’m reflecting on the growth and change I’ve supported and witnessed over the last three years. On the wall in front of me are the drafts of our new logo and the wire frames and notes for our new website – another significant change and visible manifestation of the transformations we’ve undergone. I’m so proud of the work we do and I am grateful for the learning and personal growth that I’ve gotten in return. It’s impossible to convey the depth of my gratitude in such a short space.
Earlier this summer I decided to take a leave of absence from LifeCycles to rest, visit family and absorbed the lessons I’ve learned. Together with the Board we found a fabulous new Director, Maurita Prato, it’s because of her that I feel comfortable leaving this role. For the last three months Maurita and I have been working together, transferring knowledge, planning and dreaming about the future of LifeCycles. I’m excited for what is next and I think she will do a fantastic job.
Since 2011 LifeCycles has harvested and redistributed more than 100,000lbs of fruit, fed more than 47,000 people, explored school gardens with over 1500 students and taught more than 585 food skills workshops reaching more than 4,500 people. None of it would be possible without the time and support of volunteers, funders and community partners. It really is a group effort and its been a gift to have been a part of it for this long. There are so many people to thank before I go, and I know Mary is concerned about my word count :) so I’ll try to keep this short.
Thank you to Linda Geggie, who taught me so much about collaboration, strategic planning and communication. The work you do to create a more food sovereign community is inspiring and tireless. Michael Brinsmead, I miss you in the office. You were the best accountant, friend and support I could have asked for; together with Renate you made LifeCycles my family. We were so lucky to have you on staff for 7 years, you were a true gift, thank you. To Renate, you held us together, ensured we had a great time and always looked for ways to meet the needs of everyone. The lessons I learned from you are invaluable. I hope you are having fabulous your adventures, you deserve it. To Matthew and Jenny, it was a great privilege to create programs and dream along side you, I hope to do it again. To Erich, Jesse, Tim, Maeve, Lee, Kylie, and Mark thank you for your keen eyes, kind hearts and genuine love for the work we do, you made Board meetings better than average ;) To Marg Rose, Lynn Mlines, Michael Bloomfield and Murray Rankin, thank you for encouraging me, providing guidance and sharing your knowledge and networks. Your support and trust was immensely helpful.
This isn’t good-bye, its just so long. I know I’ll continue to be part of the LifeCycles community in one shape or form, either as staff, a volunteer or a Board member. So without further ado, I would like to introduce you to Maurita Prato, our new Director.
‘Plant Something Everyday’ were the words of my wise mentor at Linnaea Farm, ‘Something good will take’. These are words to live by, especially in my new role as Director at LifeCycles. Putting down roots at LifeCycles started for me in 2005 as a Youth Entrepreneur, which led me to running my own Certified Organic farm for four years and helping with backyard and community garden creation on the Tsartlip reservation through LifeCycles’ Homegrown project.
I then grew to love the passion and hustle that lives in the non-profit world, working with Victoria’s Compost Education Center and Dogwood Initiative, before moving to Sweden to collaborate with 50 friends from across the world and gain my MSc in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability. My work in Sweden focused on human and ecological health, visioning a new economy using the sharing of resources to bolster overall wellbeing in communities.
I returned to Victoria in 2012 to give birth to my beautiful son Jude. In 2013 I rejoined the team at LifeCycles in the capacity of Growing Schools Workshop Coordinator while also teaching about Food and Politics at Pacific Rim College.
I am so thrilled and humbled to be moving into my new role(s) as Director and Education Coordinator of the PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW project. I am constantly amazed at the LifeCycles community and what we are collectively able to accomplish. Everyday I get to plant a metaphoric seed or two and together with an amazing community of staff, board members, volunteers and supporters and things are getting pretty lush and productive. I can’t wait to see what another season will bring!
Jeanette & Maurita