LifeCycles cultivates community health from the ground up by connecting people to the food they eat and the land it comes from. We support people in gaining the knowledge, skills and resources needed to access, grow and preserve local food in ways that foster biodiversity and enhance our urban environment.
Jesse grew up near the confluence of the Fraser and Nechako Rivers, moving to Coast Salish territories over 9 years ago. Since then, she has been growing and learning on organic farms, as well as working on various social justice, food sovereignty and place-based conservation related projects.
She has a growing passion for the stewardship of ecological seed, and building community skills and knowledge to strengthen the resilience of local seed systems. Since apprenticing with the fine folks at Stellar Seeds, a BC-based organic seed company, she has worked for and collaborated with various seed-related projects around the province. She is so excited to be supporting the growth of the Victoria Seed Library!
Maurita first joined LifeCycles in 2005 as a Youth Entrepreneur, then in 2008 with the Home Grown project. She returned once again in 2013 as the Growing Schools Workshop Coordinator. Maurita holds a BA in Political Science and Environmental Studies, a Restoration of Natural Systems diploma and a MSc in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability. Passionate about human and ecological well being, she strives to help vision and build a new economy defined by community capitals and sustainability principles.
Her Master’s thesis entitled “Collaborative Services, Communities innovating towards Sustainability" looked at resource sharing projects and how these bolster well being in communities. Past lives include: seven years as an Outdoor Guide, four years as a Certified Organic Farmer, twenty years as an Old-Growth Forest and Food Sovereignty Activist, two years as a food and politics College Instructor and, most impressively, three years as a mom. She loves dancing, singing, playing charades and hanging out with her son, Jude. She is thrilled and humbled to be joining the team once more in her capacity as the Director of LifeCycles.
Mary Tooley loves nature, and has always appreciated the beauty of nature's gifts. Originally from Ontario, she has also spent many years in the colourful and vibrant Yukon where she and her husband Gerald ran their own business in the tourism industry. Mary and Gerald have lived in Victoria since 1997, and have 3 married sons and 4 grandchildren, living in Victoria and in Texas.
Mary holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Royal Roads University. Her professional life has been centred around business and financial management. Her past roles include Executive Director of the Yukon Chamber of Commerce, Commercial Banker for BMO and Business Consultant analyzing and reporting to businesses on opportunities for improvement. She is excited to have the opportunity to bring her knowledge and experience to LifeCycles as they navigate some planned growth and development.
Mary currently fills two key roles for LifeCycles: Administrator and Accountant.
Matthew Kemshaw has been supporting urban food programming in schools, parks, and other community minded spaces for almost a decade. Matthew began saving seeds 10 years ago, with Elementary school children. He has gone on to support several community seed sharing initiatives in both Victoria and Vancouver.
In 2013, Matthew helped pull together a unique network of librarians, seed savers and community programmers to design and implement the Victoria Seed Library. He is excited to continue to grow this network and further develop our understanding of how to run a successful community seed library in the local library. Matthew is currently collaborating with a network of seed librarians across Canada, while working closely with the Surrey Libraries to develop the Surrey Seed Library.
Raised on the gentle shores of Victoria, Coast Salish Territories, Jenny holds a Masters degree in Political Science, has been a community organizer for 10 years and when she’s not knee deep in fruit she practices as a Medical Herbalist, with a special passion for reviving traditional healing practices and food-ways.
Jenny’s love for the Fruit Tree Project is driven not only by a desire to connect people to available food and save a valuable resource, but also by a passion for connecting people to their neighbours and like-minded strangers, in a spirit of collaboration, cooperation and taking care of one another! She believes that the solutions to the biggest problems we face today can be found at the community level-- through an ethic of mutual aid, and by looking to where we have come from in order to plot our path forward. Jenny also loves fruit, especially golden plums and tries to find her way up fruit trees as often as time allows.
Tim’s early life was spent on an array of isolated farms scattered across the Northern Interior. He discovered a profound curiosity about how natural, social and cultural systems interrelate to provide our ‘food.’ Tim spent his post-farm life exploring Europe and North Africa and studying the “history of systems of thought” in the Political Science department at UVIC.
In recent years, Tim has focused his Political, Urban, Anthropological, Historical, and Philosophical questions through the problem of sustainable ‘food systems.’ Tim has been closely involved in the creation and expansion of “Ranfurly Farm,” the intergenerational enterprise started by his family in 2009. He also became interested in how such practices as wild fermenting and urban foraging, aquatic gardening and aquaponic systems, food foresting and mushroom cultivation, guerrilla gardening and public propagation can close gaps in accessibility and enjoyment.
More hedonistic and experimental tendencies has inspired Tim to co-found a collective of chefs, bartenders, theatre practitioners, graphic and visual artists, farmers, and foragers to stage a series of culinary-oriented popup events that experiments with news ways for food and culture to produce community.
Angela’s work as Community Food Coordinator sees her building programming in three main areas: The Welland Legacy Orchard, Food Literacy, and Urban Agriculture. Her journey to urban farming and community food programming began at Brock University in Niagara Falls where she earned a degree in Environmental Policy and Sociology. It was here that Angela concentrated her studies in food literacy and ecological farming. What she craved upon graduation was a chance to get some practical experience in organic food production, which led her on a three year woofing journey through Canada, the United Kingdom, Costa Rica and Panama.
In 2005, Angela was accepted into the Linnaea Ecological Gardening Program on Cortes Island. It was at Linnaea that Angela became attuned to the complexities of our globalized food system and issues surrounding food justice. Gaining the core skills to become a farmer, Angela arrived in Victoria after graduation ready to seriously invest some time into urban agriculture.
In 2006, Angela took over the lease of The Mason Street City Farm where she and her farm partner offer food skills and farming education to residents on Southern Vancouver Island. She is dedicated to educating people about growing food in the Pacific Northwest and cultivating a just community food system. In her “downtime” she is a mother and flamenco dancer.
Julia is thrilled to join Lifecycles to assist in stewarding the Welland Legacy Park & Community Orchard. A recent transplant to Victoria, she joined us in 2015 after three years being mentored in the art of ecosystem care and living on the land at the Bullocks Permaculture Homestead and Nursery on Orcas Island. Working with fruit trees all through the season is a source of joy for her, and having the opportunity to support the mission of the Welland Legacy Park & Community Orchard is a real dream come true. Previously, she has lent her hands to farms in Québec, on Salt Spring & Vancouver Islands, and in Baja California Sur, México. Before she got down to working with the roots and soil of it all, you could find her behind a desk or out at community events for various non-profit, community and institutional organizations in the fields of conservation, health and public art in Toronto and internationally.
This is Regan's first year as a member of the Board. She is passionate about local food and believes everyone should have access to good, nutritious food. Regan has 15 years experience in marketing communications and is looking forward to using her skills to further the work of LIfecycles Project Society.
With a hands-on approach working for and volunteering with LifeCycles, Jesse eagerly jumped on the opportunity to become Board Chairperson in 2012. He believes that the Board of Directors provide the support and oversight to LifeCycles great staff who are the backbone of our non-profit organization. As past Coordinator of the Fruit Tree Project, Jesse is a strong advocate of local food and believes in the potential of Vancouver Island to grow more and divert food waste. He has also volunteered with Growing Schools and with the Diggers, who he believes are the future farmers, urban gardeners and food policy shifters of tomorrow. Email him to discuss anything LifeCycles!
Tim has been a LifeCycles Board member for the past three years and currently serves as the Treasurer. He previously worked as a staff member with LifeCycles from 1997-2005, first serving as the Community Entrepreneur Program Manager from 1998-2003, the GroundWorks Learning Centre Co-Manager from 2002-2004 and then as a Co-Director of the organization from 2004-2005. Tim’s favorite gardening activities include picking lots of tasty heritage tomatoes from his 20 plus plants in his backyard from late July until the rains start in October, and also working with his neighbors to team up and grow squash, beans, broccoli and potatoes in their nearby backyards! Tim enjoys being part of the LifeCycles team and really hopes to see the “local food for local people” connection grow much bigger in the years ahead in the Southern Vancouver Island region - LifeCycles definitely plays a key role in making this connection happen. E-mail Tim if you'd like to talk or chat about tasty local food and a healthy future!
Erich has been involved in Lifecycles since 2007 and loves helping out the team! He previously coordinated the Fruit Tree Project and has volunteered with the Diggers and Growing Schools. Erich's favorite food activity is picking Apples on a late summer evening and going home and making scrumptious homemade cobbler to enjoy with some ice cream. Erich hopes to see Vancouver Island figure out wayts to supply more of its own food and believes LifeCycles to be a critical piece to that puzzle. Email him anytime if you'd like to chat or want to connect!
Rhianna is a mom, a community-engaged researcher, and a fan of individual and collective behaviour change towards reduced consumerism. Rhianna graduated from the Global Resource Systems BSc Program at UBC in 2007. Through that program she discovered her passion for sustainable food production and food politics and built her skills and knowledge in in this area through courses, practicums and farming internships. Later, she greatly enjoyed working with the Environmental Youth Alliance as a coordinator, building gardens and developing programs for food system engagement in Vancouver. She is very pleased to be supporting this work at Lifecycles. Rhianna is finishing her MA with the Community Based Research Lab in UVic Geography. She works at the Institute for Studies and Innovation in Community University Engagement at UVic, assisting with community-engaged programs and research.
The seeds for LifeCycles Project Society were first planted in 1994.
In 1994, our founding members attended an international youth exchange in Santiago, Chile. The youth exchange program worked with local organizations to explore issues facing Canadian and Chilean communities, with a goal of developing projects that would enhance the quality of life within urban communities. LifeCycles’ founding members learned about the links between globalization, the corporatization of food systems, environmental degradation and food insecurity. They identified a need to spread awareness around issues with food security and increase food production within the urban community.
LifeCycles’ first project was the development of community gardens, tended by youth, whose harvests supplied local soup kitchens. Our programs have since grown from there to include a number of interrelated initiatives that seek out to address urban sustainability and food security by offering practical, accessible and hopeful solutions.
We believe that local action, rooted within the community, is the most effective way to create change.
While the maxim Think Globally, Act Locally may seem simplistic, it is still the best model for social and environmental action. This principle is the cornerstone upon which the LifeCycles Project was founded, and it is why we have endured as one of Victoria’s best-loved community organizations. LifeCycles is empowering because our initiatives make sense. LifeCycles creates possibilities.
LifeCycles would like to thank the following individuals and businesses for their generous donations:
6 Mile Public House
10 Acres Bistro + Farm
AIDS Vancouver Island
Blanshard Community Centre
Breast Feeding Challenge Esquimalt Health Unit
Burnside Gorge Community Center
Campus View Elementary
Canadian Association for Food Studies Assembly
Capital Region Housing Corporation
Choux Choux Charcuterie
Cloverdale Traditional School
Communities in Harvest Program
Community Living Association
Cool Aid Society
Cridge Center for the Family
Deep Cove Elementary
Esquimalt Community Gardens Society
Esquimalt Neighborhood House
Esquimalt Recreation Centre
Fairfield Gonzales Community Association
Feys and Hobbs
George Jay Elementary
Good Seed Hemp Company
Grace Lutheran Church
Greater Victoria Compost Education Centre
Grow a Row
Horticultural Centre of the Pacific
Hoyne Brewing Co.
Intependent Order of Odd Fellows
James Bay Community Project
Level Ground Trading
Market on Yates
Neighbourhood House Association
Ottavio Italian Bakery & Delicatessen
Our Place Society
Panorama Recreation Centre
PEERS Victoria Resource Society
Peninsula Streams Society
Root Cellar Grocery
Royal Colwood Golf Club
Saanich Neighbourhood Place
Sapphire Day Spa
Senior Advocate Agency
Spectrum Band Program
Spinnaker’s Gastro Brewpub
Spring Ridge Commons
St. John Divine
St. Vincent de Paul
Thrifty Foods James Bay
University of Victoria Environmental Studies
Victoria Brain Injury Society
Victoria Immigrant & Refugee Centre Society
Victoria Native Friendship Centre
Victoria West Community Association
Victoria West Community Kitchen
Victoria Women’s Transition House
View Royal Elementary
West Coast Artisian Foods
Western Community School Band Project
W̱SÁNEĆ School Board