LifeCycles cultivates community health by connecting people to the food they eat and the land it comes from. We support the region in growing, accessing, and eating local food in ways that foster diversity and enhance our urban environment.
Jesse grew up near the confluence of the Fraser and Nechako Rivers, moving to Coast Salish territories over 10 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 projects. As a farmer and seed saver committed to biocultural diversity and resilient, culturally-relevant food systems, she has been heavily involved in the preservation and promotion of ecological seed. Her work has included coordinating the Victoria Seed Library, working directly with regional seed farmers through the BC EcoSeed Co-op, the Bauta Initiative on Canadian Seed Security and FarmFolk CityFolk, as well as harvesting for a number of seed farms in the province. Mentored over the years by many dedicated and brilliant farmers, she has shared her knowledge through hosting numerous seed saving workshops aimed to support community skill-building for stronger local seed systems. For the past 3 seasons, Jesse has supported the development and success of LifeCycles' Farm Gleaning as project coordinator- a role that combines three of her favorite things: food justice, farm education, and spreadsheets.
Isha is a rare bird, having been born and raised in Victoria. Her passion for urban food sources started as a child, picking camomile for tea in the school yard and gleefully gathering blackberries and fruit from backyards, parks, and roadsides in summer. The city can be it's own ecosystem which, given the right care and attention, can be as productive and integrated as any other. Isha's hope is that as more people become aware of issues of food security and create more integrated communities, the Garden City she grew up in will become the Farming City, ensuring that everyone has open access to fresh food and the land. Taking steps towards building this community, Isha has worked in Homeless Shelters and Outreach programs for the past seven years where she has brought her love of gardening with her. She started garden plots and taught food preservation skills in any program she could. Simultaneously, she began growing her own food in her backyard. Frustrated by lack of choices at grocery stores, and tired of having to make ethical decisions each time she went, Isha wanted to test her skills at urban farming and gleaning. By carefully planning one large bulk buy, growing food, preserving the harvest, and getting access to fruit by volunteering with the LifeCycles Fruit Tree project, Isha managed to not set foot in a grocery store for a whole year. This year, Isha has started to share the bounty of her harvest at market, selling produce she grows in the city at the Esquimalt Farmers Market. Isha is ecstatic to be part of the LifeCycles team this year. The program blends her love for social justice, community building, urban agriculture, and food. She is looking forward to getting to know all of the volunteers and homeowners stewarding the Urban Orchard and celebrating the bounty of the city together.
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.
Matt grew up searching for salamanders under rotten logs in the woods of Shawnigan Lake. He has been with LifeCycles since 2007 and has been integral in helping shape our seed, school, orchard and community food programming. He has deep passion for natural systems restoration in heavily urbanized environments, a passion inspired by a long history of listening to children in dozens of schoolyard gardens in Victoria and Vancouver. Matthew is a seed saver, community food commons creator, bread maker and lover of plants. He has a Masters degree in Environmental Education and Communication and a Bachelors degree in Political Science and Environmental Studies.
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.
Shereen Kukha-Bryson is over the moon to be part of the Lifecycles team and connect with diverse communities around food and the land! She is a person of the prairies, born and raised on Treaty 6 territory - Saskatoon, SK - but has set down new roots in Victoria, unceded Coast Salish Territory. She feels most connected to the land when she is working with folks, soil, plants, pollinators, and food in culturally rich contexts. With a background in Anthropology and Indigenous Studies from the University of Ottawa and the University of Victoria, Shereen has cultivated great appreciation for different cultural worldviews which has kindled her passion for engaging with different foodways. Her close connection to her Kurdish heritage has further deepened her exploration into the cultural stories, memories, histories, and relationships connected to food production. With the support and teachings from a number of plant mentors, Shereen has been engaging in food education over the past 7 years with an emphasis on school gardening and food security. In particular, she has had the honour to collaborate with children, youth, and educators on growing local food across Saskatchewan. Young people's enthusiasm and knowledge of their foodscapes continues to inspire and energize Shereen. She is eager to continue to co-produce empowering food systems with communities and hold space for our future generations!
Eden Murray has an ever-growing passion for the food systems she interacts with. She is the Youth Food Action Coordinator for CRFAIR and is working on developing a Youth Food Network for the CRD. She is a student at Victoria High School in her grade twelve year, and an important coordinator to the VHS-Eco Hub at Vic High. This includes being a key organizer in the school garden, a past organizer of the salad bar, a composting phenetic, and more! Eden looks to study Indigenous studies, Non-Profit Governance, Leadership, and food systems studies in university. Eden is honored to be on Lifecycles Project Society's board and is excited to support the organization, learn more about its inner workings, and provide fresh insight!
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.
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.
Matt graduated from the University of Victoria Faculty of Law in 2015 and has already completed half of his Articles at the UVic Environmental Law Centre. Matt is interested in supporting First Nations and the development of a sustainable and just society. Matt feels strongly that his legal education should be applied in the public interest. Throughout law school, Matt was actively involved with the UVic Environmental Law Centre (ELC): completing an intensive term as a student in the ELC clinic, holding various leadership roles with the ELC student club, and sitting on the ELC Board of Directors. As a clinical student at the ELC, Matt worked to stop the construction of pipelines through grizzly bear habitat, improve compost regulation in BC, and protect Wood Buffalo National Park. Matt also completed a clinical term with the UVic Law Centre, providing pro bono legal services for disadvantaged members of our community. In 2015, Matt was awarded the B.C. Law Foundation Public Interest Award.
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.
We gratefully acknowledge support from:
LifeCycles programming is supported by a wide diversity of community organizations. We distribute food to over 45 community agencies and work with dozens more to engage a diverse population in food action initiatives across the Capital Regional District. Below is a short list of some of our key, long-term partners: