Board Of Directors
Board of Directors
The Board of Directors is made up of 12 co-op members, chosen from amongst our member groups.
We have 3 seats available to each membership group. The Directors for 2016-2017 are as follows.
Our Eater-Membership representatives are:
- Sarah Robicheau
- Nicole Fowler
- Dayna Vargas
Our Worker-Membership representatives are:
- Tamara Krupp (Cashier/Floor Staff)
- Amandine Fournier (Office Administrator)
- Leanne Unruh (Cashier/Floor Staff)
Our Community-Partner representatives are:
- Kira Kastner (Houselink/Parkdale Food Network)
- Mandy Bergman (Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre)
- Kelly Skeete (Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust)
Our Producer-Membership representatives are:
- Cassandra Rizzotto (Earth + City)
- Rebecca Schleifer (Yorkshire Valley Farms)
Kira was born and raised in the heart of Toronto surrounded by people who love food. She began working in Parkdale several years ago through her frontline community food work at a mental health and housing agency. In 2014, Kira joined the board as a Community Partner director but has been an eater member at the Coop since memberships were first being offered.
Kira stood for the WEFC board out of a desire to contribute to an organization that divides its focus equally between community development, food security and antipoverty initiatives. She has learned a tremendous amount about WEFC's internal workings since being elected and that education has made her all the more enthusiastic about supporting the organization in achieving its mission. Her time away from commitments is spent climbing, rearranging the furniture and eating as much as possible.
Dayna quickly discovered WEFC after moving into the Parkdale/WQW community in May 2016. After years of battling various health issues, it became abundantly clear to her that what we put in or on our bodies directly affects our health and so WEFC naturally became a significant part of her recovery. Now sitting on the Board of Directors as an Eater-member, she looks forward to utilizing her newfound energy and is excited to have the opportunity to give back. Making clean, local and sustainable food and products readily available. Educating the community – young and old – on health and wellness. Partnering with and learning from other like-minded industry and community stakeholders.
Rebecca Schleifer: Producer Director
I have worked in the natural and organic protein space for almost 8 years. First with Rowe Farms Meats and now with Yorkshire Valley Farms. I have a keen understanding about our local market both from a retail perspective and a grower. I have a endless amount of energy, which in my opinion, will be a huge asset to the Board at WEFC.
Sarah grew up in rural Nova Scotia, surrounded by farmers' fields and apple orchards. She believes strongly in the power of food to bring communities together and that cooperatives are an ideal way to strengthen these bonds and improve the lives of all community members. For the past several years, she's made her home in Toronto's west end after first being introduced to Parkdale when she worked as a student lawyer at the community legal aid clinic. Her interest in food is longstanding and before joining the coop board, she completed a masters in environmental studies that focused on sustainable agricultural policy and was a member the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council. She currently works as an environmental policy advisor where she spends her days trying to find solutions to problems big and small, and encouraging Ontarians to get involved in government decision-making.
Nicole Fowler: Eater Director
My name is Nicole Fowler, I am Parkdale resident and have been a member and volunteer of the WEFC for approx. 4 yrs. I attended the last AGM and joined the Ride4Real Food event and marketing committee. As an engagement strategist, I work primarily in communications, and actioned various initiatives over the past year as a volunteer, recently joining the kitchen committee as well.
Volunteerism and community mean a lot to me – I put energy, ideas and a ton of questions to three areas I am most passionate about; food, housing and health. I believe that we have an obligation as members and volunteers to not only show up, but do what we say we are going to.
I have been so inspired and motivated by the WEFC and advocacy work in Parkdale, so I hope that I can have the opportunity to further the develop and amplify the great work going on here
Leanne became involved with the West End Food Coop in 2012, shortly after moving to Toronto. She began volunteering at the Sorauren Farmers' Market in an effort to find community while working on an MA at OCAD University. In 2013 she started working at coop store, and became a worker representative on the Board of Directors in fall 2014. More recently she figured out how to unite her love of contemporary art with her experience working in a coop, and started her PhD at York University in 2016, focusing on how the cooperative model is being used in the arts and culture sector. Leanne also loves vegan and vegetarian food, and you may run in to her at an art gallery or cycling the streets of Toronto.
Amandine Fournier: Worker Director
Amandine is WEFC's Office Administrator, ensuring that our office operations are running smoothly. She has previously been in other various positions at WEFC including Cashier/Floor Staff and Market Assistant.
Mandy Bergman joined the Board of WEFC in June 2015 to further support food sovereignty in the Parkdale community. In addition to the WEFC directorship Mandy sits on the Coop Credit Advisory and the Ride 4 Real Food committees, both of which support food security in Parkdale. Mandy is also a volunteer with The Toronto Community Development Institute (TCDI) which promotes community learning and engagement in various Toronto communities. Mandy has a graduate degree in Environmental Studies from York University and is a professor at George Brown College. Mandy is also a former member of the Catalyst Centre, a popular education worker coop in Toronto.
Kelly Skeete: Community Partner Director
I am a proud community member of Parkdale. I believe that successful communities are built on connecting with neighbors, promoting diversity and creating relationships that stress the importance of
responsibility and respect. I am a student of Global Health and Society at York University and I participate in live theater with East Side Players. I am very passionate about helping seniors and co-founded Helping Our Seniors Everyday which seeks to find housing for adults over 65. I am currently the Vice President of Business and Society at York University and Vice Chair at Parkdale Neighborhood Land Trust, but enough about me.
Tamara Krupp: Worker Director
Tamara is the Lead Purchaser at the West End Food Co-op. She began volunteering with WEFC in 2015 at the store and market, before being hired on as a Cashier/Floor Staff. In her Lead Purchaser position, as of 2017, she manages the retail stock and assesses new vendors and products for WEFC's retail store. In her off-time, she enjoys camping, canoeing, and the great outdoors.
Cassandra Rizzotto is a Founder and Co-owner of Earth + City, a social mission based food company, located in Toronto, ON. Her company's inception in 2010 began with a grassroots, educational and community-development focus on engaging in Toronto's burgeoning good food sector. To this day, she continues to build and breathe Earth + City's practices, partnerships and contributions from that deeply meaningful place.
Cassandra sits on the Board of Directors at the West End Food Co-op as a Producer Member. The West End Food-Coop’s mandate and values of inclusivity, worker equity, accessibility and environment and economic health is very much aligned with her own worldview on food justice and social change. Through over five years of involvement, the WEFC continues to enrich her understanding and knowledge of systemic, institutional and structural issues in our city's food sector.
Cassandra holds a Masters Degree in Adult Education and Community Development at OISE/University of Toronto, specializing in experiential, embodied and transformational learning. Her most memorable classes consisted of The Pedagogy of Food and Adult Education for Sustainability.