Before joining SPEC, Oliver worked for several non-profit organizations
in his home country of Argentina, in the areas of environmental education,
integrated water management, poverty reduction and micro-finance. Oliver earned
a master's degree in sustainability planning from the University of
British Columbia, a graduate diploma in non-profit organization management, and
a BA (Hons) in business economics. Oliver loves walking and cycling in the
Pacific Spirit Park with his family and is sl-ow-ly getting ready to learn how
to play the piano and to ice-skate.
||School Gardens Program Coordinator
is a food and environmental educator, with many years of experience growing
food and medicine on organic farms and gardens. She is passionate about teaching
children and youth about food, nutrition, growing food, edible weeds, soil,
composting, and all things related. Nikoo is a registered nutritional practitioner
and a chartered herbalist, with an undergraduate degree in environmental sciences
from the University of Guelph and a master's in public administration from the
University of Victoria. She is a former grad and an instructor at the
Institute of Holistic Nutrition, where she teaches the course, Nutrition and the Environment. She
is also an avid all-season cyclist.
Operations AssistantKarla is very excited to join the SPEC team, as she has been actively involved with environmental issues and non-profits for many years. Two of her notable achievements include authoring the teachers’ guide "For Peat Sake: A Complete Classroom Study on Burns Bog and other Peatlands" and an honorable mention for her efforts as a 2014 site coordinator for the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. Karla is especially passionate about community building, taking care of our environment, and education. She has three diplomas, including one for professional writing, and is currently pursuing her degree in adult education. Her nemesis is the comma!
SPEC Board of Directors
Dr. Carole Christopher
has a doctorate in nutrition and has developed and taught university and adult
education courses for 40 years, promoting local, sustainable, and just food.
She’s been a SPEC director since 1996, and adds her experience being on community
boards to the SPEC Executive. She is the past-chair of the Vancouver Food
Policy Council, advising City Council on food security, a master gardener, with
35 years of organic gardening experience, and an enthusiastic camper and
creative cook with her partner Rick. She speaks and offers workshops on a range
of topics that pertain to food security and gardening, is an avid jazz and
gospel singer, and is a dedicated meditation practitioner.
Kate is a project manager for a B.C forest management company that works in partnership with First Nations communities in northwest B.C. Kate earned a BSc in global resource systems from UBC, focusing on food systems and the environment. She worked at the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems (UBC Farm), as the Agroforestry Coordinator, and was involved with SPEC, in 2009, when she and Tara Moreau conducted a research project on soil amendments for container gardening. Now, as a board member, Kate looks forward to collaborating on many more great initiatives. She is a cyclist, loves basically anything outdoors, and follows the words of Edward Abbey who says "It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it".
is a chartered accountant with extensive experience working with both corporate
and non-profit sectors. She articled with PricewaterhouseCoopers in
Vancouver and earned her CA designation in 2012. In 2014, she joined First
Nations Financial Management Board, which is Canada’s only legislated body that
develops and publishes financial performance and financial management systems standards
to strengthen and support financial capacity and economic development
objectives. Ara is a fitness fanatic, a cycling road warrior, and has a
passion for learning about Vancouver's sustainable food system and strategies. When
not working or volunteering with SPEC, she is at her local farmers’ market, the
beach, or on one of the beautiful Pacific Spirit Park trails.
consults with telecommunication companies working with municipal governments
and community groups that are considering new infrastructure projects. She also
enjoys instigating interesting conversations and works as a facilitator in
community dialogues. She has a BA in political science and recently completed
a program at SFU in dialogue and civic engagement. As a new member of the SPEC
Board, Kiersten is looking forward to initiating community conversations on our
changing environment and the difference we make. As a native Vancouverite, she
can’t help but sip copious amounts of fair trade, shade grown organic coffee in
her reusable coffee mug.
brings her passion for grass roots community building and advocacy to the SPEC
team. She is constantly thinking of new ways to get Vancouverites involved in
environmental issues in her volunteer recruitment role. When not with SPEC, she
works at Vancouver General Hospital as a physiotherapist and at the Rick Hansen
Institute as a researcher. In her spare time, you can find her running, biking,
hiking, skiing and sailing around the beautiful roads, slopes and shores of B.C.
Dr. Tara Moreau
is a scientist of sustainable food systems and has been researching and
promoting these principles since 2002. She is a consultant with the United
Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the co-chair of the Vancouver
Food Policy Council. Tara has a PhD in plant science from the faculty of land
and food systems at UBC and a MSc from the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada
at Dalhousie University. She has been a SPEC board member since 2006 and was a
founding member of our Food & Environment Committee, which she continues to
support as part of its leadership team. Her ideal Vancouver day involves biking to Spanish Banks and spending low tide
skim-boarding with her family and friends. She has been car-free since 2006.
making Vancouver his home, Jimmy lived and worked in eight countries on four
continents, implementing governmental programs in the areas of international
development, green building, public infrastructure and renewables, and public
sector reform. Jimmy has a background in architecture (M.Arch), construction
project management (MSc), and sustainable development (MSc). Jimmy brings his expertise
and passion to help organizations devise strategies to foster urban
sustainability in the areas of water, wastewater, transportation, energy, and
community development. In his free time, he is an avid traveler, hiker, and
was raised on a small farm in Illinois and has an academic background in soil
and crop management. His career at UBC’s faculty of land and food systems
(formerly agricultural sciences) included teaching, doing research, and taking
part in community outreach, focusing on soil science, agroecology and food
systems. Since the 1970s, recycling and reusing organic waste materials has
been a central focus of his. As a Professor Emeritus, he helps support local,
small scale and new farmers. Art is a car co-op member, an avid cyclist, and has
been car-free for nearly 24 years. Since retirement, he has been attempting to improve
his home garden and his ability to prepare the food it produces. He, and his
partner Carol, have lived in the Riley Park/Little Mountain area of Vancouver
for 40 years. They are grateful to be members of an interesting and vibrant
is in his second "go round" on the SPEC Board. Previously, he was on
the Board for 8 years and served for approximately 2 years as the president.
Dan practiced labour law for 33 years and has now retired from active practice.
He has a keen interest in environmental matters and believes conservation is
increasingly imperative. Dan has sat on a variety of not-for-profit boards,
involving health, employment training, and local community associations, and he
is currently the chair of the Compassionate Eye Foundation and a trustee for
the Gambier Island Local Trust Area.
her career, Paula has managed the communication needs of private businesses,
non-profit organizations, and publicly traded companies. For SPEC, Paula offers
her expertise as a communicator, to help a cause that is close to her heart, so
she can contribute to a wonderful, sustainable, and more livable city for her
daughter and the future generations to come. Paula was born in Uruguay and has
lived, worked, and traveled worldwide. She has been a proud Vancouverite since
Jess is a consultant
for Tetra Tech in their zero waste planning team, working on waste reduction
and diversion projects. She is also closely involved with the Canadian Fair
Trade Network, a non-profit that promotes awareness and support for fair trade
in Canada. In the UK, Jess managed the climate change program for an
ethical trade organization, Twin, uniting several passions, the environment,
social justice, international travel, and coffee. Jess has an MSc in
Environmental Sciences from Imperial College London and a BSc in Physics. She
loves the great outdoors and, depending on the season, can be found on the
slopes, hiking up mountains, or hiding from bears.
has more than 25 year of experience as a waste management coordinator and
consultant. For the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, he has volunteered on its waste
committee for 27 years, holding the lead role for over a decade. Eyal also sits
on the board for Car Free Day Vancouver, and has been coordinating its Green Team
for the last 2 years. As a volunteer on SPEC's Zero Waste Committee, he was
part of the team that developed and launched SPEC's Master Recycler Vancouver
program in 2015. Eyal is a Dr. of traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture,
as well as a master herbalist in western herbal medicine. He works in his
private clinic in Vancouver.