Marc Schutzbank

Marc Schutzbank (he/him)


“Give me a carrot, a beet, and a lime; I’ll make something so good – it should be a crime!” Marc Schutzbank is our resident poet-in-chief. Marc hails from the United States, coming to Vancouver as a Fulbright Scholar. As a graduate of the M.Sc. Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems program at the University of British Columbia,

he investigated the economic viability of urban farming – exploring how urban farmers are developing their businesses here in Vancouver. One of those farms was Fresh Roots. Marc has worked with Fresh Roots to develop a green thumb business model that does social good. Marc and Fresh Roots has been awarded BC Business’ 30 Under 30 and the BC Social Innovation Youth Award. Marc has a background in genocide prevention policy and finance – issues that he worked on at the University of Pittsburgh when exploring ethical institutional investment. Marc loves to grow, cook, eat, and share – come on over for dinner! more

Ilana Labow

Ilana Labow (she/her)


Ilana co-founded Fresh Roots with a passion for gardening, compost, and witnessing the awe and wonder of people pulling a carrot out of the ground for their first time. Driven by the collected wisdom and stories of the diverse neighbours and community in East Vancouver, Ilana now helps develop the vision and growth of Fresh Roots.

After receiving urban farming and community development training with Growing Power, and training in conflict-resolution with the multi-national peace institute Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, Ilana found herself in Coast Salish territories growing opportunities for good food access and cultural knowledge sharing in Vancouver’s soil. Ilana sits on the Farm to School Greater Vancouver steering committee, is a member of the Vancouver Food Policy Council, and was named one of the Vancouver Parks Board’s Remarkable Women of 2013. Ilana is dedicated to advocating for food literacy and for community members whose voices are not often heard, and energized by the incredible opportunities for collectively creating shared visions for a healthier, just, future. more

Alexa Pitoulis (she/her)

Executive Director

Alexa is a creative strategist with over 20 years of experience leading teams and change initiatives in public, private and non-profit spheres. A change leader with an MBA in Sustainable Systems, Alexa is skilled at moving the whole working of an organization, and its effects on systems, in ways that illuminate potential and build capacity.

. Most recently, Alexa launched Goodly Foods, a social enterprise that repurposes surplus produce by working with local partners and providing training and employment for persons with barriers to traditional employment. Her time spent in her father’s restaurants as a child spurred a deep interest in “Good food for all!”. She led a successful project to have the City of Ottawa adopt policy supporting community garden development, served on the Ottawa Food Security Council, and was chair of the Inuvik Food Bank. No stranger to Fresh Roots, Alexa has been a volunteer and a Fresh Roots Board member. she looks forward to hearing from you! more

Good Food Farm Team

Gray Oron

Gray Oron (he/him)

Farm Sites Manager
& Suwa’lkh Project Manager

Camille Flanjak

Camille Flanjak (she/her)

Good Food Farm Manager

Camille is a farmer with experience in Urban, Community, and Homestead growing. She is known by many as ‘the mushroom girl,’ having connected people with the mycelial network for over 10 years. Her power as a connector between people and food is what brings her to Fresh Roots, where she can share her delight for growing vegetables with students, interns, volunteers, staff, CSA members, and market-goers.

Galen Taylor Jones

Galen Taylor Jones (she/they)

Good Food Programmer

Galen takes joy in the snap-ability of harvesting garlic scapes, the jawline of snapdragons, the spines on eggplants and seeing food move from the field into community members’ meals! She joins the Fresh Roots team from a background in rural and urban farming, social support work, and restaurants. Galen trains our interns and youth to grow and share more Good Food, and she leads teams of adult volunteers during our Big Helps and Team Builds.

When she’s not farming or facilitating with Fresh Roots, she’s listening for bird songs, reading dystopian books, or smothering radicchio’s bitterness in fats and lemon juice. more

Youth Empowerment Team


Tathali Urueta-Ortiz (she/her)

Youth Empowerment Manager

During the last 10 years, Tathali has been working in diverse capacities at the intersection of two worlds: Food and Education! Her professional experience in these years has been shaped by her interest and passion in sustainability education, garden-based learning, science education, and food studies.

She has had the opportunity to work and enjoy the indoor and outdoor classroom with learners spanning from pre-kindergarten to higher education. Tathali holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum Studies and an M.A. in Science Education from The University of British Columbia. Tathali is committed to the transformation of society toward more equitable and sustainable ways of living through education that empowers ALL learners. more

Nicole Bruce

Nicole Bruce (they/them)

SOYL Lead Facilitator

Nicole started their journey with Fresh Roots in 2016 as a SOYL participant as a SOYL participant and has since become a lead facilitator for the SOYL Program in Delta.  Nicole believes that growing your own food is one of the most rewarding things you can do and wants to share that passion with as many youth as possible. Since working at Fresh Roots, they have changed career paths from engineering to sustainable agriculture with the hope to contribute to urban food security.

Nicole’s favourite part of each summer is watching the SOYL participants grow and become confident and compassionate leaders with the power to change the world they live in. more

Experiential Learning Team

Kat Vriesema-Magnuson (she/her)

Experiential Learning Manager

Kat loves to help kids literally get their hands dirty, and seeing a kid hold their first worm is the highlight of her day. Kat has a Graduate Certificate in Education, Environment and Community from IslandWood, an M.Ed. in Teaching and Curriculum from the University of Washington, and over a decade of experience in environmental education.

She is excited to put her skills to work helping students and teachers connect with the land and their community through growing, cooking, and eating Good Food.  When not creating dynamic hands-on learning opportunities, Kat can be found cooking for family and friends, singing,  and learning to sword fight. more


Andrea Lucy (she/her)

Experiential Learning Program Lead

Andrea enjoys the curiosity, wonder and play that comes from spending time on the farm, whether it’s digging in the soil or tasting plants where they grow. With a background teaching in museums and gardens, she is passionate about hands-on learning and environmental education. Andrea assists in creating memorable experiences for students and campers.


Grandview/¿Uuqinak’uuh Elementary

Charlotte Hewson

Experiential Learning Program Facilitator

Charlotte is passionate about sustainable food systems and the ability for food to both heal and brings community together. After many years working in the Vancouver school system as an Education Assistant, she decided to follow her heart and study culinary arts at Northwest Culinary Academy. Now she’s crafted a career that’s the perfect balance of creating food to nourish people in her communities and also working with Students in east Vancouver, to broaden their experiences of growing and sharing food.


Caroline Manuel (she/her)

Communications and Engagement Manager

Caroline is an East Coast transplant who spent her formative years spinning yarns and attending university in Halifax where she studied ethnolinguistics and anthropology.  After living abroad in Asia and Europe Caroline fianlly put down roots in Vancouver where over the years she has owned and operated a diner, produced documentary TV, and in recent years has applied her communications and fundraising skills to increasing awareness about food insecurity through her work in the non-profit sector.

She is passionate about the importance of using the right communications channels, strategies, and techniques to connect people to organizations they care about. She is thrilled to be working at the intersection of food justice and communications as a member of the dynamic Fresh Roots team. more | 778-764-0344 ext 108


Vivian Cheung (she/her)

Operations Coordinator

Vivian gets excited by the details and systems, whether it is life or data. Her curiosity for food systems began while working at her family’s restaurant and flourished as a 2016 Fresh Roots intern. With a BSc in Biology, Vivian hopes to help inspire environmental stewardship and food sustainability in the community.


Gillian Cofsky (they/them/she/her)

Accounting & Payroll Manager

Gillian is a former dancer, movement instructor, and entrepreneur who left the dance world for a career in the accounting industry. Gillian is the founder of Make It Count – bookkeeping, tax services, & financial education for creative entrepreneurs! After experiencing in the past the bewilderment that can come along with interacting with accountants and other financial professionals, Gillian was inspired to work with artists, creatives, non-profits, and small businesses to understand their finances and feel empowered in their relationship with money.