Executive Team

Marc Schutzbank

Marc Schutzbank

Director and Poet-In-Chief

“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! When Marc is not on the farm, you can find him running along the beach or checking out a new recipe.
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Ilana Labow

Ilana Labow


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.
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Alexa Pitoulis

Interim 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!
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Good Food Farm Team

Gray Oron

Gray Oron

Farm Sites Manager
& Suwa’lkh Project Manager


Galen Taylor Jones

Galen Taylor Jones

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.
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Youth Empowerment Team


Tathali Urueta

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.
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Nicole Bruce

Nicole Bruce

SOYL Lead Facilitator

Nicole Bruce- Nicole started her journey with Fresh Roots in 2016 as a SOYL participant herself! It set her on a path filled with passion for local food systems and the power to make a difference. She believes that growing your own food is one of the most rewarding things you can do and wants to share that passion with youth just like her.

Her 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. She has joined our SOYL Vancouver staff team for two summers and is excited to be running the SOYL Program in Delta this summer!
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Experiential Learning Team

Kat Vriesema-Magnuson

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.
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Grandview Elementary

Charlotte Hewson

Experiential Learning Program Facilitator

Charlotte is passionate about sustainable food systems and the ability for food to both heal and bring 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. grandview@freshroots.ca


Caroline Manuel

Communications and Engagement Manager



Vivian Cheung

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. ops@freshroots.ca