Vanessa Glasby – President
Vanessa Glasby is a market gardener and lifelong resident of Manitoulin Island. Her education includes a BA in Sociology from Laurentian University, as well as a Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership (MPNL) from Carleton University. She actively seeks new learning opportunities, and is currently pursuing a certificate in Sustainable Local Food through St. Lawrence College. Vanessa was raised on a small hobby farm on Manitoulin, and has always been involved in agriculture at some level. While at Laurentian, she completed and later TA’d a course entitled Diet, Food Choice, and the Environment, which sparked her ongoing interest in genuinely sustainable food production and humanity’s role in the overall health of the environment. Vanessa is especially interested in the intersections of food security, health, and poverty, stemming from her work with the Elgin St. Mission (Sudbury, ON), and the Good Food Box – Manitoulin. In her spare time, Vanessa enjoys gardening, foraging, preserving, and preparing food for friends and family.
Sabrina Legault – Treasurer
Sabrina Legault is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Fitness Trainer and Certified Diabetes Educator. She completed her undergraduate degree in Applied Human Nutrition at the University of Guelph and completed her dietetic internship through the Northern Ontario School of Medicine at Laurentian University. She is currently employed with the Noojmowin Teg Health Centre as the Healthy Kids Community Challenge Project Manager for Manitoulin Island. Sabrina moved from Barrie, Ontario to Manitoulin Island in 2013 to pursue her career in dietetics. She did not expect to fall in love with Manitoulin Island, but has enjoyed her time here, where she has gained opportunities to support program and policy development, all fostering accessible and sustainable food systems.
Neil Lawrence – Secretary
Neil is a small animal veterinarian working near North Bay, ON. He grows fruits, veggies, mushrooms, and insects in an effort to reduce his carbon footprint and to feed his family a nourishing diet. Chickens and bees, along with a couple of dogs and cats, help populate his homestead. Neil grew up on Manitoulin Island and still has family ties to Kagawong.
Ashley, his three children and spouse hail from Kaboni (Wikmemikong) where they live a homesteading lifestyle on mother earth. Ashley was brought up with practical know how, like harvesting from the land, planting, and building. Ashley is actively involved in his community, engaging other farmers and sharing their stories. Ashley can often be found encouraging others on the path of food sovereignty, sharing traditional indigenous and permaculture knowledge with others. Ashley completed a premaculture design course Manitoulin Island in the spring of 2016 with Permaculture Institute of Eastern Ontario. Ashley is currently the Tranformations Program Director at Debajehmujig Creation Centre in Manitowaning.
Lucas is a writer, scientist and philosopher who is passionate but concerned about the health and long-term viability of both his immediate community and the world at large. He graduated from Laurentian University in 2008 with a degree in Earth Science and has worked extensively as a geologist, though with experience in a wide range of other fields as well. He has shifted away from the mining industry in recent years to pursue his own interests and re-focus his life on what is important to him, which has lead to a position with a non-profit local food cooperative in Sudbury, Ontario. Lucas is currently finishing his first novel and is strongly interested in the permaculture model; particularly how it can be expanded and applied to communities with varying populations, available resources and socio-economic conditions. He is also very interested in growing his own food, personal growth, liberty, freedom, reading, good beer and petting friendly dogs.
Mariana Lafrance is a francophone interdisciplinary visual artist raised on Manitoulin Island and deeply rooted in Northern Ontario. In 2012 she left city life and moved back to the island to learn about resilience and alternative ways of life and to reconnect to the land. Using fields, forests and shorelines as her art studio, she explores themes of belonging, ancestry, power relations, social justice issues and relationship to land in her work, which is regularly supported by the Ontario Arts Council. Mariana brings with her eight years of experience as a director on the board of the non-profit artist-run centre Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario. Mariana holds a B.A. with Honours in Cognitive Science and a Master’s degree in Museum Studies with a specialization in science communication. She worked for three years as a science educator and exhibitions content developer at the Canadian Museum of Nature, researching and creating public exhibitions in geology and planetary science.
Kyle McDermid is a Certified Fitness Coach, certified CrossFit Trainer, entrepreneur and owner/operator of Vitality Health & Fitness in Mindemoya, Ontario. He is a lifelong resident of Manitoulin Island, only leaving to complete his diploma in Police Foundations at Humber College in Toronto, Ontario. Kyle is passionate about healthy eating and physical activity and places an emphasis on functional movement with regards to his coaching style. He gathers fulfillment through supporting others on their journey towards improved health and well-being. His experience as a gardener has grown over the years and he does his best to consume locally-grown, whole foods as much as possible and is an advocate for sustainable food systems.