Our Team

The Cowichan Green Community is made up of a dynamic group of community members.


Lucy Thomas

Lucy loves to learn, loves her community, and just loves life. She is married to hereditary Chief of Lyackson for 38 years with 2 children many adopted children, 10 grand children and 1 great grand child. She is a survivor of residential school and has worked for house of friendship since 1982. She will support happy events as well as sad ones.

  • Position: Acting Board President
  • Boards: CGC
  • Email:

Nadeane is passionate about healthy food, fresh water and the healing power of nature, creativity and nurturing relationships. She enjoys gardening, cycling, paddling, and communing with trees. Nadeane is continually inspired by the energy, enthusiasm and skillsets of CGC staff and by the projects they undertake.

Nadeane Nelson

Eduardo Sousa

Eduardo Sousa is an Advisor with the Indigenous Leadership Initiative which fosters Indigenous nationhood as a way to conserve and manage Indigenous lands. He runs a consultancy, Caminho Do Meio, providing strategic planning and communications, and project management support for Indigenous communities. Eduardo also worked for Greenpeace for over a decade as senior Forests Campaigner, successfully implementing the world-renowned and award-winning Great Bear Rainforest Agreements with First Nations, the BC Government and the logging industry. Prior to arriving on the west coast, Eduardo worked many years as Ontario-Quebec Organizer for the Council of Canadians on public policy issues related to healthcare, water, trade and Canada-US relations. Eduardo was also an environmental planner and special projects coordinator for Toronto Parks, working with communities on environmental stewardship and community gardens. He has a Master’s in Environmental Studies from Toronto’s York University, with a focus on watershed planning and community mobilization, and an Honours BA in Social-Cultural Anthropology / Environmental Studies, from Victoria University/University of Toronto. Eduardo has various articles published in books and magazines and online, regarding watershed stewardship and planning, water issues and environmental history.

  • Position: Director
  • Boards: CGC

Currently, Julia breeds and raises heritage and rare-breed Tamworth and Berkshire pigs, meat chickens, and lambs on her pasture and woodlands at Muddy Feet Farm in the Cowichan Valley.  Previously, for 20 years she shared in a large community farm on Gambier Island while working as a scientist for the National Research Council. She retired early from human and animal sciences to follow her passion for farming and ended up in the Cowichan Valley.  She sells her pork, chicken, raspberries and sunchokes to local chefs and foodies and her weaner pigs to local farms and families in the spring and fall.

She is passionate about healthy local food production, food security, food recovery, and zero waste and has been a strong supporter of CGC’s food recovery program. She picks up waste fruit and vegetables from a local supermarket to feed her pigs and her neighbours’ chickens, goats and sheep. Julia has been a director of Cow-Op for the last 2 years through its astronomical growth and is now looking forward to contributing to CGC’s food related initiatives and to engaging more local producers to redirect surplus produce to needy families in the valley.

  • Position: Director
  • Boards: CGC

Julia Rylands


Born in Vancouver, Judy took a long detour through life and other countries before she was enticed back to this gorgeous Valley. Blessed to be living on a float house and working in a fabulous organization that fuels her creative and environmental fire, she’s reminded how much more inspiring life is when working in a place that is aligned with her passions.

Judy Stafford

Leela Hamilton

Leela worked 9 years at the Duncan Garage Cafe, where her beliefs aligned with the cafe’s ethos of home made, organic, vegetarian food with a focus on reducing waste and being less harmful to the environment.  It seems suiting that her next position would be at the Cowichan Green Community, where the principles are the same.

Bobbi-Anne grew up on Vancouver Island, but is new to the Cowichan Valley. In her spare time, she loves to be outdoors and explore all that nature has to offer, whether it’s snowboarding, hiking, rock-climbing, snowshoeing or cross country skiing. She’s also recently started to try and learn more about the specific flora and fauna that BC has to offer. Throughout university, while studying International Business & Finance, it became quite clear to her that the corporate life did not quite compute with what would bring her “success” and happiness. Non-profits however really appealed to her, as she wanted to be a part of something where she could feel like she was contributing to her community. Bobbi-Anne started at the CGC in June of 2020 and is excited to be a part of such a community centred organization.

Bobbi-Anne Piercy

Nathan Harben

With a background in marine biology, Nathan originally set out to work solely within marine conservation but since moving to the island 5 years ago, he has developed a new passion for sustainable farming and the Cowichan region. He now owns and runs ‘Local Forage Farm’ in Glenora that focusses on ethically raised animals and an abundance of fruit and vegetables. He has also networked within the community and worked at a number of local farming businesses including Averill Creek Vineyards, Evening Cove Oysters, Haltwhistle Cheese Co, to name a few. Nathan’s new position within the food recovery team aligns his need to connect with community and move towards a more secure and sustainable food system

Born and mostly raised in Ontario, Alyssa moved out to beautiful British Columbia in 2008, and has been working at CGC since 2010! With her Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Youth Care, Alyssa’s passions lie in working with children, youth, and families to create an inclusive, safe, and vibrant community celebrating the gifts and strengths of all people. On the side, she thoroughly enjoys playing music, creating art, and taking in the beauty of Vancouver Island by going on mini adventures and hikes.

Alyssa Krawchuk

Heather McKenzie

Born in the Cowichan Valley, Heather has lived here her entire life and wouldn’t dream of living anywhere else. Heather can usually be found either by the seashore or reading her newest book in her back yard in Youbou enjoying the natural surroundings and the occasional visit from the residential elk herd. Heather’s biggest passions are family (which includes her friends) and animals both domesticated and wild. When at home it is next to impossible to find her without one of her dogs or cats trailing behind her or sitting in her lap. Honestly, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Lauren moved from Winnipeg to Duncan in August 2019 to pursue their passion for agriculture. Working at the Garden Education Center and Kin Park Youth Urban Farm as a farm assistant for a year they’ve strengthened their permaculture knowledge, grew connections within the community and their relationship with nature while learning more about food security. They’re continuing their goal of consciously creating an abundantly greener life while practicing self-sufficiency on this great island. In their free time, they enjoy learning about and growing plants, exploring the great outdoors, spending time with loved ones, listening to music, and creating art.
  • Position: Manager, KinPark Youth Urban Farm
  • Email: laurenziffle@cowichangreencommunity.org

Lauren Ziffle

Blare Conlin

Blare Conlin is a student in the fourth year of her BASc Horticulture degree. With a background working in harm reduction, she blends her passion for plants and social work into urban farming, using it as a therapeutic and educational tool. Blare moved to the Cowichan Valley to put regenerative farming into practice, aiming to get her hands in the dirt with local youth, empowering them to build knowledge and hands-on skills.

Naomi is currently away on maternity leave, and we are excited to have her back next summer, 2022!

From a young age, Naomi has been passionate about the environment and growing food. After receiving a degree in Geography, her thoughts turned towards the future. She started to dream about living sustainably and growing most of her own food herself. Returning from a year away in Grande Prairie, Naomi started working in a 2-acre greenhouse as a “temporary” employee, staying for the next two years to learn as much as she could about farming and local food. In her final year she managed the greenhouse, further deepening her appreciation for local food growth. Returning to the work force after a year at home with her now toddler, Naomi is eager to learn all she can about permaculture and urban gardening. She is particularly excited to teach kids and youth about food production, and is hoping she can inspire young people to become just as excited about gardening as she is!

Naomi Kulhawy

Janice MacKirdy

Janice has lived in the Cowichan Valley since her early teens and has been a passionate gardener and farmer for over 35 years. She has run a small hobby farm, supplying the bulk of her and her family’s needs. Jan’s working career has revolved around plants, growing and creative construction.

Julika just moved to Vancouver Island recently and will be working on CGC’s Community Food Access program as our Administrator and Outreach Coordinator. Before she moved, Julika operated a Zero Waste & Plant Based Catering company in Vancouver. She also has a background in Project Coordination for events & festivals, as well as the film industry. She’s passionate about community building, arts & culture as well as sustainability. After a few years of soul searching, she’s excited to finally get to work with an impact driven non-profit organization. As a nature lover, she’s also fully embracing her new country lifestyle.
  • Position: Manager, reFRESH Marketplace
  • Email: julika@cowichangreencommunity.org

Julika Pape

Hannah Auer

Hannah Auer is a homesteader and a community organizer, grateful to be living and creating on Quw’utsun territory. She is a mother of two beautiful wild children. Hannah is also a storyteller and fibre artist, and works with the local environmental arts collective, Mother Rising, working to breath art and ritual into environmental issues. She is working on The Resiliency Project at the Cowichan Green Community, building ecological resiliency and community connection through the Covid crisis.
  • Position: Project Coordinator, The Resiliency Project
  • Email: hannahsophia@cowichangreencommunity.org
Carolyn is an enthusiastic Earth advocate. Her passions are fueled by awe and wonder in the beauty and intricacy of the Earth’s many systems. A teacher by profession, Carolyn has worked with students of all ages. She takes great pride in organizing systems to increase efficient flow. Her spare time is spent making beeswax candles, in her vegetable garden or exploring with her dog. Carolyn is grateful to be working with the CGC and supporting healthy, sustainable food systems on the Island.
  • Position: Supervisor, Food Hub
  • Email: carolyn@cowichangreencommunity.org

Carolyn Morris

Dani Stancer

Although born and raised in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Dani’s interests and passions for all things outdoors and the environment (catch her snowboarding, hiking, camping, reading environmental and social theory, or tending to her plants in her free time) led her west. She spent the last six years living, working, and studying in Vancouver, and has a background in sociology, human geography, and international development. She is very new to Vancouver Island, only moving here at the beginning of September 2021. She’s passionate about sustainability, food security, and rural development, having focused on that primarily during her studies and will be using these passions and knowledge to work as CGC’s Food Hub Manager.
  • Position: Manager, Food Hub
  • Email: dani@cowichangreencommunity.org
Lekha has a lifelong passion for organic gardening and herbal medicine. She is excited to be a part of the ongoing projects at the Garden Education Centre. She has lived in the Cowichan Valley for 12 years and loves the rich cultural diversity that the valley has to offer.
  • Position: Staff, Garden Education Centre
  • Email: lekha@cowichangreencommunity.org

Lekha Hayes

Sierra Robinson

Sierra is a permaculture designer, teacher, animal and plant enthusiast, and an avid environmental and social justice activist and land protector. She is passionate about food and food security in the in the Quw’utsun’ (Cowichan) Valley, cute goats, and spending all her time outside. She lives, works, and plays on Many Hands Farm in the valley where she’s grown up. Sierra is the Co-founder of Chasing Change – a youth-led media project with the goal of inspiring, uplifting, and empowering people to take action by sharing regenerative ideas and solutions.

  • Position: Assistant, The Resiliency Project
  • Email: sierra@cowichangreencommunity.org

Victoria was raised on Vancouver Island and lives on a hobby farm with her family. Victoria’s family farm allowed her to participate in the 4-H program for 6 years. Victoria is currently working towards her Bachelor of Education degree to become an Elementary School Teacher. Victoria is grateful to be able to work with the Cowichan Green Community and support local sustainability and growing while being a positive influence on Children at the Kin Park Kids Camp

  • Position: KinPark Kids Camp Counsellor
  • Email: victoria@cowichangreencommunity.org

Victoria Kovacs

Cynthia Lavoie-Maltais

Cynthia is a first-year student in environmental studies at the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec. She decided to travel across Canada to learn about food security, help the Cowichan community and discover her country. Passionate about outdoor activities, manual work, and sustainability, she found her place in the CGC team.
  • Position: Food Security Administrator
  • Email: cynthia@cowichangreencommunity.org

Laurence is an intern from Quebec. She is currently completing a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies at the University of Sherbrooke. She’s passionate about nature, helping others, and sustainable living, which brought her to CGC. Permaculture and sustainable agriculture are subjects she wishes to explore more during her stay. She loves to spend as much time outside as possible doing various outdoors actives, camping, hiking, and backcountry skiing are a few. She’s also really interested in bird conservation, that’s something she would like to pursue in her studies. Laurence is always looking for opportunities to meet new people and she wishes to make a positive difference in the community.

  • Position: Food Security Administrator
  • Email: laurence@cowichangreencommunity.org

Laurence Denis