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Here are the people who make the Cowichan Green Community possible.

Judy Stafford

Executive Director

Born in Vancouver, Judy lived in a variety of places, including Central America before locating in Cowichan in 2006, Judy acquired over 25 years’ experience in financial institutions, managing several bank branches and back office administration functions. Her responsibilities included all aspects of corporate and residential loans, mortgages and small business development, human resource management, marketing, client satisfaction, and technical processes. Judy joined CGC in September 2007,
and has been involved in a wide range of environmental sustainability and agricultural initiatives . She has strong ties with local business and social organizations, and draws on decades of experience in facilitation, collaboration and communication to make good things happen in the Cowichan Region. In her spare time, Judy loves to hike, swim, and hang out with her grandchildren!

Kristen Panzenboeck

Bookkeeper Supervisor

Lifelong Islander grew up on Vancouver Island. Have been living in the Cowichan Valley for 24 years. Passionate about the outdoors, loves swimming and hiking. After 15 years in the restaurant sector, Kristen attended college and received her Medical Office Administration and Office Administration degree. She took an instant liking to bookkeeping and has been working in a variety of office settings. Starting at CGC in March 2022, she has been instrumental in reorganizing the bookkeeping…
systems for the CGC Group of Companies.

Nathan Harben

Cowichan Farm Hub Manager

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

Alyssa Krawchuk

Program Manager

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.

Heather McKenzie

Administrative Assistant

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 backyard 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.

Sarah Knight

reFRESH Store Manager

Originally from North Vancouver, Sarah has lived on the Island since 2018. Sarah trained and worked as a paramedic for four years before settling down, having children and ultimately moving to Cowichan Bay. Since being here, Sarah has worked in grocery and retail industry, honing her skills in inventory management, leadership and communication, and is very excited to now be welcomed as the reFRESH Store Manager with the CGC team. This will be her first opportunity to work with a…
non-profit organization and she cannot wait to learn about this dynamic environment. You can also sometimes catch Sarah on stage in the Cowichan Valley as her favorite hobbies are acting and stage managing!

Naomi Kulhawy

KinPark Farm Coordinator

From a young age, Naomi has been passionate about the environment and growing food. After receiving a degree in Geography, her thoughts turned toward 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 workforce 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!

Janice MacKirdy

Cowichan Farm Hub and Ceres Manager

Janice has lived in the Cowichan Valley since her early teens and has been a passionate gardener and farmer for over 40 years. She has run two small hobby farm’s, supplying the bulk of her and her family’s needs. She was involved with the Wwoof program for ten years hosting many young people from around the world. Jan’s working career has revolved around plants, growing, and creative construction.

Julika Pape

Marketing and Communications Manager

Julika is the CGC Marketing and Communications Manager. She has a background in Project Coordination for events & festivals, as well as the film industry in Vancouver. She also owned a Zero Waste & Plant Based Catering company before moving to the island in 2020. After a few years of soul searching, she’s excited to finally work for an impact driven non-profit organization. When not at work, you can find her exploring Vancouver Island, taking…
photos of stunning sceneries, attending local events, or curling up on the couch with her cat Lulu. She’s passionate about community building, arts and culture, as well as sustainability.

Hannah Auer

Resiliency Project Coordinator

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.

Lekha Hayes

Cowichan Farm Hub Supervisor

Lekha has a lifelong passion for organic gardening, growing food for family and community. She has a love for seed propagation and is responsible for our plant production used at the farm and for our nursery and Cow-op sales. In her spare time you’ll find her in the outdoors, hiking, paddling, cycling. She also is involved in a variety of cultural work in the Quw’utsun territory.

Fiona Grant

KinPark Farm Intern

Born and raised on Vancouver Island, Fiona grew up hiking, camping, and volunteering throughout the area. They are an intern at the KinPark farm and are excited to learn more about permaculture, urban gardening, and fostering community resiliency. In their free time they enjoy spending time outdoors, listening to music, and creating artwork, such as drawings and handmade jewelry.

Sabrina Dowler

Kitchen Supervisor

Since March 2020, Sabrina started homeschooling her son as a result of the pandemic. Now that things have settled, she started working at Cowichan Green Community since the summer of 2023. Duncan is her hometown, so Sabrina is a true Duncanite! Two of her personal goals has always been to help individuals and families struggling with homelessness, and caring for elderly. She has a great passion for exercise and healthy eating, and loves helping others, horses, nature, teaching and cooking.

Anastasia Gauthiot

Food Security Assistant

Anastasia is excited to be a part of CGC as a Food Security Assistant. She has her Professional Cook Level 2 Trades Certificate, and her hobbies include singing and artwork of any kind.