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About the Project


Food systems are as complex as cultures and require many hands when at the small, regenerative scale.
Our governance model embraces the same living systems thinking that growing food does. In light of the
complexity and reciprocity required by multifunctional systems for long term effectiveness, counsel and direction is provided by the Guiding Committee comprised of a diverse leadership within the University and beyond.

We are committed to demonstrating how post-secondary institutions grounded in sustainable food production can cultivate deep roots and inspire rich, healthy and enduring relationships of reciprocity and increased connectedness by adopting the following guiding principles.

7 Guiding Principles

Who We Are

The Guiding Committee

Sue Gee, co-chair

Susan Gee is the vice-president of communications and advancement at Royal Roads University. With more than twenty years’ experience in communications, government and community relations, her experience includes senior communications work for some of the provincial government’s most pressing issues working with clients from government, the private sector, the post-secondary sector and beyond. She is an accredited public relations professional (APR), holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and an MBA from the University of Victoria. Susan is committed to strategic communications and collaboration with a passion for writing and storytelling.

Hilary Leighton, co-chair

A lifelong apprentice to nature and psyche, Dr. Hilary Leighton is Associate Professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability, Ecopsychotherapist and Registered Clinical Counsellor in private practice, and dedicated foodie who loves to share. Her embodied, nature and arts-informed scholarship seeks ways to: extend the notion of the individual psyche to a world ensouled; inspire whole-human, ecologically intelligent epistemologies; and cultivate beauty, reconnection and belonging with the sentient Earth.

Emma Lansdowne

Emma Lansdowne is a gardener at Royal Roads University and a PhD candidate in the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University. A professional horticulturalist-turned-academic, her research explores the intersection of plants and colonial/post-colonial histories with a specific focus on gardens as contact zones and sites of resistance.

Geoff Bird

Dr. Geoffrey Bird is a Professor in the School of Communication and Culture.  Joining RRU in 2008, his research focuses on heritage and ways to connect people with the past to help understand the present. As a filmmaker, Geoff particularly enjoys exploring sites of memory and the stories they tell, such as the storied lands where Royal Roads now resides.  Geoff’s role includes outreach and engagement as well as exploring ways to introduce people new to farming—like he is!

Tim Brigham

Tim has been at Royal Roads for 18 years and is grateful to work with a team in Professional and Continuing Studies that supports his passion for designing programs in partnership with Indigenous communities. Tim is fortunate to live on the lands of the Quw’utsun people in the beautiful Cowichan Valley.

Solara Goldwyn

Solara Goldwynn is the Food Systems Manager at Royal Roads University. She is the co-owner of Hatchet & Seed, an edible landscaping and food growing company in Victoria, B.C. Solara is a mother, food grower, and a student in the MAEEC program at RRU.

Nelson Chan

Nelson Chan serves as Board Chair and Chancellor of Royal Roads University and is Chief Financial Officer for the Capital Regional District, Capital Regional Hospital District and Capital Region Housing Corporation in Victoria BC.  Nelson also serves as a Board member of Community Living BC, the provincial crown corporation providing support services to adults with developmental disabilities

Rob Newell

Dr. Rob Newell is a Canada Research Chair in Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainability in the School of Environment and Sustainability, as well as a Research Associate at the Food and Agriculture Institute at the University of the Fraser Valley. Newell’s research and teaching focuses on integrated planning and policy, stakeholder engagement and sustainable community development, and his work includes examining approaches for transitioning to sustainable and resilient food systems.

Catherine Etmanski

Dr. Catherine Etmanski is a Professor in the School of Leadership Studies. She is passionate about social and environmental justice and seeks to incorporate creative elements into her research, teaching, and administration. She has edited books titled, “Food Leadership” and “Learning and Teaching Community-Based Research”.

Nancy's photo
Nancy Prevost-Maurice

Nancy is a passionate French Canadian who has lived in British Columbia for 5 years. She has led change and environmental/zero waste initiatives within work and volunteering opportunities. She works in Student Recruitment and studies in the Master of Arts in Climate Action Leadership program at RRU. Nancy started the Nūlla Project in 2019 with her cousin Caroline to tackle the problem of single-use items on Vancouver Island.

Lisa Greig

Lisa Greig

Ken Elliott

Ken Elliott

Special Advisor to the Guiding Committee

Kent Mullinex

Dr. Kent Mullinex, Kwantlen Polytechnical University

Climate Action

RRU’s Climate Action Plan

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