A graduate of the Masters of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership program with the School for Public Policy at Carleton University, Jennifer is a seasoned non-profit and charitable sector leader with experience fundraising at the national and local levels. She is also a graduate of the Stratford Chef School and enjoys sailing, paddling, simply being by the water. Jen was raised in Kingston and is absolutely delighted to be returning home with her partner, their children, and their yellow dog, Percy.
Melanie has had a long and adventurous career in the not for profit sector. Armed with a background in Social Services, Gerontology and Volunteer Resource Management, Melanie has managed offices, been deployed to respond to natural disasters in Canada and the United States, worked alongside President Carter in New Orleans and Thailand and worked with and led teams to Tajikistan, Guatemala, Mozambique and Chile. An adoptive mom of two children, Melanie knows first hand the impact good food has on health, behaviour and education and is passionate about using her skills to increase access to real food in her community.
Community Kitchens Coordinator
Tibratā Gillies is a Red Seal Certified Chef with over 35 years of professional cooking, 15 years as a culinary educator, 15 years of farming and 8 years of special event programming experience. Her outlook on sustainable food systems is rooted in her training and perspectives as a Biogeographer and as an Applied Food Researcher. As a professional chef in Kingston, she has been active in the local food movement for over 20 years. In the fall of 2017, Tibratā made a life-long commitment and is training to become a Sacred Fire Keeper and as a Sacred Gardener. Tibratā’s life work revolves around food in one way or another as a means of offering love and opportunities for connection. Tibratā joined Loving Spoonful in May 2019 and enjoys coordinating Community Kitchens.
Fresh Food & Systems Coordinator
Ashley has local roots in Kingston and its surrounding area. She brings close to 20 years of customer service experience to the Loving Spoonful table with some side dishes. These skills vary in an array of fields from having a background in banking, being a Childbirth Educator and Family Photographer. Ashley’s admiration of the uniqueness of people is the true driving force behind Ashley’s passion of getting involved with non-profits, which she has done through volunteering and working in non-profits, and holding executive positions on non-profit board of directors. Ashley's heart and drive to serve the community is key to her role as the Fresh Food and Systems Coordinator. As a mom of 3, she understands the importance of eating good food and the connection between healthy food options and mental health. When she’s not working, you can usually find Ashley at a local coffee shop or market, at a craft fair with a few kids in tow, on a hike, out camping or snowshoeing with her kids, or painting or quilting.
Gardens & Gleaning Coordinator
Ayla Fenton is a new farmer and community organizer. She graduated from Queen's in 2011 with a B. Sc (Honours) in Biology, then spent two years in Toronto teaching English and volunteering with urban agriculture projects and community food centres. Since 2013, she has worked full time on organic farms in the Kingston area, and is currently developing a new cooperative farm with other young farmers to produce organic vegetables, heritage grains, and pastured pork. Over the past 5 years, Ayla has been a board member of the National Farmers Union, and has been involved with organizing young farmers and farmworkers nationally and internationally, and advocating for the transition to agroecology, food sovereignty and climate justice. Ayla also represents the NFU in the global peasant movement La Via Campesina. She is excited to bring her passion for food and farming to the GROW program!
Mary has always been drawn towards work that uses education and community to chip away at attitudinal and systemic barriers that prevent many from accessing resources we all need, particularly in areas of mental health and wellness. Since graduating from the University of Waterloo with a BA in Psychology & Social Work, she's spent 20+ years in the non-profit sector in various roles, many of which have included coordinating efforts to promote service programs and social causes to a wider community through relationship-building and online engagement. Mary’s passion for good food and natural health became more prominent as raising a family became a priority. Mary can be found enjoying the outdoors with her family, and singing with one of Kingston’s community choirs.