Stephen Gard

Executive Director

Stephen returned to Kingston after 25 years working in the non-profit sector in Windsor and Essex County. He brings with him experience developing and implementing programs in community health, employment, newcomer settlement, volunteer management and social marketing. Stephen holds Bachelor’s degrees in Arts and Education and in 2016 earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation in non-profit leadership through the Canadian Society of Association Executives. He is excited to be a part of the Loving Spoonful team as it brings together his passions of helping community and healthy food. In his down time, he can be found cooking in the kitchen, on the pickleball court, at a concert, or watching sports.

Ayla Fenton

Ayla Fenton

agriculture Manager

Ayla is a first-generation farmer and community organizer. She graduated from Queen’s in 2011 with a B. Sc (Honours) in Biology, and since 2013 has been working on local organic farms, learning regenerative production methods for vegetables, livestock, cereal grains and dairy. Since 2015, Ayla has been a board member of the National Farmers Union, and has been involved with organizing young farmers and farmworkers nationally and internationally, 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 Loving Spoonful and the Kingston community!

TibratĀ Gillies

Community Kitchens Manager

Tibratā 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 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.

Marie Bencze

Gardens Manager

Marie manages the Kingston Community Gardens Network, the Community Harvest Gardens, and other garden-based programs. She is an agroecological food enthusiast who started farming in 2009 and has worked at several organic vegetable farms in the Kingston area including Root Radical CSA and Patchwork Gardens. Marie has a Master’s of Environmental Studies where she ran a farm-based education project with children, while researching its ties to food sovereignty. With deep roots in the farming community, three years on the board of the local National Farmers Union, and more than a decade of involvement in social and environmental justice initiatives, Marie is passionate about building community and struggling toward food sovereignty. Outside of work, she is a roller derby coach, voracious reader, and a proud parent.

Rob McMullen


Born and raised in Ottawa, Rob has always had a personal passion for vegetable gardening, regenerative agriculture, and the farm to table lifestyle. Rob studied Business Administration majoring in accounting and finance at Algonquin College. After over seven years of working with top financial institutions, most recently as a Financial Advisor, Rob decided to prioritize his family life and pursue his passions. Rob joined Loving Spoonful’s Community Training Farm Program with the excitement to learn a new industry and skill set, and instantly fell in love with the work being done and Loving Spoonful’s community outreach and public programs. When the opportunity arose to combine his personal passions with professional aspirations it felt providential. Rob brings with him expert level financial knowledge, communication and networking skills, as well as carpentry skills gained through studies at St. Lawrence College during the pandemic. In his free time, Rob is a proud father, bushcraft enthusiast, and hockey fanatic, striving towards a more self-sustaining lifestyle. He hopes to bring his creative problem solving and previous professional background to help the organization continue to thrive and build strong community ties.


Community Training farm Coordinator

Kathleen is a farmer, herbalist, and long-time plant lover originally from the Kingston area. While studying Literature, she took courses in Environmental Studies and discovered a passion for the intersections of ecology, food, and social justice. She started her farming journey in 2016 working on farms across Ontario, including several seasons with Root Radical CSA in Kingston. After studies in herbal medicine, she co-founded Redwing Herb Farm, a local farm on Howe Island growing a variety of medicinal herbs and offering herbal education. She hopes to center her work around community resiliency, and is excited to meet and work with new farmers in her role as Coordinator for the Community Training Farm. In her downtime, she likes to walk the woods, make music, and read with her cat.

Adrienne Chalaturnyk

Gleaning and Local Food Access Coordinator

While working as a freelance artist and animator, Adrienne fell in love with farming and shifted her focus and creative energy to growing vegetables and community. She first connected with Loving Spoonful as a farmer growing extra produce for the Gleaning program in 2020. After a few seasons of co-running Charlie’s Acres, a small vegetable farm north of Napanee, she’s now working as the Gleaning and Local Food Access Coordinator and continuing to connect and build relationships with farmers in the community. In her free time, Adrienne can be found petting dogs, dipping her toes in the water, or singing her heart out at karaoke.

Cherilyn Burnell

Community Kitchens Coordinator

Cherilyn’s passion is to feed people good food. Whether eating with family or hosting friends for a meal, she loves connecting with people around a table.  With a background in education, she is experienced at facilitating diverse groups of people and helping to build greater skills, confidence and connections.
As a 2023 Neighbourhood Climate Action Champion with the City of Kingston, Cherilyn combined her love of community, education and food by establishing a new community garden in the west end.  Serving as its garden site coordinator, she developed and taught gardening programs for kids and has worked to gather a community of neighbours who love to grow and eat local food.
In her down time, she enjoys reading, making music with others and spending quality time with family and friends.

Tara Boland

Community Kitchens Facilitator

Originally from Toronto and Markham area, Tara is a First Nations Métis woman with Irish roots and a passion for food.  Food and family have always been a large part of her life. Whether cooking with her mother and grandmother, or spending time with her Nany cooking large meals at home, these food experiences have deeply shaped her. 

Tara has been in Kingston since 2006 and has worked in the food industry for 15 years. She has experience with farming, gardening and foraging and using those foods when cooking. A natural in the kitchen, Tara is driven by a commitment and passion for serving community, particularly marginalized populations. She has a long history of volunteering, including with Loving Spoonful.

She is a recent graduate of Mental Health and Addictions with First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI) and Canadore College. She is currently completing her diploma in Social Work at FNTI. 

Gail Paquette

Outreach Coordinator

In February 2022, Gail joined the team at Loving Spoonful as Community Outreach Coordinator. Gail is a photographer, journalist, video producer, and digital marketer. She has been immersed in the Kingston culture for the past 8 years telling stories about local people, events, and organizations. Gail is especially passionate about what goes on behind the scenes and has worked closely with various organizations and community groups to help spread the word of their achievements.Having participated in many Loving Spoonful events in the past, Gail is excited to be a part of the team. As Outreach Coordinator she will enlighten and inform the community and spread the word on the amazing work that they do. On her days off, Gail enjoys exploring small towns and rural communities throughout Ontario, hiking and spending time with her three children.