Meet our Board of Directors candidates today at our Annual General Meeting, and grab some free food and vote on key items from 6-8pm in our cozy and warm greenhouse space TODAY! Here are the candidates’ statements for the 2019 Board of Directors of the Concordia Greenhouse!
Diana Moallem: Currently I am an active member of the Board of Directors at Concordia Greenhouse and would like to present my interest in joining the Board for 2018-2019. I have a graduate degree in Agriculture Sciences and many years of experience in research, landscaping, logistics and trade. I also joined Concordia City Farm School programs and completed the Market Gardener and Medicinal Plant full apprenticeships where I developed more expertise and knowledge about organic agriculture practice in the local context.
In applying for the Board of Directors, I plan to further further my involvement with the Concordia Greenhouse’s mission for fostering community, through experiential learning opportunities. As a current Four Seasons Growing Intern, I have developed a connection to the Greenhouse and I believe my vision in regards to food systems, educational experience, and community building is very similar to that of the Concordia Greenhouse’s.
I am an exchange student here at Concordia from San Francisco State University where I major in Sustainability and Social Justice. With my degree, I intend to challenge unjust food systems and mainstream consumerism, with the eventual goal of getting involved in environmental policy. My coursework in Environmental Law, Urban Agriculture, Environmental Ethics, and Environmental Justice has acquainted me with the necessary aspects of maintaining an environmental-based nonprofit organization, in particular, I have learned about non-profit governance, non-hierarchical organizational structures and equitable internal policy-making.
I have prior experience working with nonprofit organizations, San Francisco Botanical Garden Society and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, both organizations sharing a common mission of cultivating community through the bond between people and plants, with a focus on relevancy and accessibility to all communities. I worked as an environmental educator for both organizations, mainly teaching to alleviate the disconnection that exist between the purchase of food and the growing of food. I was involved in annual fundraising for both organizations, giving tours and assisting in gardening workshops, and staffed many community oriented events. I have knowledge of hiring processes from selecting high-school interns to work on the Botanical Gardens Children’s garden, and oversaw their work and provided feedback. Through The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, I attended multiple trainings on conflict resolution and working with people facing trauma. As well as trainings on creating accessible environmental spaces for marginalized folks, and fostering community through environmental prosperity. Thank you!
Stella Matoso: Hello my name is Stella and I am an undergraduate student at Concordia, Majoring in Urban Studies and Minoring in Sustainability. I am running to become a member of the Board of Directors because I’m interested in sustainable movements, food security, skill sharing, community organizing, and social justice movements. I am in the process of finishing up an internship at the greenhouse this fall which is what peaked my interest in running. I previously volunteered at CAGJ, a grassroots community-based organization in Seattle seeking to transform unjust trade and agricultural policies and practices. Through that experience I learned about food sovereignty and fundraising by helping request donations for their annual dinner auction, and attending meetings to discuss incentives and goals for CAGJ’s future. I also completed an
internship at a plant shop in Seattle, where I learned about general plant care and coordinated a marketing campaign to help them develop a solid business profile and reach new demographics. Working in several restaurants for over 4 years has also given me experience with interpersonal relations and conflict resolution skills. From these experiences I was inspired to work on farms for 6 months and volunteer for a non-profit organic gardening and urban ecology organization Tilth Seattle, which both solidified my interests in urban agriculture and community organizing. All in all, I believe this position would be an excellent opportunity for me to build onto my community organizing, fundraising, and finance skills, as well as help me get closer to my career plans!
Sarah Larmony: I want to become part of the greenhouse team to help guide the organization in its growth and to continue developing its commitment to allow learning opportunities about ways to build and maintain smarter and more sustainable food systems within urban settings. I want to apply my skills to spread awareness and aid the greenhouse initiative to help create a more ecologically-conscious and healthy world, and to build my skills to have meaningful opportunities once I finish my undergraduate degree here at Concordia.
Here is a list of my past experiences and skills acquired:
In Human Resources:
HydroFlora Concordia: (visiting research project housed in the Concordia greenhouse) – I am familiar with group decision-making and the collective model, and have experience creating and maintaining governing policies, task accountability and responsibility.
Daycare for 3+ years and volunteered at an animal shelter for 4 years: In these capacities I helped with scheduling, managing volunteers and the public, and gained interpersonal skills and conflict-resolution skills.
Rotary International: understanding and familiarity with non-profit structure and governance, and experience representing the organization’s mandate, policies and code of conduct.
Robotics: experience in a competition helped to develop teamwork and time-management skills, leadership skills while working under pressure.
Community service: I have volunteer experience working with marginalized groups that span a large range of ages (children/youth-seniors), and in particular have experience working to aid food security and public health in more urbanized settings.
In Finance and Fundraising:
Girls Learn International: As Treasurer, I handled the budget, had financial responsibility, strategized practical financial goal-keeping for long and short-term campaigns, and I organized fundraising and advocacy events for social justice and food security issues.
Rayanne Papp Abbas:
My name is Rayanne. I’m currently completing a Four Seasons Growing internship at the Concordia Greenhouse. I am planning on attending the City Farm School next year to complete the Market Gardener Full Apprenticeship. I am particularly interested in food sovereignty and organic, local food production, and I think the Concordia Greenhouse is a great place to learn about both. As the greenhouse is becoming more and more popular among students, I think it’s important that we strive to get more people actively participating in its growth and development. The Greenhouse is more than a study area for students who gather there, and we can create more opportunities for students to learn through free hands-on workshops, guided tours, and student-led discussions.
I consider myself a valuable addition to the board of directors. I have great interpersonal skills, as well as a good sense of initiative. When I was a student at Vanier college, I founded a yoga club with the goal to offer free yoga classes to students on campus. The club was a success and gave many students the opportunity to benefit from the practice without worrying about cost. This experience has allowed me to develop strong communication skills, as well as build the confidence to work on new projects, knowing that I can bring them to reality.
I currently work at Coop la Maison Verte, a cooperative cafe and organic grocery store in NDG. I aspire to one day run my own cooperative farm or greenhouse and teach people about food solidarity, permaculture, and urban farming. I believe that becoming a member in the board of the directors will allow me to learn how to keep this type of establishment running successfully, and provide me with valuable experience that will serve me well in my future career.
Tess Fleet: My name is Tess and I am applying to be a part of the Concordia Greenhouse Board of Directors. If elected, this would be my second year with this team. I’ve spent the last year working with the board as a part of the Human Resources working group and while I’ve learnt so much, I aspire to keep growing in this field and helping out however I can. I’m very lucky for my prior experience with the board, as they have given me the chance to participate in trainings such as anti-oppression and non-violent communication. I’ve also gained some valuable experience working in a non-hierarchical, consensus-based environment. In addition to being familiar with the administrative functioning of the greenhouse I’m also extremely familiar with all of the educational programs offered by the greenhouse as I’ve completed multiple of their internship programs. I believe my knowledge of the greenhouse on paper and in practice would be a great advantage for someone working on the board.
Another reason to consider my candidacy would be my position as an undergraduate student at the University of Concordia. I am in my final year of study within the geography department and therefore have managed to cultivate a large network with students who have a particular interest in many of the projects conducted by and through the greenhouse! My area of study in specific is relevant to the skill-set that I bring. My focus is on environment and sustainability. As a result, I am very well versed in both ecological and cultural sustainability, pertaining to subjects such as food politics, as well as ecological agriculture and practices.
For these reasons I believe that I would be an ideal representative of the Concordia Greenhouse mandate and a useful asset to the Board of Directors. It would be an honor to be continue being a part of the team and I’m grateful for the opportunity!