Our Staff

Karen Secord, Executive Director

Karen Secord

Karen landed on the doorstep of the Parkdale Food Centre in October 2012 without any real understanding of the work ahead of her. A lifelong storyteller, Karen believes that change happens one person at a time, one story at a time. And that good food has the universal power to bring people together. Karen’s passion for people and commitment to social justice intersect at the Parkdale Food Centre, reminding her that this is what she has always been meant to do. Contact Karen: karen@parkdalefoodcentre.org

Alissa Campbell, Centre Manager

Alissa has been following her love for food from her days in the family vegetable garden as a child all the way to the Parkdale Food Centre. Along the way she has immersed herself in organic farming and spearheaded the growth of school gardens across the city. With a background in Environmental Studies and Food Policy, she is deeply committed to contributing to a stronger, healthier, more sustainable food system, and to bringing people together around the table. Contact Alissa: alissa@parkdalefoodcentre.org

Simon Bell, Kitchen Manager

Simon has spent 15 years working in kitchens in Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver, Paris and Taipei. He was sous-chef to Gold Medal plates regional and national winner Jamie Stunt, and was the head chef of the critically acclaimed Oz Kafe. Simon has spent the last two years as a consultant and cooking instructor. He has deep ties to the restaurant community as well as the local agriculture sector and has also represented Korea numerous times as a food ambassador at the travel and tourism show. Contact Simon: simon@parkdalefoodcentre.org

 

Myra McMahon, Kitchen Assistant

Myra has been making wonderful food in the PFC kitchen since 2015. She first joined in the fun as a participant, then as an engaged volunteer until accepting a staff position in 2016. It’s no exaggeration when Myra refers to the Centre as her “second home”. She rarely misses a Wednesday cooking workshop and we rely on her amazing artistic talent to keep our many blackboards colourfully decorated and up-to-date. Myra’s energy, keen eye and willingness to learn and share are invaluable assets to our team. Contact Myra: myra@parkdalefoodcentre.org

Meagan Mcveigh, “Thirteen: A Social Enterprise” Project Lead

Meagan has been with the Parkdale Food Centre since 2016 as a volunteer doing intake for the Foodbank. She has now taken on the role as Team Lead for Thirteen: A Social Enterprise. Meagan graduated with a degree in Social Work From Ryerson University in 2013 and runs a small farm business growing organic vegetables on the side. She believes that using food, you can create opportunity and connections in your community and beyond. Contact Meagan: meagan@parkdalefoodcentre.org

 

 

Karin Freeman, Growing Futures Coordinator

Karin is a new resident of Ottawa who came to the Parkdale Food Centre looking to build new community in a meaningful way. She is very excited to be filling in for Elle this summer as the Growing Futures Coordinator! As part of the PFC team, Karin leads Solutionary Workshops to engage children and youth in solving big community problems. As a new, small-scale, organic farmer she believes in the positive impact of exposing people to good food and the value of sharing meals and conversations with others. Don’t be surprised if she has a little dirt under her fingernails from time-to-time! Contact Karin: growingfutures@parkdalefoodcentre.org

Tamara Kalnins, Thirteen: A Social Enterprise Coordinator

Tamara’s passion for food was ignited when she was given her first cookbook on her 10th birthday. She has been making people smile with her food ever since. She loves baking with sourdough, growing vegetables and creating vegan versions of her family’s favourite dishes. She comes to Parkdale Food Centre after years of cooking in restaurants and cafes around Ottawa. She is working as Coordinator for Thirteen: A Social Enterprise and is excited to be working towards community empowerment through food. Contact Tamara: tamara@parkdalefoodcentre.org

Kori Liversage, Food Rescue Coordinator

Kori is a passionate soul who strives to improve the well-being of the planet and all of its inhabitants. She is an environmental activist, a nature seeker, and a people lover. She has a colourful history of food justice through working with the progressive groups People’s Republic of Delicious, Fair Trade Canada, and Food Not Bombs.  She is constantly learning about the beautiful food web she exists in by growing her own veggies, cooking funky recipes, and engaging with local and global food friends. Kori uses her innate ability to connect with others to promote the rescuing and re-purposing of food through PFC’s foodrescue.ca project in partnership with Second Harvest. Contact Kori: kori@parkdalefoodcentre.org

Erica Braunovan, Ottawa Community Food Partnership Coordinator

Hailing from a small agricultural town in Southern Manitoba, Erica was born part sheepdog. Her natural herding abilities drive her desire to connect with people to bring them together and build strong networks.

Erica’s life-long passion for community and community building was developed when she was first exposed to issues of poverty in the late 90s. She quickly determined that band-aid solutions would not bring about the transformational societal change that is needed for our communities to thrive.

Erica has made Ottawa her home since 2002. She developed an “agency crush” on the Parkdale Food Centre when she first heard of the work we were doing to re-frame food banking and recognize food security as a human right. She is absolutely thrilled to be our Ottawa Community Food Partnership Coordinator. Contact Erica: erica@parkdalefoodcentre.org

Heather Bruce, Food Bank and Volunteer Coordinator

Growing up in rural South Western Ontario, nature was everywhere, as were farms. From a young age Heather was a curious explorer and nature obsessed.  Studying Environmental Studies at York University left Heather with strong convictions about industrial agriculture, food security and poverty: asking questions about how we got here and where we are going.

Spending the last decade working passionately in hospitality, Heather is thrilled to be part of the Parkdale Food Centre team and out community! Contact Heather: heather@parkdalefoodcentre.org

Amanda Van Noppen, Youth Skills Development Coordinator

Amanda grew up in small town Lanark on a hobby farm, raising sheep, cattle, and horses. As a child she would name pretty much anything that had a heart and has continued to be passionate about care and love for all creatures. Amanda attended University in Kentucky and focused her studies on Psychology and the use of animals for therapy. She’s had experience working with youth involved in the criminal justice system and family protective services and spent two years working in intercity Atlanta. She is currently finishing her Master’s in Mental Health Counseling which has only grown her excitement for working with youth and connecting them with nature and animals. She can be mostly found at the Youth Now Farm where she works along side youth gardening and trying to herd goats. Contact Amanda amanda@parkdalefoodcenter.org.

Elle Crevits, Growing Futures Lead (currently on leave)

Elle comes from a farm in southwestern Ontario where she learned from a young age the importance of working hard and eating well. It was in Kitchener, studying Peace and Conflict at the University of Waterloo, that Elle first discovered her passion for food, business, and social enterprise. She started a small social enterprise, Food Not Waste, to reduce food waste and hunger in the community. Now in Ottawa, Elle runs a small side business teaching people how to cook and ferment from her home and is excited to use her combined passion for food and business at the Parkdale Food Centre.

 

Meredith Davis,  Food Bank Coordinator/Volunteer and Donor Engagement Coordinator (currently on leave)

Meredith has curated meaningful experiences around the table for most of her life. It was no accident that she landed on the doorstep of PFC, inspired by the work and commitment to the community she grew up in. With a background in events, volunteer and donor stewardship and employment standards, she hopes that together, we may build a longer table.

Rebecca McCaffrey, Youth Skills Development Coordinator (currently on leave)

Rebecca has always had a passion for cooking, eating, and helping others access healthy meals and build food skills. Her background is in counselling, with a primary focus on helping marginalized youth overcome life challenges. She has supported youth to realize their potential, build life skills, and access the resources in their communities that will help them thrive as productive and valued members of society.  At PFC, Rebecca  works with youth involved at the Youth Now Farm, helping them to build life skills while obtaining and maintaining suitable employment during and after a farm-based internship.