Mitchell McLarnon - Director
In 2016, Mitchell began initiatives to expand the garden physically and digitally at McGill, and within the community. His experience in sustainability, gardening, environmental education, and community development has led to the establishment of several different gardens in schools and community organizations for teaching, learning and research. For his ongoing work at McGill and in Montreal, Mitchell has been awarded several grants and awards that fund garden operations and the work of team members. With the team, Mitchell has expanded gardens to maximize: food production for food security initiatives; environmental teaching and learning on campus and across Montreal; collaboration with schools, community organizations, team/community members, pre/in-service teachers, LEARN QC, and McGill's Redpath Museum. His personal research interests include sustainability, environmental education (community gardens), social and environmental justice, food insecurity, experiential learning, gentrification, institutional ethnography and community-based and participatory visual methods.
Jayne Malenfant - Free Skool
Jayne is a doctoral student who was hired in the spring of 2017. In 2018, Jayne won both the Vanier and Trudeau Scholarships, becoming the first person to do so in the Faculty of Education at McGill University. More recently, Jayne has started an anarchist Free Skool in the garden and continues to provide opportunities for DISE instructors and students to take part in arts-based activities in the garden, incorporating flowers and leaves from the garden beds into art projects. She has also worked at building ties with community organizations, particularly working regularly with staff and participants at the Benoît Labre House, supporting and bridging their gardening projects with our garden at McGill. In this work she has emphasized sustainability, particularly linking issues of poverty and food security with gardening practices. Her research interests include activism, youth, homelessness, anarchism, informal pedagogies, and zine-making.
Sandra Owén:nakon Deer - Three Sisters Garden
Sandra Owén:nakon Deer is a Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) from Kahnawa:ke, QC. She was a teacher for over 20 years, an administrator, consultant, and curriculum writer for the past 7 years. She is a graduate of McGill University, with a certificate in Native & Northern Ed., M.A., and B.A. from University of Massachusetts. Sandra is currently at McGill in her 4th year of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education. Sandra's knowledge and experience with Three-Sister gardens has been of the utmost importance for acknowledging and respecting Indigenous perspectives in gardening and education more broadly.
Salina Berhane - Garden Coordinator
Born and raised in Montreal, Salina is a first-generation Canadian of Eritrean and Ethiopian immigrants. She is multilingual and is currently studying/working on her BA at McGill in Kindergarten and Elementary Education with a major in Pédagogie de l’Immersion Française. Concurrent to her formal education, Salina is teaching herself about an important subject matter her history teachers never taught her: Black Canadian History. In her future graduate research, she will make it an obligation that the current Canadian and Quebec curricula extend their historic attention and make space for the Afro descended Canadian presence, which has influenced our current world. Salina hopes that in learning more about Black Canadian history herself, she seeks to create contemporary lesson plans for future kindergarten and elementary educators.
Lyne Dwyer - Gaming and Gardening
Lyne Dwyer is a graduate student in the Media Studies department at Concordia University. Along with their academic background, the bring with them a handful of home gardening skills that have continued to grow alongside our project. Lyne has an interest in food sustainability and community organizing that is expressed through volunteer work at sustainable food co-ops including Concordia’s Hive Café and Food Not Bombs. Though their background is originally in gender and media studies, their research in Montreal currently focuses on interactive technologies, empathy, and social justice.
Rebeca Esquivel - Climate Change Education Specialist
Rebeca is completing her Masters in Education and Society in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill, focusing on learning for sustainability and climate change. Recently Rebeca has begun developing a project called The P/re-loved Project, which hosts events that encourage us to think about how our consumption impacts our planet and those who call it home. See Free Skool page for dates and information.
Vanessa Gold - Music and the Arts
Vanessa, B.Ed. ’13, worked as a Native English Teacher (NET) in Hong Kong for four years before returning to McGill for an MA in Educational Leadership. Now, entering the first year of her Doctor of Philosophy in DISE, she will continue to explore her research interests in educational change, teacher education, design thinking, and action research. Vanessa has served as a student representative on the Education Graduate Students’ Society (EGSS) for the past two years and will continue her service this year as Co-President. Participating in McGill’s Community Garden is an opportunity to model her mandate to encourage interdisciplinarity and community building within the Faculty of Education and beyond. Vanessa is a garden-enthusiast, artist, and singer-songwriter eager to share in creative garden experiences!
Kate Harris - Health and Wellbeing
Kate has recently completed her Masters in Educational Counselling and Psychology at McGill University and joined the garden team in the summer of 2018. Coming from an educational background in psychology and a lifetime of nature care from vineyards to summer camps, she hopes to help with garden care as well as maintaining community connections. Life and research interests include emotional regulation, child and youth protection, mental health care, social justice, rehabilitation for youth and adult offenders, cats of any and all varieties, and trees.
Ariane Larose - Visual Arts
Ariane, recent graduate in Secondary Education and Fine Arts from Bishop’s University, joined the summer garden team in 2019. She has a variety of teaching and public programming experience pertaining to the arts and outdoor education in both public and private schools as well as in museums and art galleries. Ariane is interested in curriculum development, educational policy, community engagement and activism with youth, nonviolent communication, ceramics and anything having to do with the outdoors.
Aron Rosenberg - Creative Writing/Poetry/ZineMaking/Free Skool
Aron Rosenberg is completing his graduate studies at McGill, focusing on how to support teachers and students as they develop a critical approach to their digital lives. Aron was teaching at a high school in Vancouver before this degree. He is interested in community organizing and collaboration around ecology, wellness, Palestine, queerness, and creativity -- especially in music and writing. He is spending the year 2020 offline.
Foster Salpeter - Environmental Philosophy
Foster Salpeter is currently working on his undergrad at Columbia University in New York. Over the summer of 2017, Foster worked in the garden, building two additional garden boxes, as well as contributing to some of the community organizations that we have partnered with across the city. Foster is back in the mix for 2018 and will be continuing his work at McGill and in the community.
Past Team Members:
Clark Kalel Alarcon Carreon
Sven (7ven) Creese