The inaugural PFF Community Leadership Fellows at McGill University:
Lauren Pochereva and Christian Scott Martone-Dondé
Lauren Pochereva, St. Monica School Garden Project, Montreal, QC
After graduating from McGill with a BA in World Religions in 2009, Lauren returned to pursue a Diploma in Environment. She has worked and volunteered with environmental NGOs around Montreal including the Fondation David Suzuki and Action Communiterre. She is increasingly involved in the Montreal urban agriculture movement, where she has coordinated children’s activities in community gardens and has given workshops on horticulture and food systems. Lauren is particularly interested in developing school garden programs as a way to improve youth health and education, and build community involvement in schools.
Through the PFF Fellowship Lauren is creating a new vegetable garden at the St. Monica Elementary School, in partnership with the school’s daycare program and local NGO Action Communiterre. The project incorporates gardening activities and hands-on workshops into afterschool programming to create a comprehensive school garden program. During the summer, Lauren worked with the Jeunesse Benny Day Camp teen program, a summer camp which is situated on-site at St. Monica School. The program objectives include: encouraging healthy living habits through non-competitive physical activity, nutrition education, and increased access to fresh produce, for students and their families; increasing children’s knowledge and respect for the environment; and increasing community involvement in the school and building community relationships.
St. Monica School is a part of the English Montreal School board, and is located in the culturally diverse borough of Nôtre-Dame-de-Grâce (NDG) in Montreal. Action Communiterre, also located in NDG, is a community organization that has been working for 15 years to promote community and environmental health through the establishment and coordination of neighbourhood collective gardens.
Christian Scott Martone-Dondé, Vive Santa Tere, Guadalajara, México
Christian Scott Martone-Dondé has an MA in Sociology with a Development Option. His academic and real-life passion for social movements and community organizing have spurred him to get involved in various civil society initiatives related to social and environmental justice in Guadalajara, his hometown, and in Montreal, his second home. In Mexico, he has participated in democratization efforts as well as public space-related campaigns and grassroots organizing. Last year he started a community bike coop, one of the few in the country, and led the first-ever Jane Jacobs Walk in Mexico - both in the neighborhood he plans to work in and with during his PFF project. He has also been involved in several environmental and sustainability initiatives at McGill University. He is currently a QPIRG-McGill Board Member.
Vive Santa Tere is a community development project funded through the PFF Community Leadership Program that aims to empower citizens and regenerate the trust-networks and sense of community in a working-class neighborhood in Guadalajara, Mexico. In addition to the creation of social capital, the project aims to help the inhabitants of Santa Tere build a community vision that identifies the’r neighbourhood’s challenges, opportunities, and positive strategies in the areas of economic, social, and environmental development.
Christian has been working closely with several local NGOs and groups, especially Ciudad para Todos, a citizen-based collective he co-founded in 2007. Ciudad para Todos believes in the importance of and need for safe and accessible public spaces, strong and organized local communities, and participatory methods of decision-making regarding the development and transformation of streets, neighborhoods, and cities.