Get to know us

We’re a non-profit organization based in Ottawa, Canada with an international Board of Directors. Our Foundation, set up in memory of our founder Dr. Lotta Hitchmanova, is managed by a separate Board of Directors. Meet the people who make up SeedChange.

Our staff

Jane Rabinowicz

Executive Director

Jane was appointed Executive Director of SeedChange in 2016, sharing the title with Martin Settle as a leadership team. She joined SeedChange in 2011 as Founding Director of The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security. Jane has dedicated her career to community-led change. She is co-founder of the Silver Dollar Foundation, and serves on the Board of Directors of Tides Canada. She was previously Director of Development at Équiterre and Executive Director of Santropol Roulant, and volunteered on the Boards of Directors of Centraide du Grand-Montréal, Food Secure Canada, Girls Action Foundation, and the Centre for Community Organizations. Jane was named one of the 53 most influential people in Canada’s food system by The Globe and Mail, and one of Canada’s leading women changing the way we eat by Châtelaine Magazine. (she/her, Ottawa/Montreal)

Martin Settle

Executive Director

Martin was appointed Executive Director of SeedChange in 2016, sharing the title with Jane Rabinowicz as a leadership team. Passionate about social and economic justice, Marti has two decades of experience in social justice work particularly related to youth services, food sovereignty, and social housing in three provinces – Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario – and in England, where he helped establish a locally sourced hot meal program in Dorset Primary Schools. He is a Chartered Professional Accountant and was recruited to the USC Canada Board of Directors as Treasurer in 2009. He was delighted to join the staff team in 2013 as Director of Finance and Human Resources. (he/him, Ottawa)

Lauren Brander

Program Manager, Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning

Lauren grew up in Calgary and attended the University of Calgary for her undergraduate degrees. She has an M.A. in public policy from Johns Hopkins University, where she focused on econometrics and international policy. She has worked to develop effective monitoring and evaluation systems for a wide variety of international non-profits in health systems, education, economic development, gender equity and agriculture, and is passionate about using data strategically to continuously improve and support development work. In her spare time, she loves yoga, running, reading and, of course, travel! (she/her, Ottawa)

Katie Breen

Donor Engagement Manager

Katie Breen is the Donor Engagement Manager at SeedChange. She has a Masters in plant ecology, and a background in environmental science, education and program management. Katie joined SeedChange in 2014 to develop curriculum about seed diversity for Canadian school children, then worked as our Outreach Manager, before transitioning into her Donor Engagement Role in 2020. She loves SeedChange’s approach to preserving and enhancing agricultural biodiversity and tries her best to preserve her own small share in her backyard. When not working, Katie is happiest outside on cross-country ski trails or canoe trips with her family. (she/her, Ottawa)

Kath G Clark

Digital Communications Manager

Kath joined SeedChange in 2014, after graduating with their Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. They have written for such outlets as the Ottawa Citizen, the Welland Tribune, Careers Options magazine and have freelanced for the IDRC. Kath also worked for a time at Canadian Geographic magazine. Today, they run the SeedChange social media accounts (follow/like SeedChange on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!). They live in Ottawa with some guitars and their 37 (and counting) houseplants. They also take way too many photos of bees and other pollinators. (they/them, Ottawa)

Aabir Dey

Director, Canadian Field Program, The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security

Aabir is the Director of our Canadian field program, The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security. Aabir developed his passion for seeds (and an obsession for garlic) while working at Everdale Farm, where he helped Seeds of Diversity Canada grow their Great Canadian Garlic Collection. He completed a Master of Environmental Studies at York University, researching organic seed systems in Ontario, before joining SeedChange. Aabir has been instrumental in shaping and leading the initiative’s training, research, and policy programs. Aabir is thrilled to be working with seed producers and farmers all over Canada to promote seed security coast-to-coast. (he/him, Guelph)

Marie Dulude

Senior Assistant to the Executive Directors & Program Manager, West Africa

Marie has been with USC Canada since 1984, starting as a translator before moving into volunteer coordination, project management, and then, Senior Assistant to the Executive Directors since 2005. She is now collaborating with many of the same long-standing partners in Burkina Faso and Mali as a program manager once more, in preparation for an upcoming maternity leave replacement. Not only is Marie the organization’s longest serving and most multi-talented member, she is also an enthusiastic home chef who loves sharing great food with her family and colleagues. (she/her, Ottawa)

Teresa Garavito

Fundraising Systems Analyst

Teresa is a Fundraising Systems Analyst at SeedChange. She joined the fundraising team in 2002. She is responsible for the administration of the fundraising database and oversees the daily operations of processing donations. Teresa has a background in information systems and has worked mainly in the health sector and as an academic professor back in her home country, Colombia. (she/her, Ottawa)

Kate Green

Program Manager, Asia and Ethiopia

Kate has been a Program Manager at USC Canada for more than 25 years, supporting partners in Nepal, Timor-Leste and now Ethiopia. Driven by a passion for seed saving, she’s also been an active contributor to Canada’s seed movement, serving on the board of Seeds of Diversity from 2012-2017 and now volunteering with the Ottawa Seed Library. Kate has degrees in history, rural planning and food security from Queen’s, the University of East Anglia (UK) and Ryerson University. In her time off, she enjoys camping and paddling as well as keeping an eye on her small organic garden. (she/her, Ottawa)

Stephanie Hughes

Atlantic Canada Program Manager, The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security

Steph has worked with The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security since its launch in 2013. She officially joined the SeedChange team in 2019, where she contributes her expertise in communications, facilitation, and program design. Steph has a Bachelors degree in International Development Studies from St. Mary’s University, and ten years’ experience working in the non-profit sector in Nova Scotia and internationally on land conservation, environmental justice, and regional food security. When she isn’t helping Canadians make the connection between food, seed, and social change, Steph is busy hiking, swimming, and working towards her masters degree in adult education. (she/her, Halifax)

Helen Jensen

National Research Program Manager, The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security

Helen Jensen holds a PhD in Biology from McGill University and an M.Sc. as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Ottawa. During her doctoral research, she studied the evolution and disease resistance of barley varieties in Morocco, in collaboration with researchers and agricultural producers in the Taounate region. Helen has been with SeedChange since 2013, contributing to the implementation of The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security. She works on participatory plant breeding and participatory variety trial networks to develop varieties adapted to the needs of organic and ecological producers. She is an adjunct professor at Bishop’s University, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems (Department of Environment and Geography). (she/her, Montreal)

Jeff de Jong

Director, International Programs

Jeff joined SeedChange in September 2016 to lead the international programs team. He holds an MBA and brings considerable knowledge on value-chain development, cooperative development and years of experience developing and managing strategic, operational and business processes involving smallholder farmers in Latin America and Africa. More recently he worked as a business advisor and team manager on a food security and climate resiliency agricultural project in Ethiopia. Outside of work, Jeff enjoys spending time with family and friends over a good cooked meal and the latest craft beer offering. (he/him, Ottawa)

Christopher Kelly-Bisson

Policy Analyst, The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security

Christopher Kelly-Bisson is the policy analyst for our Canadian field program. He has a background that spans ecology and policy research. He is currently a PhD candidate (ABD), studying political economy, at the University of Ottawa. He completed his M.A. in geography at Carleton University. Christopher also has a background in horticulture, where he has designed and managed various urban agriculture initiatives in Ottawa. He co-founded an organic market garden in the Ottawa Greenbelt, where he ran a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program and produced regionally-adapted vegetable seed from 2014 to 2017. He was thrilled to join the SeedChange team in 2019. (he/him, Ottawa)

Elodie L. Mantha

Director, Communications and Fundraising

Elodie thought she’d landed her dream job when she joined SeedChange in 2014. It got even better in 2017 when she took on the challenge of leading the communications team and the transition from USC Canada to SeedChange. In 2020, the fundraising portfolio was added to her responsibilities. Elodie has an M.A. in Public Policy and Administration from Carleton University and a B.Sc. in Environmental Sciences from McGill University. She served on the Board of Just Food from 2011-2014, and previously worked for Equiterre and Environment Canada. When she’s not at work, there’s a good chance you’ll find her at home singing silly songs (poorly) with her husband and their two children. (she/her, Ottawa)

Hugo Martorell

Regional Program Coordinator, Quebec, The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security

Before joining the Bauta Program in spring 2017, Hugo worked alongside food sovereignty organizations in Quebec as a researcher, advocate and consultant. Hugo has conducted policy scans and authored publications with peers on policy and collective action. His work with Bauta involves building new partnerships and supporting farmer-to-farmer knowledge sharing and market development in Quebec. Hugo holds a BA in political science from McGill University and a Master’s Degree in municipal food governance at Concordia University. Since joining the Bauta Program, Hugo has discovered a passion for seeds, varieties and plant breeding. (he/him, Montreal)

Marta Monaghan

Fundraising Assistant

Marta joined SeedChange in 2011, after many years in client services. She works with the fundraising team where she responds to donors’ questions, makes sure they get their tax receipts on time and keeps their information up to date. Marta has enjoyed getting to know our long-standing donors over time and loves to hear about what made them so passionate about the cause! If you have a question about making a donation to SeedChange, she would be happy to hear from you. Marta holds a BA in History from Carleton University. (she/her, Ottawa)

Beatriz Oliver

Program Manager, Latin America

Beatriz Oliver first worked for SeedChange from 2005-2009, before returning in 2015 to manage our programs in Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Cuba. She is a cultural anthropologist with a specialization in participatory research and sustainable agriculture. Beatriz worked with environmental and popular education groups in Canada and Latin America, and has a Ph.D. in Anthropology from McGill University, based on her research with food sovereignty networks and women’s agroecological cooperatives in Uruguay. She also taught at the School of Sociological and Anthropological Studies of the University of Ottawa. In her spare time, Beatriz likes to read about the history of food systems and to enjoy nature, especially trees. (she/her, Ottawa)

Gioconda Ortega-Alarie

Program Manager, Central America

Gioconda joined SeedChange in September 2020 to manage our food security response in the region. She holds an MPM and an M.A. in geography from Quebec and Carleton Universities. Gioconda has extensive knowledge of women’s economic empowerment, agriculture and integrated approaches to natural resources management, working over two decades of her career in support of better livelihoods and economic opportunities for vulnerable communities around the world. More recently, she was the team leader of an integrated cooperative program that used a gendered-value chain approach and strengthened the overall capacity of cooperatives in Indonesia, Malawi, Mongolia and Peru. Outside work, Gioconda enjoys family dinners, travelling and meeting different cultures. (she/her, Ottawa)

Denise Paradis

Office Manager

Denise came to the organization almost 20 years ago with a strong background in administration, website maintenance and desktop publishing. She had worked for several non-profits throughout her career, but was attracted to SeedChange’s focus on “helping people help themselves.” Denise loves contributing to SeedChange in a wide variety of ways.Since joining the team, she has taken over the management of the office, IT network and equipment, as well as a growing number of financial administrative responsibilities. Denise was born and raised in Ottawa, where she raised her daughter and still lives today, with her two adorable pooches. (she/her, Ottawa)

Norbey Perez

Finance Analyst

Norbey joined SeedChange in September 2016. He holds a Bachelor in Economics from the Universidad Central de Las Villas in Santa Clara, Cuba, and is currently pursuing a Chartered Professional Accountant designation with CPA Ontario. Norbey grew up in rural Cuba, where agriculture is the primary industry. He is passionate about SeedChange’s work supporting rural communities in the Global South to implement sustainable farming practices and attain food security. (he/him, Ottawa)

Karen Ross

Director, Farmers for Climate Solutions

Karen Ross is the director of Farmers for Climate Solutions (FCS), a national alliance of farmers and farmer supporters advancing climate solutions in Canadian agriculture. Karen has a PhD from Western University and comes to FCS with experience leading a national program advancing policies and communications on soil, greenhouse gases and agriculture at Equiterre, a policy advocate and researcher on sustainable food systems in Canada, as a former lecturer in social justice and international development, and a project manager on a federally funded project in central Africa. Karen manages a vegetable, fruit and flower “fermette” with her partner, selling their produce directly to daycares and farmers markets.

Elodie Rousselle

Program Manager, West Africa

Elodie enthusiastically joined SeedChange’s international program team in 2018, taking on management responsibilities for our partnerships in Mali and Burkina Faso. Before joining SeedChange, Elodie completed a Master’s Degree in sociology, focusing her research on the food sovereignty movement in Mali. Convinced of the socially transformative capacity of peasants’ movements, she then worked with West African farmers’ organizations, supporting political advocacy and analysis on issues related to land grabs and gender equality. Elodie also worked for a few years in the community development sector in Montreal. She now splits her time between Ottawa and Montreal. (she/her, Ottawa/Montreal)

Pratap Kumar Shrestha, PhD

Program Specialist, Seed Systems and Plant Genetic Resources

Pratap first joined SeedChange in 2009. He has a Master’s Degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of East Anglia and a PhD in participatory technology development and local knowledge systems from the University of Wales, UK. Pratap has been working in agricultural research and development for nearly 30 years, particularly on participatory crop improvement, seed systems, community-based approaches to biodiversity conservation, and policy. In 2014, he worked as an advisor, helping the Government of Timor Leste draft its National Seed Policy. Pratap also led the development of SeedChange’s innovative Seed Security Assessment methodology. Pratap is passionate about working with farmers and supporting policies that protect their rights and livelihoods. (he/him, Pokhara, Nepal)

Board of directors

Leticia Ama Deawuo

Chair of the Board

Leticia Ama Deawuo is a long-time resident of the Jane-Finch Community in Toronto who has been a leading social activist for the past 15 years. She was instrumental in the creation of a number of prominent community groups and initiatives including Jane Finch On The Move, Jane Finch Action Against Poverty, Jane Finch Political Conversation Café, Black Creek Food Justice Network, and Mothers-In-Motion. She is now the Director of the Black Creek Community Farm, where she works towards towards greater food security and food justice with the community of Jane-Finch. Leticia is a member of the Toronto Food Policy Council and is currently pursuing her Masters in Environmental Studies at York University.

Karim Salabi

Vice-chair of the Board

Karim Salabi is a partner of Ascendis Consulting, a strategy consulting firm. For the past 25 years, he has been providing Strategy, Marketing and Digital Transformation / eCommerce advice to a wide variety of clients as well as leading and operating businesses in Retail, Distribution and Consumer Product Goods, Telecommunications, Technology and Media & Entertainment sectors. He has held senior management positions in the retail, telecommunications and technologies industries (RONA, Autodesk and Fido-Rogers Wireless). Prior to that, he was Director, Strategic Consulting Services, for one of the largest consulting firms in the world. He holds a BA in Economics and an MBA from McGill University. He is an active volunteer and has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the United Way of Greater Montreal and la Fondation du Grand Montréal.

Robert C Kamp

Treasurer

Bob Kamp retired as Vice President of Investment Management at TELUS in 2015. He has served as Chair of the Investment Committee for the University of Alberta Endowment Fund and is a member of the board for the Edmonton Symphony & Concert Hall Foundation. He is a member of the Pension Investment Association of Canada as well as being active in his community league and church. Since joining SeedChange’s board in 2014, Bob’s life-long love of gardening has expanded to include an interest in sustainable agriculture, food policy, the miracle of seeds and the empowerment of farmers.

Nicole McDonald

Secretary

Born and raised in Saskatchewan on Treaty 6 territory, Nicole is Métis with ancestral roots in the Red River Valley. She is the Director of Indigenous Initiatives at the McConnell Foundation, and is focused on advancing the fields of Indigenous philanthropy, social innovation and solutions finance. Nicole holds a BA in International Studies and an MA in Political Science from the University of Saskatchewan, and is currently a Fellow of the Academy for Systems Change. She lives in Ottawa on unceded Algonquin territory with her husband and five children, where she dreams of becoming a foodie one day, despite her current lack of a green thumb and her limited cooking skills!

Nicole Côté

Member at Large

Nicole Cote is the Executive Director for Environmental Assessment at Environment and Climate Change Canada. She has spent 20 years in the federal public service in the areas of ecosystem health, Indigenous reconciliation, provincial-territorial relations and environmental assessment. Ms. Cote holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Victoria and a Masters in Leadership and Training from Royal Roads University. Nicole is passionate about facilitation and collaborative decision making to support sustainable social change. She approaches life (and policy) with humour and an eye for detail. A self proclaimed foodie but with zero skills in growing anything – food policy seemed like a natural way be part of change.

Kim Delaney

Member at large

Kim Delaney is a seed farmer living and working in Palmerston ON. Her company, Hawthorn Farm Organic Seeds, is part of a growing global network of seed savers that are working to keep high quality open-pollinated seed in the hands of farmers and gardeners. Kim and her crew grow and save over 400 varieties of vegetable, flower and herb seed many of them heirlooms. They also work with farm selected varieties that they believe will become the heirloom seeds of the future.

Natalia Landivar

Member at large

Natalia Landivar has been a right to food activist for fifteen years. She was founder from FIAN Ecuador and has worked with Ecuadorian peasants and small farmers organization for their access to land, as well as regional food sovereignty networks. She was part of the first coordination committee of the civil society mechanism at the Committee on Food Security (CFS). Currently, she is a PhD Candidate at the University of Manitoba.

Boaventura Monjane

Member at large

Boaventura Monjane is a Mozambican journalist, land activist and scholar. He is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Social Studies/Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra (Portugal). His areas of interest and research include Social Agrarian Movements, Rural Politics, Food Sovereignty and Climate Change. He has been involved in Agrarian Social Movements, both locally and internationally, working with the National Farmer’s Movements of Mozambique (UNAC) and the International Secretariat of La Via Campesina. Monjane has published a number of academic and op-ed publications on politics and agrarian issues. He was also involved in the production of professional film documentaries on topics of his interests, including “Land of Plenty, Land but of a Few” and “TIERRA EN SUSPENSO: Amenazas y resistencias en Cabo Delgado”.

Bernard Ndour

Member at large

Bernard Ndour is a senior consultant in social economy and impact investing with a focus on collective enterprises. He holds degrees in finance and sustainability with 15 years of experience on responsible investment and financing SME’s. Bernard is currently chairperson of Carrefour BLE, an organization for training and employability dedicated to approaching the agro-food industry from a sustainability perspective.

Padmapani Perez

Member at large

Padmapani L. Perez is an anthropologist by training and a writer by heart. She currently serves as a Research Fellow at Far Eastern University, Manila. Her research focuses on biodiversity conservation, protected areas policy, and indigenous and local community conserved areas and territories. Outside of academe, she is an advocate for seed libraries in the Philippines and is a member of the founding board of Global Seed Savers Philippines. She has recently joined the Agam Agenda, an initiative that aims to spark climate conversations through stories and art.

Dr. Priscilla Settee

Member at large

Priscilla Settee is a member of Cumberland House Swampy Cree First Nations. She is Professor of Indigenous Studies at the University of Saskatchewan, and Adjunct Professor for the Natural Resources Institute at the University of Manitoba. Dr. Settee has won recognition nationally and internationally as an award-winning professor and as a global educator and activist. She is the author of two books on global Indigenous knowledge systems and the role of Indigenous women’s stories in reconciliation and social change. She is now working on a third book on Indigenous Food Sovereignty. In her spare time, she enjoys creating art and being a kohkum (grandmother) to Nya Lily and Lola Rose. Dr. Settee has been named a David Suzuki Fellow for 2019-20 where she will research the impact of climate change and western development on the knowledge systems of northern Indigenous trappers.

Dr. Joachim Voss

Member at large

Joachim Voss is a consultant in sustainable agricultural development. Dr. Voss is passionate about the importance of ecological agriculture for human health and the planet, so he was delighted to join the SeedChange Board of Directors in 2015. He previously worked for the International Development Research Center (IDRC) in Ottawa and as Director General of the Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT) in Columbia. He also served on the boards of STEPS Centre at the University of Sussex, the CGIAR’s Micronutrient Challenge Program and CONDESAN. When he’s not working or volunteering, Joachim enjoys photography and cabinet making.