Dean Rickey Yada

Dean Rickey Yada

We are a Faculty of superheroes. 

If you think about it, the goal of any good superhero is to save the world – which is exactly what our faculty members, staff and students set out to do every day by addressing global issues surrounding health and sustainable land and food systems.

And there is much that needs to be saved. All living things depend on the sustainability of the earth’s resources, and learning how to protect and better manage those limited resources is crucial to our survival. Critical environmental issues like water pollution, food shortages and rising temperatures could have a catastrophic effect on our ability to meet basic human needs in the near future.

Here’s the good news: experts in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems are working on solutions to many of these problems. Our researchers are studying everything from climate change and storm water management to the relationship between food, nutrition, diet and health. The research discoveries being made here have the potential to reach across borders for world-wide applications.

We’re also sharing what we’ve learned with the next generation of scientists – our students.  They come to us with a strong sense of global responsibility, passionate about creating positive and lasting change. We believe that by providing them with the opportunity to learn outside the traditional classroom – whether it’s through an internship in their chosen field, taking part in a community-based experiential learning project or studying overseas – we can enhance their education and help them develop the skills they need to make their mark.

I can personally attest to the quality of education that our students receive, having once been a student here myself. To be able to return as Dean is particularly rewarding for me and I’m looking forward to working together and helping to shape the future of the Faculty of Land and Food Systems.

Dr. Rickey Y. Yada, Dean
Faculty of Land and Food Systems


Grounded in science, the Faculty is a leader in integrated research and education that addresses global issues surrounding health and sustainable land and food systems.

Mission Statement

The UBC Faculty of Land and Food Systems uses student-centered learning to educate new generations of scientists equipped to solve the most fundamental issues faced by society — those focused around human health, a sustainable food supply and the responsible use of finite land and water resources. To that end, Faculty initiatives foster and support: research excellence, innovative active learning environments, strong community connections, and global and local collaborations.

Canada is facing a diet-related health crisis and a farm income crisis driven by very different challenges.  But a solution to both rests increasingly on the convergence of health and agricultural policy.Dr. Laurette Dubé

The diversity of disciplines present within our Faculty represents all facets of the food continuum from the resources used to produce food to the impacts of food consumption on human health.  These disciplines provide a platform for high quality research and information transfer that use or draw upon both the natural sciences and the applied social sciences to support the development of food products, governmental regulations and industry organization leading to a sustainable and safe food system and the promotion of human health through nutritionally sound diets.

We seek to be recognized as the premier academic institution in a research-intensive university in Canada that focuses on food security, safety and quality.

Associate Deans

  • David Kitts, Associate Dean, Research
  • Christine Scaman, Associate Dean, Academic
  • Tim Green, Associate Dean, Graduate Studies

Assistant Deans

  • Cyprien Lomas, Assistant Dean, Learning Technologies
  • Tracy London, Assistant Dean, Development and Alumni Engagement

Program Directors

  • David Fraser, Program Director, Applied Biology (B.Sc. APBI)
  • Zhaoming Xu, Program Director, Food, Nutrition and Health (B.Sc. FNH)
  • Brent Skura, Program Director, Global Resource Systems (B.Sc. GRS)
  • George Kennedy, Academic Director, Master of Food and Resource Economics (MFRE)
  • Jerzy Zawistowski, Program Coordinator, Master of Food Science (MFS)
  • Les Lavkulich, Program Director, Master of Land and Water Systems (MLWS)

Derek Sturko, Deputy Minister, BC Ministry of Agriculture

derek-sturkoDeputy Minister of the BC Ministry of Agriculture for the Government of British Columbia. Derek has been in the public service for 30 years, with experience in strategic planning, innovation, accountability, finance and management. He has held portfolios in areas as diverse as environmental assessment, children and family development, gaming and education.  Derek has been on the board of directors of the David Foster Foundation since 1996, with a focus on improving the board’s relationships with government and its agencies, policy, accountability, and programs to improve organ donor awareness.  Derek has a BSc from Brandon University and an MA from the University of Victoria. Derek and his wife Leslie live in Victoria, British Columbia and have four grown children.

Deborah Henderson, Director, Institute for Sustainable Horticulture, Kwantlen Polytechnic University


Nola-Kate Seymoar, International Centre for Sustainable Cities

Nola-Kate Seymoar currently serves as a Special Advisor to the United Nations Association of Canada, sits on the City of Vancouver Planning Commission, the permanent selection committee for Canada’s National Centres of Excellence and Chairs the Urban Studies Advisory Board at Simon Fraser University. She sits on the University of British Colombia’s Regional Sustainability Council and UBC’s Advisory Board to the Faculty of Land and Food Systems.

She is the retired President and CEO of Sustainable Cities International. She envisioned and led the Sustainable Cities Network of cities from developed, newly industrializing and developing countries to share their learning and accelerate the transfer of ideas and innovations from city to city.

Under Seymoar’s leadership the Centre was part of the CitiesPLUS team that won the gold medal for its 100 year plan for Greater Vancouver in 2003 and the top Canadian award for long-standing contributions to international cooperation in 2008.

Seymoar’s earlier career included senior appointments at the International Institute for Sustainable Development, Environment Canada, Treasury Board Canada and with the Government of Saskatchewan. She was the Executive Director of the Royal Commission on Unemployment Insurance and headed We the Peoples: 50 Community Awards, an international awards program in honour of the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations; and ECO-ED – a World Congress and Trade Show in follow up to the Earth Summit in 1992.

She has three interdisciplinary degrees: a Ph.D. in Social Psychology, a Masters in Community Development, and a Bachelor of Arts in Recreation Administration.

She received a UN Global Citizen Award in 1995, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

Philip Sherman, Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes

philip-shermanDr. Sherman is a Professor of Paediatrics, Microbiology, & Dentistry at the Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto where he has been on faculty since 1984. Phil completed medical school at the University of Calgary and training in pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. Training in gastroenterology and research was completed at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Washington, DC.  Phil is a Past-President of the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and a Past-President of the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology. He is the recipient of a Canada Research Chair (tier 1) in Gastrointestinal Disease. His research program is funded by support currently provided by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). His research interests focus on epithelial cell signal transduction responses to pathogenic, commensal, and probiotic bacteria.  Phil assumed the position of Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes in January, 2009.

Philip Donne, Former President, Campbell Company of Canada

Mr. Donne held the role of President of Campbell Company of Canada for 12 years and his background in the packaged goods industry includes over 15 years with Kellogg Canada Inc. as CEO in Canada, Italy and France. Philip’s business and marketing experience also includes senior positions at General Mills, Duracell Canada,  and Coca Cola Foods. Mr. Donne has held Chair positions at  Food and Consumer Products Canada, Advertising Standards Canada, The Association of Canadian Advertisers, Kids Help Phone and the Early Years Task Force on behalf of the Ontario government.  He currently serves in an advisory board capacity on McGill University’s Centre For Convergence in Health and Economics and on the board of Stonemill Bakery. His personal volunteer focus is on Hunger and Nutrition insecurity.

Henning Freybe, Freybe Gourmet Foods Ltd.

freybeHenning Freybe served as the Chairman of the Board of Freybe Gourmet Foods, Ltd., a sixth generation family-owned Canadian business.  Freybe served as CEO and President prior to his son, Sven, taking on that role in November 2009.  Mr. Freybe graduated in 1965 from UBC with a BA, and an MBA in 1968.  He spent two years in the banking industry at Royal Trust in Montreal, and joined the family business as the Head of Sales in 1970. In 1990 he was named CEO.  In 2001, FGF opened a new 10,000 sq. meters (120,000 sq. feet) state-of-the-art facility in Langley, British Columbia, producing more than 120 varieties of sausage, ham and specialty meat products.  FGF employs more than 300 dedicated associates in their new plant, serving customers across Canada and the United States.  FGF is the first North American company to declare its products gluten and lactose free. In March of 2013 FGF was sold to Premium Brands, with Sven staying on as CEO for the Freybe brand of products.

Joseph Fung, Principal Director, Fairchild Capital Management


The Fairchild Group (FC) is a media, real estate and franchise empire. Joseph Fung joined the family business several years ago after working as a senior analyst for Morgan Stanley and PCCW, a communications technology company.  The Fairchild Group has, over the past 25 years, grown into a transnational business institution with offices in China, Canada, United States and Japan, employing over 700 personnel. Founded by Thomas Fung, Fung King Hey’s eldest son, FG became an extension of SHK’s business network in North America. Unlike SHK’s focus on the financial markets, the Fairchild Group’s operations were initially in media and real estate.  Their goal is to be the first investor in high growth companies that seek to create new niches in China’s Economy. They focus on seed-stage investing and take an operation-intensive, service-oriented approach.  The Fairchild Group is part of an international organization that has helped grow over hundreds of projects since 1969.  Their expertise is bringing global flair into China’s fast-paced business ecosystem. They leverage on the expertise from our various institutions and our global network. They partner with companies and their team brings decades of operating experience, market knowledge, and a global network to every company in the portfolio.

Yves Potvin, President and Founder, Garden Protein International

yves_potvinTrained as a classical French chef, Yves Potvin has dedicated his culinary career to creating healthy, tasty, convenient foods found in the major supermarkets, restaurants and institutions across North America. Over the past thirty years, Yves has successfully built two health focused food companies. His first company, Yves Veggie Cuisine saw 50% growth per year over thirteen consecutive years, becoming the largest refrigerated meat-alternative producer in North America and was sold to the Hain Celestial Group in 2001.

Garden Protein International was founded in 2003 to create gardein™ which has redefined the plant protein category and has become the game changer in this fast growing segment. Gardein™ is available in over 22,000 supermarkets across the continent and is expanding distribution to include the Middle East, Europe and Mexico. Gardein™ has received many awards including Better Homes & Gardens’ Best New Product Award 2014, Canadian Grand Prix Award (4 years in a row), 2014 FABI Award and Natural Health Magazine’s Good Food Award and has been featured on many influential television programs such as Bloomberg News, Good Morning America, the Ellen Degeneres Show and Oprah.

Yves has been recognized numerous times over the years and most recently received the BC Food Processors Innovation Award in 2014, Mercy for Animals Innovative Business Award 2014, and a BC Export Award 2014 for Sustainability.

Howard Soon, Sandhill Wines

howard-soonBorn in Vancouver, Howard graduated from UBC in Biochemistry and later , pursued an MBA at the University of Manitoba.

Currently with 35 years experience in Winemaking, he became head winemaker of Sandhill in 1997 . His collaborative relationships with our growers and non-interventionist approach have consistently led to award winning single vineyard wines.  He is the first winemaker to release exclusively single vineyard wines that capture terroir.  His contribution to the BC wine industry was first recognized in 1998 by the Okanagan Wine Festival Society, receiving the Founders Award.  He was the first BC winemaker to receive a gold medal at the Chardonnay du Monde wine competition in France .

Howard has been a Wine Judge since 2002 at the LA County International Wine Competition in Pomona , California . He teaches Wine Appreciation as part of Continuing Studies at Okanagan College in Kelowna.

He is part of the Dean’s Advisory Board for Land Food Systems since 2012 and previously was on the Scientific Advisory Board for Wine and Grape Genomics, a research project  overseen by Genome BC. The “Grape Debate”  organized by the Alumni UBC has Howard participate on the winning team  for the last 3 years since 2013 .

Howard became the only winemaker in history to receive all 3 top honors  at the 2009 Wine Access Canadian Wine Awards when Sandhill won for Red Wine of the Year, White Wine of the Year, and Winery of  the Year.  He was invited into the BC Restaurant  and  Food service Association (BCRFA)  Hall of Fame in 2012 .

This spring  2015 Howard was recognized at the Vancouver Wine Festival ‘s Celebrating Excellence Awards with  the  highly coveted Spirited Industry Professional  Award.

Howard is an active member of the Anglican Church and has been working on the Diocesan Program “Together in Mission” , a new fund raising initiative, since 2014 .

Arran Stephens, Co-CEO, Co-Founder, and Garden Keeper, Nature’s Path Food Inc.

arran-stephensEntrepreneur, artist, writer, ecology advocate, gardener, volunteer and meditation practitioner, Arran Stephens has passionately followed the beat of a distant drummer for seven decades. Arran and Ratana—his wife/partner of 45 years—share a profound commitment to organic agriculture, people and health. Together, from humble roots, they established Nature’s Path Foods in 1985, built on a foundation of social responsibility, sustainability and financial viability. Overcoming the odds, Nature’s Path has blossomed to become the largest organic breakfast and snack foods company in North America.

Jeffrey Turner, Special Advisor, Defyrus Inc.

jeffrey-turnerDr. Turner is a scientific entrepreneur with experience in academia and the life sciences industry. He was the founder, President & CEO of Defyrus Inc. and Nexia Biotechologies (TSX:NXB). In 2014, Defyrus led the Canadian commercial development of ZMapp™, the first successful experimental treatment of Ebola virus infections in North America, EU and Africa.  In 2000, Nexia completed the largest Life Sciences IPO in Canadian history at that time. Turner was a tenured Professor of Animal Science (Dairy), McGill University and earned his Ph.D. (Animal Science/Molecular Genetics, Illinois), M.Sc. (Physiology & Biophysics; Illinois), M.Sc. (Physiology, McMaster) published >100 scientific paper & abstracts and 32 patents. His most significant technical contributions involved driving pioneering discoveries toward product commercialization via start-ups & publicly financed companies including; ZMapp™ 1st successful antibody drug to combat human Ebola virus infection, DEF201 broad spectrum antiviral that stimulates host immunity to protect against many viral pathogens; Protexia®: recombinant human butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) a medical countermeasure with broad spectrum efficacy against nerve agents; BioSteel®: recombinant spider silk legendary for it unrivalled strength, toughness and flexibility useful for soft body armour and ultra-fine & strong medical devices (produced by transgenic goats); BELE® goats were the world’s first cloned dairy goats,  reproductively active year round and “lab” sized transgenic dairy animals capable of producing biologically active recombinant proteins in their milk. Turner resides on a carbon-neutral farm in Eastern Ontario growing organic crops with nutriceutical properties.

Bernhard van Lengerich, Chief Scientific Officer, VP Technology Strategy, General Mills Inc.

bernhard-van-lengerichAfter two apprenticeships as  Baker and Pastry Chef in Germany, Dr. van Lengerich studied Cereal Science and Technology and completed his PhD in Food and Biotechnology at the Technical University of Berlin, Germany in 1984.  His work experience includes employments at Unilever Germany, RJR Nabisco in New Jersey and Buehler AG in Switzerland.  In 1994 Dr. van Lengerich joined General Mills, Inc. in Minneapolis and has been Chief Scientific Officer and Vice President for technology strategy.  During the course of his career at General Mills he led the development of numerous technologies resulting in new ingredients and process technologies that enabled major new product introductions at General Mills. His responsibilities also included leadership of a Game Changer program and creation of a novel ‘Cashless Venturing and Disruptor’ initiative. He retired in March 2015 after more than 20 years with General Mills and is now a strategic advisor.

Dr. van Lengerich is the inventor of over 100 patents and patent applications and authored many scientific articles and several book chapters on food processing, systems analysis and food extrusion. He was awarded with a Honorarium Professorship at the Technical University of Berlin, Germany where he teaches and leads an active research program, he is adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, a Fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists and serves on the Executive Board for the Technology Platform “Food for Life” at the European Union in Brussels.

Kyly Whitfield, PhD candidate, Human Nutrition
Graduate Student Representative

kyly-labKyly Whitfield is a PhD Candidate in Human Nutrition at the University of British Columbia. Her current research combines food science and nutrition as she tests the efficacy of thiamin-fortified fish sauce to combat infantile beriberi in Prey Veng, Cambodia. Other research interests include infant and young child feeding, food and nutrition security, gender mainstreaming in nutrition programming, and knowledge translation and transfer.

Stephanie Goh, Undergraduate Student, Faculty of Land and Food Systems; LFSUS President
Undergraduate Student Representative

stephanie-gohStephanie is a fourth year Food, Nutrition and Health student majoring in the Dietetics Program. She has been involved with the Land and Food Systems Undergraduate Society for 4 years and is a Co-Manager for Agora Café, a 100% volunteer student-run, local and organic café.


No matter what area of the world you call home, it’s hard to ignore the impact our actions have had on the earth. Every day, we face issues that threaten our survival – food security, water shortages and climate change, to name just a few.

In the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, we’re not just talking about these issues — we are doing something about them. Our award-winning scientists are conducting research surrounding health and sustainable land and food systems, important research that has a global reach. What we are discovering here can be applied around the world. Whether it’s making food products safer to consume, improving the lives of the animals who share our planet, or getting fresh, locally grown produce to communities in need, we are finding practical solutions to global problems.

Learn more about the early years of the Faculty by visit our Faculty History section.

Students (as of 2013)

  • ~1400 undergraduate students
  • ~150 graduate students

Faculty and Staff

  • 45 Faculty
  • 66 Staff

Alumni Base

  • More than 6700 alumni all across the world
  • Vernon Brink, well known conservationist who received the Order of Canada, the Order of BC and the Lieutenant-Governor’s Conservation Award
  • Wendy Holm, Award-Winning Economist/Sustainability Expert
  • Arthur Laing, Canadian Politician, Arthur Laing bridge named in his honour
  • Tong Louie, Chairman and CEO of H.Y. Louie Co. and London Drugs, Vice-Chairman of IGA Canada