Faculty Advisory Board


Front row: Sarb Mund, Justin Henry, Meeru Dhalwala, Christine Coletta, Bernhard van Lengerich, Rickey Yada (Dean, Faculty of Land and Food Systems). Back row: Wes Shoemaker, Parm Bains, Trish Sturdy, Jeff Turner (former FAB member), Philip Donne. (Missing: Arran and Ratana Stephens, Tom Ethier, Wade Grant, Phil Vanderpol)

Members of our Faculty Advisory Board provide their expertise to support the Dean and senior administrative team on activities related to teaching, research, extension, education and funding. They are also an important conduit to external communities, sharing our message and improving the quality of information exchange.

(Chair) Parm Bains, President and CEO, Westberry Farms

Parm Bains graduated from UBC with a BSc. in Agricultural Sciences in 1979. Parm has worked for the Ministry of Agriculture, the private sector and as a consultant, and has served on many industry boards that are local, national and international in scope. In 1989 the family purchased a blueberry farm in Abbotsford and in 1997 Parm set up Westberry Farms – a processor/packer of blueberries that now markets fresh, frozen and other blueberry products globally. In 2009 Parm was recognized by the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) for his contributions in philanthropy and building community networks with an honorary Doctorate. From 2004 to 2006, Parm chaired and was instrumental in the effort to develop the BC Regional Innovation Chair on Canada-India Business and Economic Development, and the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies at UFV. In 2006 Parm was the catalyst to initiate and develop a Centre for India-Canada Studies at Panjab University in Chandigarh, India.

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

Entrepreneur, 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. For their business leadership, Arran and Ratana Stephens were inducted into the 2020 Business Laureates of British Columbia Hall of Fame.

Ratana Stephens, CEO & Co-Founder, Nature’s Path Foods

As CEO and co-founder, Ratana has grown the company to become North America’s largest independent certified organic breakfast and snack food company, while remaining firmly committed to Nature’s Path mission of leaving the Earth better than they found it. Since 2008, Ratana and Arran personally, and additionally through Nature’s Path, have committed to donating almost $40 million to various philanthropic and community service efforts.

A role model for women in business, Ratana was named by the Vancouver Sun as one of 150 noteworthy British Columbians. She was awarded the distinguished YWCA Women of Distinction Award for entrepreneurship and innovation, and in 2013 was listed as one of Canada’s 100 most powerful women by the Women’s Executive Network.

Ratana has contributed her time and expertise as a board member for many organizations, including the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Royal BC Museum, Women (Gender) Studies at UBC, and the Canadian Cancer Society. She is a member of Canada’s Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table. Ratana studied psychology and Sanskrit and has an MA in English Literature from Agra University.

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

After 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 where he was the 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 an Honorarium Professorship at the Technical University of Berlin, Germany where he teaches and leads an active research program. He is an 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.

Christine Coletta, Co-owner, Okanagan Crush Pad Winery Ltd.

Christine Coletta is the Co-Owner of Okanagan Crush Pad, Canada’s first purpose-built custom crush winemaking facility. Since 2011, she has assisted more than 15 B.C. wineries in their winemaking. Christine also founded and led the BC Wine Institute as Executive Director from 1990 to 1999, during which time she formed VQA as a standard to support the local wine industry. Christine began her career in hospitality as a server in the 1990s. She currently serves on the board of the Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS) and the BC Hospitality Foundation. In 2018, she was named one of Western Living Magazine’s Top 10 Foodies of the Year. Christine lives in Summerland with her husband Steve Lornie, co-owner of Okanagan Crush Pad, and their three children.

Photo of Christine Coletta, courtesy of Jon Adrian.

Justin Henry, Aquaculture Consult Inc.

Justin Henry is an alumnus of UBC with a BSc in Agriculture, specializing in aquaculture. He then moved to Denmark where he completed his MSc in Aquaculture Biotechnology at Aalborg University. He went on to complete the Executive Development Program at Queens University in Canada and is a Registered Professional Biologist in British Columbia. His experience includes culturing multiple species, including salmonids and sturgeon, in multiple systems including land based recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), re-use, flow through, and net pen production in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. He has been working with RAS since 1995. His R&D expertise includes the development of monosex female populations in salmonids, feed management trials, vaccine trials, production optimization, and new product development. He has numerous publications on a broad range of aquaculture subjects.

Meeru Dhalwala, Co-Owner, Vij’s & Rangoli Restaurants

Meeru Dhalwala LLD’16 is the talented author, chef and entrepreneur behind the renowned restaurants Vij’s and Rangoli. She was instrumental in the Save the UBC Farm campaign and founded the Joy of Feeding events at UBC Farm. Meeru is a member of the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems Social Innovation working group. Meeru is also a passionate advocate for human rights and sustainable food systems. She has worked to create large networks of local farmers and suppliers; to provide respectful employment opportunities for immigrant women, and to provide leadership to local sustainability organizations and is currently a judge for Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmer Program. Meeru is also working to start a multi-faculty, interdisciplinary clean drinking water project with various and as yet to be determined faculties at UBC.

Philip Donne, Cusp Strategic Consulting

Philip Donne leads Cusp Strategic Consulting. He was formerly 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.

Sarb Mund, Founder and CEO, Commissary Connect

Sarb Mund (BBA, CPA, CMA) is recognized as a leader in the local food movement, bringing innovative ideas with tangible results to entrepreneurs and communities in the Agfood sector. Sarb’s love of engaging with people and local food led him to start Soho Road Naan Kebab Food truck celebrating his UK background and Indian roots. Sarb’s challenge finding a cost effective and fun-to-work-in prep kitchen led him to create Commissary Connect – the kitchen HE wanted for his food business. Combining his direct knowledge of food processing and entrepreneurship with expertise in accounting and strategic direction, Sarb is much sought-after as an expert in the food industry throughout BC. He is involved in working groups shaping Western Canada’s future in food and agriculture – working directly with UBC, BC Ministry of Agriculture, BCIC, IAF, City of Vancouver Economic Commission and several others. Sarb can often be found in the kitchen sharing war stories and hard-earned advice with the aim of making his members’ journey to success a little bit easier.

Trish Sturdy, Owner, North Arm Farm

Trish Sturdy is the co-founder of North Arm Farm, a family-run farm founded in Pemberton in 1995. Trish is passionate about local, sustainable farming, and enjoys educating the public about where their food comes from, and inspiring farmers to create their own agriculture ventures. In 2006, Trish and her husband Jordan Sturdy transitioned the farm from a conventional operation to a certified organic farm. It has grown to include 55 acres of mixed vegetables and fruit, as well as an onsite commercial kitchen, a bistro and a gelato shop. North Arm Farm produces food for several restaurants in Vancouver and in the Sea to Sky corridor. Working with chefs has exposed Trish to new ways to use and promote products, and new items to add to the farm’s grow list. In 2017, North Arm Farm received the Producer of the Year award from Vancouver Magazine as selected by the city’s top chefs. For over a decade, North Arm Farm has collaborated on “Field to Fork” events such as hosting FarmFolk CityFolk Feast of the Fields, Outstanding in the Field long table dinners, agricultural tours, as well as annual Araxi catered long table dinners.

Tom Ethier , Deputy Minister, B.C. Ministry of Agriculture

Tom Ethier was appointed the Deputy Minister of British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture on May 4, 2020.

Tom began his career with the BC Public Service in 1992, when he was hired as the provincial biodiversity inventory specialist. In 1996, he moved to the Okanagan region and held positions as a non-game biologist, big game biologist, and section head for Fish and Wildlife. In 2004, he returned to Victoria as Deputy Director of Fish and Wildlife, and in 2007 he became Director.

After four years, Tom moved to the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation as a Chief Negotiator. In 2012, the call of stewardship drew him back, and he was appointed the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Resource Stewardship Division at the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

Tom earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in biology from the University of Victoria.

As an avid outdoor enthusiast, when not at the office, Tom can be found hiking and hanging out with his wife, three daughters, extended family and friends.

Phil Vanderpol, President & CEO, Vitalus Nutrition

Phil Vanderpol has been the President & CEO of Vitalus Nutrition since 1998 and has led the company through many changes. Phil was integral to developing the first Milk Protein Concentrate/Isolate plant in North America and recently commissioned the first commercially operating GOS plant in the Americas, positioning Vitalus Nutrition as a leader in specialized dairy ingredients.

Phil is Vice Chair of the Dairy Processors Association of Canada and Vice Chair of the Western Dairy Council, in addition to holding various positions both officially and unofficially in the Canadian Dairy Industry. In 2019, Phil joined the International Dairy Foods Association Executive Council to provide a Canadian perspective on the dairy ingredient market.

Phil received his International MBA from McGill University in 2014 and completed the Quantum Shift™ program in early 2015. He is a past member of TEC Canada and current member of the MacKay CEO Forums.

Wade Grant, Senior Intergovernmental Officer for Musqueam

Wade Grant

A proud Musqueam member, Wade was first elected to the Musqueam Chief & Council in 2004, serving as Councillor for ten years. He stepped down to accept a role as the Special Advisor to the Premier on Aboriginal Issues until 2017.

Wade has served on the Vancouver Police Board, the Aboriginal Tourism B.C. Board, the Laurier Institute Board, and the Canadian Blood Services National Blood Bank Board. He was also the Co-Chair of the Vancouver Urban Dialogues Project. During the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, Wade was Assistant General Manager of the Four Host Nations Aboriginal Pavilion. He was also the Economic Development Coordinator for Musqueam First Nation, acted as a policy analyst for the B.C. Assembly of First Nations and was the executive assistant to the Solicitor General of British Columbia.

He holds a BA in Political Science from UBC and attended the UBC Allard School of Law.

Student representatives

Amelie Zhang, Graduate Student Representative

Amelie Zhang is working towards her M.Sc. degree in Food Science, with research interest on photostability of curcumin and the carry-over effects on its bioactivities. Amelie completed her B.Sc. degree in Food and Nutritional Sciences with honours at UBC in 2019. Aside from her own research work, Amelie is devoted to building and fostering a dynamic grad student community in LFS. Amelie currently serves as the co-president and academic events coordinator of the LFS Graduate Student Council, and the graduate student representative of LFS Academic Administration Committee. She is also an active member of Institute of Food Technologists Student Association (IFTSA) and is appointed as the Chair of Graduate Research Video Competition. Working as a graduate TA, Amelie takes pride in improving the learning experience of LFS undergraduate students. She received the 2020-21 LFS Teaching Assistant Award in recognition of her dedication in teaching.

Jason Pang, President, Land and Food Systems Undergraduate Society (LFS|US)

Jason Pang is a third-year student in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, working toward his Bachelor of Science in Global Resource Systems. Jason was drawn to the Global Resource Systems program because of his passion for environmental sustainability where he currently specializes in corporate social responsibility and the Asia-pacific region. As the current president of the Land and Food Systems Undergraduate Society (LFS|US), Jason is committed to building a sense of community and ensuring student voices are heard in Faculty affairs. In addition to his involvements in the LFS|US, Jason is also currently a UBC Residence Advisor, previous LFS Orientation Leader and is recognized as one of Canada’s Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 by Starfish Canada.