Board of Directors

Maddi smiles at the camera standing amongst a forest

Madeline Burns

Madeline Burns (she/they) is a guest on Lək̓ʷəŋən (Songhees and Esquimalt) and W̲SÁNEĆ (SȾÁ,UTW̱, W̱JOȽEȽP, BOḰEĆEN, and W̱SÍḴEM) territory. Maddi is Métis, coming from numerous families with cultural, political, and land ties to Red River and across the prairies. A few of their family names include Cunningham, L’Hirondelle, Logan, Dease, Grant, and Breland. She is currently a master’s student in Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria, where they also obtained their bachelor’s degree with a double major in Political Science and Gender Studies.

Maddi loves being outdoors, beading, dreaming, and writing about relationality, kinship, and coalition. She enjoys community and relationship building in all her endeavours, and has a history of non-profit involvement/youth organizing through the Friendship Centre movement, locally, provincially, and nationally. 

Photo of Sarah obscured behind long stemmed roses in a garden

Sarah Common

— Board co-chair

Sarah Comyn (Common) (she/they) Facilitator and Community Weaver/Organiser of food-plant-land connectings, Sarah inhabits interstitial spaces of complexity, translating across difference and supporting diverse voices in coming into (colonial) policy and leadership spaces to decolonise governance. This is possible through learnings they have primarily grown in relationship with Urban Indigenous and frontline community in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, K’emk’emelay

Sarah is currently exploring the accessibility, cultural relevance and practice of growing inclusivity in community gardens: opening access to land and supporting movement towards Indigenous Food Sovereignty, Land Back and Food Systems Sustainability. 

They are learning about reciprocities beyond economic/enterprising efforts after a decade of organising with Hives for Humanity Society; moving in hummingbird vibrations between their accordion practice of oceanic drone and folk-song-poems of yearning. They are deepening their understanding of plants – those which provide people and pollinators with food, habitat, fibre and medicine. They find their hands often holding fibres and weaving baskets, cloths and creations of varied use/usefullnessess.  

Sarah seeks to be of lasting and respectful use, in a practice of tending with care, slowly adorning through Time & Times, with intention and accountability, in nourishment of self, land and community. They are of Irish settler and mixed European descent, with growing knowing of roots to Larne, Northern Ireland. They are most relaxed and joyful by and in the water, timeless and turning.

russ elliott smiling stands in front of a grassy bluff and the ocean

russ elliott

russ (they/him) is a sick and disabled genderqueer settler who lives on the unceded territory of the lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ Peoples, and originally came from the Treaty 7 lands of the Blackfoot Confederacy, northwest of Mohkinstsis, where the plains meet the mountains. 

They have experience in the non-profit and academic world, with brief sojourns into publishing and the wild world of government. They’re passionate about community care work and advocacy, specifically in areas of mutual aid, food (in)security, community engagement and resilience building, and disability justice. russ believes that centering relationships and relationship building are key to working towards justice and liberation. 
russ is currently writing a speculative fiction novel, and is a fan of cooking, hosting dinner parties, and nice salts.
Close up of Kathy

Kathy Feng

Kathy Feng (she/her) is an interdisciplinary artist, born in Guangzhou, China, and is a guest living and working on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. As an immigrant and child of immigrants, she grew up between cultures in a constant process of learning, unlearning, and relearning. This framework informs the central themes to her work: in which memory and nostalgia are expressed through images, text, and the aesthetics of the temporal.

Kathy holds a BFA in Visual Art with a minor in Art and Performance Studies from SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts. She began working at SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement January 2020 as a Research Assistant for the Below the Radar podcast.

Grace sits on a bench along a dike

Grace Gonzales

— board Co-chair

Grace Gonzales is a mom, vovo (grandma), and recent retiree who has spent her life caring for her community, family, and friends. Grace can often be found tending to her garden, where she spends countless hours growing a variety of veggies, teas and herbs. Her love for gardening extends beyond just growing food, as she is also an avid learner of plant medicines and their healing properties.

Grace’s love for community and connection is shown through her cooking, where she takes immense joy in sharing delicious food with those around her. She firmly believes that sharing a meal with loved ones is one of the simplest and most rewarding ways to foster togetherness – something she learned from her own mother.

Grace is new to the world of non-profits and serving on a Board of Directors, but she is eager to embrace this exciting new phase of life where she is learning from and amplifying the voices of the next generations.

close up of khari

Khari Wendell McClelland

Imaginative. Bold. Genuine. Hopeful. Khari is an award-winning musician and creative facilitator who uses the arts and experiential activities for transformational learning. Based in Vancouver, Canada, Khari has worked with communities across Africa, Australia, Europe, North America and the Caribbean. In a world with increasingly complex societal challenges, the need for values-based creative solutions is paramount. ​

Khari helps youth and adults explore core values and creativity as a means to self-actualization, community building and problem solving. His approach is warm, insightful and engaging.