Faculty Advisory Board


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.

Brian Curin, CEO/CMO, Co-Founder of Little Kitchen Academy

Brian Curin

Brian Curin is a visionary and innovative leader, known for his game-changing approach to business. As the CEO/CMO and Co-Founder of Little Kitchen Academy, he is at the forefront of revolutionizing culinary education for children. With a focus on practical life skills and food literacy, Little Kitchen Academy aims to create a more educated, independent, and healthier society.

Brian’s entrepreneurial journey has been nothing short of impressive. From taking a cigar company public in his 20s to leading globally recognized brands such as Cold Stone Creamery, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Flip Flop Shops, OfficeZilla.com, JOE’S Jeans, he has consistently demonstrated his ability to scale and guide companies to industry leadership.

Brian’s passion for making a positive impact extends beyond the business world. He has built impactful partnerships with organizations like the Make-A-Wish Foundation, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Soles4Souls, and the American Heart Association. He has also served on various committees for the American Heart Association and UBC’s Centre for Molecular Medicine & Therapeutics (CMMT), and has been a Past Chair for the Heart & Stroke Foundation.

When he’s not busy leading and transforming brands, Brian enjoys spending time with his wife and Founder of Little Kitchen Academy, and three daughters, two of whom are twins. They are all actively involved in Little Kitchen Academy, embodying the values and mission of the organization.

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.

Peter Pokorny, Deputy Minister, B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Food

Peter Pokorny was appointed the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food (AF) on January 31, 2022.

Prior to joining AFF, Peter served as Associate Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Health where he was responsible for health system operations for three years. Prior to joining the Ministry of Health, Peter was with the (formerly named) Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources where he was the Executive Lead responsible for oversight and coordination of Provincial decision-making relating to the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. He also spent four years working with the BC Oil and Gas Commission as the Vice-President Operational Policy and Environment and has held senior roles with a range of Provincial Ministries including the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

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.

Tamara Rebanks, Director, Weston Family Foundation

Tamara Rebanks

Tamara Rebanks is a skilled funder with over 25 years of experience working with charities. She has worked on both sides of not-for-profits in Canada, the US and the UK. Tamara managed the corporate donations of George Weston Limited and Weston Foods for nearly 20 years and is a Director and past Chair of the Weston Family Foundation, one of Canada’s largest private foundations. She currently sits on the Board of Governors of the Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thompson Hall and is a Director of Park People. She is also a Trustee and past Chair of the Reta Lila Howard Foundation in the UK, a charity focused on supporting children in the British Isles.

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.

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

Xiwen Wang, Graduate Student Representative

Xiwen Wang is a current M.Sc student in the area of food chemistry, their current research interest revolves around looking at the bioactivity of a novel food, coffee cascara, with connections to its chemical composition. This includes examining the antioxidant capacity of the food product, its anti-inflammatory capacity, and potentially how it affects the intestinal epithelium by means of tight junction.

Kelly Chia, President, Land and Food Systems Undergraduate Society (LFS|US)

Kelly Chia (they/them/theirs) is the President of the Land and Food Systems Undergraduate Society (LFS|US). LFS|US builds a sense of community within the Land and Food Systems faculty through student programming such as community-based dinners, case competitions, and giveaways. LFS|US consists of 80 undergraduate students who work hard to enrich the experience of the 1800+ LFS student body. Beyond leading the passionate LFS|US team, Kelly enjoys their hands-on curriculum in the Dietetics major, working at BC Children’s hospital, bouldering, and snowboarding.