EcoUrbia Network

a sustainability network

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EcoUrbia is a not-for-profit organization advocating for local food and organics, extended producer responsibility, ethical e-waste recycling and waste reduction strategies. To this end, we are actively working to develop and deliver urban farming initiatives and public outreach programs specific to food and waste.

mission & vision

EcoUrbia is committed to creating, and facilitating, responsive, innovative, and empowering opportunities for mutigenerational engagement, learning, knowledge-sharing, leadership, and growth toward both social and material sustainability; to raise awareness, and be responsive to the social, environmental, and economic issues we currently face by engaging our neighbours, community, and local government in developing, and supporting, sustainability-driven initiatives that will enrich our lives, and give rise to greater resiliency.

We are guided by activities that will:

  • Support initiatives with long-term vision & outcomes that will bring social, environmental & economic benefits;
  • Promote small changes that can have a big impact when we operate as a network working together;
  • Share what we've learned & what we can do to live a more sustainable life;
  • Create & support opportunities in which local economies can thrive;
  • Consistently practice & promote socially and environmentally responsible actions;
  • Network & engage expertise in social, environmental and economic disciplines that will inform us;
  • Participate in local activities that work to improve both social and material sustainability.

board of directors

Karen Morton, President & Founder
Karen is the creator and founder of the EcoUrbia Network, and is deeply committed to championing both social and material sustainability. In 2009, she organized an initiative on the north shore to educate and empower the public on the difference between ethical, and unethical e-waste recycling in an effort to stop the trickle effect of harm that the exporting of this toxic waste has upon developing countries; is committed to supporting  waste reduction strategies, a cradle to cradle approach, and actively promotes urban agriculture, and food security activities. Karen's groundbreaking work in creating and facilitating the Loutet Park Urban Agriculture Project in the City of North Vancouver, including civic, stakeholder, and community engagement, securing a site for the pilot project, and achieving a positive outcome to the public open house evolved into EcoUrbia's vision and model for community farming - a dual program for building a local green economy, and servicing our communities to access locally grown and affordable organic food for generations to come.

Karen's background includes business management and project leadership within IT, enterprise sourcing strategies, and corporate communications for a Fortune 500 company, as well as community relations in the health care sector, and fundraising. She is also a strategic thinker and innovator, and a consensus builder in working with cross-organizational teams. Karen manages an active career, while pursuing her academic interests in the fields of critical thinking, public affairs, humanities, sustainability, and organic landscape management.

Kevin Connery, Vice President
Kevin is a registered landscape architect (BCSLA) with over 22 years experience in landscape architecture, and 18 years specifically investigating sustainable site planning, and design. He has been involved in a diverse range of notable sustainable design projects including the City of Santa Monica’s (California) Green Building Construction Guidelines (1997) one of the key predecessors to LEED, conceptual and detailed landscape design for the award winning projects Dockside Green (LEED Platinum) in Victoria, and the Olympic Village (LEED Platinum) in Vancouver. Kevin also has considerable experience with landscape based stormwater management practices, designing parks and open spaces, habitat enhancement, and urban agriculture.

Prior to establishing Blue+Green Design Studio in 2010, Kevin was PWL Partnership Ltd's Sustainability Director from 2006 to 2009. Between 2001 and 2005 Kevin taught at Lincoln University in New Zealand where he was responsible for sustainable design, landscape ecology, landscape analysis, and various design studios. In the 1990s he served as the Ecosystem Planner for the City of Burnaby where he participated in park master planning (Burnaby Lake Regional Nature Park, Burnaby Mountain Park,  integrated watershed planning work (Stoney Creek and Still Creek Brunette Basin Watersheds), and the development of the Foreshore and Upland Management Plan for North Burnaby - an area that includes a diverse range of land uses, parks and trails, natural areas and various fresh water and marine ecosystems. He has also written several articles and delivered numerous presentations on sustainable community planning and design.

Mel Phadtare
Mel is a sustainability strategist, writer and researcher. She has applied the principles of sustainability to local and international programs and partnerships for 15 years. Her background includes natural resource and change management, corporate social responsibility, climate change and disaster risk management. Mel has been responsible for policy, communications, and engagement across the private, and public sectors in Sydney (Australia), London (UK), and Vancouver. Mel recently relocated to Hue, Viet Nam, to build local resilience to climate change with other UN partners. As Hue's Climate Change Advisor, Mel is creating tools for communities to reduce disaster events, increase disaster response and explore clean development mechanisms and ecosystem services.

While living in Canada, Mel held a number of senior roles and numerous volunteer roles. She was a Director for Legacy North Shore Society, a Leadership Development Trainer for Vantage Point, and she developed and instructed repeat sustainability curriculums for UBC. She was former Acting Manager for Cool North Shore - and remains involved with the team. Mel is a current Director with Projecting Change Film Festival and continues to develop online sustainability curriculum for UBC. Mel undertook The Natural Step's Level 1 sustainability leadership program, and holds qualifications in waste management, bushland management and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Environmental Assessment and Management (majoring in hydrology and soils analysis) from Newcastle University, Australia.  Mel is a longtime proud worm farmer, and believes a vital role for all communities is building healthy soil and growing food.

Dave Schulz
Dave has spent the pst 25 years as a successful entrepreneur. As a long time resident of West Vancouver, Dave has invested his time promoting and developing sustainable initiatives. With his background in technology start-ups, Dave has applied his business knowledge and expertise to help jump start community-based food and waste programs. More recentlym Dave and his family spent a year in southern France where he managed the Les Courmettes nature reserve, a large-scale conservation farm and important migratory route for birds to/from Africa. Dave is also an avid beekeeper. 

Tony Beck, PhD
Tony is a consultant with the United Nations, having worked with UNICEF, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Programme and UN Women. His focus has been on evaluation and strategic planning, with long term involvement in environmental movements and campaigns, starting with the campaign against Nestle and baby food in 1980! Tony received his PhD in the field of sustainable agriculture and livelihoods of the poor in India from the University of London in 1990. A two year research grant (2012-14) with SPARC BC is looking at ways in which marginalized groups in B.C. can access healthy local food, while working with community partners in Bella Coola and Vancouver Grandview Woodlands. Tony is also a Board Member of the Society of the Genetically Free BC, which promotes sustainable agriculture while establishing GE Free zones across BC, and is a Steering Committee member of CBAN, a national umbrella group working to prevent genetically engineered crops and animals.

Louise Shillington
Louise is a mom, corporate lawyer, and founder of the non-profit organization, 'Real Food Actually'. Originally from the UK, Louise soon learned that the food system in Canada lagged behind Europe with respect to regulation, transparency, and nutrition. Louise founded both organiations soon after her children were born, and made a commitment to educate herself further in order to make healthier food choices for them, and to share it with others. Louise continues to work part-time from home as a legal consultant, and dedicates her free time to helping parents make informed choices when buying or preparing food for their children. Her focus is on making ‘real food’ a well-understood concept, and a viable and accessible option for all families. She firmly believes that when consumers are informed, they will make better purchasing decisions, and that this is a key factor in shaping how our food is produced, for the better.

advisory board

Arnold Smith
President, IQMI
Arnold began his career as an applied research scientist with NASA and Atomic Energy Canada Limited. He has since spent 25 years in business development with several companies, including Westcoast Energy Inc., where he was founding strategist with the award-winning Enlogix group of companies. Mr. Smith has been President and Director of both IQMI and Waypoint Exchange Group Inc., since 2005. These B.C. companies have delivered a unique suite of production, catch reporting, and traceability tools for the commercial, recreational and First Nations fishing industries, and have been recognized for thought leadership and innovation, particularly with respect to authenticating the origins of natural food products.

Dr. Freda Pagani
Freda has lived on the North Shore for 28 years and loves it. She cares deeply about the earth, our local quality of life, and is working to engage the community in discovering that they can have a positive impact on global issues while living a vibrant, and satisfying life.  While in her position as Associate Director, Development at UBC, Freda's passion for green building led to the development of the C. K. Choi Building.  It, along with a few other buildings, became a catalyst for the green building movement in Canada.  In 2000, it won one of the Top Ten Green Buildings awards from the American Institute of Architects. As Director, Sustainability at the university, Freda led UBC to become Canada's first, and only, university to receive Green Campus Recognition from the U.S.-based National Wildlife Federation. Now retired, Freda is active as a volunteer and maintains a teaching role at UBC Continuing Studies. She is also a member (retired) of the Architectural Institute of BC and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada in 2005.

community advisors

Margaret Broughton, MSc, RD
Community Nutritionist, Vancouver Coastal Health

Emily Jubenville
Coordinator, Edible Garden Project


about ecourbia

EcoUrbia Network endorses the values, principles, and action guidelines of The Earth Charter Initiative.


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