Kayla Siefried (she/her) is a settler in Lekwungen Territory and grew up in Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee Territory. Kayla is the steward of the Compost Education Centre demonstration gardens and the curator and main educator of the Adult Education Program. She can be found growing seedlings for plant sales, working with volunteers to keep gardens healthy, flipping hot compost, arranging expert instructors to teach workshops, or out in the community teaching about soil health, organic gardening, and Do-It-Yourself tasks that increase our climate resilience.
Kayla holds a Bachelor of Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo, and she continued on with practical hands-on permaculture training, gardening and farming internships in various places on Turtle Island and beyond.
Kayla is passionate about sharing her knowledge with people young and old through formal and informal education. She’s facilitated youth programs for sustainability all across Canada, Guatemala, and Cambodia, and has a zest for travel and adventure.
Kayla sees the act of growing food and stewarding the soil as one that can heal on many levels. A keen sustainability activist, Kayla finds meaning in advocating for and living an environmentally sustainable life that involves bicycles, healthy food systems, and a good amount of outdoor dancing!
Alexis (she/her) is a queer white settler with Indigenous heritage (Irish & Quebecois on her mom’s side and Irish and Anishinaabe from Sharbot Lake, Ontario on her dad’s). She was born in Duri, Indonesia, grew up in Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia and has lived as an uninvited guest on T’Sou-ke, Scia’new, lək̓ʷəŋən and WSÁNEĆ territories off and on for the past 20 years. She holds a BFA in Visual Arts (2015) from Emily Carr University of Art and Design with a focus in visual arts and critical cultural theory.
Alexis is deeply committed to the community-centered environmental education that the Compost Education Centre offers. She is especially enthusiastic about continually learning how to help reduce barriers to accessing education around compost, waste diversion, food gardening and ecological restoration and conservation.
Alexis brings 14 years of project management & program coordination, 9 years working in non-profits, and 5 years of non-profit financial management to her role as Healing City Soils Program Manager.
When not working, Alexis spends time learning about political ecology and soil remediation; watching birds of prey; collaborating on art projects; practicing Muay Thai; growing and processing food with her partner and hiking with her best friend, Juniper.
Zoe-Blue Coates (she/her) is a queer Black woman who was born and raised on One Dish One Spoon territories in Tkaronto (Toronto,ON). Her ancestors are from West Africa, China, Scotland, and nations not yet known to her.
As Administration and Communications Coordinator, Zoe-Blue promotes the CEC’s educational resources. In her role, she works on the CEC’s social media, networks with like-minded organizations, and speaks to CRD residents via phone call, email, and in-person.
During her first few months at the CEC, Zoe-Blue created the BioDiversity zine. This project tells the stories of non-white ecological stewards throughout history. Ecological stewards build relationships of respect and reciprocity with the lands they live on and all it’s living-beings. These people have had lasting impacts on industries like botany, agriculture, permaculture, agro-forestry, foraging, and herbal medicine. Due to the white-washing of the history of ecological stewardship, many youth like Zoe-Blue believe that any interest in ecological stewardship was a sign of their assimilation into whiteness. She created the zine to push back against that notion and show today’s youth that their passion for the earth makes their ancestors proud.
In her free time, Zoe-Blue learns about herbal medicine, befriends her neighbourhood’s crows, and cooks.
Elora (she/they) is a white settler with Dutch, British and Irish ancestry and was raised on Treaty 1 territory. She has been living on Lkwungen and WSÁNEĆ territories for the past 5 years and holds a BA in Environmental Studies and Political Science from the University of Victoria.
Elora became involved in work surrounding food waste, food security and social and environmental justice through students groups while at University. Through these experiences she has come to love organizing community events, teaching workshops and creating learning opportunities for youth.
Elora is excited to continue working to build accessible and just food systems for all and has special interest in all things food waste. She brings over a decade of experience working with youth to the CEC and many years working specifically in outdoor and environmental education non-profits.
Outside of the CEC, Elora organizes with Community Food Support and is excited about working to build interdependency, creating community led solutions to food insecurity and removing barriers to make food free and accessible to anyone who needs it. When she’s not at work, you can find her in the ceramic studio, working on her plant ID skills or cooking food with her roommates.
Jeffrey Ellom (he/him) is a settler of Ewe and mixed European descent who grew up on unceded Syilx Okanagan territory. He’s been living on unceded Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territories since 2014.
Jeffrey joined the CEC in 2021, and has helped to develop and deliver workshops to children and youth throughout the CRD as part of the Education Team. He loves creating puppets and props to help make big ideas like soil stewardship accessible to young minds.
Areas of expertise include waste management, food sampling, stick quality control, office morale assessments, supervising site operations, greeting staff and visitors.