Our Current Board

Carol E. Hyland – President

"I have always had an interest in food (cooking, gardening and food related issues). My husband and I have raised four wonderfully "aware" children, and we want to continue supporting younger generations. We currently live on a small holding in the Hunt Valley (Saanich Peninsula). I joined the GYFS board because of my own growing concerns about food insecurity on Vancouver Island. Since children are 'our future', I envision more and more growing up with a new found love for getting outside & dirty, and knowing how to grow their own healthy organic food."  Carol can be reached at president@gyfs.ca


Jens Henderson – Vice President

"Growing food and the cultivation of plants has always been second nature to members of my family. My Grandfather was the past president of the Canadian Dahlia society, and my first memories are of time spent in the garden with my parents and siblings. When I moved to Victoria from the prairies, my first best friend was my Great Aunt Jean who tended a bountiful garden on Saint-Ann St. in Oak Bay, where scarce few vegetable plots are now kept. My wife Beth is a teacher and master gardener through the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific. Her Babcia (Grandmother) in Ontario grew tomatoes, vegetable and flowers into her 90's. Together, Beth and I cultivate garlic, flowers and other vegetables at Little Brookhaven Farm in West Saanich, where we raise our two young soil-stained daughters." 


Lydia Byram – Treasurer


Steven Walker-Duncan – Secretary 

Steven is currently Chair of Camosun College's Culinary Arts Department. Born & raised on the Lower Mainland, he began his professional cooking career in Victoria. In 1986 he travelled to Europe, where his award winning cooking style created opportunities to work in the UK, Spain and The Netherlands for almost 18 years. Returning to Canada in 2003, Steven joined the faculty at Camosun College. He has owned and operated a number of local culinary businesses, as well as presenting the popular television series Flavours of the West Coast, co-authoring the accompanying cookbook. Steven was also named Victoria's Chef of the Year in 2009 & 2010.


Debbie Pungente - Member at Large

"I first heard about GYFS when I was newly retired from the provincial government and looking to give back to the community that I live in. GYFS was making a difference in the lives of young children, teaching them about the importance of growing their own organic food to create healthy minds and bodies, creating future steward of the earth. Being an environmentalist and a firm believer in cooking healthy food from scratch, the GYFS program and values resonated with me and I wanted to be a part of this program, so I joined the board - and became a grower educator too!"


Nick Poeta - Member at Large

"I have always been drawn to environmental restoration and of being part of creating systems that provide POSITIVE side effects. I co-founded an edible landscaping company so that we could assist in facilitating the transition to farming practices that regenerate the damages we have done with conventional farming practices. Knowing the educational challenges in such a transition, I was naturally aligned with Growing Young Farmers Society’s Mission & Vision. I spend my work days designing, installing and maintaining beautiful landscapes that are providing abundant yields from a huge variety of food types. I bring a passion to GYFS for establishing these long term perennial food systems that will change the way we look at farming.  It’s my sincere hope to see a Southern Vancouver Island where every child is educated, empowered and experienced on the how-and-why of creating edible ecosystems and the major problems that they address."

If you would like to know more about our board, or possibly even becoming a board member yourself, please send us a note.