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About Us

Meet the Research Team

Tom Schell (MBA-PM) began his career in the food, chemical and pharmaceutical sector. He spent twenty-five years commercializing hundreds of consumer, commercial and industrial products across multiple distribution channels. Working out of the Stratford Economic Development office, Tom helped urban and rural clients to start or expand their businesses. During this time he unleashed his passion for community economic development on Sustainable Food Systems where he spent eighteen months researching agriculture and food. Tom is now the Director of the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, a member of the Waterloo Citizens’ Environmental Advisory Committee and part-time faculty at Conestoga College in their Green Management program.
Roxana Roshon (Ph.D.) spent eighteen months as the Agricultural Researcher with the Sustainable Food Systems project. In addition, she is an adjunct professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph. Roxana has over twenty-five years of professional experience in botany, ecology, and ecotoxicology, with a focus on examining anthropomorphic impacts on our environment. She is an active member of Transition Guelph, where she co-chairs the Urban Food Working Group. Since 2005, she has volunteered with the Ignatius Jesuit Centre Community Supported Agriculture Core Group and Business Advisory Committee.
Ricardo Ramírez (Ph.D.) expertise is in communication planning, participatory evaluation, facilitation, and capacity development. Ricardo began his career in agricultural sciences with his doctorate focusing on how rural and remote communities harness information and communicate, followed by farm projects in South America. Since then, he has been involved with organic and ecological agriculture initiatives in Ontario, including the board of Farmstart. His graphic design and illustration skills led to participatory learning and media, which later evolved to the field of adult education and community development.
Angelica Nef expertise is in sustainable food system research. Angelica is  completing a certificate in Sustainable Local Food. She is Coordinator of the Appleseed Collective, co-chair of the Urban Food Working Group (Transition Guelph), co-chair of the Canadian Organic Growers, Perth-Waterloo-Wellington Chapter and sits on the Coordinating Committee and the Food Policy Working Group of the Guelph Wellington Food Round Table. Her passion for food has led her to experience and immerse herself in the food culture of many lands, but the seed of her passion for food related issues stems from her family’s agricultural roots in the fertile soils of southern Chile.



Justin Benner is a third-generation farmer, and a passionate advocate for the sustainable food and local food movements. He is a Food Specialist representing the Southwestern Economic Alliance, and has written several articles for various gardening, food and tourism organizations in Ontario.