Board of DirectorsDedicated Community Members
james PartanenExecutive Director
James started growing and preserving food at age six, gardening and canning with his grandparents. Born in Vancouver but growing up on a farm in Northern Ontario, and with an educated values-based viewpoint, he has always paid keen attention to exactly how food gets from field to table. After a decade long career in the IT industry working for multinational tech corporations james returned to his passion for food sustainability and community wellness. In 2012 he helped create the West End Food Co-op’s kitchen and cannery specifically to provide a place for community engagement and education about food (in)security and access to quality food for all.
Judy grew up in the farming clay belt of northern Ontario, spending summers on her grandparents’ farm and helping her parents grow and preserve fruits and vegetables from their backyard garden. She has lived in central Etobicoke for 40 years and has a good understanding of governance after a long career in executive positions in the public sector and through volunteering on several boards of not-for-profit organizations. Judy has also lead and participated in many “start-up” programs and community initiatives and believes that the Berry Road Food Co-op is one of the most important and rewarding projects for herself and the community that it serves.
Armand currently heads up the condominium law department of the full service law firm of Shibley Righton LLP, and represents numerous condominium corporations of all types across Ontario. Over the course of his successful career Armand has received multiple awards and accreditations, including ACMO’s President’s Award. Armand was recently appointed as one of the four founding directors of the “Condominium Authority of Ontario”, a not-for-profit organization created by the Government of Ontario. Having received a Master of Law degree from the Sorbonne (France), Armand is also bilingual. He brings extensive litigation and business law experience to the Berry Road Food Co-op and is delighted to dedicate his skillset in any way possible to bring this special initiative to a successful fruition.
Jacqueline ConantBoard Member
Jacqueline (or “Jackie”) loves to spend time in her herb garden and cook with fresh ingredients. She has extensive experience in the pharmaceutical industry, particularly with Pharmacovigilance, drug safety and risk assessment. In the community, Jackie has sat on the Board of Directors of the Mississauga-Halton Local Health Integration Network. Jackie and her husband live in Etobicoke and are thrilled to have the Berry Road Food Co-op as an anchor in the Sunnylea-Stonegate community.
Orest LeshchyshynBoard Member
Orest has had a successful career in financial planning, analysis and reporting within the public sector for 30 years. For most of those years Orest served as Manager, Financial Planning, and Director of Financial Management Systems for a large provincial agency. He holds a Commerce and Finance (B.Comm.) degree from the University of Toronto. Orest lives in the Sunnylea neighbourhood and is happy to be applying his skills to help the Berry Road Food Co-op achieve its goals in the community
Maria MefeBoard Member
Maria has over 20 years of experience in the corporate printing industry. After realizing her deep desire to pursue her passion for all things natural, she forged a path for herself in the natural products industry. She opened up her own sales business in partnership with her sister, and together they emphasized their commitment to maximize the accessibility of innovative products to the greatest numbers of consumers in Ontario. Today, Maria has a long successful history in the natural food and products industry and she shares her expertise in sales and consultation to large and small businesses alike.
Julia GrahamBoard Member
Julia Graham is an experienced program coordinator and community organizer. Having worked with marginalized populations in Canada and abroad, she brings awareness to engage residents and assist with solving problems facing communities. She has worked in the field of food and health for the past decade at the Stonegate Community Health Centre, where she manages the Community Food Program. The program responds to local food and hunger issues through a farmers’ market and market money program, community gardens, school based snack program, and capacity building workshops. Julia is a past co-chair of the GTA Community Health Centre Food Security Network and former member of the Toronto Food Policy Council.