Council Members

The Food Policy Council for KFL&A is made up of a maximum of 16 members. Members live or work in KFL&A area and have been selected based on their passion for the vision of the KFL&A Food Charter, expertise and other resources.

Members of the Food Policy Council include:


Neil Hobbs

I am a ‘nearly retired’ family doctor living with my wife Hazel in
Sydenham for 12 years. In 1987 I moved to Kingston to teach Family Medicine at Queen’s University, but in 2007 we decided a rural environment was more to our liking. Prior to 1987 we had lived and worked in Northern Labrador and Placentia, Newfoundland, and had originally come as landed immigrants from England in the 1970s.
My father and grandfather were great gardeners, and the apple never falls far from the tree, they say…There are many very interesting and important connections between medicine, gardening and food. Herbal medicine and the growth of  healthy nutritious food are but two of them. I enjoy the breadth of discussion and activities of the Food Policy Council, and would recommend our organization to anyone interested in good growing and healthy eating, both ‘vital organs’ – pun intended! – in our society.
Cheryl Hitchen

Cheryl is Manager of Social Policy & Strategic Community Development for the City of Kingston.  She has worked for the City of Kingston in a variety of social planning portfolios for the past 18 years.  Previously, she was the Director of the Inter-Agency Council for Children in Kingston.   She has a Bachelor of Social Work from Ryerson University, a Bachelor of Education and a Master of Public Administration degree from Queen’s University.

diane Dianne Dowling – Chair

Dianne is a director on the board of  the National Farmers Union Local 316 (Counties of Frontenac and Lennox-Addington and City of Kingston), a group that has been active for several years working to restore the local food and farm system in this area.  Dianne has been involved in these activities and in collaborations with other groups concerning food, farm and social justice issues.  She was an elementary school teacher in Kingston for 32 years and, along with her husband and son, operates a certified organic dairy and beef farm on Howe Island.

rachel Rachael Mather, RD, BASc

Rachael is a Public Health Dietitian in the Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention Division at KFL&A Public Health.  Rachael’s work activities focus on improving healthy food access among KFL&A area residents.  Rachael completed her nutrition degree at the University of Guelph, and her internship through the Northern Ontario Dietetic Internship Program.

Rupa Patel Rupa Patel

Rupa is a family physician currently working at Kingston Community Health Centre. She has been a family doctor for 20 years and firmly feels that healthy and accessible food is essential for one’s well-being.  Food is medicine!

Bruce Higgs

Bruce retired from Industry year 2000. He lives on Howe Island, has so for 45 years.  Born and raised on a farm near Dresden Ontario, his father, grandfather and uncles were all farmers, growing corn, soy beans, wheat, tomatoes and hay. Bruce currently holds the office of Deputy Mayor, Frontenac Islands, and is a Frontenac County Councillor.

Janette Haase
  Ben Morrison

Benjamin currently works and lives in the city of Kingston, and is always looking for ways to remove obstacles to improving the living standards and equality within our community. He brings the knowledge of his multi-generational heritage in agriculture, analytical skills mindset from a post secondary education in the sciences, as well as more than 10 years of experience in adult education and management to the council. He maintains an extensive backyard garden as part of his personal study in sustainable urban agriculture and practical access to quality food; besides just enjoying the taste of fresh tomatoes.

tara Tara Kainer

Tara has been an anti-poverty advocate with a particular interest in food security for over 20 years. Currently, she is employed by the Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation Office of the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul in Kingston, Ontario.

 mara Mara Shaw

Mara heads the non-profit organization Loving Spoonful, which enhances access to healthy food in Kingston. Her previous career in environmental engineering prepared her well for dealing with the complexities of the food system.

 John Singleton

John is retired from 32 years Government of Canada employment, having worked as a Retail Food Officer and Manufactured Food inspector. With Consumer and Corporate Affairs Canada, Industry Canada, and Canadian Food Inspection Agency in Toronto, Belleville, Ottawa and other locations, he specialized in Consumer law enforcement. Married to Barbara, he’s lived in Napanee for 37 years, one son, Dr. Thomas A. Singleton, is married to Katie.  Oh and Grandson, Benjamin Jack