Council Members

The Food Policy Council for KFL&A is made up of 11 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Sarah Keyes

Sarah grew up and studied on the east coast of Canada, completing her B.A. in environmental studies and political economics at St. Thomas University, and her Masters of Environmental Studies in food systems at Dalhousie. Prior to moving to Kingston in 2014 to join the Loving Spoonful team, Sarah was in B.C. designing and implementing critical food skills camps for youth. She now manages Community Kitchen programs and the GROW Project, using her knowledge of food, gardening, and healthy cooking to help build skills, literacy, and community around good food.


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 has lived on Howe Island 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.


Roger Romero

 Roger Romero is a first generation Canadian who came to Canada as a refugee from El Salvador in the early 1980’s. His life and work experience fuels his passion for community building and equitable social development.  Roger currently works with Kingston Community Health Centres and uses his education and life experience to support, coach and advocate for young people. Roger values the positive social impact created by a sustainable and accessible food network.


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.


Eugene (Gene) Donefer

Eugene was a Faculty member at McGill University for 37 years, primarily at the MacDonald Campus, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, where he taught courses in Nutrition for Agriculture and Dietetics and Human Nutrition Students. His PhD was in Nutrition and his research primarily involved Dairy and Beef production (including projects in the Caribbean and China). In his last 10-years, he was Director of the Office of McGill International (Graduate Faculty) which coordinated the Universities overseas projects. Moving to Kingston 1996, he was an Adjunct Professor in the Queens University School of Environmental Studies establishing and teaching (2000-2004) the course “Global Food Security – Agriculture and Environmental.” In Kingston, he has also given Courses on “Understanding Food Labels” at the Seniors Centre and at the Y.


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 has lived in Napanee for 37 years. He has one son, Dr. Thomas A. Singleton, who is married to Katie, and a Grandson, Benjamin Jack.