Chris Dufour, Education Coordinator

I grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia but have spent the last five years exploring Turtle Island (Canada), living in Ontario, British Columbia, and the Yukon. I hold a B.A. in environment, sustainability and society, and political science from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, and a certificate in visual arts from the Yukon School of Visual Arts.

I position food justice, food security, and sustainable agriculture practices at the forefront of my food activism. I love to work with kids, and to help give them knowledge on sustainability and social justice; because knowledge is power, I believe it’s crucial to create connections and understanding between food, sustainable living and climate change. I bring an exciting and engaging energy workshops, which include games, hands-on workshop engagement, songs, and fun for kids of all ages.

When not at work, I am a practicing visual artist, outdoor enthusiast, and adventurer extraordinaire. In my spare time, I love to hike, paint, bicycle, enjoy local musicians, cook up a storm, attend art shows, and read some of my favorite books and magazines.

Kayla Siefried, Site Manager & Community Education Coordinator

A keen sustainability activist, Kayla finds meaning in advocating for and living an environmentally sustainable life that involves bicycles, all things soils, food, and gardening.

Kayla’s environmental education started with the completion of her Bachelor of Environmental Studies at the University of Waterloo. She loves to share her knowledge about these things with people young and old through formal and informal education. She’s facilitated youth programs for sustainability all across Canada, Guatemala, and Cambodia, and has a zest for travel and adventure. With permaculture training and farming internships under her belt, Kayla is the steward of the Compost Education Centre demonstration gardens. 

Kayla sees the act of growing food and stewarding the soil as one that can heal on many levels. She feels privileged to be able to teach adults at the Compost Education Centre about composting, gardening, soils, and conservation. 

Alexis Hogan, Office and Communications Manager

Alexis is a queer settler with Indigenous ancestry (Irish, Quebecois and Anishinaabe from Sharbot Lake, Ont) whose decolonial praxis continually pushes her to move towards the transformative potential of accountability, vulnerability and action in every facet of her life. She is invested in art’s capability to communicate complex and poetic ideas, to be a bearer of histories, and to instigate action. Hogan’s academic educational background is in visual arts, and critical cultural theory. In 2014 she received her BFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and in 2015 she was awarded the Early Career Development Grant from the BC Arts Council, which funded a year-long curatorial research residency at Open Space Arts Society.

Aside from her work at the Compost Education Centre, Hogan currently works as Gallery Coordinator at the fifty fifty arts collective and is an emerging artist and curator. When not dedicating time to her artistic and curatorial practice, Alexis occupies her time with all of the other overlapping things that she loves: camping, canoeing, hiking, cooking, gardening, processing food she and her partner grow, and learning about local ecologies, Indigenous and invasive plants, decolonizing agriculture, and birds of prey.

Chester F. Phillips, Executive Director

Prior to his recent appointment to the position of CEC Executive Director, Chester F. Phillips (Chet), served for 8 years as Program Director for the University of Arizona Compost Cats. Chet co-founded Compost Cats in 2010 and, working closely with many bright and passionate students, co-developed the program into a national award-winning program now cited as a model for community-engaged student learning by the UA Office of Student Engagement. Chet has authored successful grants from the Agnese Nelms Haury and Rathmann Family Foundations, as well as the US Environmental Protection Agency. He has also led workshops and presentations for the Solid Waste Association of North America, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), and the United States Composting Council Conferences.

Until 2017, Chet was curriculum designer and instructor for the undergraduate ENVS 397S: Sustainability Workshop, a course offered collaboratively between the Soil, Water, and Environmental Science Department (SWES) and the ASUA Students for Sustainability program at the University of Arizona. Chet is a devoted practitioner of transformational, dialogue-based pedagogy and collaborative leadership, and both Compost Cats and Students for Sustainability operate through student-led, collaborative governance models designed to empower and develop student leaders who have the communication skills and applied project implementation experience needed to assume leadership positions and use them to make their communities more sustainable and socially just.

Chet has completed Level I Mediation Certification with the Arizona Dispute Resolution Association as well as completing a B.S. in Environmental Science, B.A. in Creative Writing, M.F.A. in nonfiction, and M.S. in Arid Lands Resource Sciences at the University of Arizona. Chet coauthored agreements with the City of Tucson and Tohono O’odham Nation’s San Xavier Co-op Farm that created innovative, tri-institutional partnerships to keep food out of landfills on a large scale in southern Arizona and encourage further collaborations between the city, tribe, University of Arizona, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, Southwest Folklife Alliance, and K-12 public schools. His work combines expertise in program development, grant writing, collaborative governance and pedagogy, environmental science, environmental policy, and the social science coalition building.

In his free time, Chet enjoys cycling, hiking, baking, gardening, cooking, eating, reading, music, politics local and national, attending talks and workshops, writing, theater, thoughtful movies, and slow weekend mornings with his family and friends.