tinyTeam

Let’s make tinyFarming not so tiny

AAMAR KHWAJA

FOUNDER, CEO & THE ORIGINAL TINY FARMER

Meet Aamar Khwaja, a foodie with a fiduciary mind. Aamar is the founder of Modgarden’s tinyFarm. Once a Wall Street banking professional with roles ranging from iBanking to Technology Management, Trading and Risk Management, Aamar found himself stuck and sick from his life and food.

To address his health crisis, Aamar channeled his years spent in business delivery, multi-level negotiation with large institutional clients, and programme management for JPMorgan/Bank America into an entrepreneurial solution to his own problem—modgarden.

Aamar has morphed into a dedicated entrepreneur, single dad, and a passionate believer in the power of home-grown organic food to change your health and the world around you. Aamar isn’t your average tiny farmer. In fact, he’s not your average anything.

modgarden compass

modgarden’s compass points to the intersection between human wellness and nature. We are informed by the beauty and brilliance of plants—from their roots to their leaves, and the interdependence of their rich ecosystem. Each of our team members connect closely with nature, and have co-created a business that strives to build meaningful connections that will help us to optimize our human health.

modgarden’s purpose serves the common good. We enable people to connect with and trust the food they eat. Our mission is to enable people to grow food with convenient, nature-inspired technology, all while delivering delicious and pure nutrition. Truly organic food grown in soil by people at home, no matter where they live, breeds vitality and builds health. Our aspiration is for people, just like us, to taste the rewards of real food, grown in real soil, and make a deeper connection with our earth. It needs us. We need it.

SID APAYA

SID APAYA

CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER

Full bio here

Sid connects deeply with modgarden’s mission and wants to help bring our unique products and experiences to families across the globe. Sid has 20 years experience as a senior executive and general manager, at some of the world’s leading multinationals such as Nestlé, Kraft and J.M. Smucker. He has managed household brands such as Nescafe, Kit-Kat, Perrier and Folgers while also successfully leading business P&L’s in high growth or turnaround situations.
HOPE

HOPE

CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER

Full bio here

It’s safe to say that ‘food’ is at the centre of Hope’s universe. When she’s not eating it, sniffing it out, gathering it, cooking with it, sharing it, she’s teaching about it. And now with modgarden’s tinyfarm she’s growing it. For the past 15 years Hope has been acting in lead roles in engagement, culture creation, marketing and business development for brands across the world.

She has been captured by the spirit and powerful practicality of modgarden and has taken on the role of Engagement Advisor and Jill of all trades for the growing tinyteam. This many-hat role suits Hope’s diverse experience and broad network. She lives and breathes the target tinyFarm user persona and is game to apply it to grow this brand.

JAMES MCMILLEN

JAMES MCMILLEN

CHIEF HORTICULTURE OFFICER

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James was groomed from three generations of horticulturists and boasts skills in renovation, sustainable design, garden sustainability, and submittals. His commitment to developing pure food, coupled with his Certificate in Holistic Health and Wellness from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition make James a driving expert and supporter of modgarden’s missions.
MONICA KARPPINEN

MONICA KARPPINEN

LOGISTICS & PROJECT WRANGLER

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Monica is part holistic operating system and part human accountability coach. Her M.O is to keep the diverse and focused modgarden team on track. Monica lives by the list and throws every inch of herself into ensuring projects, operations and logistics are mapped out, implemented, retooled, standardized, analyzed and reported on. The devil is in the details for Monica, and her 15 years of due diligence management experience enables modgarden to launch on multiple levels. modgarden is able to draw upon her wealth of experience in marketing, operations, budgeting, merchandising, distribution, HR, design, agile project management and launching multi-stakeholder programs.

MARYAM NIZAM

MARYAM NIZAM

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

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Maryam is known for driving efficiency, resilience and a way forward in the face of change. An operations powerhouse with an entrepreneurial mindset, Maryam has overseen the growth and scaling of operations for a $100 billion portfolio of funds while also launching a digital marketplace connecting aspiring food entrepreneurs to commercial kitchens. But it is her love of food, experience with childhood obesity, and a belief in a need for conscious and equitable consumption that has inspired her to drive forward modgarden.

Advisors

HOWARD MOSKOVITZ

HOWARD MOSKOVITZ

MindGenomics

Full bio here

Howard Moskowitz is the backbone of present-day market research. Moskowitz created and perpetuated the idea that different people like different things, urging large companies like Pepsi and Prego to diversify their products based on consumer’s varied (not singular) needs. This idea, coined “intermarket variability” has resulted in Howard consulting for companies like General Foods, Pepsi, and Campbell Soup, to name a few.

Howard holds a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Harvard University and many awards from his scientific endeavours (Scientific Director’s Gold Medal, Charles Coolidge Parlin Marketing Research Award, etc.). Howard brings tremendous insight to the team in terms of food optimization, product development and marketing

HEATHER DUBBLEDAM

HEATHER DUBBLEDAM

DESIGNER OF TINYFARM CONCEPT

Full bio here

Heather has lived and breathed design her entire life. As a fourth generation designer & creative thinker, it is no surprise that she is principal of Dubbeldam Architecture + Design, a multidisciplinary design and architecture studio recognized as one of the leading design practices in Toronto.

Heather is a visionary who strives toward environmental sustainability. Indeed, in 2016 she was awarded the Professional Prix de Rome in Architecture for her research in sustainable housing. Her commitment to incorporating sustainable design and systems into each and every one of her projects aligns brilliantly with tinyFarm’s mandate of growing healthy food within the comfort of one’s home.

ALAN TRATNER

ALAN TRATNER

Full bio here

The Inventors Workshop International and the Entrepreneur’s Workshop, Director of the Small Business Entrepreneurship Center in California, is a SCORE (US SBA) consultant, and was publisher of the Lightbulb Journal and INVENT! magazines. He is an inventor and serial entrepreneur, with 13 inventions/patents. He has been dubbed the “Minister of Ideas” by the media and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Inc., Entrepreneur, Business Week, TIME, USA Today, America Online Forum, NPR, and has appeared on OPRAH, CNN, Good Morning America, and CNBC. Alan has mentored and assisted thousands of green technology, sustainable ecology and energy companies, and inventors. He was a former Professor of Environment and Energy, participated in the First International United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, in Stockholm Sweden, was a staff member of Environmental Quality Magazine, and helped establish the famous Earth Day. He founded the Environmental Education Group Foundation in 1972 with many supporters, including Nobel prize winner Dennis Gabor.

tinyLab Team

DR. NICK BELLISSIMO

DR. NICK BELLISSIMO

Associate Professor and Director of the Nutrition Discovery Labs in the School of Nutrition at Ryerson University

Full bio here

Educational guru and food scientist, Dr. NIck Bellissimo, started his vocational training with a B.Ed. at York University. His passion for food and science led to the pursuit of a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Toronto.

Nick brings a wealth of knowledge, both from his post-doctoral research at Penn State and from his own research in Toronto, at Ryerson University. Nick’s expertise lies in investigating the complex relationships between food, exercise and health.

Nick’s notable achievements (to list just a few!) include: procuring over $10M in research funds (as a Principal Investigator or collaborating as a Co-Investigator), over 75 peer-reviewed publications and training of over 50 qualified personnel. In addition to providing valuable insight to the modgarden team, he serves as a scientific advisor for government agencies and the food industry.

The Nutrition Discovery Labs (ND Labs) at Ryerson University is home to a robust body of research focused on the physiological and environmental factors that contribute to appetite and energy imbalances with the goal of providing a foundation for advice on diet composition, physical activity, and environment in preventing and managing overeating in children. The ND Labs aims to provide evidence-based dietary, exercise and environment strategies that can fill an important gap that parents, school administrators, and policy makers can use to ensure children grow up happy and avoid a lifetime of poorer health.

DALHOUSIE UNIVERSITY FACULTY OF AGRICULTURE

DALHOUSIE UNIVERSITY FACULTY OF AGRICULTURE

Full bio here

We have two key persons working from the Dalhousie Agriculture Department. 

Dr. Lord Abbey has a background in Plant Science and Pharmaceutical R&D with a research focus on sustainable food systems and compost quality enhancement for plant fortification and ultimately, assurance of healthy diets and human health and wellbeing.

Dr. L.R. Gunupuru did his Master of Technology in Biotechnology from the Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati India in 2011. Later he graduated from the School of Biology and Environmental Sciences, University College Dublin, Ireland in 2016 with a Ph.D in Molecular Biology and Plant Pathology. Presently he is working on a postdoctoral fellowship at Dalhousie amending natural and microbial metabolites to soil, for improving plant overall health and to know the molecular response of these compounds in plant health.
DESIGN 1ST

DESIGN 1ST

modgarden DESIGN TEAM

Full bio here

A passionate product designer and business executive, Kevin Bailey helps guide CEO’s, startups and established companies through the maze of hardware product development.
Spending over 35 years in design, Kevin is a master at assessing risk and opportunity when making the hundreds of decisions required to move a vision into a physical product the customer will love.

Since the late 1980’s Kevin has been on the ground floor of global hardware product innovation, cutting his teeth with Bell Northern Research Labs before moving to Nortel Networks where he worked on the first smartphone development. After founding Design 1st in 1996, Kevin has emerged as one of the most experienced in Canada at stickhandling hardware product development from concept idea to design, engineering and manufacturing set-up.
As CEO and president of Design 1st, clients and staff rely on Kevin’s strategic vision to guide funding, market entry and the full suite of development decisions. The company’s results with new product development speaks for itself. More than 1,000 entrepreneurs, startups and global corporations—such as Motorola, Acer, Stanley Tools and Christie Digital—have brought products ideas to life under Kevin’s guidance.

Kevin is a Professional Engineer, Angel and VC Investor and one of Canada’s leading experts at bringing innovative products to market.

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