About Us

Rachelle Rocha and Laurie Pennell are pharmacists with more than 20 years of experience managing and operating pharmacies throughout Ontario. Established in 2019, Seasons Pharmacy and Culinaria is an expression of food as medicine; exploring the impact of pharmacists combining sound advice about medications, with home cooking to optimize health.

Becoming the Change We Wanted to See

We are on a mission to change the way our culture deals with chronic illness.  After working for Canada’s largest food retailer, operating pharmacies, and really thinking about the grocery carts full of edible food-like substances, and handing out bags of pills, it was time to take a serious look at the “lifestyle factors” taught to every pharmacy student. 

Our Team

Rachelle Rocha

Chief Visionary Officer, Pharmacist, Owner

Laurie Pennell R.Ph

Chief Financial Officer, Designated Pharmacy Manager, Owner

Mackenzie Renzella

Pharmacy Assistant Culinaria Co-conspirator

Lauren Nicolaides

Pharmacy Assistant Culinaria Co-conspirator

Leigh Anne Cecchetto

Culinaria Co-conspirator

Andrew Rocha

Media Producer

Holly Schneider

Pharmacy Assistant Culinaria Co-conspirator

 

About Rachelle and Laurie

Rachelle: 

I love to eat good food! I have tended a garden, and cooked from scratch, most of my adult life. When I travel, I visit pharmacies, farms, farmers markets and search out the best “from scratch” restaurants. Eating in season guarantees the best in flavour and nutrition. Preparing and sharing great meals fosters great relationships. Much to my surprise, I learned that the grocery store, is not actually where the best food is found. It’s grown close to home. I learned about permaculture and the food movement. I started farming, and our family farm produces pastured hogs, turkeys, chickens, ducks, honey, fruit and vegetables in an inspired, polyculture.

More than ten years ago, I watched Robert Lustig’s presentation. “Sugar, the Bitter Truth.” The evidence keeps mounting; processed food, high in sugar, low in fibre, extensive exposure to chemicals in the food chain, from the field to the box, are significantly, negatively impacting human health.

I have been a pharmacist for 25 years. I have specialized knowledge about medication and addiction. As a farmer and a well-informed eater, I have specialized knowledge about food. Laurie and I have visited pharmacies all over the world, looking for a pharmacy practice that had a food first approach to health and surprisingly, we found none. We are excited to offer this fresh approach to health and wellness.

Laurie:

As pharmacists, we are taught to include lifestyle changes in our discussions with patients. These include diet and exercise. Yet, if diet is so important, why do most pharmacies sell so many products that we know to be unhealthy

For at least twenty years, I worked with Rachelle, where she often shared her farming story, and exposed me to the many resources that subsequently inspired

the creation of Seasons Pharmacy and Culinaria. Rachelle’s energy, enthusiasm, and passion for quality local food, and its influence on health are contagious.

For me, the journey took a personal turn when I earnestly began to practice what I learned and preached. I gave up sugar, all 17 kinds of sugar. I eliminated all the processed food and chemicals that I could, especially sulfites and nitrites. I focused on sleep habits. Implementing these changes, although simple, was not easy. It made a huge difference in my life. Of course, I lost weight, but more importantly, I felt better; my skin, sleep patterns, breathing, mood, hormone balance all improved. I was just better. No one is perfect, I am still trying to live these principles every day. Working in such a peer supported environment gives me confidence to continue to make healthy choices for myself, and to encourage and assist others.

At Seasons Pharmacy and Culinaria, the kitchen and the pharmacy dispensary are both equally prominent, reiterating that both are equally important to your health and wellbeing. The store intentionally creates the feeling of sitting in someone’s kitchen, where all important conversations really take place, over a cup of tea. We strive to inspire people to commit to making one little change, starting today.