The Team

...united in vision, commitment and enthusiasm

Karen Pettifer

Founder and Director

Karen is a wellness enthusiast with a passion to learn everything she can about the effect of diet on health and well-being. Over 20 years ago, Karen began the adventure of a lifetime — crossing the Atlantic from her home in Canada on an 8- meter sailing yacht to settle in the Azores. There, she continued her work as an international lawyer, working remotely from the Islands and frequently visiting her clients in continental Europe.

Karen was introduced to Dada Dave Dhyana, an Indian monk based in mainland Portugal, who regularly visits the Islands to teach people about juicing as a means of detoxification and better health, and about the value of yoga, meditation, and a vegetarian life. After being introduced to juicing, as a component of a plant-based diet, Karen was so ignited with energy and inspiration that she decided to dedicate herself to the study of the health benefits of a plant-based diet and share her newfound knowledge with others. From this awakening, Queen Bee was born.

Ebrina van der Bijl

Nutritionist and Product Developer

Ebrina van der Bijl is a nutritionist, trained in the Netherlands and based in the Azores. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Health and Nutrition from the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences in 2008. After traveling from her native Netherlands to visit various remote parts of the world, Ebrina settled with her family on their farm in the Azores.

Karen had the good fortune of finding her through Ebrina’s outreach efforts to connect with clients who could benefit from her teaching on mindfulness and nutrition. Upon meeting, Ebrina and Karen instantly joined forces and began to plan the development of Queen Bee’s products and services.

Ebrina masterminds production on the floor of the Queen Bee factory. She is equally involved in the management of the farm from seeding to harvest. Ebrina’s high standard for order and efficiency is counterbalanced by her humanity and spiritualism.

João Cunha

Agricultural Advisor

João Cunha is an agricultural engineer and a practicing specialist in the production and commercialization of organic fruits and vegetables. On any given day, he can be found in virtually every nook and cranny of the Queen Bee farm — including the compost heap!

João earned his degree in Agricultural Engineering from the Instituto Superior de Agronomia, the University of Lisbon, in 1993, with a specialty in the study of the science of plants. As our specialist and chief advisor in the production of our organic fruits and vegetables, João offers us unparalleled guidance and support in every aspect of the farming and growing operation. Under his watchful eye, Queen Bee is being transformed into a horticulturalist’s dream, closely guided by the modern principles of permaculture and sustainability, the cornerstones of our philosophy.


A special thanks to Luís Godinho, professional photographer and Milena Dąbrowska, photographer enthusiast, for their respective contributions to the photographs on this website.

Behind the scenes

A dedicated team of hard workers and volunteers – Queen Bee could not succeed without the dedication, commitment and loyalty of its exemplary staff and the vast wealth of experience of its contributing volunteers.

Volunteer with us