Friday February 22 to Sunday February 24, 2019
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Alex Lyon is a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm, where she has worked since 2016. Dr. Lyon’s research looks at how and why farmers participate in alternative seed systems and the role of such systems in supporting socially and environmentally sustainable agri-food systems. She was first introduced to the world of organic seed during her PhD at UW-Madison, working with the Northern Organic Vegetable Improvement Collaborative (NOVIC) which developed an on-farm research network to breed new varieties for organic agriculture. Her primary project at UBC has been the BC Seed Trials, which consist of participatory variety trials aimed at supporting the emerging vegetable seed sector. Building on this work, beginning in the spring of 2019 Dr. Lyon and her collaborators will be working with farmers to develop new vegetable varieties for organic farms in regions across Canada through participatory plant breeding.
Amy has a BSc in Agroecology and is now working on her MSc in Soil Science in the Sustainable Agricultural Landscapes Lab at UBC. Her research is focused on improving organic vegetable farm sustainability through enhanced nutrient management planning. Amy is an Articling Agrologist and has worked on several small-scale organic farms.
Andrea has been involved in a number of projects connecting agricultural producers with consumers in sustainable and economically viable systems for many years. As an agricultural economist with a horticultural background, she has worked in farm business management at both primary and value-added processing levels including costs of production, market and economic research for individual farm clients, producer co-operatives, farmers markets, first nations, industry associations and government at many levels.
Together with her husband, Steve, they run a pastured poultry operation raising roasting chickens and turkeys on a small acreage in the North Okanagan, mentoring satellite farms and directly supplying over 500 households and select restaurants in the Thompson Okanagan. Andrea is also a managing partner in a provincially licensed poultry processing facility.
Anna has been in the food service business for over 30 years. Since 1999, she's been working on her family's organic potato farm in Pemberton BC and attending farmers'' markets. In 2018, she wrote and self-published "A Farmers Guide to Farmers' Markets", a slim volume containing almost everything she knows about successfully selling food.
Anne Macey - Saltspring Island Anne Macey - Anne has been involved in the organic sector for over 30 years in many different roles. She has contributed as a writer and editor for several COG publications including the Organic Livestock Handbook, The Guide to the Canadian Organic Standards, and Living with Worms in Organic Sheep Production. Anne was also involved in compiling the Animal Welfare on Organic Farms Fact Sheets. In a past life in Ontario, she operated a small, mixed, organic farm and more recently worked as a VO in BC. She is a past director of COABC’s Accreditation Board but now spends her time managing the Salt Spring community abattoir. Anne has been involved in the development of the Canadian Organic Standard since the 1990’s and although she recently retired as convenor of the Livestock Working Group, she has been actively following the current revision process.
Anne-Marieke Smid is originally from The Netherlands and obtained her Masters in Animal Science at Wageningen University in collaboration with the UBC Animal Welfare Program, which allowed her to do her research in Canada. Following completion of her Masters, she joined the Animal Welfare Program as a PhD student. Her PhD research focuses on the preferences of dairy cows for different outdoor areas as well as on how cow preferences are influenced by the indoor and outdoor environment.
Caroline is originally from Germany where she studied veterinary medicine in Hannover. She moved to Calgary in 2013 to do her PhD at the University of Calgary in veterinary epidemiology. After completing her Ph.D. in 2018 she relocated to UBC where she is currently working as a post-doctoral fellow focussing on public perceptions of dairy farm management and cow-calf separation
Chris Bodnar co-owns and operates Close to Home Organics with his wife, Paige, at Glen Valley Organic Farm in Abbotsford. They operate a 145-member Community Shared Agriculture program and sell at two weekly farmers markets during the farming season. Prior to farming, Chris earned a PhD in Communication from Carleton University. He now teaches the Business of Agriculture course in Kwantlen Polytechnic University's Sustainable Agriculture program.
Corey operates 6 acres of mixed farm in the Similkameen Valley Certified by SOOPA since 2006. Predominantly growing tree fruit and broiler chickens he messes about with a small layer flock, pigs and whatever other hair brained scheme seems like an obvious gold mine. Over the years he has been involved in various agricultural groups including SOOPA,COABC and the Penticton Farmers Market. Corey loves veggie burgers, heavy metal and disagreeing.
Dignidad Migrante Society is a worker's non-profit organization of Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs), who year after year come to work legally in Canada from Mexico, Guatemala, the Philippines, and numerous other countries in Europe, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Our organization promotes the self-organization of temporary foreign workers in general and of agricultural workers in particular; to ensure access to our rights, and to solve our daily problems during our stay in Canada. We strive to be a place where the voice of each worker counts, and where workers from many communities can coexist. We hope to build an organization where we walk together with affection, respect, joy, humour, and self-criticism.
- Research Associate
- Sessional Instructor Faculty of Land and Food Systems
- The University of British Columbia
DeLisa has two decades of experience managing certified organic mixed vegetable production systems. She was lead instructor for the UBC Farm Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture from 2011-2014, and her teaching, research, and consulting continue with focus areas in soil nutrient management, farm planning, and new farmer training. Her volunteer service to the community of growers in British Columbia includes membership on the COABC accreditation board and North Cowichan Agriculture Advisory Committee.
Eva-Lena Lang is currently pursuing a master's at UBCO to further her capacity to support the regional food system and small-scale farmers. Her community-based research focuses on building a network with the intention of strengthening the regional food system. Eva-Lena grew up on a family farm and has worked on different farms over the years. Passionate about sustainable agriculture, growing healthy communities and all things food related, she has been involved with the North Okanagan Food System Initiative since its inception, and sits on the Regional District of the North Okanagan agricultural advisory committee.
Hughie Jones originates from Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, AB, and grew up in rural AB. He is currently a biometeorologist (PhD candidate Soil Science) with the Biometeorology and Soil Physics Group at the University of British Columbia (UBC) - Faculty of Land and Food Systems. He completed his BSc in Environmental and Conservational Sciences (Major Wildlife and Rangeland Conservation) at the University of Alberta (2011). During 2010 and 2011, he worked at the Northern Forestry Centre (NoFC) - Climate Change Group in Edmonton, AB where he began studying the impacts of climate and land-use change on greenhouse gas (GHG) and water balances in agricultural and forest ecosystems across Canada. While working at NoFC, he began working with Professor Dr. Thomas Andrew Black (UBC), who later became Hughie's supervisor for his MSc (Soil Science, 2012 - 2014). Hughie's MSc thesis studied the water and carbon balances of hybrid-poplar plantations established on productive farmland in the Canadian Prairie Provinces. In 2014, he began his PhD at UBC studying the effectiveness of crop season-extension technologies, such as plastic covered low tunnels (small greenhouses) and plastic film mulches, for their ability to increase growing-season length and protect crops from weather variability and climate change.
Joe Wecker grew up on a organic farm in southern Germany. He has over 20 years of combined experience in conventional and organic farming. Now farming 9,000 acres with his family in Southeast Saskatchewan with 6000 ac organic and 3000 ac biological, he is using a Nutritional Farming system on his whole farm. This system is a holistic approach of balancing soil nutrients and soil biology while focusing on plant health and beneficial insects to raise a crop that is nutrient dense. He is using intercropping, companion cropping and cover crops in his rotation of over 12 crops.
Jordan Marr owns Unearthed Fine Veggies & Herbs in Kelowna. In his spare time he produces a podcast for farmers called The Ruminant and is often the first person to say yes to emceeing organic farming conferences.
Kristi is a community planner and works as a research associate with Kwantlen Polytechnic University's Institute for Sustainable Food Systems (ISFS). She lives on a small farm in the Okanagan with her family of four, and coordinates the ISFS's Okanagan projects. She is passionate about sustainable local food systems and their role in building healthy, resilient communities, and brings her planning perspective and interest in food policy to the work of the ISFS.
Laura Whalin completed her BSc in Animal Sciences at The Ohio State University in the United States, and her MSc in the Animal Welfare Program at The University of British Columbia (UBC). During her MSc, Laura studied how social housing for dairy calves can be implemented on commercial farms. She is currently a PhD student in the Animal Welfare Program at UBC and is continuing to work on calf housing and management options that could improve calf welfare.
Liz is the Coordinator for the North Okanagan Food System Initiative (NOFSI) and enjoys working with and for a community of conscious local food producers, processors, consumers and advocates. In her position with NOFSI Liz brings years of experience in program planning and development, outreach and education, project management and group facilitation, largely stemming from the food waste side of the food system. Liz has a passion for engaging community through food and a keen interest in convening heart felt and meaningful conversation.
She resides in the Shuswap with her extended family with whom she co-owns three acres on White Lake and is building a straw bale-hybrid house. Liz loves the satisfaction that comes from knowing and buying direct from the farmer (not to mention cooking and eating fresh local food) and his harbouring grand plans of her own for growing and preserving her own food to feed family and community.
Louise Nelson is an Honorary Professor of Biology at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus. She is a soil microbiologist with interests in plant-microbe interactions, plant growth promoting rhizobacteria, biological control of plant fungal pathogens and nitrogen cycling in soil microbial populations. Research projects in her lab include a study of the effects of irrigation on greenhouse gas emissions and nitrogen cycling microbial populations in Okanagan agricultural systems; the evaluation of the potential of selected soil bacteria to control postharvest fungal pathogens of stored pome fruit; identification of major postharvest pathogens of cherry and their abundance in the orchard during the growing season; and studies to identify sustainable orchard floor management practices and water delivery systems that will optimize water use efficiency and soil health in cherry production with climate change in the Okanagan. She works in collaboration with other faculty at UBC, researchers in Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and with growers and cooperatives in the Okanagan Valley.
Michelle Tsutsumi started farming at Pilgrims' Produce in 2010. After four seasons working there, she moved to Golden Ears Farm in Chase, where she co-manages it with her partner, Tristan. Her favourite part of the farm is the CSA Program. She has served on the Board of COABC as the NOOA Rep and on the NOOA Executive for four years. She presently sits on the Agricultural Advisory Commission of the Thompson Nicola Regional District and is the Communications Lead for the Kamloops Food Policy Council.
Paddy has been an organic farmer for the most of his adult life. He was a founder of the COABC and has been involved with the organisation throughout its history. In Nov 2018 he stepped-down from the position as co-chair of the national Organic Value Chain Roundtable, which he held for the past 3 years. In partnership with his wife, (Elaine Spearing) they operate West Enderby Farm, growing carrots, beets, and cauliflower; which they sell to local retail stores.
Rebecca received both her BSc and MS degree from the University of Guelph in Ontario and then completed her PhD in Horticulture at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY where she conducted research on fruit crops. Rebecca was a faculty member in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Wisconsin where she developed a fruit research and extension program. She is the lead faculty in the Sustainable Agriculture program at KPU.
Rebecca Kneen brews beer, farms, and manages the paperwork for Crannog Ales and Left Fields Artisans Community Co-op farm. She's currently a member of the NOOA Cert Committee and is the provincial representative to the Organic Federation of Canada; over the 18 years she's been farming organically has served on the Board for NOOA, PACS and the COABC. She and her partners are guided by principles of ecology and good stewardship of land that is in unceded Secwepemc Territory. In the rest of her life she spins, knits, felts, cooks and raises conscientious hell at every opportunity.
Together with his partner, Cathie Allen, Rob has been farming at Mackin Creek Farm for over 30 years. Operating a certified organic market garden, they supply produce to a farmers' market, CSA, restaurants, and retail outlets. Mackin Creek Farm uses Percheron horses for soil preparation and other "heavy lifting". It was recognized as Vendor of the Year in 2014 by the BC Association of Farmers Markets, and was featured in the Spring '17 edition of BC Organic Grower. Rob has also taught the soilbuilding module for the Thompson Rivers University Sustainable Ranching Program. He and Cathie continue to farm "at a reduced level" at Mackin Creek, about 35 kms NW of Williams Lake.
Rochelle's expertise is years of verification, agriculture extension and consulting work in and outside the organic sphere. Most recently Rochelle has changed roles on CFIA's Standards Interpretation Committee from chair to technical advisor and per the previous round of the standards review remains as chair of the Preparation Working Group (310), and a member of the Canadian General Standards Board Organic Technical Committee. She has also taken on the chair position for both the Greenhouse, and Shoots, Sprouts, and Microgreens Task Forces and the Preparation Working Group (311). Last, but not least, Rochelle is the current president of the Canadian Organic Growers and a member of COAB’s Accreditation Board.
Tanya Brouwers has attended UBC, Nova Scotia Agricultural College and UVIC, spending many years studying agriculture, sustainable agriculture practices, ecology and restoration ecology. She has consulted for regional farm societies on sustainable farming techniques, is an organic verification officer with over 10 years of experience, and has written for several national newspapers on both sustainable and organic farming topics. In addition to being a farmer herself, Tanya is also proud to be the ECOstudies coordinator for the Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance where she happy to promote the mandate of inspiring people to learn about, care about, and to protect our unique and natural environment, now and for the future.
Tessa is certified yoga facilitator with training in Hatha yoga, Somatic Therapy and Kundalini yoga (RYT 550, KRI 250), with a background in dance and movement. Tess considers yoga to be a long, beautiful journey of learning how to listen. To listen to the quiet, often ignored messages from the body and then to drop deeper and listen to the tender and true voice inside. Tessa currently works with Young Agrarians and has made a living for most of her adult life as an organic farmer and farm educator and will continue to do that probably forever.
Thomas grew up on a farm in the heart of Europe, in Switzerland. At age 16, he began a three year apprenticeship as a journeyman landscape gardener with a focus on landscape design, construction, and maintenance; he graduated in 1989. Being a strong believer in continuous education, and after moving to Canada in 1995, Thomas was owner and operator of an awardwinning landscape design, construction, and maintenance company for over a decade. To deepen his expertise, Thomas has also accomplished certifications as a horticultural technician, organic master gardener, permaculture designer and teacher, professional Soil Foodweb Consultant by Dr. Elaine Ingham, and has studied Biodynamics including Dr. Ehrenfried Pfeiffer's Circular Chromatography method for quality control of compost and humus management systems. In 2015 Thomas started DynamicWholeScapes, which includes Regenerative Agriculture, sustainable, edible, and beneficial landscapes with incorporation of permaculture principles and design methods; rainwater harvesting for outdoor and indoor use; education and workshops; and last but not least, the organic BioComplete soil solutions, along with biodynamic farming and gardening practices.
Tristan manages Spray Creek Ranch, an organic, diversified 260-acre farm in the Northern St'at'imc Territory near Lillooet, BC. Together with his wife Aubyn, he raises cattle, pigs and poultry on pasture along the mighty Fraser River in the rain shadow of the Coast Mountains. He has been practising management-intensive grazing since 2014.