Organic Food

Conference 2014

Certified Organic Association of BC
Friday, February 21st - Sunday, February 23rd 2014
Nanaimo, BC


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Andrew Arkesteyn-Vogler - Crisp Organics Ltd.
Andrew Arkesteyn-Vogler Andrew Arkesteyn-Vogler is the co-owner and manager of Crisp Organics Ltd in Abbotsford BC. Crisp Organics, established in 2010, is an 11 acre intensive vegetable farm highly focused on providing year round production of top quality greens and an assortment of other vegetables. Prior to starting the farm Andrew worked as an Environmental Educator leading school groups on field trips focused on ecology and fisheries. Andrew is a graduate of Royal Roads University where he obtain a B.Sc. in Environmental Science as well as from the University of British Columbia where he completed and Law Degree.

Anna Rallings - KPU Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems
Anna Rallings Anna Rallings is the Research & Education Farm Coordinator for Kwantlen Polytechnic University's (KPU) Bachelor of Applied Science in Sustainable Agriculture in Richmond, BC. She has worked in training new farmers through the Richmond Farm School for several years and is now developing a laboratory farm site for education and research for KPU’s Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems programs.

Anne Macey
Anne Macey Anne has been involved in organic agriculture for 30 years in many different roles. She was the editor of first edition of COG's Organic Livestock Handbook and contributed to other COG publications including A Guide to Understanding the Canadian Organic Standards, and Living with Worms in Organic Sheep Production. She has operated a small mixed organic farm in Ontario, worked as an organic inspector and has recently retired as Director of the Accreditation Board of COABC. Anne is a member of the Animal Welfare Task Force and is currently volunteering her time to develop agricultural infrastructure on Salt Spring Island including a community owned and operated Abattoir.

Arzeena Hamir
Arzeena Hamir Arzeena Hamir is a Professional Agrologist who specializes in organic food production. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Crop Science from the University of Guelph and her Master's degree in Sustainable Agriculture from the University of London, England. She was the staff agrologist for West Coast Seeds in the late '90s and ran her own seed company, Terra Viva Organics. From 2008-2012 Arzeena was the Coordinator of the Richmond Food Security Society where she oversaw a number of community projects which included a proposal to the City of Richmond to declare itself a GMO-free Zone. In 2010, in conjunction with Kwantlen University, Arzeena helped to launch the Richmond Farm School. She currently sits on the Board of the BC Food Systems Network and runs Amara Farm, a 25 acre farm, in Courtenay, BC.

Carmen Wakeling - Eatmore Sprouts & Greens Ltd.
Carmen Wakeling Carmen Wakeling is General Manager, CEO and Co-owner of Eatmore Sprouts & Greens Ltd. Carmen has been involved in growing food, food safety and organic production for over 25 years. Carmen & her family have made a life choice to make a small difference in a big world. Eatmore Sprouts produces organic sprouts & greens year round for a happier, healthier planet. Carmen’s long term goal is to educate her community as well as others about sustainable food production and the joy of growing, harvesting and eating foods grown close to home. Carmen is committed to finding simple, sustainable solutions to help support wholesome communities. Carmen and Eatmore Sprouts have been involved in many groups and organizations over the years. Right now Carmen is the Vice President of "Small Scale Food Processors Association", Vice President of the “International Sprout Growers Association, and the chair of Sprouts Canada.

Chris Bodnar - Close to Home Organics
Chris Bodnar This session will provide you with the practical tools and understandings of planning a small-scale agriculture business that you need to be successful in your farming endeavors. The process of developing your own business plan will underpin these understandings of running a business. If you are starting your own business this session will help guide you through the process of writing a business plan. If you aren’t sure whether you’re starting your own business this session will help you organize your thoughts around business planning and how to approach potential ideas. In addition to the personal work of identifying goals and developing business ideas, Chris will also cover an overview of the nuts and bolts of running a business. We will review formulas that can help you test the viability of your business idea and determine rates of return on your personal investments of time, energy and money.

Clara Coleman - Four Season Farm Consulting
Clara Coleman Clara Coleman is a second-generation American organic farmer, consultant, writer and keynote speaker on sustainable four-season farming and daughter of renowned farming pioneer Eliot Coleman. For three years, she created and operated a successful intensive 2-acre vegetable farm known as Divide Creek Farm located in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. She produced year-round vegetable crops under harsh winter conditions, using unheated and minimally heated moveable high tunnels or greenhouses. Like her father, she is a proponent of the ‘small is better’ model of farming, advocating business growth through improved efficiency, innovative production methods, farmer collaboration and direct customer marketing, rather than physical expansion. Clara is the four-season farm specialist for Rimol Greenhouses and consults for Wegmans Food Markets helping to implement four-season farming techniques on their organic farm in upstate New York. Currently, Clara resides in Portland, Maine with her two sons and is focused on four-season farm consulting, family farm grant projects with Maine Farmland Trust, writing a book and speaking engagements nationwide as a means to inspire and encourage the next generation of farmers.

Dave McCandless
Dave McCandless Dave McCandless is a founding member and farmer at Fraser Common Farm Cooperative, a 20-acre cooperative organic farm, established in the early 1970s in Aldergrove, BC. Driven by an interest in soil carbon sequestration and contributing to climate change mitigation, Dave McCandless built a small homemade biochar kiln on his farm 4 years ago and has been experimenting with the production and application of biochar at FCFC ever since.

Evelyn Perreira - Terra Nosa Farm
Evelyn Perreira Evelyn Pereira and her husband Jesse moved to Vancouver Island in January 2007. Their property Terra Nossa is a 26 acre certified organic farm producing pastured livestock which includes on a yearly basis 2000 broilers, 200 turkeys, 30 pigs, 20 ewes and lambs and eggs from 99 layers. In addition to the livestock they have 1 acre of thorn less black berries, a 1 acre truffier, ½ acre of raspberries and strawberries. Garlic and asparagus round out the production. In 2012 they had a situation with Employment Standards and apprentices. Evelyn will share what they learned from that stressful and costly experience.

Haley Argen - Nature Tech Nursery Ltd.
Haley Argen Haley Argen has been involved in nursery and greenhouse management for 18 years, currently owner of Nature Tech Nursery as well as in sales of native landscape plants at NATS Nursery Ltd. She holds a Horticulture diploma with honours from the University of Guelph, and is passionate about sustainable landscaping and food production.

Heather Pritchard
Heather-Pritchard Heather Pritchard is the Farm Program Manager at FarmFolk City Folk and is herself an experienced organic farmer living on a cooperative community farm in the Fraser Valley. The Community Farms Program of FFCF was established under the direction of Heather to support people involved in farmland conservation and community farming by providing information, resources, and assistance. Heather has more than 25 years of experience with strong connections to the farming community and the community groups who support farming. Heather is one of the founding members of FarmFolk CityFolk, the Vancouver Food Policy Council, and the BC Food Systems Network. Heather is on the Executive of Slow Food Vancouver and the treasurer of Slow Food Canada.

Heide Hermary - Society for Organic Urban Land Care (SOUL)
Heide Hermary Heide Hermary spent the last decade developing and teaching organic horticulture curriculum for Gaia College. As co-founder of SOUL she was instrumental in the development of the Organic Land Care Standard and SOUL's certification program for organic land care professionals.

Hermann Bruns - Wild Flight Farm
Hermann Bruns Twenty years ago Hermann Bruns, biology degree in hand, was in the first few years of a career in environmental management when he experienced a life changing event. He met his future wife, Louise. Hermann had grown up on a dairy farm and had just spent the past 10 years trying to get away from farming. But Louise, a city girl, dreamed about growing organic vegetables. So together they quit their jobs to start an organic market garden having no idea of what they were getting themselves into.

With a healthy dose of naïve optimism they purchased a bare 20-acre cornfield, began building a small house (what a way to test a new marriage!!), and grew their first vegetables. Fast forward to today and Wild Flight Farm, still on the same 20 acres, now uses 24,000 sq.ft. of poly tunnels, a 5000 sq.ft. packing and storage facility, and 7 seasonal employees to produce a year-round supply of organic vegetables for local markets. Hermann has also been involved in the development of organic certification in BC and is currently serving as the BC director of the Organic Federation of Canada.

Jacob Slosberg
Jacob Slosberg Jacob is entering his fifth season at the UBC Farm and is currently the Annual Field Production Coordinator. He also manages the season extension and poultry programs at the Farm. Jacob has worked with poultry at all scales from backyard flocks up to commercial turkey production, with most experience being with small flocks of organic laying hens on pasture. For the past three years he has managed free-choice whole grain diet research funded by OSDP and IAF. Jacob has a broad range of agricultural interests including a focus on management practices that help integrate pastured livestock into mixed vegetable and fruit farms, as well as local and on-farm feed production.

Jen Cody - Growing Opportunities Farm Community Cooperative
Jen Cody Has been active in the food community since 1998. Jen is an active coordinator/worker and founder of Growing Opportunities Farm Community Cooperative. Only in its 6th year, the farm is working with people of all levels of ability, and has supported people with mental health disabilities to participate. The farm is developing a commercial growing seeds project, and participated in an on farm participatory research project involving the use of unheated high tunnels to grow carrot for seed. Jen participates as a member of the community farm project advisory council, chairs the Center Island Seed Savers Network and is thrilled and energized by her participation in this movement! In addition, Jen is also busy as a bee keeper. She is a founding member and chaired the BCFSN from 2007 - 2010. She works with perinatal families as a dietitian. Her work with aboriginal families has enriched her understanding of food security, food skills, and indigenous food and culture.

Jesse Lemieux
Jesse Lemieux Jesse Lemieux, BSc., PDC is a permaculture educator and designer with a focus on ecosystemic production models. He has implemented projects in Jordan, The West Bank, Australia, Uganda, and across western Canada. Through his company, Pacific Permaculture, Jesse is currently collaborating on a long term production enterprise model with a primary producer in the Kootenays and a three year producer focused education program with the Peace Country Beef and Forage Association in Northern Alberta. With a background in the biological science, permaculture design and horticultural field production Jesse is always looking for the practical ways that permaculture can be applied to the constraints and realities of production. Since launching Pacific Permaculture in 2008 Jesse has facilitated and taught over 30 courses in permaculture design to over 700 students - these students are actively implementing projects globally. Jesse resides on Bowen island with his wife and daughter. Together they live, work and play with their hands in the soil!

Jessica Dennis
Jessica Dennis Jessica Dennis is a Field Research Assistant at the UBC Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, holds a Bachelor of Science in Agroecology, and is undertaking a Master's in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems at UBC. Dennis has been working in the organic agriculture sector as a farmer and researcher in BC over the past six years and became involved in biochar research through working with Dave McCandless. Dennis' Master's thesis research is focused on the potential of alternative land tenure for contributing to farmland access and farmland retention in British Columbia. She has been working on her thesis with support from the Community Farms Program and Young Agrarians based out of Farm Folk City Folk.

Jordan Marr - The Homestead Organic Farm
Jordan Marr With his partner Vanessa, Jordan Marr runs a 1.5 acre organic market garden in Peachland, BC, selling produce via local box delivery and at farmers’ markets. In 2011, he worked with SOIL (Stewards of Irreplaceable Land, an organization that helps aspiring farmers find farming apprenticeships) to implement the SOIL Ambassadors Pilot Project. The project aims to provide support and advice to new apprentices by connecting them with alumni of SOIL apprenticeships. Jordan also publishes a farming blog at

Kevin and Annamarie Klippenstein - Klippers Organics
Kevin and Annamarie Klippenstein Annamarie and Kevin Klippenstein own and operate Klippers Organics. The produce is sold throughout Vancouver at Farmers markets and restaurants. Since starting in 2001 with 5 acres they have expanded to 40 acres, opened their own drying facility, commercial kitchen, and have an extensive on farm apprenticeship program. Klippers is known for their amazing range of produce from heirloom tomatoes, tree fruit, and large amount of ground crops. In 2011 they were awarded the prestigious Outstanding Young Farmer of the Year award for BC and Yukon region and went on to win for all of Canada. Just recently they also won the We heart local award for favourite orchard and fruit supplier. Annamarie sits on the board of PACS and is also a director on the board of COABC. Kevin is Chair of the Organic Farming Institute of BC. Their passion is growing organic food that is both healthy and vine or tree ripened and teaching others how to do the same.

Linda Edwards
Linda Edwards Linda Edwards coordinated the development of the first comprehensive Permitted Substance List for the COABC many years ago. This led to her involvement in the development and now on-going maintenance of the National Organic Standard and Permitted Substance List. She represents BC organic tree fruit growers on the Technical Committee and is the convener of the Crops PSL working group. She was active on the COABC board for many years and is a past president. Linda served on the Organic Sector Development Project board for many years and currently is president of the Pacific Agricultural Certification Society board. Linda has been a certified organic orchardist since 1990. She and her partner are also shareholders in Cawston Cold Storage, an organically dedicated fruit packing, storage and sales agency. Throughout the 80's and 90's she established and ran an agricultural consulting and research company. She is the author of the Organic Tree Fruit Management guide. Research continues to be a passion and for the past 20 years Linda has planned and carried out many projects seeking solutions for mainly organic pest problems.

Lisa Pierce – International Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA)
Lisa Pierce Lisa has worked as an organic food inspector since 1997. She was the international training manager for the International Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA) for 4 years and continues to work for IOIA as a trainer. She has instructed basic organic inspection courses in Canada, the United States and several other countries including South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Africa and Hong Kong.

Megan Halstead – Halstead Farm
Megan Halstead Megan Halstead operates Halstead Farm, raising organic broiler chickens and sheep, as well as a few weaner pigs and bedding plants. She has a degree in Agroecology from UBC, and is an Articling Agrologist with the BC Institute of Agrologists (BCIA).

Moss Dance
Moss Dance Moss Dance farms at Ripple Farm in the Comox Valley. When not in the field, Moss geeks out with web design, logos, marketing and layout for the BC Organic Grower. Moss is also passionate about building farm community, and is working with Amara Farm to start Merville Organics, a collaborative CSA program.

Rochelle Eisen - Society for Organic Urban Land Care (SOUL)
Rochelle Eisen Rochelle Eisen is a standards junkie, working in organics for over 20 years as well as other certification systems. Like Einstein she believes "What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right" and assurance programs are a means to level ecological playing fields.

Rochelle Eisen has 26 years of consulting in and outside the organic sphere. Rochelle also works in a collaborative relationship with Dr. Brenda Frick and Gunta Vitins under the banner of Resilient Solutions Consulting - "A diverse, skilled and experienced agribusiness consulting team that influences positive change through an innovative and open minded approach." Rochelle is also involved with the Pacific Salmon Foundation's Salmon Safe agriculture program which focuses on watershed health. She is also a reviewer for ISEAL's Standard-Setting Code of Good Practice, the BC Wine Authority and holds a position on both the CFIA's Standards Interpretation Committee and Canada's Organic Value Chain Roundtable. In 2012 she returned to her environmental horticulture roots chairing SOUL's housekeeping committee.

Sarah Davidson – BC Association for Regenerative Agriculture (BCARA)
Sarah Davidson Sarah Davidson has worked in organic certification for 20 years, in various capacities as an administrator, on the Certification Committee and as a Verification Officer. She was the Certification Administrator for BCARA for over 8 years and now works in an advisory capacity for the organization.

Thom O'Dell - Nature Tech Nursery Ltd.
Thom O'Dell Thom O'Dell has 25 years experience studying and growing plants and fungi. Since 2010 he has applied this knowledge to growing hazelnut trees and other plants for Nature Tech Nursery. He holds a Ph.D in Botany and Plant Pathology from Oregon State University and a B.S. from The Evergreen State College (Olympia, WA).

Dr. Warren Bell - Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE)
Dr. Warren Bell Board member and Past Founding President, CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment); Member and Past Founding President, WA:TER (Wetland Alliance: The Ecological Response); Founding member, HUESSS (Health Uranium Environment Sustainability Survival Solidarity); Rural Preceptor, Faculty of Medicine, UBC; Salmon Arm BC