Speaker Bios

ACORN CONFERENCE GUEST & FEATURE SPEAKERS:

DR. E. ANN CLARK  retired in 2011 from Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph, to join the farming community in Warkworth, ON.  Her new career as a grass-farmer builds on academic credentials in pasture and grazing management and organic agriculture.  Still an avid experimentalist, she is custom grazing a herd of Red Angus cattle on her 100 ac grass farm to explore the feasibility of post-oil farming.

 

 

TONY & FRAN McQUAIL are the owners of Meeting Place Organic Farm which has been organic for over 35 years. They took their first Holistic Management course in 1995 and have been using HM to guide their farm and family since then. They are Holistic Management Certified Educators so that they can share the benefits of HM with other farm families.  The McQuails are founding members of the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario and have been active in many farm and community organizations.

Meeting Place Organic Farm is a 100 acre diversified operation with a freezer meat business featuring grass fed beef and pastured pork, a personal vegetable garden, an apple orchard and 25 acre wood lot.  The McQuail’s also produce heirloom tomato and other bedding plants in their attached greenhouse.  They do much of their farm work with Belgian work horses they raised on the farm.  They also utilize other forms of renewable energy in their farming operation.

 

JEAN-MARTIN FORTIER has more than 10 years of experience as an organic vegetable grower. He is the founder and co-owner of Les Jardins de la Grelinette, a well-known farm in Québec for its intensive methods of production. Jean-Martin as recently published a book (in french) where he details how he and his wife manage more than 1 acres and half, while using no tractor. His book, le jardinier-maraîcher, explains the methods, tools, and horticultural techniques, which can turn a market garden into a viable small farm. More information on Jean-Martin Fortier and his book can be found at this website: www.lejardiniermaraicher.com.

 

PENELOPE TUNNEL specializes in helping people and organizations define, obtain and organize the business information they require. In recent years, her passion and focus have been on working with those involved in the local food movement. Her knowledge and experience come from many years in Information Technology in a variety of roles and mid career graduates studies, namely a MBA and a MSc Information Management.

Recognizing that small business owners needed a simple way to help them understand how to run their businesses efficiently and effectively, Penelope created simple intellectual tools to help them do this. In partnership with Harris Ivens, these were refined and new tools created for the New Farmers Training courses in Everdale’s Farmers Growing Farmers program. The tools are now known as FarmOrganizer™ and are freely available for farmers on the website www.farmorganizer.com.

In the past two years, Penelope and Harris, now her business partner, have been contributing to the development and teaching of the business and operational planning part of Sir Sanford Fleming College’s Sustainable Agriculture Program.  FarmOrganizer™ provides the students with an organized way to capture the information and data they need to set up and operate their farm businesses.

Penelope is continuing the research and development not only of FarmOrganizer™  but also of similar tools for co-ops and small businesses.

With her sister and brother-in-law Penelope owns a 150 acre farm in Prince Edward County, Ontario. They have a ¾ acre hop yard in its fifth year of production, board horses, grow hay and are exploring the possibilities of agroforestry.

LUCY SHARRATT works in Ottawa as the Coordinator of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, also known as CBAN. CBAN is a campaign coalition of 17 organizations including farmer associations, environmental groups and international development organizations, all of which have various concerns about genetic engineering. Lucy previously worked as a campaigner and researcher on this issue at the Sierra Club of Canada and the Polaris Institute. Lucy also coordinated the International Ban Terminator Campaign in 2005 and 2006.

 

 

MARK & SALLY BERNARD operate Barnyard Organics in PEI with their three children. Barnyard Organics is a 500 acre mixed farm and has been certified organic for the past four years. They produce wheat, soybeans, barley, oats and field peas and also raise pastured chickens and lamb for local markets.

 

 

MAUREEN MOORE is the author of the Canadian Organic Growers publication “Growing Strawberries Organically”.   Maureen has worked as an organic farm inspector during the summer months for the past 11 years.  This has given her the opportunity to meet and learn from hundreds of organic producers all over Ontario.  Maureen lives on her family farm in Haliburton, Ontario where she raises heritage breeds of chickens and ducks.

 

 

 

DR. AARON MILLS  is a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and is based at the Crops and Livestock Research Centre in Charlottetown, PEI.  He holds degrees from NSAC, UPEI and Dalhousie University.  Though his career he has worked in a wide variety of both on- and off-farm jobs including organic farms in BC, pasture extension in NS, and a craft brewery in Port Williams, NS.  Under his current post, he conducts research spanning cropping systems, horticulture, and agro-ecology.  He is currently developing a demonstration hopyard at the Harrington Experimental Farm in collaboration with Northampton Brewing Co.  The purpose of the project is to develop both organic and conventional management techniques for hop production in the Maritimes, and to evaluate which varieties grow best under Atlantic coastal growing conditions.  Aaron is passionate about beer, brewing, and the craft brewing industry and is very interested in helping to grow the local supplies of malt and hops.  

 

ANGUS MELLISH has been working at Vesey’s Seeds for 10 years, starting out at as the vegetable horticulturist and is now the seed manager.  Through his work at Vesey’s he has worked with a wide range of successful vegetable growers, from very small to very large. This cooperation with growers, along with his experience trialling thousands of varieties in the Vesey’s vegetable trials, has given him a good insight into what varieties work for growers here in the Maritimes. Angus has a B.Sc in Plant Science from the NSAC and an M.Sc. in Plant Breeding from the U. of Saskatchewan. In his spare time he grows the seed production for York rutabaga on his home farm in New Perth, PEI and has a roadside pumpkin stand.

BETH McMAHON is the Executive Director at  Canadian Organic Growers. She also sits on the board of SOIL – Stewards of Irreplaceable Land Apprenticeships, Linking Land and Future Farmers, Canadian Organic Growers editorial board, and the Organic Value-Chain Roundtable.

 

 

CHERYL WILLIAMS is the owner and proprietor of Shani’s Farm, located in Scotch Village, Nova Scotia. The farm is named after Cheryl’s daughter Shantell; Shani being an affectionate nickname given by her father. Shani’s Farm offers organic produce, as well as free range poultry (chicken, eggs and turkey), pork, lamb and organic hay. Unlike what you can find in the supermarket, Shani’s Farm focuses on fresh and chemical-free food that hasn’t travelled thousands of miles to arrive on our doorsteps. 

CLAUDE BERTHELEME works as the New Brunswick Organic Production Development Specialist for the NB Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries.  Previously working as a Regional Field Crop Specialist in Bathurst, Claude’s deep concern for environmental issues fuels his passion for organic agriculture.  Over the years, he has worked closely with producers and several farm-supporting organizations.

 

 

 

DAVID & KIM HASTINGS run Waxwing Farm. They are located in Windermere, Nova Scotia, just south of Berwick, in the Annapolis Valley. Kim and David bought their 70-acre property in 2008 and have been growing a few acres of vegetables on it from the beginning. The land was previously an apple orchard, and they still have many of the apple trees, but their passion and energy is in growing veggies.

When they bought the property, they lived in a 30 foot yurt without electricity or hot water. For the first two years on the farm, David and Kim worked on building their small, straw bale house whenever they could spare the time from farming. They moved in to their house in August 2010, just a week before their first son was born. They now have hot water (from the sun in summer, wood stove in winter) and solar electricity. They have previously sold most of our produce to wholesale markets in Halifax, and to restaurants and health food stores in the Annapolis Valley. Their brand new Winter CSA will start in the fall of 2012.

DAVID GREENBERG and his wife Jen grow salad greens for wholesale markets in Halifax, including Pete’s Frootique and Home Grown Organic Foods.  He is particularly interested in developing systems that make small farms more profitable, efficient and fun.

 

 

 

 

DR. ANDREW HAMMERMEISTER grew up on a mixed grain and beef farm in southeast Saskatchewan. His interest in agriculture led him to studies in soil science which later expanded to graduate work in land reclamation and applied ecology. With an interest in applying theory to practice, Andy became interested in link between ecology, soil and organic agriculture. He started working at the OACC in 2002 and has since worked on projects including crop rotations, soil amendments and soil fertility management and weed management for crops including cereals, soybean, flax, pumpkin, potato and most recently small fruits like black currant and haskap. Andy is now Director of the OACC, and oversees the Organic Science Cluster, the national science program for organic agriculture funded by organic stakeholders and AAFC.

 

 

DR. AV SINGH is one of Canada’s leading experts on organic agriculture.  he works predominantly with organic and small-scale farmers on issues of production, processing, and marketing of agricultural goods.  Av has been an invited speaker to over 350 workshops, conferences, symposia and has guest-lectured at over 20 universities in Canada and the U.S.  He serves as board advisor or member to many organizations, is and sits on the Crops and Livestock Committees in the review of permitted substances for the National Standards of Organic Agriculture.

 

 

FAY JOHNSTONE  & JAMIE ANDREWS are the owners of Oliver Farm, Tatamagouche, NS.  The main focus of the farm is the production of fresh cut flowers along with herbs for teasand other herbal products.  Jamie studied horticultural business management at Wye College, UK before going on to work in the fresh fruit business.  After then training to become a Chartered Accountant he worked as a financial and operational auditor for an American multinational before making the decision to return to his horticultural roots.  Fay is a healer and herbalist with several years experience marketing within the wine and eco-tourism industries.

 

 

JENNIFER CAMPBELL grew up on a large conventional potato farm and decided to pursue a career in organic agriculture after a 9 month internship at Ignatius Farm CSA in Guelph. She owns and operates a 75 member CSA with her husband Derek and twin boys Ben & Jake. Jen & Derek recently sold their 200 acre farm and purchased another property closer to Derek’s job and both their families. They now rent land from Jen’s families farm which has proven to be a successful transition.

 

JOHN QUIMBY is a broadcaster, radio programmer,voice talent, copy writer and media producer. He is a husband, a dad, a certified organic farmer, an amateur horseman, a dog and kid trainer and a history nut. He has been lucky enough to work with some of the most talented and creative people in the world.

 

JOSH OULTON & PATRICIA BISHOP, along with their three children own and operate Taproot Farsm, the largest Community Supported Agriculture program in the Maritimes, with over 400 members.  In 2010, their hard work was recognized when they were awarded as Atlantic Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers that year.

 

 

 

 

ELIZABETH DACOMBE graduated from the University of Guelph with a B.Sc (agr.), Animal Science major in 1981. She has done lots of farming over the years, with sheep production being what she was most involved in. She began working as an organic farm and processing inspector in 1993,and has done this part-time most years since then. Her full time work for the past eighteen years has been as an educational assistant working with special needs children.

 

 

 

LOBIE DAUGHTON has almost forty years of experience in co-operative Community Economic Development. After helping to start peer support co-operatives at the University of York, U.K., Lobie worked with nping to develop and incorporate dozens of new co-operatives (including ACORN) and assisting many existing co-ops. Lobie’s food background includes opening and operating natural foods restaurants, stores, catering companies, consultancies anatural food co-ops in Quebec and Ontario and then joined the housing arm of Co-op Atlantic, eventually moving on to the Regional Co-operative Development Centre where he led the development of an Atlantic Region youth internship program. Lobie has worked as the principal co-operative developer in Prince Edward Island and in New Brunswick, held import-export  businesses since1972 (although with less intensity since the 1990s), including a stint developing products at Québec’s first organic tofu plant and overseeing the start-up of Ottawa`s “Green Door”. He cooked for ABBA, Bob Marley, Dylan, Springsteen and many other bands in the late 1970s and has been involved in Food Security & Food Sovereignty research since 2005. He is the elected President of Canada’s “CoopZone Developers’ Network Co-op” http://www.coopzone.coop where he championed the formation of the country’s first network of lawyers who specialize in co-operative legal issues. Lobie’s consulting business, “Healthy Community Partners”, focuses on personal and planetary health issues. In 2000, he was the Recipient of the Quebec-Labrador Foundation’s “Caring for the Earth Award”, and in 2009 he was awarded the Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation’s “Worker Co-op Merit Award”. He and his family live by the river bank in Mermaid, Prince Edward Island.

RICHARD WETMORE has experienced some variety in his past working life. He was employed as a High School Teacher from 1980 to 2007. He operated a family owned, landscape / property maintenance business from 1995 to 2006. He also owned and operated a small farm / market garden form 1997 to 2006. Both the farm and the landscape business were certified organic. He started working at Speerville Flour mill in January of 2007, as part of the management team. He is presently the assistant to the owner and managing director with duties that include: organic certification, pricing and finance, employee relations, education programs and helping with planting charts and grain procurement.

COREY GRANT has spent his entire working life in the Benton, Oak Mountain and Speerville, NB area. He has worked for a wood harvesting business, a licensed butcher shop and he is currently employed at Speerville Flour Mill, having started in January of 2009. Corey is a, much valued, member of the management team. He has the position of Production Manager with duties that include; daily operation of the mill and associated equipment, drying and storing grain, assisting with ordering the distributed products and coordinating the work schedule of 5 employees. Corey has been actively involved with the local 4H group for 12 years. He was the junior leader for 2 years. Corey is president of the Western NB, Horse Pullers Association.

ROGER HENRY is currently working in the soils and water program at AAFC and has extensive background in composting and organic production systems.  Henry has also worked throughout region directly with farmers and various levels of government in a wide-range of extension capacities.  Henry is also a farmer himself, operating a small livestock operation in Stanely Bridge, PEI.

 

ROXANNE BEAVERS works with ACORN to assist growers in transitioning to organic agriculture or growing their existing organic farm in a project funded by the National Research Council.  She is ACORN’s representative on the technical committee for the Canadian Organic Standards, and has worked as a researcher, an organic inspector and a market gardener.  She would love to talk to you over an organic coffee about your farming plans and how you can become certified organic!

SEAN DUNBAR - Sean Dunbar is the owner of Northampton Brewing Company,  the brewer of Picaroons Traditional Ales.   In 2011,  that brewery was named Canadian Brewery of the Year at the Canadian Brewing Awards.   Picaroons has included certified organic beers in their portfolio for about 8 years or so. He has served on the ACORN board and continues to be a supporter of organic farming in any way he can.  

STEVE LEROUX  is a lifelong entrepreneur and direct sales specialist, Steve started one of Canada’s first organic lawn care companies (early 90’s), sold it and became partner and sales director in a supplement company that went public (NASDAQ  ) in 2001. He also co-owned and operated one of Canada’s largest independent health clubs (200 000 square feet) until 2007. After 20 years away from the family business, Steve returned to the farm (Windmill Point Farm) in 2007. Having evaluated the opportunity he chose to stay and start The Green Barn Nursery with his wife Robyn and stepfather Ken Taylor.

 

SUSAN MACKINNON is employed with the PEI Department of Agriculture and Forestry as the Organic Development Officer.  For the past number of years she has worked with organic farmers to address the needs of the growing industry.   Away from work, Susan is actively involved in the operation of her families’ farm. The farm raises commercial cattle for Atlantic Beef Products in PEI, is developing a herd of purebred Angus, and sells “Rare Earth” gourmet potatoes.

WILLIAM RICHARDS is retired as a professional meteorologist/climatologist from Environment Canada in 2009. He now operates a farm in the Saint John River Valley, W. Richards Climate Consulting and is an Honorary Research Associate with UNB Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management.

 

 

 

 

RENÉ AUDET is the Manager, Decision Support to Adaptation and Practice Change of the Agri-Environment Services Branch with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

 

 

 

LINDA LIBBY is the Warning Preparedness Meteorologist with the Regional Services and Outreach Section of Environment Canada.

 

 

 

 

CHIEL MIDDLEKAMP - grew up on an organic family farm in the Netherlands. The farm switched to organic production in 1999 and became fully certified in 2001. In the Netherlands the production included potatoes, onions, green beans, peas, grains and a variety of vegetables. After getting a bachelor degree in agricultural management and technology, he traveled and worked for an agricultural equipment dealer. In 2009 he joined his father in the farm. Shortly thereafter, the decision was made to move the farm to Canada because of limitations in the Netherlands. Chiel and his father started production on a 150-acre farm (Middelkamp Organic Produce) with soybeans and grains on PEI in the spring of 2011. Currently the rotation includes broccoli, celery and grass-clover as well. The farm is still in transition to full organic production, and will become certified in 2013. Recently, Chiel joined the PEI COPC as a board member.

TIM LIVINGSTONE grew up on a farm in New Hampshire and helped with the care of a variety of livestock.  He also managed pasture for grazing sheep.  His family grew a big vegetable garden every year as he was growing up.  He worked for about 20 years in the greenhouse industry primarily raising bedding plants.  In 2001 he started with the production of organic soils and then compost and compost teas.  In 2003 Tim and Kirsten took training in soil biology and biological farming.  This training continued into 2006 meanwhile Tim worked with growers, landscapers, and farmers to use more biological methods of growing and incorporate compost teas, etc.  Ever since his time with the sheep, he’s wanted to have the opportunity to manage pasture again and he loves to take on the challenge of growing crops, now all organically.  During the last three years, Tim has been the grower for Jolly Farmer’s outdoor vegetables and been heavily involved in their weekly box program.

DR. CHRISTINE NORONHA obtained her Ph.D degree in entomology from McGill University.  On completion of her degree, she conducted research on the Colorado potato beetle at University Laval in Quebec City. She later moved to Alberta where she continued researching the Colorado potato beetle at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Lethbridge.  In 2000, she moved to PEI to take up her current position as research scientist (entomology) at the Crops and Livestock Research Center in Charlottetown, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.  She is an adjunct professor at UPEI.  Dr. Noronha’s research focuses on developing insect pest management strategies for use in agricultural crops.  Her expertise lies in understanding the ecology, biology and management, including biological control, of insect pests in field crops. She has published several scientific papers and fact sheets, and has presented her research results at both scientific and grower association meetings. Dr. Noronha is presently working on developing pest management techniques for wireworms and the European corn borer.  Dr. Noronha provides advice and identification of pest directly to farmers and the agricultural industry in Canada. She works closely with the members of the Agricultural Industry in the Maritimes, PEI Department of Agriculture, PEI Potato Board, PEI Horticultural Association and farmers.

DR. JUDITH NYIRANEZA is a research scientist in nutrient management with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and she is located at the Crops and Livestock research Centre in Charlottetown, PEI. She obtained her Bachelor degree in agronomy at Università delgi Studi di Udine (Italy), a master degree in plant and soil sciences at Michigan State University (USA), and a Ph.D degree in soil and environment at Laval University (Quebec). Judith’s research interest are to: i) identify best nutrient management practices to improve crop yield and quality, and to minimize the impact on the environment ; ii) to evaluate synthetic fertilizer and organic amendment effectiveness in improving crop yield and economic returns and; iii) to assess of the impact of environmental conditions and agricultural practices on nitrogen and phosphorus dynamics.

DARCY & RORY BECK are two of the seven IFF shareholders founded  who the company in the summer of 2011 with the goal of starting PEI’s first commercial-scale farm designed using the principles of Sepp Holzer-style permaculture.  The group had no prior experience in any type of agricultural enterprise, but had diverse backgrounds in areas such as engineering, medicine, law, business and education. They purchased a 204 acre certified organic farm in Brookvale, PEI, from Jen and Derek Campbell in December of 2011, and broke ground on a 10-acre mixed fruit and nut food forest in mid-May, 2012. The earthworks and planting of the trees and perennial ground cover was completed in August, and included the construction of water harvesting trenches and two ponds. The goal of IFF is to mimic the principles underlying the functioning of a natural forest ecosystem to produce food without the need for external inputs such as sprays, fertilizers, insecticides or herbicides. This is done using agroforestry and permaculture design techniques. In essence, we tried to create a natural forest that contains plants that yield edible food instead of forests that yield primarily wood fibre and/or fuel.

JANE RABINOWICZ is Director of The Bauta Initiative on Canadian Seed Security at USC Canada, a role she has held since November 2011. She collaborated with seed and food actors to develop the program throughout 2012, and is now spearheading its implementation in partnership with Seeds of Diversity Canada, regional organizational partners, farmers, researchers and advisors across the country. On the side, Jane works with the Silver Dollar Foundation (www.silverdollarfoundation.ca) and sits on the Boards of Directors of Centraide (www.centraide-mtl.org) and the Girls Action Foundation (www.girlsactionfoundation.ca). Prior to her current work Jane was Director of Development at Equiterre from 2010-2011 (www.equiterre.org) and Executive Director of Santropol

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