Organic Food
Conference/AGM Home Page

Speaker and Facilitator Bios

  Corrigan, Elizabeth
(Speaker):Canada Organic Office and the Organic Product Regulation

Following graduation with Bachelor of Applied Arts in Food and Nutrition from Ryerson University, I worked in the private sector of the food industry for a number of years.
Joined the CFIA in 2000 as an inspector in the Conumer Protection Program.  I have held positions in the Processed Products Program and National Training  before moving to the Canada Organic Office in April 2008.

Live in Ottawa with husband Andy and two children Jack and Clare.

Doherty, Paddy
(Speaker):Research in the Field
Along with two partners, Paddy Doherty own and manages Dragon Mountain Farm; a 500 acre sheep ranch and market garden.  Paddy has been involved in the organic movement since 1992, when he helped found the COABC.  Paddy is currently the Co-ordinator of the Organic Sector Development Program and the Organic Environmental Farm Program.   He is also Chair of the IFOAM Accreditation Criteria Committee and the National Organic Value Chain Roundtable.

Eisen, Rochelle
(Speaker) How Do I Transition to Certified Organic?

Rochelle Eisen holds a B.Sc. (agr) degree from University of Guelph and has worked for the BC organic sector since 1989 completing; over 4000 assorted inspections or file reviews, standards reviews, needs analysis, application development, event coordination and extensive educational outreach. Currently Rochelle is working as COABC’s Organic Extension Agent, and enjoying helping the BC organic community grow and mature

  Foote Deb
(Speaker) Pricing in the Marketplace


  Johnston, Craig
(Speaker):Getting the Label Right.  ??

Craig Johnston works as a Consumer Protection Inspector for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Craig graduated from the University of British Columbia in Plant Science (Horticulture) in 1990. During university he worked as a summer student at the Agriculture Canada Research Station in Summerland B.C. Upon graduation he worked for Agriculture Canada - Meat Inspection in the Vancouver area processing plants.
In 1996 he joined the Consumer Protection section of then Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (now CFIA) conducting inspections at food retailers, manufacturers and importers. In his work with the government he has been active in the work of trying to simplify (clarify) government guidelines and regulations and has been asked to vett and give comments on several.  His work involves more "Food Science" and "Food Law" and involves in-depth inspections at hundreds of food processors.  "The depth and breadth of what I see is amazing - it satifies my 'curious mind'."

Lewis, DeLisa
Putting Healthy BC Food Back into Our Schools

Inspired by Francis Moore Lappe in an undergraduate lecture on world hunger and the diet for a small planet over twenty years ago. Concentrated those energies on production of healthy food with a view towards stewardship of farmland as a practicing organic farmer for 12 years. Created an on-farm apprentice program, coordinated with food banks, community gardens, soup kitchens for the provision of local produce donations. Contributed to community outreach on issues of food and farming via on-farm events, radio programming, conferences, workshops, and our CSA program. Now focused on understanding the broader context of food systems with the role of providing extension information and soils research to the remote, rural community of Bella Coola as a potential foodshed model in a UBC Land and Food Systems PhD project.


Macey, Anne
(Speaker):How Do I Transition to Certified Organic?
Anne Macey an advocate for organic agriculture at local, provincial, national and international levels and currently chairs the Livestock Working Group of the CGSB technical committee on organic agriculture, is a member of the ECOA Animal Welfare Task Force, the Director of COABC’s Accreditation Board and on the Accreditation Committee for the International Organic Accreditation Service, as well as on the executive of her local COG chapter and chair of the Salt Spring Island Area Farm Plan Steering committee. She is recognized as a writer/editor of COG’s Organic Livestock Handbook, a retired sheep farmer, a past president of COG and in her spare time works as an organic verification officer.

MacNair, Emily
(Speaker):Introduction to the Climate Action Initative

Emily MacNair is the Coordinator of the BC agri-food sector Climate Action Initiative, a two year project assisting the industry to respond proactively to climate change issues and opportunities.  Emily has a Masters of Environmental Studies from York University and prior to her work as Coordinator, was a Program Manager at the Investment Agriculture Foundation, managing funding applications for the plant industries in the province.

Sheri Nielson Nielson, Sheri
(Speaker): Food Safety on the Farm

On-Farm Food Safety Specialist, BC Vegetable Marketing Commission
Food Safety  & Quality Systems Specialist, Guelph Food Technology Centre

Sheri has been working in On-Farm Food Safety with the BC Vegetable Marketing Commission since 2003. In 2007 she is also coordinated the BC pilots for the Canadian Horticultural Council's latest manuals. She is currently working as an On-Farm Food Safety Auditor

  Prasad, Renee
(Speaker):Greenhouse Tomato Research

Renee Prasad does crop monitoring, research projects and project management at ES Cropconsult Ltd.  Renee is also a sessional instructor in the Department of Agriculture Technology at University of the Fraser Valley (Chilliwack campus). She teaches courses on pest biology and IPM. She received her Ph.D. from Washington State University in 2005.

Rodenburgh, Michael
(Speaker): Trends in the Marketplace

His clients include a wide variety of Fortune 500 companies such as Kraft, Pepsi QTG, MillerCoors, ABSOLUT Vodka, Scotts Miracle Gro, Hasbro, Energizer Battery Company, and Hershey’s Chocolate.  He has also provided strategic insight for many organic brands such as Silk Soy Milk, Nature’s Path, Saltspring Coffee, and Webber Natural Supplements. He is an award-winning researcher and took home the top industry award in 2004, “Best in Class” for the best overall study in Canada.
He holds an undergraduate Bachelor of Arts from McMaster University and is a Certified Marketing Research Professional (CMRP).  He is a reviewer for the Canadian Journal of Marketing Research and a frequent speaker at industry conferences on the use of new media technologies in the research industry.

  Vitins, Gunta, Vice President of Marketing, Pro Organics Director of Public Relations, Sunopta Inc
(Speaker): Pricing in the Marketplace

Gunta has over 25 years experience in the agri-food industry in the areas of production, marketing, business and industry development, governmental affairs, and entrepreneurial ventures. Armed with several university degrees, including a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and an MBA from McGill University, Gunta spearheaded several innovative agri-food initiatives in the public and private sectors throughout Canada, focusing on the organic sector for the past 18 years.

In 1998, Gunta joined Pro Organics, Canada’s largest distributor of organic produce, where she continues to implement innovative marketing programs, Gunta also holds the dual role of Director of Public Relations for SunOpta Inc,   Pro Organics’ parent company which has extensive operations in North America and beyond involved in sourcing, processing, packaging and distributing organic, natural, and specialty foods.

Gunta’s commitment to the organic sector extends well beyond the marketplace through her various speaking engagements and involvement with industry organizations including the Organic Trade Association’s Canada Organic Advisory Committee, Canada’s National Organic Value Chain Roundtable, the Canadian Health Food Association Organic Advisory Council and the Certified Organic Associations of BC (in various capacities over the years).  Gunta has been recognized for her dedication to the organic sector, having received the Canadian Health Food Association’s Organic Achievement Award in 2007 and the Founders Award in 2005 from the COABC.


Read BCOG Fall 2018