Certified Organic Association of BC
Friday February 26 to Sunday February 28, 2016
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Anne Macey 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, A Guide to Understanding 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 has worked as a VO in BC, as well as the director of COABC's Accreditation Board. Anne represents Canadian Organic Growers on the Canadian General Standards Board Organic Technical Committee and is the convenor of the Livestock Working Group.
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. Arzeena worked abroad for many years as a CUSO volunteer in Thailand and as a researcher in Jamaica, India, and Bangladesh. 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 boards of the Certified Organic Association of BC and the BC Investment Agriculture Foundation. She and her husband run Amara Farm, a 25 acre certified organic farm, in Courtenay, BC.
Our mission is to increase the quantity and improve the quality of ecological and organic seed grown in BC. We believe that seed sovereignty is an essential part of sustainable bioregional food systems. As producers we are committed to vegetable, herb, grain, flower, and cover crop seed that is ecologically grown, open-pollinated, regionally adapted, held in the public domain, and GE-free.
Chantal Keely is a Relationship Manager with Farm Credit Canada in Abbotsford, B.C. Growing up on a small farm in northern Saskatchewan inspired Chantal to continue her education in Agriculture. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan and has been working with FCC since her convocation in 2013. Chantal successfully manages a broad portfolio of diverse customer accounts consisting of fruit crops to supply managed. Everything to do with agriculture and innovation interests Chantal; she has a passion for learning and helping customers achieve their goals. Chantal resides in Mission, BC with her husband and dog Louie, where she enjoys meeting new people, volunteering in the community, and spending time outdoors.
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. Chris sits on the board of the Mount Lehman Credit Union.
Doug is a beekeeper in the North Okanagan. Working with Armstrong Apiaries, he produces mated queens and nucleus colonies for sale in BC and Alberta. Doug currently works for the provincial Ministry of Agriculture as the Apiary Inspector for the North Okanagan and Shuswap regions. During the winter, he likes to raise queen bees around the Queenstown Lakes district of New Zealand. An understudy of renowned queen breeder James MacDonald, Doug continues to educate and encourage sustainable beekeeping practices and disease awareness in the local beekeeping community.
Emily MacNair has been the coordinator of the BC Agriculture & Food Climate Action Initiative since its inception in 2008. This has included developing the BC Agriculture & Climate Change Action Plan, leading a project to evaluate the agriculture sector's risks and opportunities in relation to climate change and the development and delivery of current adaptation programming for the sector in B.C. From 2004 to 2008, Emily was a Program Manager with the Investment Agriculture Foundation. Prior to this, Emily led projects for various non-government organizations.
Gordon Hiebert (PDC, BComm, Permaculture Designer and Educator) is an owner, designer and project manager at Element Eco-Design. Gordon has received training in Keyline Design and Water Management, Perennial Agriculture, Edible Forest Gardens, Agroforestry, Holistic Land Management, Natural Watershed Restoration, Soil Microbiology and Restoration Agriculture. Prior work experience includes energy efficient building, sustainable building research and development, land development, forestry, road construction and onsite wastewater management. Gordon has worked with clients from many sectors, including: agriculture, development, non-profits, tourism and government. Gordon's work experience has allowed him to experience natural environments throughout British Columbia, Alberta and the Yukon.
Heather Pritchard lives at Fraser Common Farm Cooperative in the township of Langley where she is a working member of Glorious Organics Coop, certified by BCARA. As Farm Program manager for FarmFolk CityFolk, her work includes: co-coordinating the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Food Security for the BC region, working with existing and developing Community Farms, partnering with the Young Agrarians and creating a Foodland Trust. A founding member of FarmFolk CityFolk, the Vancouver Food Policy Council and the BC Food Systems Network, she currently participates in: the Real Estate Foundation Advisory Committee, the MAAC (Ministry of Agriculture Advisory Committee) and is Chair of Slow Food in Canada. In 2015, Heather was given the Brad Reid Memorial Award for her outstanding contribution to the organic sector in British Columbia.
I have been immersed in the world of bees for the past 35 years. Starting out on a commercial beekeeping operation in Northern Saskatchewan, and then being hired by the BC Ministry of Agriculture to work on the first Closed Population Honeybee Stock Improvement Project in North America, provided me with a wealth of hands on beekeeping experience. In the early 1980's, I spent four years in Uganda, East Africa, working on the CIDA-funded Apiculture Rehabilitation Project, a countrywide beekeeping training and infrastructure building initiative. In recent years, I have consulted in Bhutan, Philippines and Vietnam. Presently, I operate Armstrong Apiaries, in the North Okanagan, producing honey, beeswax, pollen, propolis along with queens and nucleus colonies sold throughout western Canada.
Jen Cody comes to farming and seed saving through a background in community development and nutrition. She has been active in the food community since 1998 and is a founding member of the BCFSN. Jen is an active coordinator/worker and founder of Growing Opportunities Community Farm. In it's 8th year, the farm is working with people of all levels of ability, and has supported people with mental health disabilities to participate. Jen is the farm lead for the Carrot Seed Research Project, now completing its 3rd year, which is investigating growing carrots for seed in enclosed high tunnels. Jen coordinates the Centre Island Seed Savers Network and is active in teaching seed saving skills in the community. Jen is also a founding member of BC EcoSeeds Coop and continues to support creating a local seed system through her work at the farm, beekeeping, and in the community teaching and organizing community projects as the General Manager of Nanaimo Foodshare.
Jon Alcock has been an organic farmer/grower for 28 years, and a seed grower since before he can remember. He has a BA in Anthropology from the University of Victoria and has lectured at UBCO, Okanagan College, and Selkirk College. His farm in Southeast Kelowna, Sunshine Farm, is an important and successful social enterprise which integrates seed production into its daily process. Sunshine Farm Seeds packages and sells farm grown heritage vegetable seed throughout the Okanagan region and the world beyond on their website.
Katie Lowe joined the BC Egg Marketing Board in March 2015 as Manager, Operations & Logistics. She has worked in the BC Poultry Industry since February 2004 when she was hired to assist producers in implementing their on farm food safety program. At the BC Egg Marketing Board, Katie oversees the production of table eggs in the Province and ensures that the Board and producers are operating within the Consolidated Orders.
Laura Lengnick has explored sustainability and resilience in agriculture and food systems for more than 30 years. Her work in soil quality and organic farming systems was nationally recognized with a USDA Secretary's Honor Award in 2002. She contributed to the 3rd National Climate Assessment as a lead author of the 2012 USDA report, Climate Change and U.S. Agriculture: Effects and Adaptation. Laura is a climate resilience planner with Cultivating Resilience, LLC and is an affiliated researcher with the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project's Local Food Research Center, both located in Asheville, NC. Her new book, Resilient Agriculture: Cultivating Food Systems for a Changing Climate was released in May 2015 by New Society Publishers.
Max Macdonald, Chief Scientific Officer at Armstrong Apiaries, has worked professionally in the apiculture industry for over eight years. Max has presented several introductory beekeeping classes and queen rearing courses. He has experience in hygienic behavior testing as well as a variety of mite and pest control methods. Max looks forward to graduating with a B.Sc. Biochemistry from UBC in June 2016.
Monte has been assessing the feasibility of small-scale hops farming for the last two years. He is co-founder of Hop Yard Collective and is very interested in finding innovative ways to support and grow the hops industry in BC. Monte holds a masters degree in natural resources management from the University of British Columbia.
Moss Dance is a small-scale organic veggie grower and community organizer based in the Comox Valley. She is a founding member of Merville Organics Growers' Co-operative. Moss also works in social media, marketing and graphic design for farm & food businesses across Canada. Find Merville Organics on Facebook and online at: www.mervilleorganics.ca
Rochelle's expertise is years of verification, agriculture extension and consulting work in and outside the organic sphere. She also works with Dr. Brenda Frick and Gunta Vitins under the banner of Resilient Solutions Consulting - "A diverse, skilled and experienced agri-business consulting team that influences positive change through an innovative and open minded approach." Rochelle is a member of the CFIA's Standards Interpretation Committee and was the convenor for the Preparation Working Group for the Canadian General Standards Board Organic Technical Committee, and as co-convenor for the Agri/Aqua Integration exercise for this latest review. Last, but not least, Rochelle is the current president of the Canadian Organic Growers.
Sean Smukler is an Assistant Professor in Applied Biology & Soil Science and the Junior Chair, Agriculture and the Environment, for the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at the University of British Columbia. His research currently focuses on evaluating farming practices that can enhance ecological functions to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture, while at the same time improve climate change adaptation capacity. Sean received a PhD in Ecology from the University of California, Davis where he also did his undergraduate studies. He holds a MSc in Forest Soils from the University of Washington, Seattle. For more information about Sean's research program, visit his lab's website: http://sal-lab.landfood.ubc.ca/
Tamara Richardson, M.Sc., is the founder and principal investigator of Cornucopia Crop Consulting, located in Cawston, BC. She has more than ten years of experience in pest management research, crop management and grower education in tree fruit orchards, vineyards, ground crops, greenhouses and conifer seed orchards.
Tamara has worked on projects with several grower groups including the Okanagan Kootenay Cherry Growers Association and the British Columbia Fruit Growers Association. She also works on projects with scientists in both government and academic institutions. Tamara does ongoing research with New Varieties Development Council Organic Division and Cawston Cold Storage. Most recently, she has received funding to investigate the viability of earwig populations as biological controls of aphids, leafroller, and budmoth in high-density apple orchards.
Tamara continues to share new research findings at workshops and conferences and has given talks on subjects ranging from garlic pest and disease management to controlling orchard pest populations through effective management of fruit culls.
Tristan Banwell manages Spray Creek Ranch, a transitional and diversifying 260-acre farm in the Upper St'at'imc Territory near Lillooet, BC. Together with his wife Aubyn, he raises cattle, pigs, meat chickens and laying hens along the Mighty Fraser River in the rain shadow of the Coast Mountains. With a rural upbringing, an education in conservation, and years of off-grid homesteading under his belt, Tristan is working to transform a struggling commodity cow-calf operation into a thriving business providing local markets with diverse meats of known provenance and unparalleled quality. Visit www.spraycreek.ca to learn more or get in touch.
Dr. Shiva combines sharp intellectual enquiry with courageous activism, and her work spans teaching at universities worldwide to working with peasants in rural India. Time Magazine identified Dr. Shiva as an environmental 'hero' in 2003, and Asia Week has called her one of the five most powerful communicators in Asia. In November 2010, Forbes Magazine identified Dr. Shiva as one of the Seven Most Powerful Women on the Globe.More on Keynote Speaker Page
The Victoria Seed Library was launched in February 2014 as a partnership between the Greater Victoria Public Library and LifeCycles Project Society. Since then, we've distributed thousands of locally grown seed to our 400 Members, hosted dozens of seed saving workshops, and even grown across to the mainland to launch a seed library with Surrey Public Library! We're enthusiastic about increasing community seed literacy and growing skills, and creating celebration around seed sharing. We strive to support the work of the local seed growing community as much as possible through inviting local seed producers to facilitate workshops, sourcing seed exclusively from local small scale seed companies, and spreading the story of how critically import regionally adapted seed is. Check out our work to connect seed sharing initiatives across BC at: www.borrowsaveshare.com, as well as the Victoria Seed Library FB page: www.facebook.com/victoriaseedlibrary.