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Janet Wallace is an organic grower, writer and editor. She has farmed organically for years – raising sheep, goats and pigs at one point – but now focuses on gardening and seedsaving. Janet was the editor of COG’s magazines (EFG and TCOG) for a decade and has edited COG’s Guide to the Canadian Organic Standards, The Organic Companion, the 2nd and third edition of the Organic Field Crop Handbook and several other COG publications. She also writes about organic growing – including how-to articles, technical bulletins and profiles of organic farmers. Janet was COG’s representative on the CGSB Committee on Organic Agriculture for the 2020 review of the standards. Her passion lies in growing organic food and writing about organic farmers. janetwallace.ca
Gillian Flies owns and operates The New Farm with her husband Brent Preston. The New Farm provides high quality, organic produce to fine restaurants and specialty retail stores in the Toronto and Collingwood areas.
Gillian grew up on a sheep farm in rural Vermont. After graduating from the University of Vermont, Gillian joined the Peace Corps and spent two years teaching math in Botswana. She went on to work for human rights and democratic development organizations on four continents, and organized observer delegations for landmark elections in Nigeria, Indonesia, East Timor and elsewhere.
Gillian worked as a management consultant in Toronto for six years before abandoning her successful career and moving to the farm in 2003. Since then, Gillian and Brent have built The New Farm into a thriving business and a leading light in the good food movement, providing organic vegetables to some of the best restaurants in Canada and raising almost a million dollars to make local, organic food accessible in low income communities.
Allison is an owner and operator of Upland Organics, an organic grain farm located near Wood Mountain, Saskatchewan, with her husband and three children. Upland Organics has been certified organic for over a decade and produce several crop types including pulses, cereals, and oilseeds.
After completing her BSc in Environmental Toxicology at the University of Guelph (Guelph, ON) Allison moved to Saskatoon, SK to complete first her MSc and then PhD in Toxicology at the University of Saskatchewan. Allison has many years of board experience and currently sits on several local and regional boards. This has provided her with experience in community engagement and fundraising in both regular and non-profit capacities.
Allison believes that as organic producers we have a very interesting and positive story to tell. She is passionate about empowering and inspiring other organic producers to be willing to “think outside the box” and learn about new techniques and methods to improve the quality of their food production. Allison is very interested in promoting the organic industry; especially through on-farm research. Allison supports involving organic producers at the individual farm level and believes that it will contribute to the overall applicability of organic research.
ROO Program Manager
Dorthea Gregoire has a passion for working on the agricultural landscape and a strong interest in Regenerative Agriculture. She’s spent the last decade helping farmers access funding and resources to implement Best Management Practices on their farms. Growing up in southeastern Manitoba, first in the fertile, though flood-prone, Red River Valley and then in the sandier area near Sandilands Provincial Park, Dorthea understands the value of working with the land and not against it. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree with Honours in Biology (minor in Geography) from Mount Allison University and a Doctorate in Entomology from the University of New Brunswick. She’s an avid gardener who loves cooking/baking, reading, biking, spending time outside and being with family.
CCT Program & Membership Manager
David is a skipped-generation farmer, a passionate marketer, and a keen networker. He co-founded BeetBox Cooperative Farm in 2017 and is now growing vegetables at Heartbeet Farm with his partner; bringing his expertise in the production of organic vegetables to this thriving farm business. With diplomas in Entrepreneurship and Green Business Management from Algonquin College and a certificate in sustainable vegetable production from the University of Vermont, he is thrilled to be a part of the COG team and support farmers as they transition to organic.
Senior Science Advisor
Dr. Kris Nichols is a leader in the movement to regenerate soils for healthy crops, food, people and a planet. She is a Senior Soil Scientist with the Food Water Wellness Foundation, a Consultant with Canadian Organic Growers (COG) and the Research Director at MyLand Company LLC. She is also the founder and principal scientist of KRIS (Knowledge for Regeneration and Innovation in Soils) Systems Education & Consultation. Kris works with Dr. Arjun Makhijani, President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, on a project combining Regenerative Agriculture and Renewable Energy (RARE) to reduce the economic risks in transitioning to regenerative agriculture. Kris participates on Advisory Board for the Real Organic Project; Scientific Advisory Board with the Savory Institute’s – Ecological Outcome Verification (EOV) program; and as a Soil Science Advisor with Health First.
Previously, Dr. Nichols was the Chief Scientist at Rodale Institute and a Research (Soil) Microbiologist with the USDA, Agricultural Research Service (ARS). During her time with USDA, she focused on mycorrhizal fungi and the investigation of glomalin – a substance produced by AM (arbuscular mycorrhizal) fungi. Glomalin contributes to nutrient cycling by protecting AM hyphae transporting nutrients from the soil to the plant and to soil structure and plant health by helping to form and stabilize soil aggregates. Kris received Bachelor of Science degrees in Plant Biology and in Genetics and Cell Biology from the University of Minnesota in 1995, a Master’s degree in Environmental Microbiology from West Virginia University in 1999, and a Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of Maryland in 2003. Throughout her career, Kris has given over 300 invited presentations to a wide variety of audiences throughout the world, authored or co-authored more than 25 peer-reviewed publications including two book chapters, been cited or interviewed for more than 50 magazine or newspaper articles, highlighted in several books, and has numerous videos on-line. Dr. Nichols has received several awards including the 2012 Conservation Research Award from the International Soil and Water Conservation Society.
Iris’ organic journeys started back in 2007, as a summer student with the OACC. These days, Iris is the Executive Director of Organic Alberta. She first joined the Organic Alberta team as a manager with the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative and the Prairie coordinator for the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security. Through these and other roles, Iris has had the joy and privilege of working with farmers across the Prairies with diverse cropping systems. She has also partnered and collaborated with many stakeholders in the agricultural sector including industry, government, non-profits, and researchers. Prior to arriving at Organic Alberta, Iris was at the University of Manitoba, first as a graduate student, studying organic agronomy, then as a research field technician, designing and implementing field trials at research stations and on-farm.
Karen Klassen grew up on the family farm near Manitou in southern Manitoba. She spent most of her adult life living and working abroad primarily in London, UK and Melbourne, Australia. She moved back to Canada in 2018 to apprentice with her dad on the family farm. She comes to farming with a background in nutrition science and dietetics, with a PhD and clinical specialization in working with people with HIV. She brings her passion for social justice and love of data analysis to the farm and tries to evaluate the impacts of the changes the regenerative and organic production systems that she and her dad are making.
Being on the farm and in nature has renewed her connection with the origin of food and how we can meaningfully play a role in improving the food supply by rejuvenating the soil, which in turn will improve the environment and the food growing in it. She is also on a journey to quasi-self-sufficiency with a large garden and growing orchard, both cultivated and wild.
She is a farmer ambassador and member of the Farm Resilience Mentorship Program for the Farmers for Climate Solutions coalition, member of the NFU and works as the Executive Director for the Manitoba Organic Alliance.
Vijay Bhosekar has more than 30 years of experience as a Faculty and Research Scientist (India, Canada, and US). Being a lifelong learner returned to Sheridan College in Ontario 2007, attained Graduate Certificate in Environmental Sciences. Following these studies, Dr. Bhosekar joined University of Guelph, as Project Liaison (International Development Research Centre, Ottawa) coordinating research funding across South Asia- India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka where he worked from 2011 till 2014.
Subsequently, moved to US working for Rodale Institute: non-profit organization dedicated to growing the Organic movement through rigorous research, farmer training, and consumer education. Widely recognized as a founder of the modern organic movement, Rodale Institute has been a global leader in regenerative organic agriculture for over 70 years. As Director Scientific Communications till 2015, involved with diverse Organic projects- farming systems, bioenergy studies, plant nutrition to name a few.
While as a PhD student with University of Guelph awarded Ontario Graduate Scholarship, Philanthropic Scholarships and Travel grants. In India he was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Award a distinction presented "for outstanding contribution to the promotion of international understanding, goodwill and friendship among people of the world." This nomination was presented in recognition of his outstanding research work (PhD) in compliance with its authenticity, ensuring its quality and positive impact relevant to farmers’ needs.
He has published more than 100: peer reviewed International scientific publications, outreach literature and presentations in seminars in his area of scientific expertise. Prior to joining Canadian Organic Growers, Ottawa, involved with Volunteer services: President, Condo Corp from 2019; Evergreen List of Directors with Canada Ballet Jorgen from 2020; Community Climate Council (Peel Region -Member At Large; and Mothers to Daughters- Director, Program Management.
Andrea Barnett lives and works on her family-owned and run ranch in beautiful Secwepemc Territory in south central BC (near Kamloops). A 5th generation cow-calf operation, Andrea and her husband Ted are working through a farm succession process in which they are becoming principal owners and managers, and continue to pursue their vision of developing their wild grazed direct-to-consumer meat business, where they employ regenerative agriculture principles wherever possible.
She is a sessional lecturer at Thompson Rivers University; where she teaches Natural Resource Policy and Planning. Her academic background includes a Political Science and Philosophy degree from the University of Victoria and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Simon Fraser where she studied natural resource policy and economics and researched different approaches to habitat mitigation in BC and across Canada.
She is currently coordinating the Target One Funders Collaborative, which works to support Canada reaching its terrestrial habitat conservation targets under the international Convention on Biological Diversity, and works in the environmental sector with Ducks Unlimited Canada. As part of this work, Andrea is studying ways that well-managed rangelands can be counted towards Canadian terrestrial conservation area targets under the Other effective Areas-based Conservation Measures (OECM) conservation designation.
As a mother and avid outdoorswoman, Andrea has a passion to see her children continue to enjoy the outdoors and growing healthy food, just as she does.
Director of Marketing and Communications
Jenna Spencer is a senior management professional who has been working with charities and not-for-profits in the Ottawa region for the past decade providing particular expertise in communications, community outreach and strategic operations. For the past 5 years, Jenna has led Digital Arts Resource Centre as their Chief of Staff and currently sits as the President of the Board of Directors for Kalasadhana Dance Company. Jenna is also a musician and worked with Girls+ Rock Ottawa as their Communications Coordinator. Jenna holds an Honours B.A. in Indigenous Studies with a minor in Women’s Studies from the University of Ottawa and is currently pursuing Horticulture Studies with the University of Guelph. During the growing season, Jenna is a very enthusiastic organic allotment gardener who finds so much joy in growing delicious organic food for her family and friends.
GUO Program Manager
Nathalie joined COG, as the GUO program manager in February 2022. She has a keen interest in hands-on learning and food sovereignty. Nathalie started her career working with animals but soon came to realize that her true passion is the environment and our responsibility towards it. With a background in environmental studies and biology, she ran her own small-scale CSA farm, C’est La Vie Farm in Ottawa. After having 2 children of her own she has become more aware of the disconnect that can sometimes happen between children and our food system. Nathalie is excited to be a part of the Growing Up Organic team, contributing to helping our next generation get their hands dirty and enjoying it too, all the while learning more about human and planet health along the way!
Ammaarah Hafeez brings her ambitious and creative skills to all things marketing. She’s passionate about business strategy and creating solutions. She gained her knowledge through two advanced diplomas from Algonquin College and a degree from Ryerson University. Ammaarah feels connected to COG’s mission to advocate for organic and regenerative farm practices. She hopes to spread awareness that “regular folks” can make a difference when it comes to climate change and food sustainability. Ammaarah enjoys true crime, gardening, reading and running.
Deborah works for Nature’s Touch, one of the largest importers of frozen Organic fruits in Canada for the retail sector. Nature’s Touch is predominantly a private label packer and are proud to pack for all of the major retailers in Canada.
Deborah also has experience working on small boards and does volunteer work with Scouts Canada. On top of that she is a passionate Organic gardener and has taken certification to be an Organic auditor (performed many spot audits with our processors) and believes that we need strong lobbying to promote Organic farming in Canada so we can reduce our dependency on other countries to provide Organics to consumers, eliminate Organic fraud and to ensure not only the letter of Organic law is followed but also the spirit of the law as embraced and communicated to consumers.
Stuart Oke is an Organic Farmer who alongside his wife and their business partner run Rooted Oak farm. Located outside St-Andre-Avellin, QC they produce Certified Organic vegetables and flowers which feed their CSA members and farmers market clients in Ottawa and the surrounding areas. Stuart is the current Youth President for the National Farmers Union, a voluntary membership organization representing thousands of farmers across Canada. When not growing or selling vegetables and flowers he spends his time advocating for policies and services which will support the next generation of farmers. He is a strong supporter of Organics, Agro-ecology, and the principles of Food Sovereignty and uses his farm and position with the National Farmers Union to promote them to eaters, farmers, and politicians alike.
Ralph C. Martin grew up on his family farm in Wallenstein, ON. After 4-H, his formal education includes, a B.A. and an M.Sc. in Biology from Carleton University and a Ph.D. in Plant Science from McGill University. His research and teaching began at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, in 1990, when he realized students teach him too. In 2001, he founded the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada to coordinate university research and education pertaining to organic systems, across Canada. In 2011, he was appointed as Professor and the Loblaw Chair in Sustainable Food Production at the Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph. In 2019, he retired and published his book, Food Security.
Alan is an entrepreneur, leader, experienced CEO, and winner of multiple awards including “Best 50 companies” and “Entrepreneur of the Year”. Co-founder of a ground-breaking North American information company, Alan also served an unprecedented 2-year term as Chairman of the Canadian Marketing Association. Alan’s consulting career includes buy-side due diligence, business strategy, Executive Coach, and two years as CEO of Infersystems, a mathematical technology company focused on “big data”.
Alan is a passionate urban farmer, travel adventurer, reader, music lover and fitness enthusiast.
He has worked with a broad range of social enterprises that include ethical travel, green roofs, social impact consulting, solar energy, as well as organic and urban agriculture. At this point in his career, Alan’s mission is to help people who are trying to save the world!
Deirdre is an executive management professional whose career has focused in the areas of sustainability and health in the not-for-profit sector. She co-founded and led the charity Clean Air Champions to international and national awards for its ground-breaking, curriculum-connected programming in air quality, climate change and health. She went on to lead two other national charities as Executive Director including the Canadian Climate Forum and the Canadian Water Resources Association. Deirdre also served as Director, Knowledge and Sector Development at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities where she led a team responsible for designing two national energy efficiency and affordable housing programs. She has served on several national science and research advisory and is a two-time certified trainee of The Climate Reality Project. Deirdre has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies (minor in Biology) and a Master’s in Environmental Resources Management (minor in Business Administration). She was a member of a national sport team and enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, reading and being active outdoors.
Interim Executive Director and Director of Marketing and Communications
Catherine Shaw joins COG as Director of Marketing and Communications. Catherine spent ten years as Vice President of Marketing at Consumer Goods company Jarden Corp where she worked on marketing strategy for a portfolio of 10 brands. She has extensive experience in marketing, fundraising and strategic partnerships. Catherine is looking forward to making a difference in helping to shape the future of COG and its leadership role in regenerative organic farming across the country. When not working, Catherine enjoys spending time with her four children, three dogs and husband, Michael.
Ruth Knight a rejoint l’équipe CBEO en 2019 et apporte avec elle une vaste expérience et une passion pour la régénération des sols et les formidables opportunités qu’elle offre aux agriculteurs, à nos communautés et à notre planète.
Ruth détient un baccalauréat en agriculture, une maîtrise en planification et développement rural de l’Université de Guelph et un diplôme en aménagement paysager du Fanshawe College. Elle est agronome professionnelle (APg) – Institut des agronomes de l’Ontario et détient un certificat en stratégie de gestion des éléments nutritifs et en élaboration de plans pour les exploitations agricoles et non agricoles.
Depuis 2005, Ruth offre ses services à une diversité de fermes qui passent à l’agriculture biologique, améliorant la productivité de leurs opérations existantes ou qui sont de nouveaux propriétaires fonciers qui cherchent à créer des liens significatifs avec leur paysage.
Consultant en affaires
Jonathan Bruderlain s’est joint à l’équipe CBEO en 2020. Il comprend ce que c’est que de vivre de l’agriculture après avoir exploité avec succès une ferme maraîchère certifiée biologique à Dunham, au Québec, en utilisant un mélange de puissance de tracteur et de puissance de traction.
En 2017, Jonathan et sa famille ont décidé de prendre un congé sabbatique, de convertir leur fourgon de livraison en auto apte de faire du camping et de voyager à travers les États-Unis et du Canada pendant près de 3 ans – visitant des fermes, apprenant et obtenant une nouvelle perspective sur la vie.
C’est durant ce voyage que Jonathan a découvert la pratique du coaching de vie. Il a découvert à quel point ce serait une approche puissante de combiner des techniques de coaching de vie avec des conseils aux entreprises agricoles et des services agronomiques. Maintenant, Jonathan travaille avec les agriculteurs et les entrepreneurs pour les aider à sortir des sentiers battus, à réussir dans tous les domaines de leur vie et à mettre pleinement en œuvre les choses qu’ils savent devoir faire. Jonathan est titulaire d’un B.Sc. en agronomie de l’Université McGill, et une accréditation ACC en tant qu’entraîneur de la Fédération internationale des entraîneurs.
Tom Manley offre plus de 30 ans d’expertise dans les opérations commerciales, les ventes et le marketing, la gestion et la planification. Son domaine de spécialisation au cours des 23 dernières années est l’agriculture et l’alimentation biologiques, y compris les normes et la certification biologiques, le marketing biologique et les connaissances sur les industries biologiques.
Il détient un certificat de manutentionnaire d’aliments sûrs et est actif sur les marchés fermiers. Il offrir des services en planification d’entreprise, en stratégies de marketing et en gestion financière de QuickBooks.
CBEO a également accueilli **Valérie Yoder** l’an dernier. Valérie est arrivée de la France en 2009 et a rapidement mis ses connaissances issues d’une maîtrise en agronomie au service des agriculteurs bio. En tant qu’agronome pour Homestead Organics, elle a eu l’occasion d’aider de nombreux producteurs avec ses conseils sur la production de céréales et de semences, la fertilisation, la santé des sols et des plantes et la gestion des cultures.
Après la fermeture de Homestead Organics, Valérie a poursuivi son travail avec les agriculteurs biologiques à travers d’autres entreprises. Actuellement, elle est conseillère agronomique spécialisée en production biologique pour l’est de l’Ontario pour une entreprise québécoise, Semican.
Tout cela dit, son plus grand travail et aussi son plus grand succès est de voir ses 3 enfants de 7, 5 et 2 ans grandir dans leur petite ferme d’agrément de 50 acres.
Rob Wallbridge s’est joint à l’équipe CBEO en 2019. Il a grandi sur des fermes laitières et de cultures commerciales conventionnelles dans l’est de l’Ontario. Il a aussi produit des cultures et des légumes biologiques de 1998 à 2015. À présent il est responsable des ventes d’agronomie pour SureSource Agronomy, précédemment à ce rôle Rob a passé 4 ans en tant que spécialiste biologique pour Thompsons Limited.
Rob est membre du Comité d’interprétation des normes pour le ‘Canada Organic Standard’ et a fait du bénévolat sur les cultures et l’élevage Groupes du Comité technique de l’ONGC sur l’agriculture biologique pendant la formation et révisions subséquentes de la norme biologique canadienne. Il est également président du conseil d’administration du Conseil biologique de l’Ontario.
Having owned and operated a successful certified organic vegetable farm in Dunham, Quebec using a mix of tractor power and draft horsepower, Jonathan knows first hand what it’s like to make a living from farming. In 2017, Jonathan and his family decided to take a sabbatical, convert their delivery van into a camper, and travel around the USA and Canada for almost 3 years, visiting farms, learning, and getting a new perspective on life! Jonathan is now back in Quebec and in the process of launching the second iteration of the farm.
It’s during these travels that Jonathan discovered the practice of life-coaching. He immediately realized what a powerful approach it would be to combine life-coaching techniques with farm business consulting and agronomic services.
Jonathan works with farmers and entrepreneurs to support them to think outside the box, create success in all areas of their lives, and fully implement the things they know they need to be doing (even in the height of summer!!!) Since the separation of work and personal life is really an illusion, Jonathan and his clients delve into any topics that are useful: From sales and marketing, to communication with your spouse, to employee management, to spending time with your kids, to business systems, to soil and fertility management, to cropping systems… and everything in between.
Jonathan has a B.Sc. in Agronomy from McGill University, ACC coaching accreditation from the International Coaching Federation, and a Masters in Business Management from the School of Hard Knocks (aka the farm).
Tom Manley offers over 30 years of expertise in business operations, sales and marketing, management, and planning. His field of focus for the last 23 years is organic agriculture and food including organic standards and certification, organic marketing, and organic industries insights. He holds a safe food handler’s certificate and is active in farmers markets. He can complete his involvement with any client with business planning, marketing strategies, and QuickBooks financial management.
Ruth is passionate about soil regeneration and the tremendous opportunities it holds for farmers, our communities and our planet. She brings a diversity of experiences to her agronomy work, including: organic certification inspections, land use planning, education and knowledge networks, and experience as a former partner in a mixed livestock/pasture farm. Since 2005, Ruth has provided services to a diversity of farms that are transitioning to organic, improving the productivity of their existing operations, or are new landowners looking to create meaningful connections to their landscape.
Ruth holds a BSc Agriculture and MSc Rural Planning and Development from the University of Guelph and a diploma in Landscape Design from Fanshawe College. She is a Professional Agronomist (PAg) – Ontario Institute of Agrologists, and has a Certificate in Nutrient Management Strategy and Plan Development for Agricultural and Non-Agricultural Operations.
Valérie arrived from France in 2009 and freshly graduated from a master’s degree in agronomy, Valérie quickly put her knowledge at the service of organic farmers. Agronomist for Homestead Organics, she had the opportunity to help many growers with her advice on grain and seed production, fertilization, soil and plant health, and crop management.
After the closure of Homestead Organics, Valérie continued her work with organic farmers through other companies. Currently she is an agronomic adviser specializing in organic production for the Eastern Ontario for a Quebec company, Semican.
But her biggest job and also her greatest success is to see her 3 children of 7, 5 and 2 years old growing up on their small 50 acres hobby farm.
Rob Wallbridge grew up on conventional dairy and cash crop farms in Eastern Ontario and produced organic crops and vegetables from 1998 to 2015. He is currently the Agronomy Sales Lead for SureSource Agronomy, following 4 years as the Organic Specialist for Thompsons Limited. Rob has also worked as an organic inspector, done extension work for the Organic Meadow Co-operative, and consulted on organic agronomic, marketing, and certification projects. Rob become a Certified Crop Advisor in 2015 and gained his 4R Nutrient Management Specialist designation in 2017.
Rob is a member of the Standards Interpretation Committee for the Canada Organic Standard and has volunteered on both the Crops and Livestock Working Groups of the CGSB Technical Committee on Organic Agriculture during the formation and subsequent revisions of the Canada Organic Standard. He is also currently the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Organic Council of Ontario.
Sam Appleby, together with his wife Anne, operate an organic Red & White Holstein dairy farm in Steinbach, Manitoba. Currently they milk 100 cows on a certified organic farm. Sam was born and raised on a dairy farm in the middle of England in a very concentrated dairy area. He married his wife in April of 1977 and emigrated to Canada in June of that year. In 1979 he purchased a 25 cow dairy farm.
He has served on various boards during his career beginning with The Young Farmers Club in England. Other boards or committees include:
Milk Board Committee
Manitoba Holstein Association
Canadian Red & white Club
Farm Debt Review Board (Manitoba)
Red & White Dairy Cattle Association (based in Madison, WI)
Having experienced the benefits of living and farming organically, Sam wishes to give grassroots representation and perspective from both farmer and the consumer.
Shannon owns and operates Broadfork Farm in Nova Scotia with her partner Bryan. They make their living by growing organic vegetables and herbs as well as cut flowers. They’ve been getting more and more into vegetable seed production and are excited to raise Khaki Campbell ducks this year for the first time! Shannon has been a committed organic eater since she was a teenager. While no longer a teenager, she still fits into the category of “young farmer” and has been involved with the NFU Youth and is on the steering committee of the National New Farmer Coalition. She has been completely inspired and thrilled to serve as a board member with ACORN (who she also represents on the Canadian Organic Technical Committee) and is happy to offer her time and energy to the good work the national COG Board does.
For 10 years, Stephanie has been the Director of Communications at Environmental Defence, a leading Canadian advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.
She brings a wealth of experience leading staff in building engaged communities of Canadians who take action on environmental issues. Through her leadership, thousands of Canadians have signed petitions, attended events, and shared content on social media to raise awareness about critical environmental issues. Her team has also garnered thousands of media articles and broadcast news clips about Environmental Defence’s advocacy work. The powerful combination of engagement and communication has led to significant policy changes at all levels of government to protect our shared environment.
In addition to leading the communications and engagement teams at Environmental Defence Canada (EDC), she works directly on Greenbelt and Livable Communities programming, which centers on protecting local farmland from sprawl. She was part of the core team that stopped Bill 66, which would have allowed new factories and sprawl in the Greenbelt and other sensitive farmland, forests and watersheds.
Eric has spent 16 years working with governments and NGOs on environmental policy, communications and business development. He recently wrapped up a role working for Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change where he helped advance Canada’s first-ever national climate plan as well as the biggest-ever investment in Canadian nature conservation.
He is currently a freelance consultant in the environment space, including serving as communications director for the Smart Prosperity Institute (SPI) at the University of Ottawa.
He has long believed in the important work of COG. He volunteered for the organization when he was a student and has written for the Canadian Organic Grower Magazine.
Corine is a farmer, soil scientist and regenerative agriculture researcher. She has a deep commitment to creating integrated and closed loop agricultural systems that merge production and ecosystem functions. Her current research, conducted with the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, is investigating the integration of crop and livestock systems. She is looking at low-till and no-till methods for restoring depleted soils using intensive rotational animal grazing. Previously she managed mixed farms and created farm education programs. She has been involved with the organic movement for almost two decades.
She is a director of the Certified Organic Association of BC and the BC Association for Regenerative Agriculture and is an advisor to the Canadian organic standards.
After graduating with B.A. (Hons) majoring in Biology at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON, Wentsi started her path in organics at the Canadian Organic Growers as a program coordinator. In continuing her love of sustainable food systems and organics, she is now the founder of Culture Kombucha, a craft kombucha brewery in the Ottawa region. Culture Kombucha offers 5 mainstay bottled flavours that are certified organic and rotating kegged kombucha that utilizes both certified organic and local ingredients. Working at both COG and now as a microprocessor, Wentsi has a good understanding of why organic certification is important and it’s integrity as well as challenges small businesses may face in the process.
Maryruth’s interest in organics and sustainable living stems from her childhood growing up on a farm; as such she has always been conscious of what she eats and her environmental footprint.
She has worked in the non-profit sector in a variety of roles, including volunteer relations with the Canadian Cancer Society and as part of the Executive Committee for AIESEC where her focus was on strategic planning for the Corporate Relations portfolio. In this role she met and established partnerships with different organizations for the Global Internship Program (GIP). Maryruth has a degree in Psychology, with an option in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, a B.Com in HR and is currently working towards her certified human resource designation.
Tara Scott has been the Organic Transition Coordinator with ACORN since 2013. She studied at Nova Scotia Agricultural College and Olds College in Alberta. Tara managed production and marketing on farms in South Western Ontario and trained interns in the Principles and Practices of Organic Agriculture program through Ignatius Jesuit Centre. She has also worked with the Organic Council of Ontario, FarmStart and Ecocert Canada.
As the Organic Transition Coordinator Tara works to support new entrants and existing producers in their transition to organic certification as well as develop certification resources and training in organic production and marketing. Through facilitating kitchen table meetings and coordination of ACORN’s Annual Conference, Tara works to provide further outreach and networking opportunities to the organic sector in Atlantic Canada.
She is a member of the CFIA Standards Interpretation Committee and looks forward to building further relationships with members of the organic sector nationally.
Secretary, Prairie Rep
Janine Gibson is an organic crop, livestock and process inspector with 30 years’ experience promoting more resilient solutions to food production management in her business, Creative Health Consulting. Observing farmers building soils and respecting ecosystems, toward compliance with organic standards, fascinates and inspires her volunteer work with COG in growing organic acres.
Since 1997, Janine has gained valuable experience writing and updating the Canadian Organic Standards as a member of the Canadian General Standards Board Organic Agriculture Technical Committee. She now represents the Manitoba Organic Alliance, which she co-chairs. She served on the Standards Interpretation Committee for 9 years and on the board of the International Organic Inspectors Assoc, now as the Vice President, and for many years as a trainer of inspectors. Janine has served as an instructor at Assiniboine Community College, a guest lecturer at the University of Manitoba and has written many articles on aspects of organic production.
She is a founding member of the Organic Food Council of Manitoba, a chapter of COG and current Executive Secretary and past president of Canadian Organic Growers, her favourite registered charity for whom she raises funds. Janine, a mother and grandmother, lives & gardens on a small co-op farm in the marshland of SE Manitoba.
Av Singh is one of Canada’s leading authorities on organic production agriculture. After completing his post-doc at the University of Minnesota on pasture-based livestock production, Singh worked at the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada and served as the Organic and Small-Scale Farming Specialist in Nova Scotia, for over 15 years, and recently held the Just Us! Chair in Small Farm Sustainability.
Dr. Singh has authored over 200 peer-reviewed papers, chapters, and extension articles and has been an invited speaker to over 500 workshops, conferences, symposia as well as guest-lecturing at over 30 universities in Canada, the US, the UK, and India. Av has had the privilege of visiting over 2000 farms across five continents which has shaped his extension of holistic, system-based design solutions.
Emphasizing a union of traditional knowledge with science, Av works with growers to cultivate an appreciation of plant:soil interrelationships.
Currently, Av and his colleague Randy Flemming serve as Cultivation Advisors within the cannabis industry www.fs-cannabis.com. Av is also the Commercial Science Specialist at Greenstar Plant Products Inc. www.gaiagreen.com, the Chief Science Officer with Green Gorilla www.ilovegreengorilla.com; the Chief Agricultural Scientist at Green Joy Production, the Chief Soil Scientist at CaliCann (Colombia) and formerly served as the Chief Agronomist with the American Cannabis Company, helping to develop Just Add Water Super Soils (JAWS).
Av has recently been appointed to the Cannabis Quality Assurance (CQA) Standards Committee and is a member of the International Cannabinoid Research Society. Av serves on several Scientific Advisory Boards – Orion Cannabis Corporation; Bloom Genix; SolarGram; Infernotions; Cannabis Farms; www.cannabisfarms.ca; and Organic Grow Solutions www.organicgrowsolutions.com. Av is a frequent speaker and advisory board member at MJBizCon, LIFT, O’Cannabiz, and the Grow Up Conferences.
Lastly, Av is also serving as the Vice-President of the Canadian Organic Growers and is proud to be a member of Slow Food Canada, Food Secure Canada, and the National Farmers’ Union. Av is also a faculty member at Earth University (www.navdanya.org) in India where he delivers courses on agroecology and organic farming.
Sarah grew up on a 200 acre, 200 year old family farm property near Lochiel, Ontario (North Glengarry). She grew up surrounded by relics of generations past that reflect both old and modern Canadian farm life. For much of her twenties, Sarah lived and worked in Australia, Switzerland, Norway and Canada. Presently, she splits her time between her family farm in Ontario and the charming seashores of Nova Scotia. When Sarah isn’t working, she can be found SUPing harbours and coastlines, camping with her partner Seamus and her Dog, Duncan, feeding birds, or planting seeds.
Sarah has been working for COG since 2016, in varying capacities. She will be on mat leave from late 2019 through most of 2020. However, you can still get in touch with her for anything regarding TCOG magazine.
Get in touch with Sarah at either: firstname.lastname@example.org OR Sarah.ChisholmRyder@cog.ca
Alix is a farmer, organizer and facilitator. She’s worked on campaigns and led projects in sustainability at her university and gave popular education workshops on environmental justice from 2014-2016. She has also supported the efforts of several non-profit organizations by organizing events and assisting with strategic planning and communications.
After graduating from Community Economic Development at Concordia University in Montreal, she worked on organic farms throughout Ontario. More recently, she has started her own farm on rented land in Buckingham, QC, where she grows vegetables and cut flowers with her partner for farmers markets in the Ottawa-Gatineau area. She’s passionate about social change through food and farming and excited to be joining the COG team!
You can get in touch with Alix at: email@example.com
Course Manager & TCOG Ad Manager
Julia is a graduate of Royal Roads University’s Masters of Environment and Management (MEM) program where she learned about local and sustainable food systems. With that and her environmentally conscious lifestyle, she tries to eat local and organic whenever possible – sometimes finding herself faced with the local or organic conundrum. Julia is an avid gardener, graduate of the Organic Master Gardener course and Accredited Organic Land Care Practitioner who believes that soil health is fundamental to ensuring long term food production and that healthy soil provides healthy food. As the Coordinator of the Organic Master Gardener and Growing Organic Food programs, Julia hopes to generate more interest among urbanites in the benefits of microorganisms and growing their own food.
Get in touch with Julia at: Julia.Dupuis@cog.ca
Cristina joined COG in April 2016 and has taken the lead on processing donations and memberships as well as some of our bookkeeping duties. With a background in Environmental Science, Cristina is aware of the causes and issues pertaining to sustainable and healthy living for all and is pleased to be involved in supporting sustainable practices. Having been involved with other organizations such as CPAWS and Nature Canada, she is familiar with the ins and outs of the not-for-profit sector and the systems that are in place for a charitable organization to run smoothly. In her spare time, Cristina likes to be active outdoors and spend time with family. Each year she looks forward to enjoying the fruits of her family’s labour from their backyard garden! Cristina is excited to be with COG, contributing to our efforts to promote and educate others about organics.
Get in touch with Cristina at: Cristina.Scaini@cog.ca
Wayne Adams became COG’s Executive Director in June of 2015. Wayne is a graduate of the University of Ottawa with an Honours Degree in Finance. After graduation he joined one of Canada’s largest insurance companies to work in financial management and eventually became the Director of Marketing. He joined the charitable sector in 2007 to be part of a multi-year effort to raise funds for a new museum in Ottawa. After its successful completion, he worked for the international health care charity Orbis Canada and as a consultant for Ottawa based non-profits. Wayne is proud of COG’s achievements, both before and during his time at COG, and is looking forward to being part of the important role COG will be playing in the future.
Get in touch with Wayne at: Wayne.Adams@cog.ca