BC Association of Farmers' markets

We dare to dream of a world where farming is synonymous with opportunity. We educate, engage and inspire people to create a vibrant farming sector in BC, one that nourishes and supports our natural environment and communities.

  About the BCAFM  

 

Board & Staff

Board & Staff

Board of Directors

Staff


Board of Directors

President: Wylie Bystedt

Wylie, originally from Vancouver but with strong family ties to ranching in Alberta, has been a rancher for the past fifteen years in Quesnel, and has been a vendor at the Quesnel Farmers Market for the past eight years and the McLeese Lake Farmers Market for the past two years. Wylie produces the five food groups – beef, pork, lamb, chicken and llama. She spent her formative years working on different family farms in Alberta gaining experience in large scale hog, dairy, beef and hay farming. Wylie has a degree in Business Communications from Royal Roads University after receiving diplomas in Business Management and Special Education. She has operated a consulting firm for the past twenty-five years that originally focused on disabilities and business management and has expanded to include agriculture and agri-tourism. She continues to be active on the board of the Quesnel Farmers Market as well as on a variety of regional and provincial agriculture and business associations. Although Wylie is a passionate meat eater she is learning to enjoy growing herbs and vegetables.
 

Vice President: Vickey Brown

Vickey is passionate about local food, farmers, governance and community. From building a community garden at the University of Victoria while completing her undergrad degree (Environmental Studies and Political Science) to working with Farmers Markets she has been working hard to  grow both Farmers' Markets and farmers in the Valley. She currently resides in the fabulous Village of Cumberland with her husband and two boys. Her volunteer experience includes 4 years on the board of the Cumberland Community Schools Society (CCSS), and currently a member of the Village of Cumberland Advisory Planning Committee. In 2014 her work with the CCSS led to being elected as a trustee for School District 71.
 

Secretary: Patricia Hollister

Patricia’s interest in farmers' markets began when she had a small part-time organic farm. While working for a seed company, she became familiar with many of the farms in BC, and volunteered with the Vancouver Farmers Markets for two seasons. When she moved to Victoria, she had to leave her farm, but just couldn’t give up the soil – so she volunteers at a local organic farm. She has been on the staff of the Moss Street Farmers Market in Victoria for nine years, four as Assistant Manager, and two as Manager.

Patricia's work experience includes bookkeeping, human resources, and payroll, with much experience in event planning, organizing, graphic design and computer support. She has served on the board of directors of a large community orchestra during a difficult transition. She also has a Bachelor of Science in Political Science, a minor in Music, and is a weaver.

As a person who has been involved in farming and farmers' markets, she has the passion and conviction about the importance of local organic produce.



Treasurer: Laura Smit

Email: laura@eatlocal.org

Laura seeks to re-establish connections between people, places and their food. Before joining Vancouver Farmers Markets in 2010, Laura led multi-stakeholder community development projects across Canada with Katimavik and engaged Vancouver citizens in urban forest restoration with Evergreen. She is a facilitator, problem-solver, and systems thinker who delights in getting her hands dirty to change the food system. She is most excited about working on a provincial level to ensure that young people are able to choose farming as viable lifestyle and that farmers markets remain economically sound for years to come.
 


Director: Jim Fowler

After graduating from high school, Jim worked nights in a mill and attended university during the day. He was involved in community activities and served as a director on two credit union boards. From that experience, Jim developed the skills that allowed him to start a small family business that he's still involved with today. Originating in the forest industry, the business focusses on using the land sustainably. In the last five years, it has developed a unique market, selling pure birch syrup now being used by some of Canada’s top chefs.

Jim has experience in government relations in all levels of government, and served on various boards and committees. Recently,he met with the B.C. Premier to get funding for social housing upgrades for his community. Jim acquired governance expertise as a past member of one of Canada’s largest credit union, and currently is a director of a BC Housing associated society. Jim has accounting degrees and years of practical application, including for non-profit organizations.

Jim feels that rural BC needs more representation from people who have experienced the effects of poorly planned growth. He was born in Surrey and lived on a small farm before it was expropriated for the Port Mann Freeway. Jim moved up to Northern BC in the 1980’s and obtained a Crown land agricultural lease to develop a farm in the Kispiox Valley. Jim and his family are vendors at both the Bulkley Valley and Hazelton Farmers Markets. 


Director: Rubina Jamal

Rubina is a former lawyer and graduate from the London School of Economics with a deep interest in food practices and culture. She envisions a community that is connected in an everyday sense with its food and by food. As a co-founder of Food Lens Consulting, Rubina works with communities to create low-waste circular food systems with the goal of ensuring that food is used to its highest and best use.  

Rubina has been on the boards of several organizations, including the Royal Roads University (2008-2013), where she served as chair of the Governance & Nominating Committee. From 2010- 2017 Rubina served on the Steering Committee of the North Shore Table Matters Network. She is currently a member of the Coalition for Healthy School Food (Vancouver chapter), an advocacy group calling for a universal school meal program in Canada.

 

Director: James Macdonald

James has been an Apiculturist and a vendor at farmers’ markets in the North Okanagan for over 30 years, supplying the community with local honey and honeybee products. Having built up a successful family farm business with all of the challenges related to production, processing and marketing of agricultural commodities he knows the importance and value of direct sales to customers at farmers’ markets. Three terms on municipal council provided an insight into working with divergent points of view and coming up with creative solutions. Consultancies overseas in East Africa, Bhutan, the Philippines and Vietnam have added to his global perspective on agriculture. As a board member of the BCAFM, James is looking forward to contributing towards the further development of the local food economy.
 

Director: Shankar Raina

Shankar is originally from India and immigrated to Canada via the United States, where he went in pursuit of a higher education. Shankar has a B.A. (Honours) degree in Economics from India and an MBA with an Accounting specialization from the United States.  Shankar obtained his CPA (Certified Public Accountant) license in the United States and currently works as the financial controller for a real estate company in Whistler. He was introduced to the wonderful world of farmers markets 5 years ago by his wife who is a vendor at the Whistler Farmers Market, and is her partner in this enterprise.  Shankar likes to ride his bike in the summer and cross country ski in the winter.

 

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Staff

Heather O'Hara, Executive Director

Email: heather.ohara(at)bcfarmersmarket.org

Heather joined the BCAFM in August of 2016 and brings over 10 years of experience in non-profit and social enterprise leadership to her position as Executive Director. Although originally from Manitoba, where her family has deep farming roots, Heather has called BC home since 2000.

As an entrepreneur and food lover at heart, Heather believes deeply in farmers’ markets and small-scale farmers as a critical force in our regional food system. She has worked with a variety of business, non-profit and charitable organizations, and loves to bring strategic thinking and entrepreneurial resourcefulness to make creative ideas come to life. For 8 years, Heather served as executive director of Potluck Café  Society, an award-winning social enterprise that creates jobs and provides healthy, fresh food for people living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
 
Heather continues to be active in social enterprise and social innovation development and has provided support to multiple social enterprises through the Vancity Community Foundation. Other recent projects include working with CityStudio as its executive producer, co-facilitating a next generation of change makers through SFU Change Lab and serving as tour coordinator and charity liaison for the Barney Bentall and Cariboo Express concert fundraising tour.

Heather holds an MBA, a BA in International Relations and Native Studies and a Bachelor of Environmental Design, all from the University of Manitoba. To deepen her knowledge of farming, she completed the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Tsawwassen First Nation Farm School program.

Heather currently resides on a farm in Ladner. In her spare time, she loves to ride her horse, Lucas, eat delicious local food, and stay up to date on current events.

 

Georgia Stanley, Manager of Membership & Communications

Email: georgia(at)bcfarmersmarket.org

Georgia has worked at the BCAFM since 2009.  Her introduction to farmers' markets was as a child attending her neighbourhood farmers’ market at Trout Lake in Vancouver – it was love at first sight.  Her interest and passion for food, agriculture and environmental issues led her to the University of British Columbia where she completed a Bachelor of Science in Global Resource Systems from the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, and focused on sustainable agriculture and agroecology. She has worked and studied in the field of agriculture for over a decade, including working as assistant manager with the Vancouver Farmers’ Markets Society, and an event planner, writer and researcher for various agricultural organizations. Georgia is also a current member of the Vancouver Food Policy Council, a civic agency that works to improve food sustainability in Vancouver by advising Vancouver City Council. When not at work Georgia enjoys tending to her backyard chickens and cooking up a storm.
 

Peter Leblanc
Program Manager, Farmers' Market Nutrition Coupon Program

Email: peter(at)bcfarmersmarket.org

Peter’s first connection to farming began when he was 12 years old, as a potato picker in Northern Maine. Peter is a founder of the Surrey Urban Farmers Market, which created a locally-funded nutrition coupon program. In BC, Peter has worked with the Certified Organic Associations of BC, the BC Health Living Alliance and the Surrey-White Rock Food Action Coalition on a number of projects. Peter has been on staff with a Member of Parliament and a Member of the Legislative Assembly.  He also worked as a Project Coordinator with Peace Brigades International’s projects in Nepal and Sri Lanka and as a Training Coordinator with Hostelling International in the United States. He has a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations/Mass Communications, Boston University. Peter lives in New Westminster with his partner, Colleen and their daughter Rory.
 

Anice Wong
Programs & Outreach Coordinator

Email: anice(at)bcfarmersmarket.org

As a socially and environmentally conscious person, Anice is interested in learning and sharing ideas on how we can all create more sustainable, healthy and inclusive communities. With a diverse background in Film & Video Production as well as International Development, she brings creativity and critical thinking to the table. She is passionate about travel and has worked in different parts of the world. She has held various environmental related positions in the non-profit sector as well as in municipal government. When not at work Anice enjoys photography, exploring cities, and Skyping with her little niece and nephew!
 

Tahlia Murdoch
FMNCP Coordinator

Email: tahlia(at)bcfarmersmarket.org

Tahlia hails from Perth, Western Australia, and joined the BCAFM team in May 2018. There, she worked in the public sector for six years, the most recent two which were spent at the Ministry of Health. While Tahlia really enjoyed her job there, she has always been interested in joining the agriculture sector as she is passionate about environmental sustainability and food security. This led her to her new home of Vancouver as there are much more opportunities in this city! Tahlia is excited to be part of the BCAFM team, and is happy that she still gets a crossover of public health and agriculture working on the Farmers' Market Nutrition Coupon Program. In her spare time, Tahlia can be found doing yoga, enjoying this beautiful city, cooking (or more likely eating), and going to comedy shows.

 

Meredith Schaab
Administration and Special Projects Coordinator

Email: meredith(at)bcfarmersmarket.org

Coming soon!

 

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