The BCAFM is here to serve the needs of our member farmers’ markets. We are committed to developing and strengthening the capacity of farmers' markets in all regions of British Columbia, so you, our members can continue to support local farmers and artisans and provide British Columbians with fresh healthy local food. Learn more.
Board & Staff
- President: Wylie Bystedt
- Vice-President: Shankar Raina
- Treasurer: Bruce Fatkin
- Secretary: Erna Jensen
- Director: Vickey Brown
- Director: Jim Fowler
- Director: Rubina Jamal
- Director: James Macdonald
- Director: Laura Smit
- Heather O'Hara, Executive Director
- Georgia Stanley, Manager of Membership & Communications
- Peter Leblanc, Program Manager, Farmers' Market Nutrition Coupon Program
- Anice Wong, Programs & Outreach Coordinator
- Vimi Sian, FMNCP Communications & Administration Coordinator
Board of Directors
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.
Bruce's working background includes ownership of a landscape nursery in the Bradner area of Abbotsford. Bruce also spent several years serving on Boards of Directors and, as a contractor, managing projects for non-profit organizations beginning with producer-led soil conservation groups and later with a local Community Futures Development Corporation office helping would-be small business owners develop business plans for their new enterprises. Bruce previously served a term as Treasurer of the BC Association of Farmers Markets and has rejoined the Board in that capacity. Bruce has been manager of the Abbotsford Farm and Country Market since 2006 and also managed the Langley Community Farmers Market for the 2010 season. When not at work, Bruce likes to spend time with two grown daughters and their families including two grandchildren.
Erna has been managing the Cranbrook Farmer’s Market for the past 5 years, and the Kimberley Farmer’s Market for the past year, both in the Kootenay Region of British Columbia. She has had a lifelong passion for food and farmer’s markets, and has extensive not for profit, tourism and event planning experience. Erna has enjoyed her last year with the Board of Directors and looks forward to another year of working to help BC Farmers' Markets thrive.
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.
Rubina has a law degree from the London School of Economics. She practiced law in Kenya prior to moving to Canada, and was accredited to practice law in British Columbia in 2000. Rubina has served on the boards of several organizations, including the Royal Roads University (2008-2013), where she served as the chair of the Governance & Nominating Committee. In recent years Rubina has shifted her interest to food security initiatives. She has been a member of the Table Matters Network Steering Committee since 2010 and is currently project coordinator of the Scaling-up Food Rescue Project on the North Shore.
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.
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.
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 is currently enrolled as a part time student in 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 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, where she focused on sustainable agriculture and agroecology. Georgia has worked and studied in the field of agriculture for the last nine years. She has worked as an assistant manager with the Vancouver Farmers’ Markets Society, and an event planner, writer and researcher for various agricultural organizations. When not at work Georgia enjoys tending to her backyard chickens and cooking up a storm.
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 Surrey with his partner, Colleen and their daughter Rory.
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 including Japan and Ghana. 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!
Vimi has recently joined our team after receiving her certification as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (R.H.N) from the Canadian School for Natural Nutrition. She brings 7+ years of non-profit management experience and has volunteered on several organic farms and homesteads in North and South America. Her passion for food security, literacy and sustainability began when working in the Child Care field - via witnessing the mental and emotional impacts of food and the lack of its awareness. On the flip side, Vimi can be found sporting her latest pair of Converse and envisioning her next adventure - in the great outdoors and/or in a remote part of the world.