BC Association of Farmers' markets

The demand for locally produced, fresh and nutritious food has grown rapidly over the past ten years, and so too has the number of farmers' markets. Today, farmers' markets operate in every type of community across BC, from cities to suburbs to rural communities.

  For Markets  


2017 Speakers and Bios

2017 Speakers and Bios

Keynote Speaker

Richard McCarthy, Executive Director, Slow Food USA

Richard embodies the phrase “think globally; act locally.” He previously served as Executive Director of Market Umbrella, an internationally recognized non-profit mentor organization for farmers' markets, community building and sustainable economic development. After Hurricane Katrina, Richard played a key role in restarting the local agricultural economy in the New Orleans area, aiming to help provide returning residents with a sense of normalcy and resilience through the revival of farmers' markets.
From 2005-07, Richard served as founding President for the Farmers Market Coalition, the national voice for farmers markets. He was named “Hero of the New South” in 2012 by Southern Living Magazine, and “Public Health Champion” in 2004 by Tulane University School of Public Health.

Sessions: Saturday morning plenary (Reimagining Your Market); and Get the Market You Measure

* The list is subject to change. Please check back regularly for speaker additions and updates.

Michael Blatchford, Norton Rose Fullbright Canada

Michael Blatchford is a lawyer with Norton Rose Fulbright in Vancouver (formerly Bull Housser). He works with charities, not-for-profit organizations, associations, clubs, social enterprises and other entities in the voluntary sector and advises on all aspects of their operations and governance, helping them to effectively carry out their programs while complying with regulatory obligations. He has clients across Canada and speaks and presents regularly on legal issues affecting the not-for-profit sector.

Session: The New BC Societies Act: What Every Society Needs to Know

Bernie Glemas, VARiZE Marketing Inc.

Bernie has been marketing online since 1994, and operates VARiZE Marketing, an online marketing and consulting company. As a board member and Social Media / Community Manager for Artisan Farmers' Market Society, Bernie has relevant insights into the audiences' needs. Having managed social media / SEO and webmaster duties for billion dollar enterprises, and developed websites and online marketing strategies for small and medium sized businesses, and founded a brick-and-mortar company he built to $3 million in annual revenue, Bernie brings a deep understanding of challenges and rewards associated with business development of all sizes.

Bernie has facilitated internet and business planning sessions for small groups of business people, presented to corporate audiences of up to 150 people and participated in Toastmasters for eight years.

He created WebsiteWishlist.net – a website with free online questionnaires that help business owners / managers plan their website and online marketing, and is a founding member of Internet Mastermind Group, the world's largest Internet marketing meetup. He holds related certifications in social media / community management and content management.

Session: Blogging and Social Media Best Practices

Emily Hansen, Kwantlen Polytechnic University - Institute for Sustainable Food Systems

Emily is a research assistant at the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems and was the lead researcher on a farm business development case study project. She grew up on a small scale, intensive, organic vegetable farm in Ontario and has since been involved in food and agriculture as a farmer, education coordinator and volunteer. She is also a student completing an MA in Planning at the School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) with an academic focus in land use planning and regional governance with specific interest in agricultural policy and the emergence of food systems planning.
She also holds an undergraduate degree in Landscape Architecture and certificate in Permaculture Design, and remains passionate about the art and design of productive, restorative landscapes.

Session: Business Management Practices of Highly Successful Farmers Market Farmers: Lessons Learned from 15 Case Studies

Trevor Hargreaves

Trevor is the Director of Communications & Producer Relations for the BC Dairy Association. This year marks his third workshop appearance at the BCAFM! Trevor is an agriculture advocate with all levels of government, media, special interest groups, environmentalists, and other industry associations. He is also the strategic lead for a variety of industry programs ranging from innovation, research, industry education, and public outreach.

Session: Advocating and Lobbying in Canada: How to best get your message to those in government

Kevin Huang, Hua Foundation

Recognizing the growing gap in engaging Chinese-Canadian youth on environmental, social, and political issues, Kevin co-founded the Hua Foundation with the goal of increasing community participation through youth empowerment opportunities. He is currently the foundation's Executive Director.

Session: Connecting Your Market to the Growing Ethnic Community

Tara Immell, Artisan Farmers' Markets

Tara is the incoming General Manager of the Artisan Farmers' Markets in Burnaby, North Vancouver, and West Vancouver, a finance instructor at Simon Fraser University, and a volunteer with the North Shore Neighborhood House’s social enterprise, The Edible Garden Project. At the Edible Garden Project, she has helped elementary school children learn about growing. Last year, she adapted these lessons for farmers' markets and has been providing hands-on food skills and demos in conjunction with special events at the Abbotsford Farm and Country Market.
Session: Market Day Food Education: Providing Learning Opportunities for Market Customers

Ken Knechtel

Ken and his wife Elke, have been growing plants since the late 1970s. With youthful passion, they developed Rainforest Gardens, on three acres in Maple Ridge, a retail/mail order perennial nursery. With the arrival of children, their goals and aspirations grew into The Perennial Gardens, a leader in plant introduction and cultivation. In the 2000s their passion blossomed into Red Barn Plants & Produce, growers of interesting vegetables, herbs, edible annuals, and intriguing perennials.
In 2009, they bought their Cawston field farm and their son, Erik, came on as manager and partner in their continuing adventure. Erik now refers to his parents as mud farmers and himself as a dust farmer - a reference to the two very different climates at their two farms.

They currently sell their produce at farmers' markets across Greater Vancouver, and their plants are available at leading garden centres. They enjoy what they do and always have enjoyed talking about farming, growing, and the like.

Session: A Small Acreage Farmer’s Insight Into How to Make It Farming in Metro Vancouver

Eric Koo, Farmer Koo

Eric is a fourth generation Cantonese grower from Surrey who sells at Vancouver Farmers Markets under the name “Farmer Koo.” Eric's diverse farm operation produces everything from bedding plants and hanging baskets to conventional and Asian vegetable crops

Session: Connecting Your Market to the Growing Ethnic Community


Jaclyn Laic, Communications specialist

Jaclyn Laic is the former Communications Manager of the British Columbia Agriculture Council (BCAC). During her tenure at BCAC she was instrumental in organization and logistics for several Ag Days lobby events with the provincial government and has strong experience in government relations.

Session: Advocating and Lobbying in Canada: How to best get your message to those in government

Roberta LaQuaglia, Vancouver Farmers Markets

Roberta is the Operations Manager at the Vancouver Farmers Markets which runs eight weekly markets, welcomes 455,000 shoppers per year, and has annual vendor sales of $8.17 million. She has worked with farmers, vendors and community members to make markets work for all stakeholders since 2003. When she isn't organizing farmers' markets, Roberta can be found mixing up bathes of butterscotch and hot fudge at Glenburn Soda Fountain, a shop she owns and operates with her husband, Ron, in Burnaby.

Session: Connecting Your Market to the Growing Ethnic Community

Melissa Maltais, Silver Chef Canada

Bio coming soon!

Session: Grow Your Food Production Business With Silver Chef's Flexible Funding

Del Myers

Del has been a farmers' market vendor since the early 2000s, and is currently the Director of the Prince George Farmers' Market Association.

Session: Opportunities and Challenges of Physical Infrastructure to Expand Your Market and Broaden its Appeal

Carolyn Morris, former Market Manager, Squamish Farmer's Market

Bio coming soon!

Session: Market Day Food Education: Providing Learning Opportunities for Market Customers

Bob Prenovost, Propellor Social Enterprise Advisors

Bob is the co-founder and managing principal of Propellor, an advisory services practice, which engages exclusively with mission based, values driven organizations seeking to create greater social impact and enhanced financial performance. Over the past 5 years, Bob has supported more than 50 social enterprise initiatives helping social entrepreneurs; non-profit organizations and community foundations achieve their goals through maximizing opportunities and proactively managing risk. Bob is a certified Canadian Risk Manager (CRM), and also holds PMP and LEED AP professional designations.

Session: Managing Your Market's Risks & Opportunities

Elaine Phillips, accessibility advocate

Elaine is a retired B.C. Government employee. When she was working, she was a Union activist with the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union. This involvement gave her many opportunities to participate in a variety of committees including Occupational Health and Safety. Problems with her knees due to a genetic disorder and osteoarthritis led her to use a wheelchair for mobility. When she goes out on her own she uses her scooter. As a result of this, she is keenly aware of the problems people with disabilities face on a daily basis and she is eager to help.

Session: Accessible Markets - Conduct, Audit and Engage Volunteers!

Tori Phillips, advocate for the trans community

Tori works for a new car dealership and has many years of experience in the Parts Department where she is a tire expert.  Since coming out as a transwoman Tori has been very active in the trans community especially where it overlaps with Christianity.  Along with her wife, Elaine, they love to help people, and are very involved with Lighthouse of Hope Christian Fellowship in New Westminster, both holding leadership positions.  They have been married for almost 20 years and together they raised Tori’s sons, now 28 and 26, from Tori’s first marriage.  They live with their two cats in New Westminster, B.C.

Session: Accessible Markets - Conduct, Audit and Engage Volunteers!

Nancy Ross, Ross Food Consulting Inc.

Nancy has a degree in Food Science and a Masters of Agriculture from the University of Guelph. In the past 35 years as a food scientist, she has worked with the BC dairy industry, Divisco Foods Inc., and Protose Separations Inc., in their pilot plant for the production of whey protein isolate. She has also worked as Food Safety Advisor with both the Small Scale Food Processors Association and the BC Food Processors Association on the Growing Forward Food Safety Initiatives; a Federal/Provincial/Territorial funding program providing grant money to provincially licensed food establishments in British Columbia.
Nancy is also a faculty member at the University of British Columbia where she teaches food regulations as a sessional instructor. She also teaches the food safety program HACCP at both the graduate and undergraduate level, which encompasses aspects of recall and traceability. Nancy is also an independent consultant with Ross Food consulting Inc.

Session: Understanding the Principles of Traceability

Sion Shyng, BC Centre for Disease Control

Bio coming soon!

Session: Food Safety at Markets


Silver Chef

With nearly 30 years' experience and industry knowledge, Silver Chef is Canada's only dedicated hospitality equipment funding partner. Unique to Canada, Silver Chef exists to support hospitality business owners to achieve their dreams and achieve their full individual and business potential. By using our Rent-Try-Buy solution, you can put your hard-earned cash to better things, such as growing your business and having enough cash on hand for the challenging times ahead.

Session: Silver Chef Workshop

Hayley Sinclair, Community Volunteer Connections

Hayley is the Membership Services Coordinator for Community Volunteer Connections, working in New Westminster and throughout the TriCities. She is dedicated to providing training and skill building opportunities to assist organizations build great volunteer initiatives that make a meaningful impact.

Session: Accessible Markets - Conduct, Audit and Engage Volunteers!

Darren Stott, Greenchain Consulting

Darren has 20 years of experience in the food retail industry, including seven years as Director of Purchasing for the largest online organic home delivery company in North America, SPUD. In 2010 Darren started Greenchain Consulting to use his extensive food retail experience to support the business development and planning of BC local food enterprises. Recent and relevant projects include Vancouver Local Food Hub business plan, Victoria Downtown Public Market business plan, the Kamloops market feasibility study and Okanagan Food Hub Co-op business model development.
Darren is also a big proponent of local businesses and is board chair of LOCO (local business advocacy and research not for profit) as well as passionate about the importance of food literacy and is a long time volunteer with Growing Chefs. He is also fortunate enough to live close to Trout Lake and is a long time shopper at it's farmers' market.

Session: Opportunities and Challenges of Physical Infrastructure to Expand Your Market and Broaden its Appeal

Erick Thompson, ET2media; Penticton Farmers' Market

Erick is a natural born communicator. Prior to co-founding ET2media, Erick spent more than 20 years in television and radio. As a former reporter, anchor and talk show host, he brings a journalistic approach to all his video production projects. In 2009, Erick won an RTNDA (Radio-Television News Directors Association) Award for a TV news series he produced called Islanders in Nepal.
In addition to filming, editing and photography, Erick is also a professional emcee and moderator, president of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce, and chair of the Summerland Skate Park Committee. Together with Erin Trainer, they co-own a communications company, ET2media, and also manage the Penticton Farmers' Market.

Session: Visual Social Media: Creating Compelling Content

Erin Trainer, ET2media; Penticton Farmers' Market

Erin has a passion for helping small business owners and non-profit organizations reach their goals. She enjoys working with all types of people, and believes that creative, strategic and thoughtful communication can solve almost any problem! Erin has a B.A. in Political Science and a diploma in Broadcast Journalism. As a life-long student, she recently completed her diploma in Public Relations. Erin worked as a TV news writer and associate producer for four years at CTV Vancouver Island. In addition to video production, Erin is an active volunteer in the community, and was elected to Summerland Council in 2014. Together with Erick Thompson, they co-own a communications company, ET2media, and also manage the Penticton Farmers' Market.

Session: Visual Social Media: Creating Compelling Content