BC Association of Farmers' markets
Supporting BC farmers and sustaining our local food supply means ensuring we have land to farm and fresh food to eat. It's a way to nurture the places we live and visit.

2018 Speakers and Bios

2018 Speakers and Bios

Ethan Adeland, Food Bloggers of Canada

Ethan is the co-founder and Managing Director of Partnerships for Food Bloggers of Canada. His mandate is to create mutually beneficial social campaigns for Canadian food bloggers with FBC's food and agricultural brand partners. Social media and social influencer marketing are at the heart of these blogger/brand partnerships. Ethan's background in marketing and merchandising has had him work with some of North America's most recognizable food, agriculture and sports brands. Ethan lives in Vancouver and makes the West End Farmers Market a regular stop in his Saturday morning routine. 

Session: Building Community Through Social Connection: Creating and Implementing a Cohesive Marketing Strategy for Your Farmers' Market

Kendall Ballantine, Central Park Farms

In 2015, after falling for a farm boy, 31-year-old Kendall Ballantine traded her power suits for gum boots, and Central Park Farms was born. Located in beautiful south Langley, they have a goal of helping their community make ethical and sustainable food choices. Specializing in non-GMO fed pasture raised chicken, pasture raised pork, grass fed beef, and farm fresh eggs from pasture raised hens, it’s all about making sure the animals are raised in a positive environment.

Believing in transparency over certifications, they open the farm doors and let consumers see exactly where their food comes from, how it’s raised, and who the farmers are behind it all. Prior to becoming a farmer, Kendall focused her education on Business & Marketing through BCIT. This lead to her becoming a successful blogger, guest co-host on 99.3 The Fox radio station, and allowed her to work with top brands through their social media campaigns.

Session: Telling Your Farming Story Through Social Media

Amanda Broad, Esquimalt Farmers Market

As a board member of the Esqimalt Farmers Market, Amanda is part of a team of waste free ambassadors who are committed to supporting local growers, bakers and makers while creating a vibrant and resilient community

Session: Waste Free Dreams: A Farmers' Market's Journey


Debra Cebula, Cowichan Green Community

Debra has a background in environmental technology and extensive experience in cooking and food preservation. She currently manages Cowichan Green Community’s (CGC) FruitSave program, the BCAFM Coupon Program, and is a key intern with the Incubator Seed Farm Project. Debra lead the Food Skills for Families cooking classes, the Family Food Preservation Workshops, and is a regular contributor to CGC’s Ceres Edible Landscaping company.

Session: Connecting the Dots - Cowichan's Food Hub

Jen Gamble, Certified Organic Associations of BC

Jen is the Executive Director of Operations for the Certified Organic Associations of BC (COABC), a non-profit organization that oversees organic certification in BC. COABC aims to lead, support and enhance the certified organic food system in BC. Over the past two years in her role with COABC, Jen has been working with the Ministry of Agriculture to help smooth the transition into the new provincial regulation that will ensure organic claims are verified by certification. 

Jen has a long history of involvement in the food system, from farming to advocacy. As a farmer, she could see the disconnect between farmers, consumers and the food system which inspired her to became a deeply dedicated member of the organic food movement.

Session: BC Government Changes to Organic Labelling


Mirella Colagrande, Esquimalt Farmers Market

As a board member of the Esqimalt Farmers Market, Mirella is part of a team of waste free ambassadors who are committed to supporting local growers, bakers and makers while creating a vibrant and resilient community.

Session: Waste Free Dreams: A Farmers' Market's Journey

Vanessa Daether, Farm|Food|Drink Business Advisory Team

Vanessa is a researcher specializing in food security and agricultural market research. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University, a Masters of Arts in Human Security and Peacebuilding from Royal Roads (RRU), and is currently a doctoral candidate within RRU’s Doctor of Social Sciences program. She spent the early part of her career interning and working with agricultural, seed saving, and food security organizations across western Canada and abroad. 

In 2011, an opportunity to work with the Cowichan Green Community, a Food Hub in Duncan, brought her back to Vancouver Island. Today, Vanessa works as the Lead Researcher for Farm|Food|Drink Business Advisory Team, conducting research that supports the growth and viability of small to medium-sized farm and food enterprises, as well as local food markets.

Session: BC Farmers' Markets - Market Research and Marketing Strategy


Paige Dampier, Langley Community Farmers' Market

Paige Dampier is a farmer and vendor of organic veggies, and is currently in the second term of her two-term commitment to the Langley Community Farmers' Market Society board. She is the current chair of the board, working with the vice-chair to transition out smoothly. She has a Master's degree from the School of Community and Regional Planning at UBC which does not qualify her to grow your carrots, but which did result in some skills useful to the farmers' market boardroom. 

Colleen Donovan, Farmers Market Integrity Project

Colleen is the founding Coordinator of Washington State’s “Farmers Market Integrity Project” which, in partnership with an advisory team of farmers' market leaders, farmers, and industry experts, is developing a voluntary, statewide approach to ensuring public trust in farmers' markets. Over the past 20 years, Colleen has worked with nonprofits, government agencies, universities, and farms. Most recently, Colleen worked with Washington State University coordinating statewide farmers' market and direct marketing research, education, and training. 

Colleen also works independently, contracting with multiple agriculture organizations including USDA, Washington State Farmers Market Association, King County Agriculture Program, and the Farmers Market Coalition. She is co-author of the WA State Department of Agriculture’s “Handbook for Small and Direct Marketing Farms,” and “Washington Farmers Market Management Toolkit,” among other publications. Prior to her WSU work, Colleen served as Program Manager for Heifer International’s NW Region. In October 2017, Colleen joined the WSDA Organic Program Team to assist with outreach and education. Colleen has a BS from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and MA from the University of Washington.

Session: Transparency and Integrity at Farmers' Markets - Lessons from Washington and BC

Randy Elliott, Vancouver Farmers' Markets

Randy got involved with the Vancouver Farmers Markets (VFM) as soon as he moved to Vancouver from Alberta. He started as a volunteer, was quickly hired as a part-time employee, and is now one of VFM's year-round District Managers. Randy currently oversees the West End, Downtown and Nat Bailey Farmers Markets.

Randy was drawn to VFM once he learned of the Food Scraps Drop Spot, VFM's pilot at-market composting program. He has been actively pursuing "Beyond Zero Waste" and "Leave No Trace" principles at Vancouver markets by working with vendors and consumers to be leaders in waste reduction. Recently, VFM banned all trash cans and is requiring waste-producing vendors to have compost and recycling bins.

When Randy's not at the farmers' market, he is in the wood shop at BCIT, learning about the intricacies of fine wood joinery (and crafting beautiful wood things) or in the kitchen, blending his seasonal market finds into smoothies and other tasty dishes. 

Session: Waste Free Dreams: A Farmers' Market's Journey


Chris Hammer, Island Chefs Collaborative

Chris held the position of Executive Chef at the Royal Colwood Golf Course in Victoria for ten years following his time as chef of the popular locavore restaurant Camille’s on Bastion Square, and is currently the president of the Island Chefs Collaborative. He is an explorer of the many realms in the world of the culinary arts, including teaching at the Camosun College Professional Cook training program, supporting a number of roles at British Columbia’s Government House, cooking on private yachts, and a brief culinary adventure in the high arctic. He is an ardent supporter of promoting and using local foods, along with a strong commitment to supporting local agricultural sustainability and food systems.

Session: Farmers, Markets, and Chefs!


Melissa Hartfiel, Food Bloggers of Canada

Melissa is the co-founder and Managing Director of Content Creation for Food Bloggers of Canada. Her mandate is to promote and support Canadian food blogging talent throughout Canada with content creation and social media marketing. Social media is one of her most powerful tools for maintaining and growing a vibrant and engaged community of over 2000 food bloggers and tens of thousands of Canadian food lovers. She is a graphic designer and writer by trade and shops at her local North Delta Farmer's Market every Sunday during the summer. 

Session: Building Community Through Social Connection: Creating and Implementing a Cohesive Marketing Strategy for Your Farmers'  Market

Anna Helmer, Helmer's Organic Farm

Anna runs Helmer's Organic Farm, a fourth generation family run farm in the Pemberton Valley - the "Seed Potato Capital of North America!" Anna's farming practices meet or exceeds organic certification standards, and she also follows Biodynamic methods to further build soil health and fertility. She is a 20 year veteran of the Vancouver Farmers Markets and is currently selling her award winning potatoes (among other produce) at the Trout Lake, Kitsilano, and Nat Bailey locations. She is also a farm vendor at the Pemberton Farmers Market. 

A Farmer's Guide to Best Practices in Selling at Farmers' Markets

Heather Kaye, www.cow-op.ca

The Cowichan Valley Co-operative Marketplace (CVCM) is a non-profit Community Services Co-operative formally incorporated in 2014, guided by a membership made up of local farmers, food processors, and community partners. This project is managed by the co-operative’s General Manager, Heather Kaye. Heather has been involved in the co-operative’s development since its inception and led the development and building of the online marketplace initiative. Heather currently manages all aspects of the online farmers’ market, the co-operative membership, as well as all of the co-operative’s other projects and events.

Heather has extensive experience managing a number of food security and agriculture-related programs with the Cowichan Green Community for over seven years including Wild Food Walks, Farm to School Lunch Program, the KinPark Youth Urban Farm, and the production of eight editions of the direct farm marketing guide, “Cowichan Grown Farm, Food and Drink Map.” She has a BA in English Literature from the University of Manitoba, and an agricultural diploma from the university's Faculty of Agriculture. She's worked in online resources marketing (Red River Press Inc.) and agricultural publishing (Issues Ink) for several years prior to moving to Vancouver Island in 2008. 

Connecting the Dots - Cowichan's Food Hub

Greg McLaren, Farm|Food|Drink Business Advisory Team

Greg is Managing Director of Farm Food Drink – Business Advisory Team Inc. and Left Field Marketing. Greg is a business management and marketing professional specializing in marketing, business development, and workshops for Farm|Food|Drink businesses and organizations. He has over 30 years of experience with organizations like the BC Association of Farmers' Markets, Small Scale Food Canada, and has helped grow success stories like Natural Pastures Cheese Company, Eatmore Sprouts, and 40 Knots Winery. Farm Food Drink recently completed a market research plan and market strategy plan through the Market Development Preparedness Program for BC Association of Farmers’ Markets

Session: BC Farmers' Markets - Market Research and Marketing Strategy

Tabitha McLoughlin, Coquitlam Farmers Market

Tabitha is the Executive Director of the Coquitlam Farmers Market Society (CFMS). She began working with the organization in 2006 and has spent the past 10 years promoting the importance of supporting local food and a local economy, engaging the community, and growing the presence of the CFMS within the local community. Tabitha has completed SFU's Community Economic Development Certificate, and has her Non-Profit Management Certificate. She works with other non-profit organizations to implement various food security programs.

Kids Programming at the Farmers' Market;
Good Governance at Your Local Farmers' Market


Christopher Napier, Napier West Enterprises

Having studied biochemistry, microbiology and food science at the University of Guelph, Christopher found his calling in the field of regulatory affairs in the food industry. After working in the bakery, dairy and import sectors, and carefully honing his knowledge under experienced regulatory affairs specialists, he joined forces with Marianna Suchy, B.Sc. Food Science, also from the University of Guelph, and Napier West Enterprises was born

With their combined knowledge and experience, Christopher and Marianna navigate the complex legal landscape set forth in acts and regulations for small food manufacturers and food importers to create compliant label copy for their unique products. Whether your company needs a sticker label for an import, or a complete consulting solution including nutrition facts and nutrition content claims, the team at Napier West can tailor a package for your products. 

Session: Traceability from Farm to Fork


Heather O'Hara, BC Association of Farmers' Markets

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.

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, completed the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Tsawwassen First Nation Farm School program.

Session: A Farmer's Guide to Best Practices in Selling at Farmers' Markets


Sion Shyng, BC Centre for Disease Control

Sion Shyng is a Food Safety Specialist at the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC). He has worn many “hats and hairnet” in his 25+ years in food processing and public health. Sion joined the Environmental Health Services team at the BCCDC in 2003, and splits his time between dairy inspections, food safety and processing consultations, and food safety education. He is a “Food Techie” at heart, and an advocate for food safety training. In 2009, the BC Food Safety Initiative project received the BC Premier’s Award for collaboration. Sion was the project manager for the outreach element that developed the successful A BC HACCP Training Program. Sion is kept busy with his involvement in the expanding FOODSAFE suite of training programs.

Session: Food Safety at Farmers' Markets: Updates and new developments on food safety training and market requirements

Daphne Sidaway-Wolf, BC Ministry of Health

Daphne’s interest in food safety began when she was three and “Salmonella” became part of her vocabulary. She holds a B.Sc.(Agr. Eng.) and an M.Sc. focusing on food processing, both from McGill University. She worked as an Energy Engineer - Food Processing at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Ottawa, and became the Chief of the Food Processing Section when she moved to the BC Ministry of Agriculture in Victoria. As head of the Trade and Intergovernmental Relations Branch and then the Strategic Policy and Planning Branch, she contributed to the Canada/BC agri-food policy agreements, which increased food safety and innovation funding in BC.

Now at the BC Ministry of Health, she led development of training materials to help food processors meet the Food Premises Regulation’s food safety plan requirements. Daphne, Director of Food Safety at MoH, sits on the FOODSAFE Steering Committee. She is the Chair of the ProcessSafe Steering Committee that is developing food safety training materials for workers new to food processing.

Session: Food Safety at Farmers' Markets: Updates and new developments on food safety training and market requirements

Kevin Touchet, Interior Health Authority

Kevin is a BCIT Environmental Health program graduate, and has worked in the Health Protection Program in Interior Health since 1988.  He worked as a field Environmental Health Officer until 2003 and has worked in various management and supervisor roles since that time.  He is currently a Practice Leader for Environmental Health and has a keen interest in the Food Safety program, both locally and at the provincial level. He lives in Kamloops and enjoys his regular visits to area farmers' markets!

Session: Food Safety at Farmers' Markets: Updates and new developments on food safety training and market requirements

Steve Walker Duncan, Island Chefs Collaborative

Steve was born and raised in the Lower Mainland and began cooking professionally in Victoria. He travelled to Europe in 1986 where an award-winning cooking style created opportunities to work in the UK, Spain and the Netherlands. He returned to Canada in 2003 to join Camosun College’s Culinary Arts Department where he is currently the Program Chair. Steve has owned and operated a number of culinary businesses in Victoria, hosted the popular television series “Flavours of the West Coast,” and co-authored an accompanying book. Some of his certifications include a Master’s Degree in Education (M.Ed.), a BC Professional Instructor Diploma (PIDP), a Certified Chef de Cuisine (CCC), Red Seal Cook, and National Vocational Qualification (NVQ). He has also been awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and was named the Canadian Culinary Federation’s (CCFCC) Chef of the Year in 2009 and 2010.
Steve is the vice-president the Island Chefs Collaborative, a board member of Growing Young Farmers Society, a chef educator with Growing Chefs, and an advisory board member of Go2Cook Program.

SessionFarmers, Markets, and Chefs!


Miche Warwick, Eat Grow Flourish

Miche is a passionate foodie and farmer who has been directly involved with local food systems for the past 10 years. From working on local farms and orchards, to small farmers' market management and food-focused communications and program coordination, to farming for small markets, Miche brings an extensive amount of experience to the table.

Located in Rossland, Miche managed the Rossland Mountain Market farmers' market for four years, and is the founder of the Rossland Mountain Market Society. With a strong desire to see small, localized food systems thrive, she devotes her time to helping small farmers and food producers get their food onto the plates of more local residents. Miche led the Rossland Mountain Market to win Small Farmers' Market of the Year in 2015, and she was also awarded the "Local Advocate of the Year" award by We Heart Local BC in 2015.

Session: Growing Your Small Farmers' Market