Staff & Board
heather.ohara (@) 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.
peter (@) 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.
tahlia (@) 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 (@) bcfarmersmarket.org
Meredith grew up in rural Nova Scotia, lived in Toronto, Calgary and Dublin before settling down in Vancouver to raise a family. She is a mother of three children and spends her time volunteering with many organizations that her children are involved in and also helps prepare family meals once a month at Ronald McDonald House. She works part time with the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets and also with the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. She has an affinity for the outdoors and loves back country camping, kayaking, hiking and skiing.
gabrielle (@) bcfarmersmarket.org
Gabrielle joined the BCAFM in July 2019 for a period of 14 months. Interested by the interdependence of health, nature and global environmental issues, Gabrielle has completed a Bachelor of Science in Biology at Concordia University and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Health at University of Montreal. Her recent studies in Community Economic Development has brought her to deepen her understanding of how local food systems are powerful to support vibrant, inclusive and collaborative communities. She has worked in the non-profit sector for the past five years and more recently was working as the Communications Coordinator at Food Secure Canada. Her passion for cooking earthy and colourful dishes, and baking with seasonal fruits has been inherited from several family members. As Gabrielle recently moved in Vancouver for a period of one year, her free time will be dedicated to discovering as many BC farmers’ markets as possible, enjoying the outdoors, and exploring the vast variety of mountain biking trails that BC has to offer.
tess (@) bcfarmersmarket.org
Ever passionate about the intersections between community, food, waste and climate, Tess has actively pursued social and environmental transformation since 2012 in Alberta and Ontario. This has involved completing her Bachelor of Arts in Environment & Urban Sustainability at Ryerson University in 2019. Concomitantly, she was ignited by the spirit of farmers’ markets and avidly dug into the role of market manager for two years at the Junction Farmers Market in Toronto. An adventurer seeking to combine these experiences with her love of nature and involvement in leadership training, event waste management, urban farming, vermiculture, community gardening, and civic engagement, Tess has now crossed the Great Divide to Vancouver with her partner, Mitch and dog, Dash, and looks forward to supporting the local foodscape and farmers’ markets with BCAFM. Along with these many passions and pursuits, Tess can also be found reading or writing at her local cafe, hiking in both urban and natural environments, tending to her plants, pickling something, or attending a house concert.
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.
Since then Vickey has been elected to the Board of Directors for First Credit Union, as well as being elected as a councillor in the Village of Cumberland.
Jim has experience in government relations at all levels and has served on various boards and committees. Jim acquired governance experience as a past director of one of Canada’s largest credit unions. With his past employment, Jim was responsible for project design, management, human resources, and risk assessment. Jim also has degrees in political science and accounting from UBC and has many years’ experience putting these into practice at various organizations and non-profits. Most recently, Jim has been a director on the board of the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM). Jim is also on the board of directors of a BC Housing associated society in New Hazelton, and the provincial BC Non-Profit Housing Association.
Jim believes that volunteer organizations need representation from people who have experienced the effects of poorly planned growth. Jim was born in Surrey and lived on a small farm before Surrey became a parking lot. Jim was involved with drafting the policy that led to the formation of the Agricultural Land Commission. He moved up to Northern BC in the late 1980’s and obtained a crown land agricultural lease to develop a farm in the Kispiox Valley. Jim enjoys putting his practical experience, education and skills to use on the BCAFM board of directors to support the strategic direction and growth of farmers’ markets across BC.
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.
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.