We have an exciting group of speakers ready to share their skills and knowledge with you.
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 the 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.
Douglas has worked for Vancity for 13 years with over five years in his current role. He serves the small business needs for Vancity members in the communities of the Fraser Valley, including Maple Ridge, Mission, Abbotsford and Chilliwack. He is a devoted husband, father to two incredible teenagers and has lived in Maple Ridge for the past 18 years. When not working, Douglas can be found coaching or supporting his kids in their various sports or camping with his family and friends.
Evie Lavers is an innovative arts administrator & community engagement facilitator originally from Perth, Western Australia. Now nestled in Nelson, British Columbia, she is the co-founder of Rhythm Club Consultants, Assistant Producer for Tiny Lights Festival, Content Creator for ArtsBC and is a Workshop Trainer for BC Touring Council. She has over 8 years of experience in workshops & festival curation, end-to-end event management, and takes pride in developing strong marketing & communication campaigns. Her purpose-filled passion is developing successful activations & meaningful integrations in remote & rural communities in Australia & North America promoting arts, culture & inclusivity.
Darcy Smith is the B.C. Land Matching Program Manager & Land Matcher – Metro Vancouver & Fraser Valley (youngagrarians.org/land). As a Land Matcher, she’s traveled around BC working with many new entrants, seasoned farmers, and farmland owners, who all share a vision to see the land farmed into the future and help the next generation of farmers get on the land. In addition to her role with Young Agrarians, Darcy edits the BC Organic Grower, a quarterly magazine dedicated to showcasing organic farming across B.C.
Darren is a food supply chain expert with over 20 years of experience. Darren has worked in food retail, category management, inventory management and most recently as a consultant supporting agri-food businesses and organizations in direct marketing, specializing in food hubs. He has worked with clients all over North America from planning, launching, operating and transitioning food hubs.
Greg McLaren is Managing Director of Farm Food Drink. Greg is a business management and marketing professional specializing in marketing, business development, and workshops for farm, food, drink business and organizations. Greg has over 30 years of experience in marketing and sales operations and the teaching of these same processes. Greg has delivered multi-day agri-food business planning programs and has delivered dozens of agricultural business workshops and presentations across BC.
Heather joined the BCAFM in August of 2016 and brings over 15 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.
Josh Vanderheide is a passionate entrepreneur and creative professional with over 15 years of brand and packaging design experience. His passion for ideas is what led him into the world of small community businesses, helping them from inception through to market launch. Seeing passionate business owners succeed is what has driven him over the years and now eventually led him to starting Field House Brewing Co., a small community minded brewery in ‘East Abby’ (Abbotsford), BC.
As an entrepreneur, Josh has led Field House Brewing Co. to a successful start, growing the company to over 60 employees in just over 3 years and winning awards at the BC Beer Awards, including Best New Brewery (2016), Innovator of the Year (2018) and People’s choice for Brewery of the Year 2 years in a row (2018/2019) as well as Awards at National Canadian Brewing Awards and personally as Abbotsford’s U40 Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017.
He also is actively involved in promoting local businesses and working collaboratively with the City of Abbotsford – he sits on the Executive Council of the Downtown Business Association as Treasurer, and is one of the founding members of A&Co. – a local entrepreneur guild that has helped to connect and drive the local business community forward, with a new business mindset of ‘collaboration over competition’. Josh also teaches Brand Identity and Packaging Design as part of the local University Graphic Design Program and is part of the UFV Graphic Design Program Advisory Group.Currently Josh along with the Field House team, are working to help reshape the local food culture, addressing through both micro solutions i.e. they started their own 5 Acre Field House Farms – a integrated farm-AND-table business model and is one of the Co-Founders of The Valley Food + Farm Collective (Not for Profit) to address better access for local foods, supporting local producers and retailers, and focussing on accountability through certification of what ‘Valley Food’ means to us as a community.
Having grown up in Abbotsford, he has strong connections to the community and is passionate about finding ways for Abbotsford to realize its potential as a community.
Keir Cordner is an Environmental Health Officer working in the south area of Vancouver Island for First Nations Health Authority. Keir has over twenty years’ experience working in the roles of food safety officer, drinking water officer, communicable disease officer, small scale food processor project manager, and food safety educator. He graduated from Ryerson University in Toronto and quickly travelled west to work in Kelowna, followed by Port Moody, Courtenay, and now Victoria. He is an active volunteer in the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors and has held the positions of BC Branch President, National Treasurer, and the National Chair of the Council of Professional Experience. Keir has recently been a subject matter expert participating in the development of the BC MarketSafe online course. Keir is adjusting to the empty nest phase of life with his wife Roslyn as his daughter Macy pursues her studies in computer programming in Vancouver.
Kelcey is an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) with Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH). She graduated from Thompson Rivers University (TRU) with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology in 2000 and from the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) with a Bachelor of Technology (with distinction) in Environmental Health (Public Health Inspection) in 2009. She began working as an EHO for VCH in North Vancouver in the fall of 2009 and it was at that time that she became certified with the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors (CIPHI). She has been working as an EHO in the Vancouver office since 2010. Being employed in such an urban setting means the majority of her work involves conducting inspections in food-related operations (i.e. food service establishments, food stores, food commissaries, food trucks, shelters, school lunch programs, care facilities, breweries, distilleries, night clubs, food processing facilities, farmer’s markets, and temporary food service establishments at special events). She has been able to obtain years of experience promoting food safety because of this. In 2016, Kelcey obtained her FOODSAFE Level 1 Instructor Certificate in order to transfer her passion of promoting food safety from her regular line of work to more of an educational setting from time to time.
At 27 years old, Kendall Ballantine shook up like as she knew it and traded in her high-paying corporate career for a life on the farm. As a first generation farmer and the owner of Central Park Farms in Langley, she’s made it her goal to help develop support around local agriculture. Now in their 4th year in business, Central Park Farms specializes in free range chicken, pasture raised pork, and grass fed beef with the majority of their revenue coming from their business at BC farmers markets.
In 2018, Kendall was awarded the Under 40 Business Person of the Year award from the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce and she currently sits on the Township of Langley’s Agricultural Advisory and Economic Enhancement Committee to help support farming in her community.
Marcus first began an interest in food security while studying Human Geography in Montreal. As a student he was integral in the creation of the award winning City Farm School educational training program, coordinating this program led to a position with the English Montreal School Board as an environmental advisor and educator, building numerous school gardens and teaching hundreds of students how to grow their own food. Since relocating to the Island, he has been an Island Health Food Hub Coordinator for the Alberni Valley region, and currently is with Farm to School BC as a regional animator for the Nanaimo and Captial Regions. This past year, Marcus took on the role of Vancouver Island Regional Coordinator for the BCAFM Nutrition Coupon Program, a position that had him work directly with market managers and community partners.
Monica Grover works at Abbotsford Community Services with the Prenatal Nutrition Program and as a facilitator for Best for Babies – a program that works and supports high risk pregnant mothers in Abbotsford. She has been with this program for the last 17 years. Over the years, she Has also developed an expertise in parenting. She runs parenting classes weekly and successfully supports families in reach their parenting goals. Recently, Monica has developed a passion for farmers’ markets. This last year, she worked with the British Columbia Association of Farmers’ Markets as a Regional Coordinator for Metro Vancouver. She incorporates ideas to better local farmers’ markets from her travels globally. She has visited farmers’ markets in Toronto, Arizona, Mexico, and New Mexico, to name a few. She earned her Master’s degree in Public Health from India and moved to Canada 26 years back and currently resides in Abbotsford with her husband.
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.
Tahlia hails from Perth, Western Australia, and joined the BCAFM team in May 2018. In Australia, she worked in the public sector for six years, the most recent two which were spent at the Ministry of Health. During her employment, she gained a lot of insight and knowledge into how the public system works, and most importantly, the importance of gathering accurate data and how to use it.
With a degree in economics and passion for sustainability and equity, Tahlia is always thinking of how to present complex information in easy to understand ways, with the goal of empowering folks to learn.
Currently, Tahlia works as the BC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program Coordinator, enjoying both the technical and people focussed sides of the position. In her free time, she likes to podcast, snowboard, and binge watch tv shows.
A founding member of the Cranbrook Farmer’s Market, Tanya started her market vendor journey selling produce and flowers 13 years ago. Seeing a niche, she created Blackbird Pie Company and for the last 10 years, has sold freshly baked pies to market patrons at the Cranbrook and area markets in the East Kootenay. In 2019, Tanya had the privilege of being awarded the BCAFM Non-Farmer Vendor of the Year Award. Farmer’s markets have given her a unique opportunity not just to grow a small business but also contribute to her community, pursue new challenges and be an advocate for agriculture and small business.
Tara is lecturer at Simon Fraser University, helping people understand how their sustainable choices, one-by-one, add up to big change. She loves shopping at farmers’ markets, and has experience as a market manager and vendor. At events from five to 50,000 people, Tara spreads the word on reduce-reuse-recycle and helps people figure out which bin to use. Working to develop effective policy solutions to pressing climate change concerns in the world today, Tara’s research experience spans areas from food waste to the recycleability of plastics. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Computer Science from Northwestern University, a Master of Agriculture from Colorado State University, and is a current PhD student of Mathematics Education at Simon Fraser University.
Ever passionate about the intersections between community, food, waste and climate, Tess Van Den Bosch 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 with 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 crossed the Great Divide in to Vancouver in 2019 to join the local foodscape and farmers markets with BCAFM. Along with these many passions and pursuits, Tess can also be found camping with her husband, Mitch, and dog, Dash, reading at a local cafe, hiking in both urban and natural environments, tending to her plants, pickling something, or attending a house concert.
Trudi and Nadine are Ablaze Services, a company built on values including intersectionality. They can often be heard asking “who isn’t at the table?”.
Trudi Goels (she/her/hers) is a Certified Diversity Professional which just means she qualified her lived experience with a certificate. She is sought out for her non-profit leadership and currently serves as a Director for the New Westminster Chamber of Commerce and Women Transforming Cities, and as a Knowledge Philanthropist at Vantage Point. She’s a co-founder of Women on Wednesdays, a champion of body liberation, an advocate for better allyship, and a community developer. She’s a fan of plain language, helping others relate ideas to what they already understand, and celebrating success. She loves a good pun and her dog named Friday.
Nadine Nakagawa (she/her/hers) is a city councillor in New Westminster and in 2020 brought forward a thorough motion to ensure New West is an inclusive city. She is a community organizer, listener, and activist. She loves doing work that elevates underrepresented voices and that makes deep system change. She is often found doing this work from her seat on city council in New Westminster, in the community, and with Ablaze Services. She also loves sparkly eyeshadow and wearing flowers in her hair.
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.
In addition to Wylie’s years of experience as a rancher, vendor and market director she has worked as a Recovery Manager (contractor) when necessary during the past three years on both wildfire and flood disasters for local government and private business, seeing this as an extension of her work in community economic development.
Conference program overview
We are in the process of building an exciting program comprised of amazing trainings, workshops and speakers. More learning opportunities to be announced!Learn More