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.

2019 Speakers and Bios

2019 Speakers and Bios

Lisa Aasebo Kennedy, Creative Monkeys Children's Programs

Lisa hails from Vancouver, but fell in love with the Kootenays over seven years of performing, writing, and directing with summer theatre at Fort Steele Heritage Town, and Kimberley Summer Theatre. Lisa officially relocated to the Cranbrook area in March 2013, realizing her life-long dream of opening her own Children’s Theatre Companies: Creative Monkeys for 3-11 year olds, and Theatre Boot Camp for 12 years to adult. She has adjudicated the Speech Arts section of the East Kootenays Performing Arts Festival four times, acted as Artist-in- Residence at Parkland Middle School and Kimberley Independent School, created original, youth-led productions for the Boys and Girls Club of Cranbrook, toured the East Koootenays with original, family-friendly shows commissioned by the Early Years Committee, Strongstart, Fernie Museum, and The Cranbrook History Centre, taught theatre classes and camps in both Cranbrook and Kimberley, and even found the time to get married and have a little one of her own. Lisa has professionally trained in both the Theatre and Musical Theatre Programs at Capilano University in North Vancouver. She has performed for over 30 years on stages and film sets throughout Western Canada, and in between, has spent many hours teaching and creating theatre for young people. Lisa holds an unwaivering passion for enviromental education and is dedicated to creating fun, positive, accessible, culture-changing environmental workshops and performances for youth; our greatest natural resource.

SessionSquirrel Learns to Grow


Stuart Anderson, Commnity Futures North Okanagan

Stuart Anderson is a Business Services Advisor with Community Futures North Okanagan and delivers succession planning services to businesses of all size. Stuart was a Chartered Accountant and has worked on business valuation engagements for small, medium and international companies. He has also owned his own small businesses.

SessionSmall Business Valuation - An Overview and Succession Planning Tool


Josie Cale, Ktunaxa Kinbasket Child and Family Services

Josie Cale was born and raised in the Kimberley area. She has an extensive background in the field of Conflict Resolution and Communication, having studied at the College of the Rockies, Royal Roads University and Pepperdine University. She currently works for Ktunaxa Kinbasket Child and Family Services as a Proposal & Report Writer.

Session: Effective Conflict Management


Zan Comerford, Rhythm Club

Zan Comerford is the co-founder of Rhythm Club alongside Evie Lavers. With seven years of success in marketing niche events, artists, and ideas to international audiences, Zan is Rhythm Club’s resident enthusiasm expert. She specializes in creative, connective marketing campaigns that increase sales, grow community, and push good into the world. Zan currently works in media and marketing with many events, festivals, record labels, artists, and businesses up and down North America's west coast.

SessionsDemystifying Social Media Marketing;  Captivating Through Storytelling


Paige Dampier, Close to Home Organics

Paige hails from Abbotsford where she and her husband own and operate Close to Home Organics, a mixed vegetable and berry farming business. Close to Home is located on land owned by the Glen Valley Organic Farm Cooperative, a co-operatively owned farm that recently celebrated 20 years of sustainable farming. Produce from Close to Home Organics can be found at two weekly farmers' markets and through a seasonal Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) program. Paige is the Chair of the volunteer board of the Langley Community Farmers’ Market Society and is an active unit leader with the Girl Guides of Canada. Paige and Chris attempt to balance their business’ needs with volunteer commitments and raising three young daughters. As a result, they are continually learning from their failures.

Session: Is My Business Profitable? Tools to Help Vendors 

Leslie Dyck, Mount Waddington Community Food Initiative

Leslie Dyck is the Coordinator of the Mount Waddington Community Foods Initiative, and on the board of directors of the North Island Farmers and Artisans Market. She holds a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Victoria. Her graduate project took an in-depth look into the space between grassroots organizing and the top down medical model looking for another way to develop community in rural and remote areas. Her career path is varied and woven around international travel which has shaped her world view.
Leslie and her family moved to the Port Hardy area seven years ago where they strive to live locally, seasonally, and as close to their food supply as possible. If you don’t see Leslie at the local library, you will find her foraging in the woods, at the community garden, or in her backyard trying to keep her small flock of laying hens out of her burgeoning market garden.

Session: Developing a Farmers' Market in a Rural and Remote Area with "No Farmers" - Our Story


Joy Emmanuel, CoopZone

Joy has been working in the co-op sector since 2004. She is an experienced co-op developer, researcher and writer. Joy has served on the board of seven co-ops and is currently a director at CoopZone, the national co-op developers association.

SessionStarting a Farm Marketing Co-op



Belinda Ewald-Middleton, Destination BC

Bio coming soon!

Session: Elevating the BC Farmers' Markets Brand with Destination BC and Farm|Food|Drink

Marcus Gill, Salt Spring Community Market Society

Marcus is the president of the Salt Spring Community Market Society and participates at the Tuesday market selling baked goods with his partner Lila for their business Hips & Haws. Marcus is also the head chef at The Treehouse Cafe, one of the busiest businesses on Salt Spring Island.

Session: Harvest Dinner Fundraiser

Livia Lara, Cranbrook Farmer's Market

Livia has been the Cranbrook Farmer's Market manager since May 2016. Born and raised in Brazil, moved to Canada three and half years ago with her young family to attend the Sustainable Business Post Degree Program at the College of the Rockies. She also has a bachelor degree in Tourism & Hospitality and Business Administration. Her background experience is working with events, conferences and group trips.

SessionEngaging Local Partners


Greg McLaren, Farm|Food|Drink Inc. - Business Advisory Team

Greg is the Managing Director of Farm|Food|Drink Inc.– Business Planning and Brand Creative. Greg specializes in strategic planning, marketing, business development, and workshops for farm, food, and drink businesses and organizations. He has over 30 years of experience with organizations like the BC Association of Farmers' Markets, Small Scale Food Processor Association, and has helped grow success stories like Natural Pastures Cheese Company, Eatmore Sprouts, and 40 Knots Winery. Farm|Food|Drink completed a market research plan and market strategy plan through the Market Development Program and has recently completed a Brand Refresh for BC Farmers’ Markets.  
SessionsAre Farmers' Markets the Key to Food Hub Success?
Elevating the BC Farmers' Markets Brand with Destination BC and Farm|Food|Drink


Colin McNair, Salt Spring Community Market Society

Colin is the treasurer of the Salt Spring Community Market Society and participates at the Tuesday market with the farm he runs, Heyday Farm, with his partner Sofya. Their farm specializes in late harvest production that leads the way on Salt Spring Island. 

Session: Harvest Dinner Fundraiser

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

Sessions: Elevating the BC Farmers' Markets Brand with Destination BC and Farm|Food|DrinkFarmers' Markets as Incubators


Neva Perrott, North Island Farmers and Artisans Market

Neva is originally from rural Alberta. However, British Columbia’s diverse naturescapes drew her to the coast in her early twenties. She has lived in Hyde Creek for ten years with her husband, and is now an entrepreneurial SAHM of two young girls. Neva is drawn to things that heal and nourish the body as a whole and has spent her adult life cultivating that lifestyle. A backyard grower with a passion for learning, she is a natural problem solver. The problem being her town had no farmers' market. She created one after some encouragement from a social media group. She has managed the Port McNeill Farmers Market since its inception seven years ago and is currently board president of the North Island Farmers and Artisans Market Association.

Session: Developing a Farmers' Market in a Rural and Remote Area with "No Farmers" - Our Story


Rob Pingle, Salt Spring Community Market Society

Rob has coordinated the Salt Spring Tuesday Market for four years and manages the Salt Spring Saturday Market as well. Previously he was the operations manger for the Victoria Film Festival.

SessionHarvest Dinner Fundraiser


Anna-Marie Rautenbach, College of the Rockies

Anna-Marie has over 20 years of international experience in the Education and Hospitality Industries. Her speciality areas include: Food & Nutrition, Consumer Guidance, Post School Education, Culinary Skills, Food & Beverage Management, Hospitality Services and General Management soft skills.

Anna-Marie’s career started at the University of Technology in South Africa as an instructor and department head. She then worked as Private Chef to the South African Consul General in New York City, and later returned to South Africa as Catering Manager at a boutique hotel. After relocating to Dubai, she joined a Hospitality College as the Academic Manager with the primary responsibility to establish and oversee the Hospitality Management program launch as well as college operations including International Academic and Quality accreditation.

After settling in Canada, Anna-Marie continued her career in education as an instructor in Hospitality Management programs at both public and private colleges. During 2017, she was appointed by the College of the Rockies to develop the Hospitality Management program. Subsequently, she was appointed as program coordinator as well as instructional faculty in the Diploma in Hospitality Management, Invermere campus.

With a passion for customer service excellence, she qualified as SuperHost instructor and is sharing her expertise throughout the Columbia Valley and greater Kootenay region.

Session:  SuperHost Training


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 and Farmers' Markets


Hailey Troock, Young Agrarians

Hailey has a professional background in public policy, bilateral negotiation, project administration and business support, and has enjoyed using these skills within the B.C. Land Matching Program to help local communities promote and strengthen sustainable and sovereign local food systems. Meeting farmers, landowners and allies through her work as the Young Agrarians Land Matcher in the Columbia Basin region over the past six months has been incredibly inspiring, and Hailey is excited to share the work of YA with others at the BCAFM conference. When not working with Young Agrarians, Hailey can be found camping, snowboarding, taking pictures, gardening, making music and working on her side hustle in E-Commerce consultancy and training. Hailey currently resides north of Nelson.

 Land Matching Program with the Young Agrarians

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


Anice Wong, Photographer, BCAFM Staff

With a diverse background in Film & Video Production, as well as International Development, Anice brings creativity and critical thinking to the table. She has worked as a staff photographer with local media outlets in Toronto, a marketing company in Vancouver, and various non-profit organizations in Canada and West Africa. Now, she works as the Outreach & Programs Coordinator at BCAFM, and was one of the photographers shooting for the BC Farmers' Market Trail. Although she currently doesn't work full time as a photographer, Anice is always happy to share tips and tricks on how to take great photos.  

Session: Farmers' Market Photography