PRESIDENT & DIRECTOR
SOUTHERN REGION REPRESENTATIVE
Tim Hoven is a fourth generation Alberta Farmer who raises some of the best organic beef around. From the Hoven Farm, near Eckville, AB, Canada, Tim, Lori and their 8 children grow certified organic beef and sell it directly to consumers through their little butcher shop at the Kingsland Farmers Market.
VICE PRESIDENT & DIRECTOR
CENTRAL REGION REPRESENTATIVE
Dawn Boileau is a partner and co-owner with Kate Hook at Sunrise Gardens, a Certified Organic market garden and year-round producer of shoots and micro greens. Their 10 acre farm has been in production since 2004 and Certified Organic since 2007. They are located near the town of Onoway, 80 km northwest of Edmonton.
TREASURER & DIRECTOR
NORTHERN REGION REPRESENTATIVE
Heather is Mom to two sons and two daughters, and a Grandma to six. She and her husband, John, operate a family farm and grass/legume cleaning plant near Fairview, Ab with their oldest son and youngest daughter, making it a fourth generation farm. In 1982 they started their seed plant, Golden Acre Seeds. The plant has been certified organic since 2005 and their farm since 2010. They produce organic oats, wheat, barley, peas, alfalfa, and clovers. A few years ago they expanded the operation to include leafcutter bees to pollinate their alfalfa fields. Heather has 20 years of leadership experience with agricultural organizations, including serving as treasurer of the Peace Region Forage Seed Association and current President of Forage Seed Canada, a national forage seed producer board representing all forage seed producers in Canada.
SECRETARY & DIRECTOR
SOUTHERN REGION REPRESENTATIVE
Trevor has been farming organically since 1989 when he worked on his dad’s market garden near Coaldale, Alberta. His mom’s name is Bea so they called the business “Busy Bea’s Market Garden”. In 1999 Trevor took over the business and continues to farm near Fort Macleod. He mainly grows potatoes, onions and garlic on 10 acres for wholesale markets in Calgary, and has recently returned to the Exhibition Park Farmers’ Market Saturday mornings with a variety of vegetables. He and his wife Cindy have six children aged 4-16. Trevor’s ‘real’ job is teaching full time at a Calvin Christian School.
NORTHERN REGION REPRESENTATIVE
James has been farming with his dad, Henry Thiessen in the Tomkins area for thirty years. They started with all crown land and cleared all of the 1000 acres that they now farm, and have 800 acres to go. They certified organic around 1988, long before organic was popular, with a small producer funded certifying body called Peace River Organic Producers Association. They are now in hemp seed production and oats. James is the local farm representative for Hemp Production Services, a buyer for hemp seed.
Abbie has a B. Sc. in Biological Sciences and a B.A. (Honours) in Linguistics from the University of Alberta. Her interests include cooking, gardening, knitting, travelling, reading, writing and playing sports. Abbie is passionate about food in Alberta, finding herself involved in many levels of Edmonton’s food scene. She has participated in several market development Alberta Agriculture Initiatives, has been the point of contact for new producer-retailer relationships, and has worked with small producers on getting their products market-ready. She oversaw a market strategy analysis with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development in 2013, which found that distribution and logistics are key pieces to the order fulfilment process which continue to pose the greatest challenge for small producers. In 2015, Abbie worked with Gordon Food Services in Edmonton to launch ‘Local Made Easy’, a catalogue of Alberta organic produce for food service buyers across Edmonton and Northern Alberta. Working at the Organic Box since 2011, Abbie has had various roles, including General Manager since 2013. Her tenacity and varied skillset have allowed her to excel in many facets of work, from HR to project management. She has excellent written and verbal communication skills and is first and foremost a team player.
ALBERTA REPRESENTATIVE AT FEDERAL LEVEL
Charles Newell was appointed to the Surface Rights and Land Compensation Boards on December 31st 2013. Charles is a rural Albertan with proven leadership skills and firsthand knowledge of issues related to energy, municipal development and agriculture in the province. During his 7 years of municipal government experience, Mr. Newell oversaw the planning, decision-making and funding for large capital projects. Charles is a lifelong farmer and an experienced Board member in the energy industry, serving on a rural electrification association as well as advising on the start-up of an independent power provider. He holds a diploma from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and has enhanced his education with numerous courses relevant to his industry and community service appointments.
Arnold Van Os
CENTRAL REGION REPRESENTATIVE
Arnold is married to Jeannette and they have 9 kids and 4 grand kids. They farm near Wetaskiwin on a dairy farm milking 130 cows and started transitioning to organics in 2005. Arnold has served on the AB Milk board for 8 years and is currently still a delegate. In that capacity he has lobbied the government on several occasions. He is also serving as an elder in Lighthouse Fellowship and chairs the Wetaskiwin Christian School Society. His passion is to grow the organic industry.
Bernie and his wife Kary have been married for 34 years. They have 2 adult children: Christopher (and his wife Heather and their 2 sons, Rhett and Evan) and daughter Ashton. They farm just south of Etzikom, about an hour SW of Medicine Hat. Bernie has been farming organically for 27 years, raising mostly fall Rye, spring wheat, Durum, peas and Red Fife wheat. Bernie also had an opportunity to raise organic cattle for a few years. From 1996 to 2016, he operated an on-farm organic seed cleaning operation. He was a director for BFPA from 2001 to 2004, also a director for Go Organic from 2006 to 2008. Most recently, he has completed the organic inspector training course and has been hired to do organic inspections for Global Organic Alliance.
Frank has been farming his entire life, working as part of the family farm since leaving high school. The farm, established in 1912, has gone through many phases over time. Homestead, mixed farm, primarily a dairy farm for many years, and in this newest incarnation, an organic mixed farm with an emphasis on direct marketing of protein: eggs, chicken and turkeys, pork and beef. Cereals and forages round out the cropping side. Recent interests beyond organics include building into rotational grazing, cover cropping, and the management and development of wetlands and wild areas both for environmental sustainability and recreation. Frank looks forward to having organics regain its place as “conventional ag” as it always should have been.
Becky Lipton has been working with the organic industry in Alberta since 2008. Originally brought on to coordinate the Alberta Organic Harmonization Project, she is now the Executive Director of Organic Alberta. Becky brings her experience in organizing, strategic planning, facilitation, and program coordination to the position. She also brings her expertise from past work including from her Masters’ degree (women and agriculture), her work with the New Rural Economy research group, and her experience on farms, with farmers’ markets, and agriculture education. Becky is a high energy person who is full of determination and passion for a form of agriculture that she believes has the potential to transform and cultivate a healthy food system – a system that is sustainable for our farmers, our eaters, and everyone in between.
FINANCE AND MEMBERS SERVICES MANAGER
Debbie joined Organic Alberta in January 2015, bringing with her many years of organic involvement at the Prairie, National and International levels. Her experience spans everything from working in organic certification at the local, national and international levels, to the development of the Canadian organic standard and regulation, past board member of the Organic Ag Centre of Canada and many other boards and committees. She is a founding member and President of Organic Connections, and also serves on the IOAS (International Organic Accreditation Services) accreditation committee. Debbie and her late husband, Ian, converted their farm in the rolling hills of southern Saskatchewan to organic production in 1990, and never looked back. Although Debbie has served as editor of the Organic Alberta magazine for several years, she is very excited to be in Edmonton working full time with the amazing team at Organic Alberta.
A graduate of Hiroshima University, Tomoka was previously a resident of Tottori Japan, a region famous for its abundant agriculture and beautiful nature. She enjoys the opportunity to work for Organic Alberta and learn something new about the organic industry in Alberta. She is excited to bring her skills and dedication to the Organic Alberta team.
Cari is a recent graduate of MacEwan University with a degree in communications. She is new to the organic industry, but is thrilled to contribute her skills to such a wonderful and welcoming community that is making an important difference in the world.
PROGRAM & EVENTS COORDINATOR
Alice has always been passionate about the sustainability movement. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in the Human Ecology Program from the University of Alberta. Within her university career Alice founded ECO Style Student Association: a group dedicated to encourage conscious clothing and textile culture while spreading awareness of the environmental and social dangers of fast fashion. Alice has recently been involved with several permaculture projects in Peru both within the Manu jungle and Andean region; there she studied plant medicines, organic agriculture, permaculture, and how to keep cultures alive and thriving based on these foundations. She has continued her journey back in her hometown, learning more about local agriculture, and specified techniques to sustainably adapt to Alberta’s landscapes. Alice believes that evolution towards organics and sustainable living can only be done through a collective effort.
PRAIRIE ORGANIC GRAIN INITIATIVE PROGRAM DIRECTOR
Long before Karen experienced her professional success in agriculture, she was a farm girl. At age of 10 she had her first job, helping her dad load cattle on the farm where she was raised. Like many children of rural Alberta, she was involved in 4-H and public speaking. Karen won many award trips and scholarships, which inspired her to obtain a degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Alberta. Karen has spent time working in various roles in agriculture: Alberta Program & Policy Manager with Western Canadian Wheat Growers, Member Relations with United Grain Growers, and Marketing and Trade Officer with Agriculture Canada.
Karen and her husband also operated a grain farm and 3600-head hog finishing operation in eastern Alberta for a number of years. For the past seven years, Karen has been working on contract in Parks & Recreation in various capacities. Karen is very excited to not only re-enter agriculture but enter into a role where she can add value to a sector that is feeding and fuelling the world. Karen and her husband, Glen, live in Edmonton and have two children, Carter and Georgia.
PRAIRIE ORGANIC GRAIN INITIATIVE OPTIMIZATION STREAM COORDINATOR
Iris is very excited to be joining the team at Organic Alberta and jumping into the world of organic agriculture. While completing an Ecology degree at the University of Toronto, she became very interested in agroecosystems. She spent a summer at the OACC in Truro, Nova Scotia getting introduced to the world of organic agriculture before travelling to the University of Manitoba to do her Masters degree with Dr. Martin Entz, studying reducing tillage in organic systems. After finishing her masters, she continued working with Dr. Entz on the organic wheat and oat breeding programs and the participatory plant breeding program. She also worked with Dr. Yvonne Lawley, also at the U of M, on both conventional and organic agronomy research, working with a range of crops.
ORGANIC LIVESTOCK PROGRAM MANAGER & PRAIRIE ORGANIC GRAIN INITIATIVE ALBERTA IMPLEMENTATION
Melisa has always been interested in and passionate about the local food movement. She has worked in a variety of positions in Alberta, Yukon, Montana, and Washington State that have covered a wide spectrum of learning and living… from experiencing and contributing hard labour in fields and greenhouses, to building collaborative initiatives for farm direct businesses and market managers. She received a master’s degree in Sustainable Food and Agriculture Development in 2010 from the University of Montana and she continues to immerse herself in the study and promotion of the local food movement.
YOUNG AGRARIANS COORDINATOR
Dana strives to support inspired thinking and action in agriculture and rural communities. By thinking broadly and deeply about the systems upon which our society depends, Dana sees us better positioning the industry and our communities for the future. Dana’s work with the University of Alberta’s There’s a Heifer in Your Tank and with Leadership Edmonton has been foundational in developing her passion for creating resourceful, resilient, responsible and adaptive people. Dana’s formal education was in Animal Science, earning a B. Sc. from the U of A but her much-valued informal learning came from hanging out in chicken barns, working with horses and teaching kids (and teachers, parents, etc.) about agriculture. Her and her partner also run C & E Meats at Lacombe, Alberta. They believe that grazing livestock and poultry can heal our planet.