President & Director
Central Region Representative
Ward Middleton and his wife Jo-Anne operate as Midmore Farms, managing 750 acres just North of Morinville, Alberta. After purchasing the family farm from Ward's father in 1994, they became certified organic in 1999 as part of a business strategy to make agriculture the primary source of income for their family. Ward worked off the farm in oilfield and forestry until 2009. Regular crops at Midmore Farms include wheat, barley, rye, peas, canola, flax and sweet clover seed, with some less traditional crops such as borage, and milk thistle seed. Midmore Farms is also a member of the Woodlot Association of Alberta and their farm also includes a 1/4 section custom grazing silvipasture, and an 80 acre managed woodlot.
Danny and his wife Miranda own and operate The Organic Box in Edmonton, a local organic food home delivery service. Danny has had a long-time passion for real food and is delighted that so many families in the Capital Region have decided to make a long term commitment to eating sustainable, local organic food and he is passionate about changing our food economy one family at a time. Danny was born and raised in Calgary, and earned his BSc at the University of Calgary. He spent 10 years living and working in Ontario, California and the United Kingdom. He has a business degree from the University of Oxford and firmly believes in grassroots-level business development for the Alberta organics industry. Organic Alberta is a key part of promoting and developing this market. Our early success with The Organic Box has proven that the sky is the limit for Alberta organic products and I would love to bring my background in business and product development to bear for Organic Alberta.
Northern Region Representative
Janice & Ty Shelton own Sand Springs Ranch which uses a blend of Certified Organic, Biodynamic, and Holistic farm practices in the management of 5000+ acres. They run a Certified Organic Market Garden, a Grass-fed Cow/ Calf Beef operation, and a Free-Range Chicken and Pork operation; all of which incorporate their own grain and vegetable seed production. They are currently implementing a CSA Farm Share Program and are involved in two Food Hubs. They also attend the local Farmers Market. There are four generations involved in various aspects of their farm.
Treasurer and 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.
Southern Alberta 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.
Lawrence started his career with food at the age of 13 working in the produce department of the local market in his hometown of Drayton Valley. His career path has come full circle. For the last 15 years Lawrence has been working in whole sale produce distribution in both food service and retail produce sectors in Calgary. His career has seen him involved in all aspects of whole sale distribution working from procurement, logistics, quality control, sales and marketing and organic program development. Lawrence's vision is to create a positive network for smaller producers to have a wholesale distribution channel.
Southern Region Rep
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.
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.
Executive Office 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.
Marketing Program 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.
Organic Livestock Program Manager
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.
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.
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.