President and Central Alberta 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.
Vice President Alberta Rep at the Federal Level
Terry was born on a farm Northwest of Westlock, which he and his wife Roseanna, now farm. They built a house across the road from his father in 1986 and have lived there ever since. They began their transition to organic production in 1994 and in 1997 were certified by OCIA chapter one. At present they farm 1200 acres of land, calve 140 cows, and sell organic oats whenever the cattle have ample feed. Terry and his family feel strongly about the importance of organic agriculture. He believes in putting industry first and that producers, processors and retailers face challenges that should be approached with common sense solutions. Terry was previously president of the Alberta Organic Producers Association, where he has gained insights into the concerns of both producers and processors. He believes in the maintenance of the integrity of organic products and services and building a strong organic industry that attracts new producers, processors, and retailers to become certified.
Treasurer and Member-At-Large
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.
Secretary and Member at Large
Erin Paulson is the mother of three beautiful little boys and has been involved in the organic industry since she was 10 raising Organic poultry and other livestock with her parents, Ron and Sheila Hamilton, on their farm near Camrose. She grew up selling at local farmers markets and building relationships with the consumer. At 17 Erin and her future husband started a 3 acre Organic strawberry farm. This experience provided the foundation on which Blush Lane (the retail operation owned by her husband Matt and his business partner) is built on.
From 2010 – 2011, Erin ran her own business, Blush Food for Fitness which involved making nutritionally balanced meals using as many locally sourced organic ingredients possible. In 2010 she also wrote and published, in collaboration with a friend, an allergy free cookbook. A second cookbook is currently in the works. Erin believes that eating clean whole food is an important component of being healthy. She is an organic consumer with a direct line into the retail world who dreams of farming again someday.
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.
Northern Alberta Rep
Al and his wife Marilee farm at Fort Vermillion and Al is actively involved organics in the following ways. He is Owner/Manager of Prairie Point Holdings Ltd which is a grain and small seed operation, agronomics and financial management. They farmed conventionally from 1971 – 1996 and in 1997 began organic certification and are now 100% certified organic. Al was on the Board of Directors of the Mackenzie Applied Research Association where he was involved in promotion of field crop research. In addition Al is currently Secretary/Treasurer of the High Level Seed Cleaning Plant, and has had past involvement in the following: Board member of the Northern Alberta Development Council where he promoted northern Alberta economic development; Board member of the Mackenzie Economic Development Council where he focused on development of economics within the Mackenzie County.
Northern Alberta Rep
Soames Smith runs a grassfed cattle operation in the Central Peace area close to Dunvegan Valley. Originally from a small farm in SE England Soames immigrated to Canada with his family in the late 1970s. He helped his family build a small dairy in Central Alberta, then after a short bout in the oil patch, decided to head back to the farm and built a modern 60 cow dairy producing low cost milk from grass. In 1995 they sold the dairy and moved to the Central Peace where they presently farm. After several challenging years they decided to switch to simpler and low carbon footprint production which worked with nature. They now calve in May, bale graze in winter, and in 2008 raised their first crop of 100% organic grass fed beef. Soames has been on the Organic Alberta board for several years and is looking forward to the opportunity to shape the industry and represent Peace farmers at the provincial level in many future years.
Central Region Representative
Sam has been farming since 1979, and became certified organic in 1997. He has been the president of the Alberta Organic Producers Association (AOPA) and has been on the AOPA board for several years. Sam has been serving on the Organic Alberta board for many years and is currently the chair of the oat committee and the beef committee.
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.
Frank Sarro has worked with Community Natural Foods in
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.
Online Communications & Social Media Coordinator
As a marketing graduate, Vanessa Hanel has been assisting Organic Alberta with communications and project coordination since September 2011.
Vanessa’s background is in Marketing; she has a Bachelor of Management (Marketing & Social Responsibility) and a Master’s of Science in Management (Marketing). With a continual focus on social responsibility and not-for-profit work throughout her education, she is thrilled to be putting her skills to work for an organization that is doing such amazing work in an area that she is passionate about.
Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security Regional Coordinator for the Prairies
David Hobson has worked extensively on organic and conventional farms across Canada, New Zealand and Italy. Working for the past three years at the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada (OACC), David coordinated research trials at organic farms throughout the Maritimes, earning a Masters of Science in Agriculture from Dalhousie University. An active member in the local, organic food movement, David is very excited to call Edmonton his new home and be a part of building seed security in the Prairies.
Organic Value Chain and Marketing Program Coordinator
We are very excited to welcome Marianne Stewart to our team at Organic Alberta. Marianne has a background in agriculture, marketing, local food and environmental studies. Having grown up on a beef farm in Southern Ontario, Marianne brings her hands-on knowledge of farming and the agriculture industry to her role as organic value chain and marketing program coordinator. Working for many years as a summer student for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, she brings a diversity of knowledge from crop trials, to food safety and traceability, to on-farm environmental management. More recently she worked on a web-based program aimed at connecting local food buyers, processors, and sellers in Ontario. With an academic research focus on local and organic food marketing, Marianne is happy to have found such a good fit working for Organic Alberta.