Speakers are listed alphabetically by last name. Please note all speakers are subject to change.
John is a partner in Ardiel Cider House/Georgian Hills Vineyards and third generation apple grower. He has been producing apples in the Beaver Valley for 42 years since he succeeded his father in 1976. Along with his sons Greg and Liam, he operates approximately 300 acres of apples, pears & grapes. John is also a director of the Georgian Bay Peeler Group, responsible for marketing the members' peeler grade spy apples to large and small processors in Canada and the USA. For the last two years John has been a director on the quickly growing Ontario Craft Cider Association.
Kyle grew up on our apple orchard and was born into the fourth generation family farm in Clarksburg, Ontario. Together with his father Shane Ardiel, they currently operate a 150 acre farm with 90 acres planted in apple orchard. Their orchard is a mix of high density and older M26 size trees with approximately 70% in higher densities with more growing yearly as the farm retools. Kyle uses his business degree and a CPA designation for analysis of the farm planning. In the winter months, he works with BDO on farm clients on tax planning and analysis of farms from the financial perspective. Every year, Kyle attempts to implement new changes to the farm from new rootstocks trails to new technologies to find the right balance that works in their climate.
Henry co-founded Field Sparrow Farms in 2007. He and his family produce grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken, turkey, and pork on their farm near Bobcaygeon, Ontario. Farmers' Markets have always been a core feature of their business model, and they attend three per week during the summer season. Henry also coordinates the Alternative Land Use Services program for the Peterborough and Kawartha Lakes region on behalf of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, and he was the founding coordinator of the Sustainable Agriculture program at Fleming College. He currently serves as a director for the Peterborough Regional Farmers Network and the National Farmers Union Local 345.
Dr. Brita Ball
Dr. Ball helps firms improve their food safety culture so they have confidence that workers understand and follow procedures even when no one is looking. She has worked across the food sector from gate to plate, and has extensive experience in adult education and training. Dr. Ball coaches management to lead food safety so the whole organization follows. She also customizes and delivers training so employees know the "why" as well as the "what" and "how" of their jobs. Dr. Ball holds a PhD in behaviour-based food safety, Master's degrees in food safety and rural extension, and a Bachelor's degree in agriculture from the University of Guelph. She also holds certifications in talent development and professional business coaching. Dr. Ball is chief consultant and coach at her own firm, and volunteers as chair of the Food Safety Education subcommittee for the International Association for Food Protection.
Based in Guelph, Ontario, Nick represents SAI Platform across the Americas and leads crop-based projects around the world, currently in Russia, Italy, Turkey, the US and Canada. The Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform is an organization active on every crop-growing continent of the world, striving to harness the collaborative power of its members to accelerate widespread adoption of sustainable agricultural practices. Nick has managed projects in agriculture sustainability for 15 years, spending time with OSCIA, Grain Farmers of Ontario, OMAFRA, and currently through his own business, Blue Orenda. Nick is a trained ecologist with an MBA in Leadership & Sustainability. He also has a variety of certifications including Sustainability Reporting, Change Management and Farm Transition Management.
Wendall manages U.S. Borax's U.S. and Canada training, agricultural research, and some key accounts. He has more than 25 years of experience in the U.S. agriculture industry including broad engagement with digital agriculture. In addition, Wendall is a Certified Crop Advisor and has owned and managed his own farming operation in Iowa. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Business from Iowa State University of Science and Technology.
Vaughn is a Senior Scientist working for The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research. Since 2004, his research focus has been on sap-feeding mealybugs in vineyards, with an emphasis on their ecology, biology and ability to transmit (vector) grapevine leafroll virus. By examining the inter-relationship between the vine, virus and vector, his findings have contributed to the development of a practical and financially sustainable virus management approach in New Zealand. Vaughn's doctoral thesis, An integrated strategy for managing Grapevine leafroll-associated virus 3 in red berry cultivars in New Zealand vineyards, included a series of management recommendations that have been communicated to, and widely adopted by, the New Zealand wine sector.
Matt is a 4th year PhD candidate at Cornell University. He earned his undergraduate degree in biology and anthropology with distinction from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 2015. There, he studied biological control of winter moth (Operophtera brumata), an invasive forest pest of the Northeast USA and Canada. He also worked on diseases of honey bees (Apis mellifera), tracking the origin of these epizootics in wild bee species. Currently, he studies the role of orchard dwelling flies in the transmission of fire blight (Erwinia amylovora). He focuses on factors that affect successful acquisition and transmission as well as how diseased plant tissues change the behavior of flies to enhance transmission. Looking forward, his goal is to advance knowledge in agricultural pest systems to develop sustainable management practices. After graduate school, he desires a research or policy position geared towards advancing sustainable and cost-effective solutions to challenges in specialty crops.
Dr. Amy Bowen
Dr. Bowen joined the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in 2009 and was appointed Research Director, Consumer Insights in 2017. With a focus on understanding the consumer, Amy leads a team of researchers to create value-added results for horticulture. She oversees the operation of Vineland's trained sensory and consumer research panels to understand the drivers that impact consumer preference and choice for horticultural products. Research results inform breeding programs, brand development, new variety introductions, and commercialization. Amy has a BSc H from the University of Guelph in Molecular Biology and Genetics and a PhD from Brock University in Biological Sciences with a specialization in Plant Science, Oenology and Viticulture. She is also a certified sommelier through the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers.
Dan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Horticulture at Michigan State University. He received his MS from Stanford University in Economics and a PhD from Cornell University in Horticulture with an emphasis on weed ecology and management in vegetable crops. Prior to graduate school, he worked on commercial vegetable farms in the Northeast U.S., and served as an agricultural extension educator for the U.S. Peace Corps in Mali, West Africa. His current primary research and extension interests include: 1) development of reduced-tillage cover crop intensive vegetable production systems to help growers improve soils and increase crop resilience to stress, and; 2) weed ecology and management in vegetable and field crops.
Patrick H. Brown
Dr. Brown has been a Professor with the University of California, Department of Plant Sciences since 1988. He graduated with his BSc from the University of Adelaide, Australia (1974), and PhD, from Cornell University, USA (1988) in Agronomy and Plant Nutrition. His research and outreach program has focused on development and implementation of information on the function of plant nutrients and on the management of fertilizer resources with a focus on high value crops. Dr. Brown is recognized globally as a leader in both basic and applied plant nutrition research and has made many important contributions to the Californian and Global industry with specific advances in the management of boron, potassium, nitrogen, zinc, foliar fertilization and salinity. Currently, he is at the forefront of developing management strategies for nitrogen in Californian Agriculture and is a key advisor to industry, water coalitions and water boards in the development of rational and effective strategies to manage nitrogen in Californian systems to achieve high productivity and system sustainability.
Anita was born and raised on the sandy-loam soils of Norfolk County. She and her husband Steve began experimenting with lavender production in 2003 and found it to grow very well in their well draining soils. As part of a farm diversification plan, they planted 12,000 lavender plants and 10 acres of wine grapes. The lavender gardens have been open to the public since 2011 and the winery opened late in 2013. Additionally, through the Norfolk Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS program), they planted tallgrass prairie, native wildflowers, and created a wetland. Together, these land-uses provide raw resources for Bonnieheath Estate Lavender & Winery's products ranging from wines and ciders to lavender and tourism. Anita serves on the boards of the Ontario Lavender Association, the Ontario South Coast Wineries & Growers Association, and the Norfolk Agricultural Advisory Board.
Justin is anchored by a steadfast belief in the power of small-scale, community-based businesses to build truly sustainable social and economic development. It's what drove him to spend his master's degree living and working on ten organic farms from Quebec to the Pacific Coast. He's since helped with managing Atlantic Canada's first sustainable seafood subscription program through Off the Hook Community Supported Fishery, worked with the Ecology Action Centre to spearhead a Canada-wide program to promote locally-sourced food in schools, universities, and hospitals, and connected small-scale fishers and aquaculturalists with high-value markets across Nova Scotia and beyond with Halifax's Afishionado Fishmongers.
Christine has a diverse food safety background working with both processors and producers. She has numerous years' experience working in the food processing industry, designing and implementing national/international food safety programs. She started with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) in 2006 and has held various leadership roles in food safety. Christine is currently the Food Safety Team Lead - Agriculture, where she focuses on strategic projects. Currently her attention is on the development of the provincial food safety programing in the Canadian Agricultural Partnership cost-share funding and development and dissemination of the national federal livestock traceability regulations.
Jenna is the Director of First Impressions at Murphy's Farm Market in Alliston, Ontario. A graduate of Georgian College's Graphic Design program, Jenna has worked in the design and marketing field for 17 years. An admirer of brilliant packaging, she has a passion for photography and vintage finds.
Jed Colquhoun is a Professor of commercial fruit and vegetable production and IPM Program Director at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His work is centered at the crossroads of productive agricultural systems and resilient natural resources. Jed has held several administrative roles for UW-Madison and UW-Extension, most recently as Interim Program Leader for Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension and Associate Dean for the UW-Madison College of Agricultural & Life Sciences. Jed also serves as an advisor for a number of agriculture- and food-related organizations. He received his BS and MS degrees from Cornell University and his PhD from UW-Madison. Prior to returning to UW-Madison, he was a faculty member at Oregon State University.
Dr. Kate Congreves
Dr. Congreves is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan. She has a PhD in Land Resource Science from the University of Guelph. Her research program at University of Saskachewan is focused on the development of sustainable agricultural and horticultural systems. She conducts fundamental and applied research on soil health, nutrient cycling, and N2O emissions as influenced by cropping system management.
Jeremias is a Regional Program Officer for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). He provides regulatory and program guidance to frontline inspection staff, Supervisors and Inspection Managers. Currently, Jeremias works with the Dairy, Processed Products, Maple, Honey and FFV programs. He also has experience with Shell Egg, Processed Egg and Meat processing. Jeremias started with the CFIA as an Inspector verifying compliance and working with Industry to ensure safe food practices. He continues to work with industry in his current role and is very dedicated to a food safety system that ensures safe food for consumers and for those manufacturing the food.
Douglas has a Diploma in Culinary Management from Fanshawe Collage and an Associates Diploma in Agriculture from the University of Guelph. He has worked as a Director of Openings and Training for Wok Box BC and as a Systems Specialist for Four Walls Consulting. He is currently in his sixth season with a tender fruit operation as Farm Manager at Sunnydale Farms
Dr. Jennifer DeEll
Dr. DeEll is the Fresh Market Quality Specialist - Hort Crops with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), located in Simcoe. She is currently: studying the effects of anti-ethylene technologies on apple fruit ripening and physiological disorders during storage; developing optimum postharvest practices for new apple and pear cultivars, as well as to reduce mealiness and chilling injury in peaches; and investigating methods to improve handling and storage of fresh fruits and vegetables. Dr. DeEll was one of the first to receive the Agri-Food Innovation Award from the Government of Ontario for previous work on fresh-cut apple slices. She has published over 90 scientific papers, as well as review articles, book chapters and full books, on subjects pertaining to postharvest physiology and the quality of fresh fruits and vegetables. She is also on the editorial board for the international scientific journal Postharvest Biology and Technology.
Dr. Jason Deveau
Based in OMAFRA's Simcoe Resource Centre since 2008, Jason develops educational materials for sprayer operators and researches practical methods to optimize spray effectiveness and reduce waste. Author of "Airblast101 – A Handbook of Best Practices in Airblast Spraying", he also co-administers www.sprayers101.com.
Phil is a Business Resource Specialist in the Business Analysis Unit of the Business Development Branch at OMAFRA where he works with Agri-food stakeholders on energy efficiency, water, logistics, organic waste and environment performance. He is active across ministries on various files including stewardship, phosphorus recovery, green energy, energy efficiency, food waste and logistics. Phil is a member of the Performance Measurement Technical Working Group of the Provincial Wine and Grape Strategy. He is a regular participant on ministry industry attraction and retention projects.
Colleen is the Executive Director of the Washington State Farmers Market Association and coordinator of the Farmers' Market Integrity Project. She has over 15 years of direct support and research, leading statewide farmers' market surveys and data tracking, over 20 Rapid Market Assessments, projects with Latino farmers, and creating shopper promotions. Colleen and colleague, Karen Kinney, curated their favorite tips and tools in the "Washington Farmers Market Management Toolkit" among many other publications. Originally from California's Central Valley, Colleen lives in Ellensburg, WA. She has a BS from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and MA from the University of Washington.
Brooke was born and raised in Parkhill, North Middlesex. Her grandparents farmed beef cows, cash crop and standardbred racehorses. Brooke's love for the farm and the agriculture community was noticed, as she became the 2013/2014 Parkhill Agricultural Society Ambassador. She then ventured into agricultural sales where she worked with farmers in both Canada and The Netherlands within the dairy industry. Brooke has paved a path for many young women in the equipment industry by being one of the only females selling large agriculture equipment for CASE IH in North America. Brooke has recently joined SouthPoint Equipment selling Kubota in Wyoming, Ontario.
James is the Engineering Specialist for Crop Systems and Environment with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), based in Vineland, Ontario. He was raised on a cash crop and hog farm in the Niagara region, and completed his Mechanical Engineering degree at the University of Waterloo. James has past experience in HVAC system engineering (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) and building energy modeling. He has a particular interest in energy use and efficiency of farm production processes. His work at OMAFRA focuses on best practices, innovations and environmental impacts of grain drying and storage, field equipment, precision agriculture, and greenhouse gas reduction.
Toban is a farmer, communicator and award-winning journalist, who is immersed in agriculture. He is an agriculture columnist for the Financial Post, Grainews and Maclean's. And his work has also appeared in the Globe and Mail and the Economist. He is the Director of Communications for Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers, a non-profit that allows him to practice what he preaches: quality, honest communication will always win. Toban is working towards taking over his family farm and is a tireless advocate for exposing consumers to the realities of farming and food production.
Dr. Abdel ElHadrami
Dr. ElHadrami is the CEO and R&D Director at OMEX Agriculture Inc. Abdel grew up on a mixed farm and has 15+ years of International experience in a variety of research and teaching positions including at the University of Manitoba. His field of expertise is in plant pathology, molecular biology, biochemistry, plant physiology, and agronomy. During the last few years, Dr. ElHadrami's research focused on the understanding of soil, seed and plant nutrition and the role of certain nutrients in triggering plant natural defenses. He is an internationally recognized scholar with numerous peer-reviewed grants, publications and edited books and chapters. He is currently leading numerous multidisciplinary projects co-funded by OMEX to develop nutrition-based solutions to reduce the impact of abiotic stress and diseases in many field crops, vegetables and trees.
Brandon is a self-described 'simple farmer' who grows 15 acres of blueberries in southern Ontario. Now in their fifth year, Falcon Blueberry's crop protection practices have saved more than half their historic pesticide and water use and maintained yields of approximately 180,000 lbs per year.
Mark works at OMAFRA's Business Development Branch as a Business Management Specialist. His areas of focus include business planning, succession planning, farm safety and farm business human resources. Mark has a degree in geography and environmental studies from the University of Guelph, as well as a Diploma in Agricultural Business from the University of Saskatchewan and a Master of Science in Rural Planning and Development from the University of Guelph. Before joining OMAFRA, Mark was the Marketing and Business Development Coordinator with Engage Agro where he supported the company's business, product and market development initiatives. Mark has worked with Synthesis Agri-Food Network as a Consulting and Education Project Coordinator on a number of business management related projects including the development and delivery of the Agri-food Management Institute's (AMI) Advanced Farm Management Program and AgLean Master Class.
Dr. Melanie Filotas
Melanie is a Horticulture Pest Management Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in Simcoe, Ontario. She works with growers, industry, researchers and ministry colleagues to identify pests and pest management solutions for specialty crops in Ontario. Her current areas of focus include hazelnuts, hops, sweet potatoes, specialty berries and ginseng. Melanie has a PhD in Entomology from Cornell University where she studied biological control of forest insects. Prior to joining OMAFRA, she worked as a researcher with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, looking at use of biopesticides, natural enemies and other reduced risk products to control insects in commercial greenhouses.
François graduated in Biology at Laval University in 1986 and obtained his Master degree from McGill University in 1993. He worked for Agriculture Canada, Groupe Bio-Contrôle and Insecterra. Since 2004, he teaches biology at Collège Montmorency and pursue research in applied entomology. During his career, he contributed to the development and commercialization of trichogram use in sweet corn against the European Corn Borer. Since 2004, he has supervised a research program on Sterile Insect Technology (SIT) for Onion Maggot control. In 2018, 680 ha of onion crops have been commercially treated with sterile males in Québec. A new production facility has just been started by its longtime collaborator, Phytodata, a growers' owned company. They have been awarded an International IPM Award of Recognition at the 9th International IPM Symposium for their achievement. He now collaborates on research projects for SIT use against Cabbage Maggot and Spotted-Wing Drosophila and conducts research on Seedcorn maggot.
Anne has worked in private sector agriculture in various capacities for nearly 40 years. She led the Canadian Horticultural Council as Executive Vice-President from 1999-2016 where she championed and led a collaborative initiative that resulted in the 2002 establishment and launch of the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Pest Management Centre (PMC). She also oversaw the team which developed and successfully implemented the CanadaGAP® On-Farm-Food Safety Program for Fruits and Vegetables in Canada. Anne currently manages special projects for the Ottawa-based Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation.
Charles is a diversified farmer at 4 Corners Farm in north-east Vermont. He farms about 50 acres of tillable land in the Connecticut river valley. Charles grows 8 acres of strawberries and other crops including corn, potatoes, greens, tomatoes, cucurbits and brassicas. In addition, he operates a functional dairy, beef and pig operation. Charles studied agriculture as we'll as aviation at Montana State university and has been a full-time farmer since 2012. As a second-generation farmer, the farm has been in operation since 1978 and recently celebrated their 40th year of operation.
Dr. Heidi Hanna
Dr. Hanna is the Chief Energy Officer of Synergy, a company providing brain-based health and performance programs to individuals and organizations, the Executive Director of the American Institute of Stress, and a Founding Partner of the Academy for Brain Health and Performance. She is a NY Times bestselling author of several books, including The Sharp Solution, Stressaholic, and Recharge. Heidi has been featured at many global conferences including the Fortune Magazine Most Powerful Women in Business Summit, ESPN Leadership Summit and the Million Dollar Round Table. Her clients have included Google, Starbucks, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, and WD40 as well as the PGA Tour and the National Football League. Heidi is also a Certified Humor Professional with the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor although she won't admit she's funny.
Paul has molded Ravine into the quant family-feel winery that it is today. As the current CEO and Proprietor, Paul currently oversees all Sand and Gravel, Ravine Vineyard and Lowrey Brothers Brands. Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery is a family owned biodynamic and organic winery located on St. Davids Bench in Niagara-on-the-lake. Ravine opened in 2008 and has been recognized for producing VQA varietals on a farm that is steeped in history. Also known as the Upper Lowrey Farm, the family has milled, farmed and canned fruit at Ravine for 5 generations. The farm is known to be one of the first commercial grape vineyards in the area with 500 vines planted in 1869.
Dr. Mary Hausbeck
Dr. Hausbeck is a University Distinguished Professor and Extension Specialist of Plant Pathology in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University (MSU). She received her PhD in plant pathology from Pennsylvania State University. She joined the faculty at MSU in 1990, where she has statewide extension (60%) and research (40%) responsibilities in field and greenhouse vegetables, greenhouse ornamentals, hop, and ginseng. Her current research emphasis includes downy mildews and Phytophthora spp. Her overall program goal is to develop novel and integrated disease management strategies for growers and to train graduate students. She has served as major professor for 42 students who have received advanced degrees in Plant Pathology.
Gail holds a Bachelors of Science in Agricultural Economics and Business Management from the University of California, Davis and a Masters in Business Administration from California State University, Sacramento. She was a member of the State of California Department of Food & Agriculture's original management team that developed the Certified Farmers' Market system in California. During her eight-year tenure (1979-1987) the system grew from 12 to 170 markets. Today, Gail serves as Executive Director of California Farmers' Markets Association which oversees 15 certified farmers' markets in the San Francisco Bay Area, grossing over $25 million annually for small family farmers located in the area. Gail focuses attention and resources on creating viable marketing outlets for family farmers. She has analyzed producer costs and benefits to more fully ensure that markets are serve the interests of farmers. Combining this work together with her collaborative market experience and her own entrepreneurial expertise, she has developed presentations that help farmers capitalize on their participation in farmers' markets.
Chris currently farms 230 acres of orchard and CA storage in Norfolk County. He has planted much of his acreage in the last several years and is a leader in adopting modern planting systems. In addition to the orchard, Chris also operates an orchard supply company, Ontario Orchard Supply, providing the necessary support system supplies for modern orchards. In 2012, Chris was awarded Ontario's Golden Apple Award and today sits as Treasurer of the Board of the International Fruit Tree Association.
Les and his wife Pat are using 8 acres of their agricultural land base to grow Hazelnuts. Originally a hobby crop on their parents' farms, Hazelnuts provide an interesting challenge for those skills after decades of tender fruit growing. It is their hope that hazelnuts in Ontario can contribute to horticultural diversity. Their benefits are many. Management, environmental and economic benefits result in lower costs of spray, pruning and fertilizing application. Trees also have the ability to clean our air and along with cover crops, provide best practice for crop culture in a highly organic way.
Martin graduated from the University of Guelph in 1974 with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree, specializing in Earth Science. He worked as a geological engineer with Golder Associates for 10 years traveling across all Canada plus overseas to Bolivia and Pakistan. Martin then worked for the rest of his career in sales for Williams Form Hardware and Rockbolt for 26 years, designing and anchoring systems for rock, soil and concrete. He has lived on a 100 acre former tobacco farm for 30 years with wife operating as a "hobby farm". During that time, they have tried growing different nut trees and other plants like garlic, blueberries and raspberries, luffas, grape kiwis, pawpaws and others. His early experiments with 5000 hazelnut seedlings have resulted in a focusing in on several dozen, cold tolerant, highly resistant varieties of hazelnuts that have survived the Eastern Filbert Blight for over 20 years. Some trees have the potential of becoming selected varieties for the burgeoning hazelnut industry in Ontario. Two varieties are registered with Plant Breeder's Rights and are recognized as pollinators by the University of Guelph.
Ashley is the Executive Director of the Agri-food Management Institute (AMI) and has been with AMI since 2011 various capacities. She is a graduate from the University of Guelph with a Masters of Science in Capacity Development and Extension. Ashley has experience working with 4-H Ontario, the Agricultural Adaptation Council, Syngenta Crop Protection and the University of Guelph as a teaching assistant and is an avid volunteer and driven by her passion to enact positive social change through building a career that leverages the capacity building process in Ontario agri-food businesses. Her work is dedicated to promoting new ways of thinking about agri-food business management for producers and processors.
Brian and his wife, Judy, own and operate Hugli's Blueberry Ranch & Gift Store in Pembroke, Ontario.In 1978, Brian's family started growing high-bush blueberries. Since then, the farm has diversified and now also grows pumpkins and Christmas trees. An retail store and bakery was added in 2001 and is now open from May until December. Their family fun activities change with the seasons and include summer, fall and Christmas experiences. They also host weddings, educational tours and other special events.
Carly is a former CPR and AED instructor whose MSc in Physiology and Pharmacology lead her to work as an AED (Defibrillator) Specialist with Action First Aid. Action First Aid is a WSIB approved, Ontario wide training organization that focuses on First Aid, CPR, and AED training for both individuals at their public training facilities and on site at various types of workplaces. Action First Aid has also become one of the largest AEDs distributors in Canada helping individual families, groups of cottagers, church organizations, schools, and businesses with their AED programs. Their mission is to not only provide access to an AED, but to create the awareness that AEDs are safe and easy for everyone to use, training is not required, and that these lifesaving machines should be everywhere.
Sharon is a partner at Meadow Lynn Farms in Simcoe, Ontario. The dairy, cash crop farm began producing strawberries when she married Fred and entered the partnership in 1984. The farm provides a pick-your-own operation and added a seasonal farm market in 2007. In 2016, Sharon received the Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence for their strawberry juice. Sharon is also a 4-H leader and a Director of the Norfolk County Agricultural Society.
Dr. Nicole Judge
Dr. Judge is a veterinarian and the co-owner of Spirit Tree Estate Cidery. Nicole is a 1995 graduate of the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph. She worked as a small animal practitioner before joining Hill's Pet Nutrition where she held various roles in sales and marketing. Nicole was the COO for the Ontario Veterinary Group for eight years prior to co-founding P3 Veterinary Partners, a group of veterinary hospitals in Ontario, Alberta and BC. She and her husband, Thomas Wilson own and operate Spirit Tree Estate Cidery in Caledon, a wood-fired oven bakery, farm shop and cidery. Spirit Tree has won numerous awards including a Premier's Award for Agri-Innovation, Best Culinary Tourism Destination & Best Culinary Event for the Headwaters Region, Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association Outstanding Farm Market and Ontario's Cider Champion.
Michael joined the Business Development team at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in 2009 as Technology Scout and Grower Outreach. In this role, Michael scouts for new technologies, including various tree fruit varieties to fill gaps in the existing pipelines and to improve the overall profitability of the Canadian horticulture sector. He is also Vineland's liaison to various grower networks across the country. Ultimately, Michael searches for new ways to reduce labour, increase yields and improve the profit picture for the horticulture industry. Michael is a graduate of the University of Guelph with a BSc (Horticulture Major) and is actively involved with his family tender fruit and grape operation in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Charles is a first generation farmer and operates Charles Keddy Farms Ltd., and C.O. Keddy Nursery Ltd., along with his wife Doris and his son Philip and family. He started farming in 1977, and has been in the strawberry plants and raspberry cane nursery for 41 years supplying plants to customers from Newfoundland to British Columbia, several north eastern and central states, Florida and internationally. Working with AAFA has helped commercialize six of the last seven variety releases. He is past president of the North American Strawberry Growers Association and Horticulture Nova Scotia, as well as the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture and is presently chairman of the board of Perennia, an agriculture development company supplying extension and research to the Nova Scotia Agriculture Industry.
The Canadian Herb and Spice Natural Health Products Coalition is a voluntary group that was instrumental in developing and implementing the internationally recognized Good Agriculture Collection Practices (GACP) program for use by those in the specialty agriculture sector as well as those harvesting, processing and selling Specialty Agriculture products. The program was developed working with the World Health Organization, Health Canada, Agriculture Canada and key industry players throughout North America and Europe. The result is a comprehensive practice that helps industry (buyers, regulators, processors, and producers) ensure quality assurance including food safety practices from the ground to finished product. The GACPs are recognized internationally and have been approved by the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency (CFIA). Connie was one of six industry liaison members of the Natural Health Products Directorate where she led the development of the good manufacturing practices for natural health products.
Candy is the team lead at the SPUD Unit, established in 1983 as part of the New Liskeard Agricultural Research Station. This virus indexing, clean plant propagation program has been administered by the University of Guelph since 1997. It is both a research and a production facility that addresses the needs of any crop that uses vegetative propagation. The enthusiastic team has adopted constant innovation to enhance client service, review yield performance, improve levels of productivity and evaluate the traceable systems of gene banks. Their expertise spans multiple crop management projects for extending the growing season, employing the laboratory, screenhouse, greenhouse, high tunnel and field facilities. Candy earned a BSc (Agr) and MSc at University of Guelph. She is passionate about embracing all opportunities, to further develop horticulture in rural 'northern' Canadian communities.
Bruce is a University of Guelph graduate in wildlife biology and then spent more than 20 years as a Pork Producer in Wellington County. He has worked for the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association on Environmental Cost-Share funding programs including EFP, and for Fed-Dev on economic development. Since 2012, Bruce has worked for Farm & Food Care as Program Manager, working on a variety of Environmental and Animal welfare Issues impacting Ontario's farmers. Currently his three largest files are: Peer-to-Peer Manure Application Project, Barn Fire Awareness and Education, and various farm animal welfare issues.
Dr. Belinda Kemp
Dr. Kemp gained her PhD at Lincoln University, New Zealand on the timing of leaf removal on Pinot noir tannin, flavour and sensory characteristics of wine. She is Senior Staff Scientist in Oenology at CCOVI, Brock University. As well as a scientist, Kemp gained previous practical still and sparkling winemaking experience in commercial wineries in New Zealand and the UK. Her main research areas are wine flavour and aroma. Her research since joining CCOVI has included sparkling wine research projects investigating the effect of sugar and dosage solutions on Niagara sparkling wine flavour and influences of sparkling wine clones and soil type on flavour. She is currently investigating the timing and severity of leaf removal on red grape varieties for still and sparkling wines, and tannin management of Niagara red wine grape varieties. She currently organizes FIZZ Club for Ontario sparkling winemakers and serves on the VQA-O Standards Development Committee and the VQA-O sparkling wine rules committee.
Christoph is the Soil Fertility Specialist (Horticulture) with OMAFRA. He works with industry associations, researchers and ministry colleagues to improve crop fertility management in horticultural crops through research projects, demonstrations and workshops. Christoph is also a member of OMAFRA's dirtiest team, the Soil Team, and coordinates the OMAFRA Accredited Soil Testing Lab Program. After graduating from the University of Guelph, he worked in the nursery industry before joining OMAFRA as the Nursery Crops Specialist. He is a Certified Crop Advisor and has the 4R Nutrient Management Specialist designation.
Dr. Kaan Kurtural
Dr. Kurtural is a faculty member in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at University of California Davis. He is also the director of the Department's Oakville Experiment Station in the heart of Napa Valley in California. His research focuses on three main parts with short and long-term outcomes:1) improving production efficiency in vineyards by applying principles of canopy and crop load management using vineyard mechanization, precision viticulture and applied water amounts; 2) identifying quality improvement traits in berry composition by translating fundamental research into applied production practices in vineyards and; 3) evaluating alternative methods of control invasive species in vineyards.
David along his with wife Christine, own and operate Fenwick Berry Farm, in the heart of the Niagara Peninsula. They are proud to operate a first generation farm, planting their first crop of strawberries in 1999. With the help of extended family and friends, their farm has expanded to include a variety of fruits and vegetables, specializing in berries. They market their berries to one major retailer, road-side stands and farm market vendors. We also sell their berries and other produce at 12 farmers' markets.
Liette is an agrologist since 1985, and holds a degree from Laval University in Plant Sciences. Since 1990, she has been working as a provincial greenhouse and berry crop specialist at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, located in the Montreal area. Her expertise is mainly focused on IPM, biopesticides and biological control, having investing herself in the sector since 1992. She has been responsible for the provincial plant pest-warning network in greenhouse crops for over 15 years. She is also the author of two posters on Biological Control in Greenhouse crops and two pocket guides on pests, diseases, beneficials, disorders, deficiencies and phytotoxicities in strawberry, raspberry and highbush blueberry. She has been organizing the annual Berry Conference in the province of Quebec for the past 22 years. Ms. Lambert wishes to share her expertise developed in the biocontrol of greenhouse vegetables for use in berry crops.
Dr. Gregory Lang
Gregory earned his bachelors degree at University of Georgia and his masters and doctoral degrees at University of California-Davis, and has served on the horticulture faculties at Louisiana, Washington, and Michigan State Universities. Greg conducts research in tree fruit production and physiology, variety and rootstock evaluation, and innovative fruit production systems, with special emphasis on stone fruits. His laboratory teams have been instrumental in advancing and adopting dwarfing precocious sweet cherry rootstocks and protective orchard covering technologies, as well as the development of new cherry varieties and innovative training systems. Greg has traveled to most continents to speak and consult on cherry research and protected fruit production, and has authored more than 175 research and industry articles on fruit culture.
For 22 years, Mark's work focuses on the development and understanding of spray hardware and methodology, and ways to help growers make more effective and sustainable sprays, especially in canopy and post-emerge spray applications. Mark works globally across all crops with a focus on fruit and vegetable applications.
David is the owner of Ferme horticole Gagnon, a 130 acres berry and vegetable farm located in Trois-Rivières, Quebec. His farm specializes in the production of strawberry, raspberry and sweet corn, which are almost all sold directly on the farm's kiosk. Since he bought the farm in 2004, David has invested time in research and development. He has travelled to Holland, Netherlands, Spain, California, Florida, and more to improve the efficacity of his farm and find solutions to the recurrent problems in berry and vegetable production. David is also the president of the Quebec Strawberry and Raspberry Grower Association, which makes him very close to the issues surrounding the small fruit production.
Dr. Robert Lencki
After obtaining his BASc in Chemical Engineering at the University of Toronto, Dr. Lencki worked for two years at Proctor and Gamble developing bakery processes. Returning to academia, he obtained an MSc at the University of Waterloo and PhD at McGill University. After two years as a professor at Université Laval, Dr. Lencki came to the University of Guelph Food Science Department. Over the next 24 years, he taught food processing, plant design, and food packaging courses. His research focuses on postharvest technology, membrane separation, and fat crystallization. In retirement, Dr. Lencki works part-time as a food industry consultant, and this year became a Research Lead at the Niagara College Canadian Food and Wine Institute where he supervises industry-sponsored student research and development projects.
Dr. Tracy Leskey
Dr. Leskey holds a PhD degree in Entomology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, MA. She has been employed by the USDA-ARS, AFRS in Kearneysville, WV USA as a Research Entomologist since September 2000 and recently became Director of the Laboratory. Her research has focused on development of behaviorally-based management tools for invasive and native pests of fruit crops. She served as a liaison to the U.S. House Agricultural Appropriations Committee, providing numerous updates on the pest status of and research progress on the invasive brown marmorated stink bug. She has served as a co-advisor or committee member for over 15 graduate students and post-docs.
Phil is the Export Marketing Officer (U.S. Geographic Specialist) for Ontario Food Exports (part of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs). His role is to assist Ontario food companies in building more U.S. market export opportunities. Prior to joining OFEX, Phil worked in food manufacturing across multiple food sectors and across a wide range of companies from small-medium size enterprises to multinationals. In addition, Phil has worked throughout the U.S. with major U.S. accounts to grow export sales. He has expertise in foodservice and retail channels.
Anna Katharine Mansfield
Anna is an associate professor of enology at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, NY. She received a BA in English from Salem College and graduate degrees in Food Science at Virginia Tech and the University of Minnesota. Mansfield served as Enology Project Leader at the University of Minnesota from 2001-2008, where she developed a new enology extension program to serve the rapidly developing cold-climate wine industry in the Upper Midwest. In 2007, she completed a sabbatical at l'Institut Universitaire de la Vigne et du Vin Jules Guyot at the University of Burgundy, investigating flavor absorption of natural cork closures. Mansfield has been a member of the Cornell Enology Extension Lab since 2009, where she strives to aid regional wineries through outreach and applied research on hybrid wine phenolics and colour, fermentation nutrition, and regional typicity.
Matteo holds a MSc in Agricultural Sciences (2004) and a PhD in Enology (2008), both from the University of Padova (Italy). In 2008, he joined the Australian Wine Research Institute as a Senior Research Scientist. In 2014, Matteo joined Plumpton College (UK) to lead a Master of Science in Viticulture & Oenology, and in 2016, Matteo returned to the University of Padova to work as a Researcher and Lecturer within the MSc in 'Italian Food and Wine'. Prior experience includes seven vintages as assistant winemaker in wineries of north-east Italy. Matteo's research is focussed on the study of wine stability and wine colloids, and in particular on their effect on wine quality attributes.
Hugh is an organic inspector and consultant working with organic farms for over 35 years. He is also chair of the National Standards Committee on Organic Agriculture. Hugh retired from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food, and Rural Affairs in 2011 after 34 years with OMAFRA.
Kevin is the President of Martin's Family Fruit Farm Ltd. Martin's is a leading grower and packer of quality Ontario apples to supermarkets and wholesalers. Martin's is a family run company with a strong presence in the local community, with the majority of sales in Canada. Under Kevin's leadership Martin's has expanded its business beyond fresh apples and has launched Martin's Crispy Apple Chips. Kevin has been with Martin's on a full time basis since 1999. Over the years he has worked with the Company in varying management roles. He served as controller for 3 years prior to becoming President in 2007. He oversees all operational aspects of Martin's and ensures the execution of the Company's strategy. Kevin has a Diploma in Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University.
Margaret is Regional Program Lead with OSCIA. She loves matching up producers and programs to achieve fabulous results! She is a skilled facilitator with extensive experience with Environmental Farm Plan workshops, Growing your Farm Profits workshops and Biosecurity workshops. She has the ability to condense complicated program jargon into common sense information and believes in the programs and their benefits to Ontario producers.
Mary Ruth McDonald
Mary Ruth is a professor in the Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph. Her research focuses on plant diseases and integrated pest management for vegetable crops and some field crops such as canola. Prof. McDonald is the recipient of local, national and international awards for excellence in research, extension education, and integrated pest management. An integrated pest management program for vegetables is provided to growers in the Holland Marsh as part of Prof. McDonald's research program. Pest management programs need continual updating and the incorporation of new technologies. Her program has been evaluating aerial photography and drones for pest management and disease assessments.
Dr. Darby McGrath
Dr. McGrath is the Program Lead for Greening the Canadian Landscape at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre and is the Research Scientist for Nursery and Landscape. She has 15 years experience as a nursery apprentice and tender fruit farm producer and has also written management plans for various governmental organizations including Parks Canada, Ontario Parks and Agriculture and Agri-food Canada. Her work integrates nursery production research with ecological restoration principles to address challenges of tree survival and performance. Current work in the McGrath lab aims to improve tree performance in the landscape and agricultural and settings by understanding soil and root interactions. She is also currently part of a team at Vineland that is evaluating new and old-world cider varieties for adaptation to Ontario's production climate.
Erin grew up on her family's farm, McLean Berry Farm, in Buckhorn, Ontario. After leaving the farm for school, work and travel, she came to realize how much she loved and missed the farm and farming. In 2009, she returned to work full time with her family where they expanded to a second nearby farm. They grow a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that they sell directly from the farm, PYO, wholesale, at farmers' markets as well as host two on-farm festivals. They are always working to find ways to grow, improve and work together on the farm and hope to continue to be able to provide their communities with fresh, healthy and local fruits and vegetables for years to come.
Trissia is the Agriculture Manager for Northumberland County. Since joining the Economic Development and Tourism department as a Youth Intern in 2006, she has developed and implemented numerous initiatives to support and recognize the contributions agriculture makes to Northumberland's economy. Beginning with an agricultural action plan based on an exceptional best practice model, she has built relationships with the agricultural community through industry partnerships. She led the province's first ever Regional Local Food Business Retention and Expansion Study and is part of the leadership team for the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Centre, a municipally owned-and-operated value-adding food processing facility built as a direct outcome of the Local Food BR+E. Trissia is the County representative on the Board of the Northumberland Federation of Agriculture, and serves on the National Board for Habitat for Humanity Canada, an organization she's volunteered with locally for over 10 years.
Dr. Sally A. Miller
Dr. Miller is a Professor of Plant Pathology and State Extension Specialist for Vegetable Pathology at The Ohio State University, Wooster. She received her BSc in Biology from The Ohio State University, and MS and PhD degrees in Plant Pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Miller's research is focused on the development of sustainable disease management strategies for conventional and organic vegetable crops, in open field and protected production systems. Areas of research emphasis are bacterial diseases, downy and powdery mildews, and soilborne diseases. Dr. Miller maintains an active diagnostics lab and provides disease management advice to growers and Extension educators in person and through presentations, fact sheets, bulletin, articles and social media.
Shannon learned to love the farming life early, while growing up on her family's dairy and sheep operation in Eastern Ontario. After graduating from the University of Guelph with a BSc (Agr.), she married Robert and together, they took over his family farm, making them the 4th generation to operate Miller's Bay Farm. They grow asparagus, strawberries, sweet corn, pumpkins and other mixed vegetables, along with field crops on 400 acres. Their main outlet for the produce is their long-established roadside stand, situated in Leeds County, right along the Rideau Waterway. Being an hour away from the Ottawa, the Millers depend on seasonal and year-round residents to shop at the farm each season. Shannon's primary responsibilities include staffing, accounting, communications, marketing, and record-keeping while Robert manages the production side of things.
Elizabeth has been on the faculty of the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of California, Davis since 1992. She received her Masters from North Carolina State University and her PhD from the University of Maryland, both degrees in Horticulture. She works closely with the fruit industries in California, especially the pear industry. She was instrumental in developing protocols for conditioning of Bartlett pears, improving postharvest handling and storage practices, exploring the benefits of 1-MCP, and investigating the regulation of ripening in European pears. Dr. Mitcham served as Director of the UC Davis Postharvest Technology Center from 2009 to 2016. The center focuses on maintaining the quality and safety of fruits and vegetables after harvest. Dr. Mitcham was selected Outstanding International Horticulturist by the American Society for Horticultural Sciences (ASHS) in 2015 and elected Vice-President of the International Division of ASHS in 2016.
Dr. Julia Mlynarek
Dr. Mlynarek is the field entomology research scientist at the Harrow research and development centre of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Her research specializes in documenting insect biodiversity and developing integrated pest management strategies in tree nut orchards and field grown crops. She has a BSC in wildlife biology and a MSc in Entomology from McGill University, a PhD in Biology from Carleton University and was postdoctoral researcher at University of New Brunswick. She has described new species, surveyed biodiversity, documented parasitism, tested plant-insect associations and developed new methods of molecular identification of insects.
John has been the Business Analysis and Cost of Production Specialist with OMAFRA for the past 18 years. He leads financial benchmarking projects and develops crop and livestock cost of production budgeting tools. He has been involved with several 'cost of production' studies for horticulture crops such as grapes, tender fruit, apples and recently hazelnuts. John has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Business from the University of Guelph.
Angela started the agri-tourism side of their business along with her siblings in 1998 offering educational visits to school groups on their family farm, during early summer. What started as a tiny seasonal enterprise to earn some extra income has now grown to a very successful year-round business with over 120,000 visitors and a growth rate in the double digits. It is a family-run venture with a brother and two sisters and between each sibling, they cover the various management roles. Angela's main responsibilities are day-to-day operations, staffing and some marketing, particularly on the international tourism side of the business. Their biggest successes are their Halloween experience called Farmaphobia and their Causey Christmas Experience welcoming over 35,000 visitors each annually and employ up to 250 people seasonally.
Stefano is a Professor and Endowed Chair of Tree Fruit Physiology and Management at WSU. Dr. Musacchi's academic training is in Pomology (PhD). He taught for 13 years at University of Bologna, Italy and 6 years at the University of Bolzano. He joined Washington State University 5 years ago. Dr. Musacchi's expertise is mainly on apple, pear, and cherry horticulture and fruit quality. In his brief time at WSU, he has already attracted in total over $2.47M. He is currently supervising the 'Pear Breeding Rootstocks and Cultivars' project based in Bologna (€350,000). In 2014, Dr. Musacchi patented 4 new pear cultivars. He serves in the editorial board of several publications including Journal: Agronomy, eJHS (European Journal of Horticultural Science), AIMS Agriculture Journal and Asian Journal of Life Sciences.
As Vice President, Merchandising at LCBO, Carolyn's job, along with her team of more than 80 people, is to guide and oversee the strategic direction, business planning, and category management activities of the LCBO Wines, Spirits, Beer, and Vintages business units in the Merchandising Division. She is responsible for developing, planning and executing all product sales and merchandising strategies along with the space planning, merchandise financial planning, pricing administration and category management teams in partnership with suppliers and agents. Carolyn's career in beverage alcohol spans 15 years, including time with Molson Canada and Prime Restaurants, giving her the perspective of both supplier and licensee. She joined the LCBO in 2004 as the Category Manager for Brown Spirits, and then worked on both New World Wines and Vintages.
Kristen has a master's degree in weed science from the University of Manitoba and an honors bachelor of science degree in agriculture from the University of Guelph. As OMAFRA's Weed Management Specialist for Horticulture crops, she leads the development, coordination and implementation of programs related to weed management issues in Ontario. Kristen is a past recipient of the Deputy Minister's Award for her work as a provincial vegetable specialist and the recent recipient of the Excellence in Weed Science Extension Award from the Canadian Weed Science Society (CWSS) for her current work. Kristen previously spent several years with the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers and in the private sector coordinating research trials in support of new product registrations.
Dan is a soil biochemist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service and works at the National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment in Ames, Iowa. He is a PhD graduate (1993) of the University of California, Davis and worked for eight years at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines before his employment with the USDA-ARS (2001-present). Since 2009, Dr. Olk has conducted field evaluations of humic products in corn-soybean rotations of the U.S. Midwest, studying the efficacy of humic products for improving crop growth as influenced by environmental variables, including annual weather patterns and soil type. Field research has also addressed responses by corn structural biochemistry and root growth to humic products, and more recently has studied long-term benefits to soil physical properties.
Matthias was born in Germany where he studied agriculture and viticulture before immigrating to Canada in 1984. Matthias and his family live in Niagara-on-the-Lake and own Country Tyme Vineyards and Hubel Grape Estates. In 2006, he was elected Grape King by fellow grape growers. The following year Matthias was elected to the Grape Growers of Ontario's (GGO) Growers' Committee and to the Board of Directors. In 2009, Matthias was elected Vice Chair of the Board and he held this position until he was elected Chair in 2016. In addition to the GGO Board of Directors, Matthias is the Chair of Ontario Grape and Wine Research Inc. (OGWRI), a joint Board of growers and processors, was established in 2007 to determine, guide and fund the research priorities of Ontario's grape and wine industry. Making great wine starts in the vineyard, and Matthias focuses on growing the best quality of grapes on his 300+ acres of Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Cabernet Franc, Gamay, Sauvignon Blanc, Baco Noir and Vidal.
The Canadian Grapevine Certification Network (CGCN-RCCV) was incorporated in February 2017 with a mandate to advance the Canadian grape and wine industry by ensuring a sustainable domestic supply of clean-certified grapevine material. Along with that, in early 2018, CGCN-RCCV became the lead for the Canadian Grape and Wine Science Cluster administered through Agriculture and Agri Food Canada. Over the next five years, $11 million in research will be done across Canada building on past research with main priorities being grapevine virus diseases, cold hardiness, sustainable management of soil, water and crop quality and improvements to the quality of Canadian wines. Jill started working with CGCN in January 2018. She obtained her BBA from Brock University and travelled abroad to attend Dijon's School of Wine & Spirits Business for their Masters of Wine Management program, along with a background working within the Ontario Wine industry.
Ian started at Wilmot Orchards in April 2012 after graduating from Guelph with a double degree in Physics and Music. With no background in agriculture, it was the kindness of the owners of Wilmot Orchards (Charles & Judi Stevens) to hire Ian onto the farm and teach him about the horticulture industry. Ian is now responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the farm, and the growing of the crops, along with managers Robbie Montgomery and Ian Martin. Ian is part of a succession plan to continue the operations of Wilmot Orchards into the next generation of farmers along with Courtney Stevens and Adrienne Houle. Wilmot Orchards is a high quality producer of 136 acres of commercial apples and 24 acres of u-pick highbush blueberries.
Enrico is a professor of Viticulture at the University of Udine, Italy. He graduated in Agricultural Sciences at the University of Padova (1979). Since 1985, he is working at the University of Udine. His research interests are grapevine physiology, plant-water relationship and metabolic effects of water deficit, canopy management and quality of grapes and wine, local grapevine germplasm rescue and study, grapevine breeding for disease resistance and high quality. He is coordinator of Viticulture and Enology curriculum (bachelor and master), and is a member of the Steering Committee of European Master in Viticulture and Enology EMaVE-Vinifera.
Wolfgang is the second generation to farm organically at Pfenning's Organic Farm, a grower/packer/shipper of certified organic produce. The Pfenning's have been farming in Canada near Kitchener since 1981, and currently operate 700 acres of certified organic vegetable crops, employing up to 150 people. Pfenning's is also a wholesaler of organic food in Ontario. With a motto: 'Healthy Soil, Healthy Plants, Healthy People', Pfenning's organic vegetables takes a holistic approach to sustainability in farming and business.
Vincent is a plant pathologist at IRDA (Québec) involved in applied research on apple diseases. His involvement with European growers led him to his work the RIMpro simulation software (eg. Apple scab, Fire blight) and his focus on spraying technology.
Derek is a PhD Candidate in Plant Agriculture (Pomology) at the University of Guelph. He has studied and worked on cider in France, Spain, Michigan, New York, and Ontario and has presented at CiderCon and the American Society for Horticultural Science Annual Meeting. Derek has a bachelor's degree in Plant Biology from Cornell University in the United States and a Master's Degree in Viticulture, Oenology, Wine Business, and Terroir Management from l'Ecole Supérieure d'Agriculture d'Angers in France. He has been working with the Cline Lab at the University of Guelph on cider apple cultivar trials in collaboration with the Ontario Craft Cider Association since 2016. His other research work revolves around the development of nitrogenous compounds in apple juice and their use in fermentation.
Rachelle is an Economic Development Consultant with over 25 years of practical experience and active involvement in many areas of business, economic, community and tourism development. She has a strong passion for the farmers' market movement. She is co-founder of the Bouctouche Farmers' Market and has been at the forefront of leading organizational change and the re-construction project of the market during the past year.
Noella is the Executive Director of Downtown Timmins BIA. She is the Market Manager of the Urban Park Market, a successful market run in the downtown area during the summer and fall months. As a board member of Farmers Market Ontario®, she is also interested in the growth of the north in the agricultural opportunities. Noella is a three-term councillor in the municipality of Timmins and recipient of the Influential Women of Northern Ontario influential Community Trailblazer award. She strongly believes that agricultural growth has the potential to diverse the economic picture in Northern Ontario.
Robin is a Market Development Scientist, Plant Science Division, at Acadian Seaplants Limited. In this capacity, she is responsible for field research on row and vegetable crops in the United States. Robin actively conducts and coordinates research with universities and private research and development groups to develop marine-plant products as fertilizers and biostimulants in agriculture. In addition, she has a key role of taking very complicated science and distilling it into useful grower friendly information. Robin holds a Master's degree in plant pathology with a minor in experimental statistics from Clemson University and a bachelor's in biology from Mars Hill College. Robin has an agricultural background, having grown up living and working on her family's farm in Unionville, North Carolina. She enjoys conducting research that is beneficial to production agriculture.
Jackie is the founder and owner of The Garlic Box Inc. She manages all aspects of production, sales, marketing and farm-gate sales. Established in 1998, Jackie has navigated her company's growth through the ups and downs of Ontario's evolving garlic industry. The Garlic Box has been recognized for its' pioneering efforts to transition local garlic into a premium value-added food product including the Premier's Agri-Innovation Award. Her greatest asset and driving passion is rooted in Ontario's budding garlic industry.
Paolo is the Associate Professor of Viticulture in the Department of Horticulture at Michigan State University with Research (50%), Extension (40%) and Teaching (10%) responsibilities. Research focus is on vine physiology with emphasis on cultural factors limiting vine production and fruit quality and their interaction with biotic and abiotic stress. Carbon assimilation, storage and partitioning are tools for his studies to understand vine productivity and fruit quality. He has state responsibilities for evaluation of wine cultivar of Vitis vinifera and mixed species with several ongoing research projects funded by MGWIC (Michigan Grape Wine and industry Council), MDA (Michigan Department of Agriculture), USDA, NSF and MSU Project GREEEN on crop load balance for achieving highest sustainable yields in juice grapes, canopy management in wine grapes to improve fruit quality, determination of action thresholds of pest and diseases in common Michigan wine grape cultivars and viticultural approaches to reduce bunch rot in wine grapes.
Jasmine with a Bachelor of Science in Agroeconomy from University Laval, is manager of a berry and vegetable farm located in Quebec. She coordinates the integration and the day-to-day work of the foreign workers on the farm and takes part in the production cost studies of the farm. Jasmine specialises in labour management, especially in temporary foreign worker motivation and efficiency in the small fruit production sector. She has given two presentations in 2018 at Laval University and at the Quebec Strawberry and Raspberry Grower Association research day and also writes a blog about labour in the agricultural sector on the Agri-Réseau platform.
Nicholas is the owner-operator of Bighead Hops, a certified organic hop farm and processing facility in operation for the past 10 years. He is also the founding member/past president of the Ontario Hop Growers Association. Nicholas has organized educational seminars for growers and coordinated research into Ontario hops cultural practices and post harvest processing. He has liaised with other hop grower groups, co-ops and associations throughout Eastern North America. Bighead Hops was awarded the Premier's Award for Agri-Excellence in Innovation 2015 and The Greenbelt Innovation Farm of the Year in 2015. He is a full member of the American Organic Hop Growers Association.
Armed with a bachelor's degree in Fine Arts from Emily Carr University in Vancouver, Melissa returned to the family farm in Norfolk County in 2002 where she set up a pottery studio. She has been running a successful, award-winning pottery business, The Raging Bowl, ever since. In 2012, she began working with her parents, Harold and Janice Schooley, on their lavender business, Apple Hill Lavender. Melissa is the retail shop manager and wholesale accounts manager, helping to grow the family business and get their small-batch culinary and aromatherapy products in gift shops across the country.
Brett is an owner of a family farm operation in Norfolk County. They produce apples, sour cherries, cash crops, and lamb. Brett is passionate about precision agriculture and sustainable farming practices.
Cynthia is a Professor and Bayer Chair in Sustainable Pest Management at the School of Environmental Sciences - University of Guelph and has been a faculty member there since 1986. She received her Master of Pest Management (1983) and PhD (1986) from Simon Fraser University. Her current research includes sustainable management of insect crop pests using environmentally compatible control methods including reduced-risk insecticides, conservation biological control, novel technologies such as RNAi and sterile insect technique; management of invasive insects; impact of agro-ecosystems on beneficial insects such as bees and natural enemies; and development of standardized pesticide risk assessment methods for non-Apis bees. Born and raised in western Canada, Cynthia became acquainted with apiculture and agriculture through family beekeeping and farming operations. She is keenly aware of the importance of IPM, entomology/apiculture, and agriculture to the Canadian economy and endeavors to relay this to others through her research, teaching and outreach activities.
Rebecca Shortt is the irrigation/water management engineer with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Her role with the Ministry involves helping Ontario producers improve their production by providing irrigation and water management expertise to the province. Rebecca is also co-author of many OMAFRA irrigation publications including the Irrigation Best Management Practices book. Most recently, Rebecca has developed demonstrations and presentations on water efficiency and soil moisture monitoring. Her specialty includes water permitting and drip irrigation. In addition to irrigation, she develops solutions for other agricultural water uses such as fruit and vegetable washing. Rebecca holds a MSc and BSc from McGill University in Agricultural Engineering and has been active in water and irrigation associations across Canada and the U.S.
Suzanne is a 3rd year Plant Pathology PhD student at Michigan State University. She has worked for Dr. George Sundin, the tree fruit pathologist at Michigan State, since 2012. Her research focuses mainly on fire blight and apple scab. Some of her research projects include monitoring for antimicrobial resistance in tree fruit diseases, improving weather predictions for antibiotic use, population dynamics, and biological control effectiveness.
Charlotte founded 3CowMarketing.com, an online marketing training company helping farmers in the U.S. and Canada learn the most current online marketing techniques to grow a successful business. She teaches her marketing course twice per year and published a book by the same name, 'Farm Marketing from the Heart' as an intro to the concepts and techniques she teaches. Charlotte also owns Champoeg Creamery, a raw milk micro-dairy located in St. Paul, Oregon, producing raw milk, eggs, and poultry. Additionally, she hosts 'The Profitable Farm with Charlotte Smith' private Facebook group, a community of farmers focused on connecting with others to learn, share and gain support. Due to her dedication to improving the soil, animals and the people who eat their products, in 2016 Charlotte was named one of the Top 25 Most Influential Women in the World in Food and Agriculture by the non-profit, Food Tank.
Matt and his brothers Paul and Daniel planted the original vineyards and began the business development of Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery with their father in 1984. In 1992, Matt assumed the role of Viticultural Manager and Vice President and has continued to develop Henry of Pelham into one of the leading national growers and producers of fine wines from Niagara. His viticultural work was recognized when he was named Grape King at the Niagara Grape & Wine Festival of 2000-2001. Matt currently manages the winery's production which includes 275 acres of estate owned vineyards in the Short Hills Bench sub appellation. He also purchases grapes from many of the finest independent grower-owned vineyards throughout Niagara. The winery specializes exclusively in VQA wines producing an extensive and highly regarded portfolio of wine styles. Matt was educated at St. John's College, Annapolis, Maryland (BA, Philosophy and Mathematics double major) and Annex Village Campus in Toronto, Ontario.
Dean was born and raised in Niagara Falls. Growing up with a father in the wine industry, he was inspired to study wine and viticulture at Niagara College in 2009. In his nine- year career at Stratus, Dean previously held the positions of Lab Technician, Winemaking Supervisor, and Vineyard Manager before assuming his current role as Assistant Winemaker. Dean is also an instructor in Viticulture and Farm equipment operations at Niagara College. His passion for sustainability can be seen in his winemaking and his farming.
After 20 years of working in sales, Nick found his true passion in 2010, when he co-founded Pommies Cider Co. with his wife Lindsay. Nick has been a relentless advocate for local cider and takes great pride in being the founding chair of the Ontario Craft Cider Association.
Dr. Clarence Swanton
Dr. Swanton obtained his BSc in Botany from the University of Toronto, his MSc in Agrometerology from the University of Guelph, and a PhD in Plant Ecology from the University of Western Ontario. During the years between earning his MSc and his PhD, he was employed as a field agronomist with the Campbell Soup Company of Canada and later as a weed biologist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food. In 1985, he joined the University of Guelph as a faculty member in the Department of Crop Science. In 1996, he was promoted to full professor. From 1998 to 2004, Clarence served as the first Chair of the Department of Plant Agriculture that included the Departments of Crop Science, Horticulture and the Horticulture Research Institute of Ontario. From 2007 to 2008 he served as President of the Canadian Weed Science Society. He has won numerous awards for his research including the Outstanding Canadian in the area of Crop Protection from Bayer CropScience for exceptional contributions to science and innovation. His research is focused on weed ecology and the development of integrated weed management systems for field and horticultural crops.
For the last 15 years, Jody has been an entomologist with Penn State University stationed at Penn State's Lake Erie Grape Research and Extension Center in North East PA. This area is home to over 800 growers and an excess of 30,000 acres of grapes. Providing entomology advice and extension support for these growers, her research has concentrated on applied grape entomology with expertise in grape insect management including both indigenous and newly invasive species. Jody does research for both the Pennsylvania Wine and Marketing and the New York Wine and Grape research boards and cooperates with entomologists from many institutions on projects including: the spotted lanternfly research group, brown marmorated stink bug working group, the grape berry moth summit, and spotted wing drosophila. Her projects have included the development of a brown marmorated stink bug diet, the NEWA phenology model for grape berry moth, investigating taste from brown marmorated stink bug in grape juice, pheromone and insecticide efficacy against grape berry moth, leafhopper, and Japanese beetle, effective spray timing for multivoltine insects, and economic sustainability of the Lake Erie regional grape juice industry. She also works as a member of the Penn State and Cornell Lake Erie Grape Program to educate eastern grape growers on current research findings in grape insect management.
Dr. Cheryl Trueman
Cheryl is a College Research Professor at the University of Guelph at Ridgetown. Her research interests focus on integrated management of insect and disease pests of vegetable crops in Ontario. She is interested in applied research for adoption by growers to improve pest management, reduce yield and quality losses, and delay the development of pesticide resistance. Cheryl earned a BSc (Agriculture), MSc (Horticulture), and PhD (Environmental Biology) from the University of Guelph. In addition to research responsibilities, Cheryl teaches courses in vegetable production and pest management in Agriculture and Horticulture diploma programs at Ridgetown.
Lynda Van Casteren
Lynda Van Casteren is the Director of Vision at Nicholyn Farms, just north of Barrie, which she owns with her husband Nick. They began farming together in 1982 and selling direct to the consumer in 1989. Lynda is actively involved in many community initiatives and has held positions on many Boards and Advisory Councils. Lynda's desire to make a difference is the driving force that has contributed to the evolution of Nicholyn Farms. She is a wife, mother, grandmother, friend, mentor, entrepreneur, traveler and seeker of wisdom.
Chris Van de Laar
Chris is a third generation grower with more than 110 acres of grapes in Niagara-on-the-Lake in addition to various tender fruit and a fruit market that has been in operation for more than 66 years. He earned a BSc (Ag Economics) from the University of Guelph and graduated on the Dean's Honour Roll. Following graduation, he enjoyed a successful 14 year career with Scotiabank, initially in Ag lending and then promoted to various senior management positions in commercial banking. When his father retired in 2005, Chris decided to return to his roots and left the bank and purchased the family farm. Since purchasing the farm, Chris has nearly doubled the size of the operation and was recently crowned as the 2018 Grape King, following in the footsteps of his father, Peter, the 1985 Grape King.
David owns and operates Wholesome Pickins Market and Bakery in Delhi, ON. The business includes two farm market locations, a scratch bakery and produces over 20 acres of berries, 2 acres of asparagus, 75 acres of tobacco and cash crops. David is the past treasurer of the Ontario Berry Growers and the current Chair of the Flue-Cured Tobacco Marketing Board.
Tess Van Den Bosch
A sticky note above her desk reads "evaluation as a tool for change." Tess is continually fascinated by the simplicity of this statement, though it packs so much power. For it is through her pursuits and continued education, that she has discovered her passion for analysis and critical systems thinking; necessary ingredients to discover the change our world needs. She has extensive administrative and managerial experience working in various settings including retail, energy, manufacturing, and community non-profit. Beyond the skills that she has learned, this diversity has gifted her a multi-lens camera through which to investigate issues and engage with multiple actors and ideas to focus on seeking solutions. Tess currently lives in Toronto with her partner and dog. When not working on her undergrad in Environment and Urban Sustainability at Ryerson University, she manages her local Junction Farmers' Market and volunteers with a vermiculture operation called Microbe Hub.
Dr. Ana Cristina Vega-Lugo
Dr. Vega-Lugo is the Senior Food Scientist for the Canadian Food and Wine Institution Innovation Centre, part of the Research and Innovation Division at the College. Ana Cristina is responsible for managing the research/student team and resources required for all product and process innovation, food safety, analytical lab and label compliance services, and other technical service and applied research activities. A trained food engineer and scientist with a PhD degree in food science, she has 10 years' experience in food science and commercialization, including in development, troubleshooting and applicable packaging science and technology. Her most recent position was with Hela Spice Canada as a senior product developer.
Anne is a Soil Science graduate from the University of Guelph. She has worked for OMAFRA since 1988, starting as a Soil Conservation Advisor working in Essex and Kent. Currently, Anne works in the area of horticultural soil management with projects in a wide variety of soil management areas such as erosion, compaction and water management. Promoting the use of cover crops and supporting better soil health are her passion.
Christel von Engelbrechten
Christel, with her husband Gert, has been involved in growing lavender and developing lavender products since 2013. Their lavender farm, Christel Lake Lavender, is located north-east of Toronto and carries over 2,000 plants in 16 varieties. Their focus in growing lavender is to provide a pleasing and memorable lavender experience for visitors.
Dr. Louws has been associated with vegetable and fruit production agriculture since his youth. He studied at the University of Guelph and Michigan State University and then moved to North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC, to become a Professor of Plant Pathology. Currently he manages a 25% extension/25% research appointment with a 50% commitment as Director of the Center for Integrated Pest Management. His research and extension program seeks to develop disease management strategies in strawberry and tomato production systems. Recent work has included fruit rot pathogens of strawberry, bacterial diseases of tomato, and soilborne diseases of both crops, among other problems. He also leads a USA-wide project to determine the role of vegetable grafting in open field systems to manage diseases and increase crop yield and fruit quality.
Dr. Joann Whalen
Dr. Whalen received her BSc (Agr.) in agricultural chemistry from Dalhousie University and MSc in soil biochemistry from McGill University. She joined the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at McGill University in 2000, after completing her PhD at The Ohio State University and working as a postdoctoral fellow at Oregon State University and a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. She is a Full Professor and a William Dawson Scholar (research chair) at McGill, an Adjunct Professor at Gansu Agricultural University, Key Lab of Aridland Crop Sciences (Lanzhou, China) and a Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America. Joann is a soil ecologist with expertise in soil biology and fertility in cropping systems. She is a professional agronomist in Quebec and the Past President of the Canadian Society of Soil Science.
Dr. Jim Willwerth
Dr. Willwerth is the Senior Scientist in Viticulture at the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) at Brock University. His responsibilities are to perform research and outreach services in the field of viticulture and to address the research priorities of the Canadian grape and wine industry. His current research program is focused on grapevine cold hardiness and understanding how to maximize cold hardiness in V. vinifera including the use of better V.vinifera plant material. He also has numerous applied research projects ranging from new freeze protection methods to use of new bird deterrent methods. He spearheads large outreach initiatives including the VineAlert Grapevine Cold Hardiness Database and the Grape Preharvest Monitoring program for the Ontario Grape and Wine Industry. Jim works closely with the Ontario grape and wine industry on various technical committees and is a member of the Vintner Quality Alliance of Ontario (VQA-O) Standards Development Committee. He is also Chair of the Animal Care Committee at Brock University and serves as Treasurer on the Board of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture, Eastern Section.
John C. Wise
Dr. Wise is a professor in the Michigan State University Department of Entomology, and Research and Extension Coordinator of the MSU Trevor Nichols Research Center in Fennville, MI. He is also the North Central Regional Director of the IR-4 project, which serves as the primary avenue that new reduced-risk pesticides are registered with the EPA for specialty crops in the USA. His primary research interest is studying the performance characteristics of new insecticide chemistries for control of fruit insect pests. He also investigates alternative delivery systems for crop protection materials in fruit agroecosystems. John runs the Applied Insecticide Toxicology lab on the MSU campus, conducting research on the performance mechanisms and plant penetration attributes of pesticides, pesticide environmental fate and arthropod resistance. Dr. Wise is a member of the Entomological Society of America, and serves as Section Editor for both ESA's Arthropod Management Tests, and for the Canadian Entomologist journal.
Rick is a Partner in MNP's St. Catharines office and Leader of the Agri-food and Beverage team for Southwest Ontario. Rick delivers a broad range of services to businesses in the primary agriculture and food and beverage industries, such as wineries, craft breweries, cideries and distilleries, greenhouses and viticulture and horticulture operations. For 35 years, Rick has owned and operated commercial farm operations specializing in viticulture, cash crops, fruit and farm management services. This has given him real-life understanding of the challenges his clients face and the opportunities that can help them thrive. His clients benefit from his knowledge and assistance in areas such as strategic planning, succession and financial turnarounds, as well as from traditional accounting and audit services. Rick has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Guelph, where he majored in business and economics and graduated on the Dean's Honour Roll. He is a Professional Agrologist (P.Ag.) and a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), qualifying as a Chartered Accountant (CA). Rick is also a member of the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors (CAFA) and a Licenced Public Accountant (LPA).
John grew up on the family livestock and cash crop farm in Haldimand County and completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Guelph. Since 1994, he has worked at the University of Guelph's Ridgetown Campus where he conducts research on cropping systems in fruit and vegetable crops. Research interests include season extension, environmental sustainability, and new crop development. John teaches courses in fruit and vegetable crop management as well a tour course which includes a trip to the US Midwest. He is the Coordinator of the Agriculture and Horticulture Diploma Programs at the Ridgetown Campus and manages the University of Guelph's Cedar Springs Fruit Research Station.
Marion is a vegetable extension educator with the New York State IPM Program at Cornell University. She has coordinated the Sweet corn pheromone trapping network for NYS for the last 6 years. This network has been in place for 25 years and monitors the flights of 5 major sweet corn pests (European corn borer E and Z, Corn earworm, Fall armyworm and Western bean cutworm) at 40 locations throughout NY. She also conducts research on novel techniques to reduce wildlife damage in vegetable crops including sweet corn, holds workshops to help growers identify pests and determine best management options and is finalizing a sweet corn scouting app to help growers identify sweet corn pests.