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Farming Organic in Canada   Producers
  Board of Directors  
 
Debbie Miller
Debbie Miller is the manager of the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) Canada, a Division of OCIA International. The Canadian headquarters is located in Humboldt, Saskatchewan. She is also the Foreign Affairs Director for OCIA International, a non-profit, membership based organic certification organization operating in 19 countries. Debbie is the Administrator of one of the seven OCIA chapters located in Saskatchewan. She serves as President of the IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements) Accredited Certifiers Association, and serves on the Canadian Organic Value Chain Roundtable.

Debbie is finishing her term on the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate Board and is also an Advisor to the Organic Agriculture Protection Fund committee. Debbie has delivered presentations and workshops on various aspects of the organic food system at conferences around the world and also to smaller groups of students, producers or consumers.

Debbie and her husband Ian moved to the Miller family farm at Lisieux, in the rolling hills of Southern Saskatchewan, in 1979. By 1990 they had come to the realization that not only were they poisoning their land and themselves with their intensive chemical use, but they were also slowly going broke in the process. There had to be a better environment in which to raise their two children, Dustin and Nancy. They bit the bullet and began the transition to organic production. By 1993 all 1100 acres were 100% OCIA certified. Debbie is a founding member of Organic Connections and has held the post of president since its incorporation as a non profit organization.

Mark Gimby

Mark Gimby was raised on a mixed farm at Marsden, SK. He graduated from the School of Agriculture, U of S., in 1977 and began work at the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) in 1978 as a technologist. Mark worked on projects that looked at energy use on organic farms and the viability of organic agriculture techniques.
In 1989 Mark went was licensed by the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) as an organic inspector.
He headed the Development of the Organic Producers Information Service (OPIS) which included a data base and a newsletter aimed at linking producers with International buyers.
Mark worked with Indigenous groups in Central America with CUSO & CIDA to help develop markets for the crops they produced.
Mark left the SRC in 1980 and joined Growers International Organic Sales, Inc., the largest exporter of organic grains in Canada. Mark is the exclusive grain buyer for the company.
Mark has contributed greatly to the growth of the organic sector on the Prairies and has sat on many boards and committees. He is a founding Board member of Organic Connections.

Dennis
Denis and Vonnie live in the Dysart area near where Denis grew up on a mixed farm.  They have three grown children and one granddaughter.

 Since purchasing the farm in 1974 Denis has managed it organically.  It wasn’t until the mid 1980’s when we first certified the land as organic.  After working in the retail industry for 23 years he decided to further his education and took Inspector training through the distance education course at the Assiniboine College.  Since 2000 he has been an Independent Organic Inspector inspecting throughout Canada for a number of Certifying bodies.     

During his years involved in the organic industry, Denis has served on various organic boards including Saskatchewan Organic Directorate, OCIA, and is currently on the OCIA Research and Education Board.

Denis always looks forward to seeing every one at the Organic Connections Conference.

Arnold Taylor
Arnold Taylor and his wife Sharon have six children and eight grandchildren. He is 64 years old and raised at Kenaston Saskatchewan, farming north east of Kenaston since 1972. They have an organic grain and beef operation since 1992 and farm their son and his wife and family.

He is involved with the organic industry in the following capacities:
• National President of Canadian Organic Growers
• Past President of Saskatchewan Organic Directorate
• Chair of SOD/Organic Agriculture Protection Fund
• Chair of the Organic Federation of Canada
• Voting member of the Canadian General Standards Board Committee on Organic Agriculture

He is employed by OCIA Canada, a division of Organic Crop Improvement Association International (OCIA INT) as the Business Development Co-ordinator, and is President of the Kenaston Lions Club this 2007-2008 term.

Chantal
Chantal Jacobs is the Provincial Organic Crop Production specialist in the Ministry of Agriculture. Chantal joined Saskatchewan Agriculture in 2004 after completing her M. Sc. in soil nutrient management at the University of Saskatchewan. She has since worked at the Agriculture Knowledge Centre providing production information related to soil and cropping management. In 2006 she moved into the role of Program Manager at the Agriculture Research Branch, and was involved in evaluating research initiatives related to soil, environment, alternate cropping, and organic management areas. She currently lives in Regina and is looking forward to working with the organic community into the future.
Scheck
Gerry and her husband, Sheldon, along with their four children, manage a mixed farming operation near Cactus Lake, SK.   The return to the family farm was made after Gerry and Sheldon lived and taught in  British Columbia.  It was there, that they realized, farming organically was the way of the future.  The 2400 acre organic operation produces a variety of cereal and legume crops.    Their new venture includes raising Highland cattle for the restaurant industry.   Currently, Gerry is working as a substitute teacher in the Living Sky School Division.

Wally
Mr. Hamm, a native of southern Manitoba and now permanent resident of Saskatchewan, brings some 40 years of agricultural experience as a professional agrologist and grain farmer to the organic industry.  In 1990 he founded Pro-Cert Organic Systems, a well-known North American certifier.  The Hamm family farm was converted to organic production in 1996.

He was highly active in initiating government regulation of the organic food and fibre industry in Canada.  He currently serves as the convener of the Crops Working Group of the Canadian (CGSB) Committee on Organic Agriculture which is responsible for the maintenance of the Canadian Organic Standard.  He obtained his Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Agriculture from the University of Manitoba.  He was the Director of the Saskatchewan Soil Testing Laboratory at the University of Saskatchewan for a 12 year period.

 
Trina Waronek
Trina and her husband Troy have an organic grain farm at Rockglen, SK. She grew up in the area and attended the University of Saskatchewan receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree and the University of Regina where she received a Bachelor of Education degree. Trina lived and taught school in northern Alberta for two years, she and Troy then returned to Rockglen to farm and decide organics was the best choice for them. They very much enjoy the farm lifestyle and see many exciting possibilities in organic farming. Trina is a substitute teacher which enables her to spend more time at home with her three young children. This is Trina’s third year on the Board of Directors you can meet her at the Organic Connections Booth.
Brenda Frick

Brenda Frick is an organic specialist, a local food enthusiast, a teacher, a gardener and an author. She has a Ph.D. in weed ecology, a Teaching Certificate for Saskatchewan, and she is a Professional Agrologist.  She teaches an online Organic Weeds course, writes the Organic Matters column for the Western Producer, and as a partner in Resilient Solutions Consulting, contracts with government on environmental agriculture projects.

Marion

Marion farms organically with her husband Ray at Moosomin, SK though they live in Regina.  Their land has been managed organically since 1991 but was certified in 1995.  During her years involved in this industry, Marion has served on the SK 4 chapter of OCIA in a variety of capacities, on the International Board and various committees of OCIA and on the Research and Education Board of OCIA.  During the last 20 years, Marion worked as a Teacher Assistant with the Regina Public School Board specializing in students with learning disabilities, Asbergers Syndrome and psychological disabilities. Ray and Marion have four grown children and three grandchildren. They like to travel and often combine travel with some form of involvement with organic agriculture. In 2009 Marion retired from the school system and worked as the Media Coordinator for the Food Miles Committee of the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate where she helped to create the Dining with the Stars television series. Most recently, she works part time for Farmer Direct Cooperative in Customer Relations. Marion now moves from being a member of the Board of Organic Connections to being the 2012 Organic Connections Event Coordinator.

 
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