Chris Bodnar co-owns and operates Close to Home Organics with his wife, Paige, at Glen Valley Organic Farm in Abbotsford. Now in their tenth season of farming, Chris and his family have learned some of the challenges and opportunities of farming on a small scale in the organic sector. They operate a 135-member Community Shared Agriculture program and sell at two weekly farmers markets during the farming season. Prior to farming Chris earned a PhD in Communication from Carleton University. His academic interests continue through teaching and writing. Chris teaches the business planning components of Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Sustainable Agriculture program. Chris sits on the board of the Mounth Lehman Credit Union. He does business planning consulting with small-scale farmers and is a mentor with the Young Agrarians’ BC Business Mentorship Network.
Paul Kelly is the General Manager of the Kootenay Co-op. He has 20 years of experience in the natural foods industry, from volunteering at a small organic bakery & store near Faenza, Italy, in his youth, to more recently as Director of Marketing and Purchasing for Community Natural Foods in Calgary. He is passionate about revitalizing the local value-added food chain, and helping to make organic food choices more affordable for Kootenay families. He, his wife and two kids have been living on a small farm in the Slocan Valley since 2008, and produce much of their own food including veggies, milk, eggs and meat.
Shauna Teare, Graphic + Permaculture Designer: Shauna along with her family are learning the ins and outs of homesteading on a Winlaw mountainside at; Tricycle Acres, Permaculture Smallholding. Where they teach and test permaculture techniques through intensive internship programs, and through the development of the homesteading 101 series. Shauna created the 101 workshop series to promote lost skills in the valley including; cheese-making, pig butchery, canning, fermenting, and medicine making to name a few. Shauna is currently the Chair of the West Kootenay Permaculture Co-op, and she is very involved in developing a resilient food future for her community.
Shauna’s city life was in the food industry where she owned and operated two successful bakeries; and her day job now in the country is providing graphic design service and business consultation to the food industry.
She is very passionate about Seasonal Organic Local Ethical eating (eating with SOLE) her blog feature recipes from the Kootenay foodshed, and celebrates canned, fermented and preserved foods.
Lavinia Lidstone is the owner of Kootenay Kombucha, a small batch craft brewery in Slocan Valley, BC. The brewery is built from a passion for health and whole foods. We celebrate the abundance and way of life in the Kootenays by brewing delicious and potent probiotic herbal elixirs.
“I have wanted to be involved in nutrtition and helping people as a career since a young age, I can remember writing that I’d be a nutritionist in one of my elementary school science classes. Starting a business didn’t become a dream until I was 19, after traveling through Europe, Central America and the Western US I felt ready to settle down at age 22 in Nelson. I’m so happy to call the Kootenays home, and I feel so much gratitude towards the local businesses who have been so supportive of my vision for less packaging and local kombucha, saving on fossil fuels from importing heavy shipments. Kombucha is a growing market here in the Kootenays and I am working to make it as sustainable as possible. Thanks everyone for supporting Kootenay Kombucha locally and beyond.”
Jon has created the Chuckleberry Community and is discovering ways to make the farm more viable all the time.
Chuckleberry operates as an off-grid organic farm with a year-round microgreen business, bringing farm-fresh microgreens to restaurants and retailers in the greater Nelson community as well as Creston, Castlegar, Trail, and Rossland. We also have extensive south-sloping organic gardens. These are used primarily to feed the community, but we grow and market some commercial crops including basil, garlic, and cherry tomatoes.
Kristen Nammour’s involvement with agriculture started with a small balcony garden in Vancouver. She followed her love of growing to an apprenticeship with Sea Bluff Farm, a six-acre organic mixed vegetable producer in Metchosin. After some time as a field hand, she started her own mini market garden, 40×40 Farm, on Gabriola Island. Kristen has worked as a marketing consultant for a variety of food systems including a community supported fishery (CSF) and a food hub. In the winter, Kristen works with Young Agrarians, an organization dedicated to growing the next generation of farmers in Canada. As the BC Business Mentorship project manager she is able to combine her BBA in Marketing from Texas A&M University with her desire to help small sustainable farming businesses.
Sylvia dreams of a prosperous and resilient food industry. As an experienced coach, facilitator and consultant, she provides much-needed training and services to help small-scale food processors achieve more.
Sylvia’s profound understanding of food processing stems from her education in Food Science from the University of Guelph, where she completed both a B.Sc. and M.Sc. She has served in many industry roles, from quality assurance to research, marketing, product development and regulatory compliance.
With over 15 years of technical experience in the food processing and natural health product industries, he approach is refreshing and inspiring. Sylvia has the unique ability to put technical jargon into layman’s terms. She listens to her clients’ needs and identifies challenges and their unique solutions. Sylvia identifies opportunities and expertly navigates the path to capture them.
Her recent accomplishments include: (1) helping clients access grants and funding; (2) developing innovative food products; (3) developing and maintaining robust food safety management systems; (4) coaching clients from concept to commercialization; (5) design of processing technologies, compliant labels and effective packaging solutions, and; (6) facilitating industry workshops.