2022 Yorkshire Valley Farms Canadian Eco-Scholar Award - Yorkshire Valley Farms

2022 Yorkshire Valley Farms Canadian Eco-Scholar Award

Congratulations to the 2022 Eco-Scholars!

Yorkshire Valley Farms and the Guelph Organic Conference are pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s Canadian Eco-Scholar Award. Thank you to all the applicants – your passion and ideas offer powerful inspiration and we are excited by the positive impact you are working to have on your communities.

This year’s winners embody the values of the organic regenerative community and we believe their ideas will help to actively shape the future of organic regenerative agriculture.

🏆 Learn about the 2021 Eco-Scholar recipients.

2022 Eco-Scholar Winners
Dalhousie University
Masters, Environmental Studies
University of Waterloo
PhD, Sustainability Management
University of Guelph
Masters, Animal Breeding and Genetics
University of Guelph
Undergraduate, Bachelor of Commerce with a Major in Hospitality & Tourism Management
2022 Eco-Scholar Honourable Mentions
University of British Columbia
BSc. in Global Resource Systems, Faculty of Land and Food Systems
University of Guelph
PhD Plant Agriculture / Pollinator conservation
Concordia University
Masters of Arts
University of British Columbia
Bachelor of Arts, Major in Linguistics
Judge Profiles
Aaron Armstrong
Blue Wheelbarrow Farm
Anahita Belanger
Vetta Nordic Spa / Fair Finance Fund / SheEO Network
Anahita is passionate about connecting conscious eaters to local family farms. As Food and Beverage Lead at Vetta Nordic Spa, she curates farm to fork food experiences. She also enjoys supporting local food and farm entrepreneurs as a Fair Finance Fund Program Advisor. In addition, Anahita is a founding Activator of the SheEO network, a unique global fund created by a radically generous community who invest in entrepreneurs building an inclusive and regenerative world. Anahita pasture raises heritage hogs and hens, and grows vegetables as well as medicinal plants on her certified organic farm in Hillsdale, Ontario.
Maurice Bianchi
Organic Meadow
Michelle Carkner
Phd Candidate at the University of Manitoba & Past Eco-Scholar Winner (2021)
Michelle started her career with food as a chef, completing a culinary diploma and obtaining her Red Seal while training in Toronto restaurants. Her interest in agriculture grew while chatting with farmers making deliveries at the back door of restaurants and shifted careers. She holds a bachelor of science in agriculture from the University of Guelph, and a master’s degree from the University of Manitoba. Her master’s thesis research focused on organic on-farm soybean variety evaluation. She then went on to coordinate the nationwide Canadian Organic Participatory Plant Breeding (PPB) program in wheat, oat, and potato, working with farmers, breeders, and researchers from Prince Edward Island to British Columbia. Alongside her coordinator role, she has run multiple organic research trials and has engaged in the organic community through conference planning, organic agronomist training, field days, and publications. She is currently pursuing her Phd at the University of Manitoba looking at phosphorus dynamics in farmer-selected organic wheat lines from the PPB program. She is currently serving on the Organic Crop Improvement Research and Education Board of Directors and Manitoba Organic Development Fund Board.
Ben Cullen
Cullen’s Foods
Ben Cullen is founder of Cullen’s Foods, which buys, processes and sells Canadian-grown organic beans under the Cullen’s brand name. Ben is passionate about organic agriculture and seeing more young people enter the sector. You can learn more about Ben and Cullen’s at www.cullensfoods.com
Dave Lockman
Organic Regulations and Certification Specialists
Dave Lockman is an organic regulations and certification specialists with over 13 years experience in the organic certification industry and over 20 years of experience in the agri-food industry. He holds a master’s in business administration (MBA) in agri-food from Laval University and a bachelor of science in agriculture from the University of Guelph. Dave sits on the board of Organic Food Conferences Canada, a non-profit organization which manages the yearly Guelph Organic Conference. Dave also sits on various committees within the organic industry providing consultancy services to other non-profit organizations. He is currently employed as an organic program coordinator at the Centre for Systems Integration (CSI), a CFIA accredited organic certification body. CSI is a Canadian non-profit organization whose mission is to provide cost-effective certification programs.
Dag Falck
Nature’s Path Foods & Legend Organic Farm
Dag Falck has worked tirelessly in progressing the organic movement for the past three decades. Since joining Nature’s Path Foods in 2003, Dag has had the opportunity to work within all aspects of the organic movement, including regulations, enforcement, supply chain integrity and customer expectations. Prior to joining Nature’s Path, he worked as an organic inspector for 14 years, auditing all types of farms and processing facilities. Dag also currently oversees the operations of Legend Organic Farm (LOF) in Saskatchewan Canada, which produces ingredients for Nature’s Path products. The grain farm helped pioneer the Regenerative Organic Certification program (ROC) and is currently ROC certified at the Silver level. Dag is the Co-Chair of the Carbon Sequestration in Organic Task Force, the past president of COTA (Canada Organic Trade Association), and has served on numerous boards and committees including the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada, and the International Organic Inspectors Association.
Gillian Files
The New Farm
Travis Heide
One Organic Farm
Travis grew up on a family farm outside of Moosomin, Saskatchewan. His earliest memories are of working with his brothers, his father, and his grandfather. When he decided not to take the reins on the family farm, he pursued a business degree and starting a company in grain trading. With his knowledge of agriculture and trade and an inclination to help others, Travis traveled to South Sudan and developed a series of farmlands, helping improve farming practices in the developing and landlocked country. Even without some of the basic farming luxuries and resources, Travis left feeling inspired by what hard work alone could accomplish.
Tia Loftsgard
Canada Organic Trade Association
Tia Loftsgard is the Executive Director of the Canada Organic Trade Association. Tia has worked in the field of organic and international agricultural trade for over 20 years. She got her start in the business by founding the first ever Fairtrade organic chocolate company (Camino) and has held senior roles with Fairtrade International, most recently as the Chief Operating Officer of Fairtrade America. Tia is currently a voting member of the Organic Standards Technical Committee, the Organic Value Chain Roundtable, and holds leadership positions on several committees and task forces that advance the organic sector.
Maginda Magendrathajan
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Maginda is a public servant and passionate about climate action. Prior to joining Environment and Climate Change Canada, she worked with Agriculture Agri-Food Canada’s National Agroclimate Information Service to monitor how extreme weather and climate impact agriculture in Canada. Working directly with farmers facing climate impacts fed Maginda’s interest in climate-related issues and impressed upon her the time-sensitive nature of climate change. She completed a Master of Climate Change degree from the University of Waterloo in 2020 and now works for the Canadian Centre for Climate Services’ service delivery team. A 2020 Eco-Scholar, Maginda is passionate about organic farming and its climate mitigation potential.
Kelly Monaghan
Ash Street Organics
Kelly works in Canada and the United States as an organic inspector, reviewer, consultant and trainer. She is an Accredited Process Inspector of the International Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA). Kelly works with several certification bodies as an inspector and works with companies of all sizes in navigating the process to obtain organic certification. As a curriculum designer and trainer, Kelly shares her knowledge of organic standards and regulations with organic inspectors, certifier staff and governmental agencies. She has an MBA from York University in Toronto and can be reached via www.ashstreetorganics.com.
Destinee Penney
Past Eco-Scholar Winner (2020)
My passion for International Development grew as I became more aware of the true injustices this world possessed so I decided to enter into the field of development as a career & life purpose. In 2014, I traveled to Nicaragua to assist in the construction of a school and daycare center. In 2016, I held an internship in India, in partnership with Parul University where I began to explore concepts and approaches to sustainability. Within my undergraduate degree, I travelled to Jamaica and became actively involved in learning more about sustainability and its relationship with International Development. As a student, the adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) became the basis for a lot of my research in understanding the approaches to achieve the pronounced global targets. I recently completed my Masters Degree in Development Practice and Sustainability at the University of Waterloo. I currently work as a Program Coordinator at a youth-based organization with focus on sustainability and organic agriculture farming.
Jenn Pfenning
Pfenning’s Organic Farm
As one of the family owners of Pfenning’s Organic Vegetables Inc, Jenn Pfenning is passionate about food, farming, environment, and social justice. She takes pride in knowing that the organic food grown on her family farm contributes to the well-being of others. Growing up in fields, gardens and greenhouses in Canada, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) and Rwanda gave her a global perspective on the interconnected issues of climate change, equity, and food sovereignty. She serves as a volunteer on the National Farmers Union Migrant Worker Solidarity Working Group advocating for dignity and justice for the women and men who work on Canadian farms every year under the Temporary Foreign Worker program.
Molly Thomas
Past Eco-Scholar Winner, (2021)