Board of Directors

Brent Preston, President

Brent Preston and his wife Gillian Flies own and operate The New Farm, a certified organic vegetable operation near Creemore, Ontario. When they established the farm almost ten years ago, Brent and Gillian grew a wide variety of vegetables that they sold in the Creemore Farmers’ Market, and through a single wholesale distributor. They now specialize in cut salads, beets, potatoes and cucumbers, exclusively for the wholesale market. The New Farm serves fine dining restaurants, speciality retailers, home delivery services and institutional clients through a number of distributors, and also has a long-standing relationship with The Stop Community Food Centre. Prior to starting the farm, Brent worked in journalism, international development and human rights.

 

Eric Blondin, Vice President

Eric Blondin operates Three Forks Farms in Warren Ontario between Sudbury & North Bay with his partner Peggy-Gene Baillie. They service direct and wholesale markets in Sudbury & North Bay with mixed vegetables and pastured chicken through the Artisanal Chicken Program. Eric & Peggy operate the farm according to the organic standards and are currently in process of certifying as organic with Eco-cert. Before starting Three Forks Farm, Eric worked as the Produce & Meat Department Manager at Eat Local Sudbury.  Eric joined the board because he knows the value of farmers teaching farmers and the work of the EFAO. One of the best tools for small scale farms is cooperation amongst ecological growers. The EFAO has been providing the framework for such cooperation.  He hopes to contribute to fostering a community of ecological farmers.

 

Jessica Gale, Secretary

Jessica owns and operates Sweet Gale Gardens, an ecological flower farm in Flamborough, ON, just north of Hamilton. She specializes in cut flowers for sale at market, wholesale to florists and specialty grocers, and arranging for weddings. Jessica is in her 6th season farming and prior to moving to Hamilton and joining FarmStart’s incubator farm, she was a staff farmer at Fresh City Farms in Toronto. She is also a farmer researcher with EFAO’S Farmer-led Research Program, testing ecological methods for better cut flower production. With great enthusiasm for the work EFAO does and the community it creates, she joined the Board in 2018.

 

Mike MacGillivray, Treasurer

Michael (Mike) MacGillivray runs Kirkview Farms with his sister, Alison, and their families, near Alexandria, Ontario. Their 196 acre diversified livestock farm, which consists of chicken raised under the CFO Artisanal Program, heritage pork and grass fed beef, is in transition to an organic based system.  The farms goal is to provide ethically raised, high nutritional value food, at a cost that is beneficial to the farm and its customers.  Mike joined the board in 2018 as a way of getting more involved in the ecological farming community.   He has found that the community continually provides learning opportunities and resources to him as he is negotiating the transition to organic.  Moving the ecological farming agenda forward is a key priority for Mike, and he endeavours to continue to challenge the status quo of the current food system.

 

Brent Klassen

Brent Klassen and his wife Val Steinmann have lived at Heartwood Farm since moving out of Toronto 14 years ago. During that time, they’ve raised a variety of grass-fed livestock, made maple syrup, and planted fruit and nut orchards. In 2015, Brent explored cider-making as a way of utilizing some of what the orchards produce. From there, Heartwood Farm & Cidery was born and now produces a variety of hard ciders that are commercially available at Heartwood’s farm store, a few farmers’ markets, and at selected local restaurants. Prior to establishing the cidery, Brent was the founding partner of a couple of marketing firms: Blue North Strategies and Blue ID.

 

Eric Payseur

Eric has been growing food for 20+ years. He has taught courses on local sustainable food systems at McMaster, St. Lawrence College, and the University of New Mexico.  An urban farmer, experiential educator and Organic Master Gardener, Eric has worked most recently for organic certification body Ecocert Canada. He is now the Regional Event and Education Manager for the Canadian Organic Growers in Ottawa. He is incredibly excited to join the Board and help EFAO continue to grow.

 

 

 

Annie Richard 

Annie Richard is one of three who operate Kitchen Table Seed House on Wolfe Island, near Kingston. In addition to growing organic vegetable, herb and flower seeds of regionally-adapted varieties, Annie has a keen interest in research and plant breeding. She was fortunate to spend the 2017 season at Cornell University working with Michael Mazourek and crew in the plant breeding department to further develop her understanding of plant breeding for organic systems. She continues to learn as a Farmer Researcher by working to develop new sweet pepper varieties as part of the Southern Ontario Pepper Project, among other farm-based breeding endeavours. Annie is energized by the dynamic community of farmers in the EFAO and strongly believes in its work.

 

Jennifer Seilern

Jennifer Seilern runs Seilern Farm with her husband, Mathias, and one year old son, Ronan, near Kincardine, Ontario. Their 300 acre cash crop and livestock farm is certified organic and biodynamic. Jennifer joined the board in 2015 to fulfill her desire to begin giving back to the ecological farming community who has supported her learning and farming so much over the past few years. Jennifer holds a degree in agricultural science and a postgraduate diploma in agricultural communications from the University of Guelph. She is excited to put all of her skills to work in helping to propel the ecological farming movement forward.