Angie Koch, President
Angie runs Fertile Ground – a 5 acre vegetable farm with some pastured poultry – in Wilmot Township. Angie has been involved in new farmer training in a number of capacities: taking interns as a CRAFT farm, and working with FarmStart and Everdale to facilitate courses and workshops. She also works part-time for Seeds of Diversity as a Seed Library Coordinator through the winter months. With an educational and 1st career background in Community Development, Angie is passionate about the role that EFAO can and does play in community building within the ecological farming community. She’s particularly excited to be involved in growing our annual conference and supporting the development of our organization’s Board capacity.
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.
Karen Maitland, Treasurer
While not an official farmer, I come to the EFAO board with both professional and personal organic growing experience. Before joining EFAO in 2005 as the Membership Services Coordinator I worked with Dr Ann Clark and Dr Derek Lynch on various organic farming research projects including the study Dr Clark used in the initial Introduction to Organic Ag course at the University of Guelph. Most of the study farms belonged to EFAO. After my retirement from the office it was a logical step to continue to support the farmers I have been involved with for fifteen plus years. On the personal side, I continue to cultivate (this is year 27) a large organic garden plot at Ignatius to supplement my urban home garden.
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.
Denis’ desire to farm started seven years ago when he was studying Biodiversity at McGill University. That’s where he first made connections in the farming community, and he has never looked back. After a few apprenticeships that taught him much about market gardening, animal husbandry and managing a sugar bush, he was ready to take the plunge. After moving to Southwestern Ontario from Montreal in 2014, he and his partner set out to start a farm business, which they did. Denis now runs Turning Leaf Ecological Farm, a 30-member CSA and market garden located in Thorndale, just 10 minutes outside of London. He is also co-founder and co-chair of the Thorndale Community Farmers’ Market, which also started in 2015. He joined the EFAO board of directors because he believes in its mission of supporting ecological farmers and in the cooperative and sharing philosophy of its members. He hopes to help strengthen and broaden this community through his own involvement.
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.
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.
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.