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.
From a degree in Agriculture, to the management of her own farm, and participation in countless farm-to-table initiatives, for years Sylvie Paquette has pursued her passion for real, local food. She is committed to educating people about local food and encouraging local, sustainable farmers, and believes strongly in empowering consumers to support local initiatives. For the last year and a half she has brought her skills and education in agriculture, marketing and communications, social networking and project management to The Eastern Ontario Agri-Food Network, and has been creating powerful relationships and partnerships in promoting the local food movement ever throughout. When she is not working, Sylvie loves being a Mom to her 2 year old daughter and 14 year old stepson, being adventurous in the garden and the kitchen, and being an active member of the Hungarian folk dance and music community.
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.
Mike Reid, Secretary
Mike Reid runs Kolapore Gardens, a 2 acre bio-intensive market garden nestled in the Blue Mountains of Georgian Bay. He lives there with his partner, a herd of horses and a few laying hens. Mike joined the board in 2015 to flesh out his passion for building a strong regional network of farmer-to-farmer training and skill sharing. As a new, young farmer he brings an enthusiasm and optimism towards the task of nurturing a culture that celebrates diversified ecological farming in Ontario.
Paul De Jong
The De Jong family originally purchased their dairy farm, Ventry Hill Farm, in 1982 in Dundalk, after arriving from Holland. In 2006, Paul de Jong made the transition to organic for concern for his children and the effects harmful chemicals could cause in the long term. Along with Kim Inglis, they currently farm 700 acres and have recently transitioned from milking cows to beef cattle and cash crops. Also a part of the farm is a growing market garden, small laying flock, and 5 pleasure horses. Paul is a former OFA chapter president (Grey County), the recipient of the Tommy Cooper award, the 2013 Ontario forage master and has been awarded the Organic Council of Ontario’s recognition as an educator in his area. For Paul and his family, farming organically is about doing the right thing, replenishing the soil and creating a sustainable and regenerative farm. Paul is excited to join the EFAO Board as it represents the farming ideals that he is working to represent and that he wants to contribute to!
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.
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.