EFAO Staff

Ali English

Ali English

Executive Director

Bio

Ali guides EFAO’s work, ensures the organization’s financial sustainability and fosters relationships with organizations and stakeholders to support the interests and needs of ecological farmers.

Ali holds a B.Sc. in Food Production and the Environment from McGill University and a M.Sc. in Agroecology from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. Prior to working with EFAO, Ali spent a number of years working on farms and helped to start and run a CSA farm business. She also spent 6 years working at FarmStart, where she developed training opportunities and resources for new farmers across Ontario. Ali became ED in 2015, and loves supporting ecological farmers – the growers, innovators and community builders who are doing such valuable work!

Sarah Larsen

Sarah Larsen

Research & Small Grains Program Director

Bio

Sarah (née Hargreaves) leads the Farmer-Led Research Program and Small Grains Program and supports soil health components of EFAO’s education programs.

Sarah holds a Ph.D. in Soil Microbial Ecology from Iowa State University. Raised in Toronto, Sarah spent three years studying nutrient cycling in the sub-Arctic, where she found her love of soil microbes as the ultimate recyclers and network builders; followed by 10 years in Iowa, where applied her passion for soil microbes to agroecosystems. Through her involvement with Practical Farmers of Iowa, she also learned about the power of farmer-to-farmer networks — the “mycelia” within farming communities — to ignite the curiosity and innovative spirit of farmers. To support farmers in this way in Ontario, Sarah launched EFAO’s Farmer-Led Research Program in 2016, EFAO’s Small Grains Program in 2020, and she also supports soil health components of EFAO’s education programs. When she’s not working with EFAO members, you can find Sarah tending the land with her partner and daughter at Three Ridges Ecological Farm, and rekindling the sacred fire of her Michif (Red River Métis) roots.

Martina Schaefer

Martina Schaefer

Administrative & Membership Manager

Bio

Martina maintains the daily behind-the-scenes operations that keep EFAO running smoothly, manages the member database, and publishes EFAO’s e-newsletters, as well as being a support to other members of the team in their roles.

Martina holds a B.Sc. in Animal Biology from the University of Guelph. She has been involved in southern Ontario’s ecological farm network since 2011, when she completed an internship at Ignatius Farm. She spent the next 4 years farming in Perth County and on the West coast, and worked with the Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training. In addition to her role at EFAO, she runs a human-scale, low-till market garden in Wellington County which provides for a small CSA program. Martina’s farm journey is fueled by strong connections and mentorship, and she is pleased to further these connections for fellow farmers through her work with EFAO.

Allison Muckle

Allison Muckle

Northern Outreach, New Farmer Programs & Operations Director

Bio

Allison leads EFAO’s Northern programs, from Ontario’s northernmost District of Kenora all the way down to Muskoka. She also coordinates a pilot program (launching in 2020) to support and encourage new and young farmers in Northern Ontario through training, mentorship, and start-up grants.

Allison holds a B.Sc. in Biology from Queen’s University. Previous to working with EFAO, she worked for FarmStart from 2013-2016 and was one of five founding members of Eat Local Sudbury Co-operative, where she worked in various roles including staff, Board member and producer-member. In 2010, Allison started a small, mixed farm business, Rowantree Farms, in Sudbury. Although no longer running Rowantree Farms as a business, Allison continues to grow meats, fruit and vegetables to feed her family. She is passionate about supporting ecological farmers and is truly delighted to join the amazing EFAO staff team!

Rebecca Ivanoff

Rebecca Ivanoff

Seed Program Manager

Bio

Rebecca supports farmers to learn about regional seed production, and to implement participatory variety trials and plant breeding projects as part of The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security and EFAO’s Farmer-Led Research Program.

Rebecca holds a M.S. in Anthropology and International Development from the University of Guelph, with a lifelong curiosity for the plants around her and the connection between plants and culture. In 2013, she joined Whole Circle Farm as a CRAFT intern, and stayed on as staff to co-manage the 10-acre CSA and reintroduce seed production to the farm. During this time she also started the Southern Ontario Pepper Breeding Project with three other farmers in southern Ontario with support from plant breeders at Cornell University and in cooperation with EFAO’s Farmer-Led Research Program. In farming, plant breeding, and seed saving she seeks to honour the past, present and future.

Laura Northey

Laura Northey

Communications & Engagement Director

Bio

Laura oversees EFAO’s communications, media relations, and social media, and is the editor of EFAO’s member magazine, Ecological Farming in Ontario.  Prior to working for EFAO, Laura served as Communications & Membership Manager for the Organic Council of Ontario and served in related roles with other nonprofit & government organizations.

 

Laura holds a B.A. in English Literature from Carleton University and a Certificate in Corporate Communications & Public Relations from Seneca College. Over the course of her career, she has had a wide range of work experiences with public, private, and non-profit organizations, including a season as an apprentice on a permaculture farm in Nova Scotia, and one running a CSA and market garden on her family farm. Laura is thrilled to contribute to real-world solutions to climate change through EFAO’s work. She is also passionate about mental health, and loves listening to and making music.

Angel Beyde

Angel Beyde

Strategic Partnerships & Eastern Outreach Director

Bio

Angel is guiding EFAO’s work to increase its understanding and take action on anti-racism towards Black, Indigenous and other people of colour, and to better meet the needs of members and farmers who are currently underrepresented in the organization and systemically marginalized within the ecological farming movement at large. As Equity and Organizational Change Manager, Angel also supports connections between EFAO and other organizations across the sector and has served in an advisory capacity for the Equity Project at Farmers for Climate Solutions as well as the Anti-Racism in Farmers’ Markets Toolkit.

As an Organic Master Gardener, educator, consultant and facilitator, Angel has worked in Urban Ag, landscaping and food justice non-profits for many years. Prior to working with EFAO, Angel managed a social enterprise eco-landscaping company which employed folks facing barriers such as mental health, addiction, street involvement and newcomer challenges. Supporting equity-deserving farmers and climate action through regenerative growing practices is close to Angel’s heart. She is delighted to join the EFAO team.

Cassie Wever

Cassie Wever

Education Coordinator

Bio

Cassie supports the educational components of EFAO’s programs, and coordinates events and resources in line with the learning and training needs of EFAO’s members. If you’ve got a great idea for a farm tour, webinar, workshop, or other educational event, please drop her a line!

Cassie grew up surrounded by farm country and Carolinian forest in Norfolk County, which fostered her lifelong interest in the connections between ecology, food, and growing systems. She went on to complete a B.Sc. in Biological Sciences at the University of Guelph, and a Masters in Environmental Studies degree at York University, where she focused on farming and food systems, environmental and food education, and social justice. Cassie then spent six years creating and facilitating social justice focused experiential learning programs for postsecondary students. She is delighted to combine her love of education, food, and farming to support a vibrant learning community among ecological farmers in Ontario! When she’s not working, you’ll find Cassie, her wife, and their kiddo on their homestead in the Madawaska Valley, or in the surrounding woods and lakes hiking, mountain biking, camping, paddling and foraging.

Jackie Clark

Jackie Clark

Small Grains Program Manager

Bio

Jackie manages EFAO’s Small Grains Program, helping to encourage farmers to realize the benefits of incorporating small grains in field crop rotations. She is passionate about innovation and collaborative research across the agri-food industry, and connecting farmers with the resources they need to improve the sustainability of their operations. 

Jackie holds a B.Sc. in Agriculture and M.Sc. in Sustainable Cropping Systems from the University of Guelph, where she studied cover crops and soil health. She has worked on a broad range of research projects based in diverse settings such as the terrace farms of Nepal, soybean fields in Nebraska, and corn fields and crop biotechnology labs here in Ontario. A two-year stint as an Agriculture Journalist bolstered Jackie’s appreciation for the hard work and problem-solving efforts of farmers as they work to grow safe and nutritious food for a growing population while mitigating the impacts of climate change, and she’s eager to facilitate that goal in her role at EFAO. When not answering your Small Grains questions, Jackie is likely out training for a marathon, or home snuggling her foster cats. 

Chloe Rodriguez

Chloe Rodriguez

Events and Communications Coordinator

Bio

Chloe supports the communications, event organizing, and outreach efforts of EFAO. She is passionate about building fruitful relationships and creating accessible resources for EFAO’s wider community.

Chloe holds a B.A. in English: Cultural Studies from McGill University, where she was first introduced to the dynamic push and pull of community organizing. Before joining EFAO, Chloe worked with Youth for Youth Québec, leading a province-wide initiative that enlisted youth organizers to create intergenerational community events in their respective regions. In past positions, she has supported various  projects and academic networks relating to feminist praxis, public policy, and climate justice. Her interest in ecological farming practices began through a series of volunteer experiences in small-scale agriculture and food sovereignty initiatives in the West Island of Tio’tia:ke/Montreal. Currently based in Tkaronto/Toronto, Chloe is excited to help expand EFAO’s reach and foster sites of exchange for its community. Chloe is also a multi-disciplinary artist and continues to pursue creative projects surrounding themes of environment and kinship.

Taryn Bobiwash

Taryn Bobiwash

Indigenous Outreach & Engagement Coordinator

Bio

Taryn Bobiwash is an Ojibwe & Odawa member of the Turtle Clan from Serpent River First Nation. As the Indigenous Outreach and Engagement Coordinator she creates meaningful connections between communities and creates space and learning opportunities for Indigenous Peoples to connect deeply to their lands through various growing and harvesting practices. Taryn is a full spectrum doula, amateur hide tanner, and visual artist. She is a graduate of Algoma University and Shingwauk Kinomaagegamig with a BA in Anishinaabemowin and Psychology. In 2019 she co-founded the Nimkii Youth Collective which is actively working to revitalize language and culture on the land. She is dedicated to reclaiming Anishinaabemowin and the traditional art forms, birthing and growing practices of her Nation. She is passionate about reproductive education, soil health and learning with and from the land. In her work she hopes to strengthen ancestral ties and leave good footprints for those yet unborn to follow. 

Rachel Lachance

Rachel Lachance

Northern Events Coordinator

Bio
Rachel supports the EFAO’s Northern Programs through outreach, coordinating knowledge-sharing events, building strong partnerships and providing program support for the Indigenous Growers mentorship program.
 
Rachel lives off-grid in Timmins, Ontario with her husband and 4 children and operates a 115 acre ecological farm. In 2016 Rachel and her family embarked on their off-grid homesteading journey and started the Black River Foraging Co., a land-based business offering traditional folk remedies, ecotourism experiences and workshops, it has now grown to encompass an apiary, seasonal livestock, food forests and no-till gardens. Rachel has a diverse professional background in natural resources as a natural resource technician, forest firefighter and ecotourism guide, in public health as a Registered Massage Therapist and most recently in food sovereignty initiatives through her own off-grid homestead as well as through various non-profit organizations in Northern Ontario. Rachel’s recent role with Keepers of the Circle, an Indigenous training centre located in Temiskaming region, focused on the development of 2 community food forests, youth programs, a seed bank initiative and extensive food sovereignty curriculum.  Rachel is currently working toward her diploma as a Clinical Herbalist.