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I am independent consultant and researcher in rural and international development. I am on the board because FarmStart is breaking new ground and I want to be part of this change. Creating opportunities for new entrants into farming is about providing technical, social, agricultural and financial skills; it is about giving people confidence. The FarmStart staff combine these skills and are demonstrating their capacity on the ground. If you were to meet the new farmers at McVean Farm you will be blown away: they are creative, productive and courageous. As the project gains momentum, requests for scaling up and replicating the approach will emerge, this will be our challenge.
Treasurer: Andre Hueniken
I have been involved in the food industry for six years, most recently as VP Marketing and Customer Support for Compusense Inc., a local company with an international reach and many multi-national food production clients. Compusense develops software that is used in the food development industry. I have seen some good, but also some bad, aspects of the industrial food behemoth.
I am now passionate about local food. Real food. Sustainably produced food. Food grown by farmers who care about their produce, the soil and the welfare of their livestock. My dream is to see local real food become a staple part of the mainstream shopping basket. I joined the Farmstart board because they have developed inspiring innovative programs that share my values.
In addition to my dream, I bring to the board many years of volunteer board experience as a treasurer, fundraiser and facilitator. I have a legal background and have worked locally as a lawyer and mediator.
I’ve have been farming organic vegetables since 2004 when I did an internship on a CRAFT farm. Since then my partner and I have worked on many farms in Canada, the U.S. and Europe and, most significantly, we ran a 250 family CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) with a friend in Acton Ontario. In the fall of 2009 we finally moved onto a farm of our own to build our own CSA, we now grow organic vegetables for 120 families in Guelph, Hanover and Paisley Ontario. A few years ago I got the opportunity to work with FarmStart as Farm Manager at the McVean incubator farm in Brampton. Being a part of that farm has really reinforced to me the importance of the work FarmStart does. As a board member I hope to help bring the perspective of a new, full time ecological farmer.
My farming career began in 1988 after realizing there were not enough farmers willing to provide the sufficient quality and consistent service. I felt it would be simpler to learn how to farm, than to inspire farmers to do better. Farming was much more complicated than I had expected, but with background in business, engineering, marketing, and cooking, I persisted in figuring it out.
I received the Ontario Supplier of the Year Award in 2002 and the Canadian Supplier of the Year Award in 2007. For my contributions to sharing my knowledge, I received the Governor General’s Award for Stewardship and Sustainability in 2010. Joining the FarmStart Board is yet another way to share my experiences with new farmers.
I am now consulting with farmers, distributors, and purchasers of quality foods. By helping with the less appealing strategic, financial, marketing, costing, and pricing segments of business, clients can sustain their operation to continue the more appealing activities. Please visit www.DavidCohlmeyer.ca
In 2011, Rodolfo Martinez launched Ontario Immigrant Network’s Newcomer Business Succession project. Since then, the project has developed into a pilot program in Lambton County, where OIN aims to create a regional model to connect newcomers to business succession opportunities.The son of Mexican immigrants, Rodolfo is passionate about entrepreneurship, and believes that newcomers represent the most under-utilized resource in Canada’s economy. Be sure to follow him on twitter: @rodolfo_oin
Ontario Immigrant Network is a non-profit organization that brings together communities and newcomer entrepreneurs through business succession opportunities. By connecting talented newcomer entrepreneurs to existing business opportunities, we help newcomers realize their full potential, while enabling communities to find their next generation of business leaders. You can learn more at www.oinweb.ca
Group Facilitation and Consensus Building Specialist. Coordinator for GTA Agricultural Action Committee. Trainer for OSCIA and OMAFRA as well as specialist in Small Business startups. Family farm and catering business (Whitfield Farms Ltd).