Board + Staff

Meet our Board
You may recognize some of the faces behind the NFU-O. That’s because they’re Ontario farmers, and farm all across the provincethey might even farm in the same county that you do.

Before they held leadership positions within the NFU-O, they were actively involved in their Local. We welcome any farming member to get involved in the governance of their Local, and we hope to see your face up here over the next few years!

Don Ciparis
NFU-O President

Don Ciparis has been a grains and oilseeds producer in the Rodney area of Elgin County since 1986. He has a Bachelor of Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo and has participated as a Binational Public Forum member on the Lake Erie Lakewide Management Plan and is a director on the Elgin County Grains and Oilseeds Association. He has been on the Board of the National Farmers Union – Ontario since 2016 and was acclaimed as the NFU-O President last week.

Hilary Moore
National Board Member
Local 310

Hilary Moore and her husband have a mixed organic farm in Lanark, ON.  They raise Tamworth pigs for pork, vegetables, honey as well as hay for their workhorses and livestock.  Hilary has been farming full time since 1999, since graduating with honours from the Environmental Studies program at Carleton University.  She operated one of the first CSA’s in the Ottawa area for 13 years.  They continue to direct market from the farm and through a farmer’s market.  Hilary has been an active member of the NFU since 2002, as part of her local executive, as well as acting on several national committees and acting as National VP (Policy) for one term.  In her past, Hilary has been involved in school ground greening projects, the Ottawa Good Food Box local food procurement program, as well as the formation of the Ottawa Food Security Council (renamed Just Food).

Ayla Fenton
National Board Member
Local 318

Ayla Fenton is a new farmer and community organizer from the Kingston area. She has worked on organic farms in the area for the past six years, and is currently launching a new farm cooperative with other young farmers to produce organic vegetables, heritage grains, and pastured pork in Lanark County. She works with the National Farmers Union to advocate for new and young farmers, and for the transition to agroecology, food sovereignty and climate justice. Ayla also represents the NFU in the global peasant movement La Via Campesina.

Arwa de Groot
Women’s Advisor
Local 340

Arwa returned to the family farm after pursuing a BFA in film production and working in the industry in Toronto. She farms with her father on their organic dairy farm where she is primarily responsible for the 80 head herd. Passionate about public education concerning farming and environmental issues, they have opened their farm to visitors during the growing season. Arwa has been involved with her Local in Waterloo/Wellington taking on a variety of roles over the past decade and is looking forward to contributing further on the council.

Kate Garvie
Youth Advisor
Local 362

Kate runs Heartbeet Farm, an ecological vegetable operation west of Ottawa on unceded Algonquin territory. Before starting Heartbeet, Kate worked in the environmental non-profit sector and learned to grow vegetables on farms across Ontario. She holds a Master’s of Environmental Studies from the University of Victoria, where she studied oil and gas consultation processes with Treaty 8 First Nations during the shale gas boom. Kate’s farming and work with the NFU is informed by agro-ecological principles and the belief that strong communities start with good food.  

Terry Byrne
Councillor-at-Large
Local 353

Terry is a grain and oilseed farmer in Essex County.  Along with his brothers Tom and Mike, he operates Pleasant Park Farms Inc – 1600 acres of conventional crops. He was a provincial Director for the Ontario Soybean Board from 2002-2003, member of Essex County Grain Grower Board from 2000-2007, and Chairman of Essex County Grain Growers in 2005. He graduated from St Clair College’s business administration 3 year program majoring in marketing in 1982.

Nick Greenacre
Councillor-at-Large
Local 351

Nick Greenacre and his wife Anne Ehrlich began farming in Ontario in 1994. Now retired, Nick raised Jacob and Dorset Horn sheep and grew small grains, soy, and hay with organic certification. The arable land is currently rented out for hay and pasture.  In addition, their Brant County farm includes a large woodlot which is managed for timber and wildlife conservation. He has been a member of the NFU since longer than he can remember. He is also a member of EFAO, a founder member of the Brant Woodlot Owners’ Association and served on the Boards of both associations.

Although growing up working on farms and in forestry, he worked for thirty years internationally in the fields of public health and environmental pollution before taking up the opportunity to farm.

Max Hansgen
Councillor-at-Large
Local 310

Max works with his wife Shelagh in their market garden called Earth’s Mirth just outside of Lanark Village in eastern Ontario. Earth’s Mirth grows vegetables to sell at the Almonte Farmers’ Market and for a food box program. His first paying job was harvesting and processing garlic on a large organic farm in the area. For two years after high school he worked as a paid intern/apprentice on a bio-dynamic farm. There he found a lifetime interest in sustainable farm practices by helping tend to pigs, goats, diverse vegetable crops, and by working with horses. For the past 15 years Max has worked at Kiwi Gardens where he currently manages production of ornamental perennials, maintenance of display gardens and retail sales at the nursery. Max has been selling Kiwi Gardens’ plants through farmers markets for many years.

If you’d like to contact any of our board by phone, please contact the NFU-O provincial office at 1-888-832-9638.

Meet our Staff 

While our team may be small, we’re mighty! Our crew maintains all the daily activities keeps the NFU-O up and running. But that’s not all, folks–we also take on a number of programs and special projects that help to advance the goals and objectives of the NFU-O. Our team certainly knows how to make hay when the sun shines.

Sarah Bakker 
General Manager
Contact Sarah

Sarah has been farming in the Kawartha Lakes region since 2005 and is an active member of Local 345. She farms 100 acres with her family and raises pastured chicken and grass fed and finished beef. Sarah brings her background in marketing and fundraising multi-million dollar projects to the NFU-O, which has helped her grow the organization over the past seven years. 

Aric McBay
Membership Development and Special Projects Manager
Contact Aric

Aric farms near Kingston, Ontario, and is an experienced community organizer. He was active in the NFU-O’s Food Down the Road Project, the New Farm Project, and the Save Our Prison Farms campaign. Aric works to develop new projects for the NFU-O, to facilitate training workshops, and to strengthen the NFU-O’s connections with allied organizations.

Looking for general contact information for the NFU-O? You can find it here