Max Hansgen – NFU-O President & Region 3 Coordinator
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.
Jennifer Osborn – National Board Member
Jennifer is the artist and farmer at All Sorts Acres Farm & Art Gallery along with her partner Tim Fisher. Starting in 2007 on just over an acre outside of Guelph with the goal of creating an integrated art-farm, the two persevered until finally purchasing the land they currently farm in 2016. The 50 acre farm, located an hour north of Guelph, is managed using regenerative, ecological, permaculture, and circular economy principles and practices that revolve around sheep. With a certified commercial kitchen, wool processing facility, and on-farm store and gallery, almost all the farm produces is processed on farm creating value-added sheep milk gelato, yogurt, cheese, kefir, milk, wool items, and pastured lamb. Bees, ducks, chickens, berries, and willow contribute to the farm identity and product base that includes charcoal, paint, building materials, honey, eggs, flavours for their gelato, and farm inspired artwork that includes original pieces and plantable greeting cards.
Roger Rivest – National Board Member
Roger grew up on a mixed farm in Staples ON. He graduated with a Food Technology degree from St. Clair College. He started transitioning one farm in 1987 & that farm was organic certified in 1990. He then transitioned and certified an additional 100 acres for the next 6 years, and started a CSA in 1991 through 1993. He started two successful businesses, Roger Rivest Marketing and Nature Lane Farms Organic Fertilizer, both of which closed when he retired in 2018. A year into retirement Roger got bored, and built a greenhouse and expanded his garden to 2 acres to supply health food stores and restaurants in Chatham and Wheatley. He raises pastured chickens—for both meat and eggs. Roger is also a long time member of COG and a Board member of EFAO.
Claire Poulton – Women’s Advisor
Claire runs Little Fields Farm where, with the help of seasonal employees, she grows an acre of uncertified organic vegetables and cut flowers, as well as pasture-raised pork, chicken, turkey, and eggs. She sells almost everything the farm produces through a 100 member CSA program. As a first-generation farmer, Claire’s passion for environmental sustainability, love of the outdoors, and love of food drew her to small-scale ecological farming. After spending several seasons as an intern on farms in Ontario and BC, she established her own farm in 2015 that now rests on rented land in Oxford County. She holds a degree in Environment and Global Development Studies from Queen’s University.
Rav Singh – Youth Advisor
Rav (she/her) is a new and young farmer in Mississauga. She runs a food and climate justice organization called Shade of Miti and specializes in growing okra and bitter melon. Rav started as an urban farmer and environmental educator and focuses on climate resilient farming.
Orlando Martín López Gómez – BIPOC Advisor
Orlando oversees FoodShare’s food growing projects across the city – turning under utilized schoolyards, hydro corridors, and parks into vibrant and productive urban farms and community gardens. Orlando is passionate about food justice, and community leadership, and provides lots of resources and support for communities to design, implement, and run their own growing and composting projects. He is a trained agronomist with an incredible depth of knowledge in all aspects of growing food.
Brendan Grant – Councillor-at-Large & Vice President
Brendan Grant and his wife Marcelle Paulin own Sleepy G Farm along the north shore of Lake Superior outside of Thunder Bay, where they produce certified organic vegetables and beef from a small heard of Shorthorn cattle. A strong advocate of regional food systems, Brendan has spent 15 years building a highly productive farm in a region with significant climate limitations and a modest agricultural history. Brendan built an on-farm vegetable storage facility that enables the farm to wholesale and direct market vegetables to local consumers, nearly year-round. Brendan asserts that farming is a professional occupation, and that the key to food sovereignty in the future is to get more farmers in the field now!
Ken Bassindale – Councillor-at-Large
Ken and his wife Lisa farm 530 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and hay as well as cover crops in Haldimand County. He has a 25 cow/calf operation of Polled Herefords and he also runs an apiary under the name KBee’s. He plans to try his hand at raising chickens—for both meat and eggs—this summer. He is a member of the EFAO and is currently working toward regenerative practices on the farm as well as a holistic approach to management. He still manages to muster dawning the pads for some recreational hockey and enjoys spending time with his 4 grandchildren.
Krista Long – Executive Director
Krista is a passionate advocate for family farms, farmland protection, ecologically viable farming practices, and local, equitable food systems. She has over 20 years experience in the not-for-profit sector with a variety of organizations including the Canadian Organic Growers, the Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable, and the Ontario Farmland Trust. She brings her experience in fundraising, policy, research, and program development to her role at the NFU-O.
Aric McBay – Director of Special Projects & Membership Development
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.
Aric is currently on leave.
Dave Thompson – Farm Labour & Skills Development Project Manager
A modest backyard gardener and former slinger of banana bunches, David has a lifelong respect for the labour required to bring food to the table. David is an experienced community organizer and researcher with a PhD in Canadian history. He is passionate about building grassroots, people-centred social movements that are dedicated to sustainable local farming, cultural and social diversity, and economic equality and security. He believes growing food is a political act. David was the lead researcher and writer of the July 2021 NFU-O publication, “Reframing the Farm Labour Crisis in Ontario.”
Ashlee Redmond – Communications & Member Support Coordinator
Ashlee is an ambitious home cook and a devoted eater of good food. She became interested in the food movement while working for the food security organization Loving Spoonful (Kingston, ON) in 2016. Ashlee works to increase member communications, design campaigns, and plan for the NFU-O AGM. She’s grateful for the opportunity the NFU-O provides to bridge her technical skills and passion for food with her intention of pursuing a career that has positive environmental and social impact.