Our Mission:  The Central Kootenay Food Policy Council builds a just, sustainable and prosperous food system in our region by identifying challenges and opportunities and by advocating for effective policy.

Our Purpose: We make policy recommendations and broker best practices and knowledge about food systems in the Central Kootenay.

Our Formation: The Central Kootenay Food Policy Council was formed in December 2016 and consists of up to 26 individuals (read the Media Release). Council members endorse the Mission and Purpose of the Council and have skills or expertise in at least one related area. The Council reflects the diverse regions and population of the Central Kootenay and is guided by our Policy Manual & Bylaws, which are living documents that continue to evolve with the Council.

Each member serves as a vital conduit for information exchange between their respective sector and communities and the Food Policy Council. We explore issues related to hunger, food waste, land and water, distribution and production. With Council members that reside across the region and that are engaged in many facets of our food systems, our collective relationships, knowledge and experience will help to identify and create solutions that are not possible alone.

We know that when you bring intelligent, caring and passionate people to a table, great things will happen – especially if there is food involved! If you are interested in serving on the Council, please contact us.

Meet our Council Members

Aimee Watson
Sector: RDCK – Local Government, Food Security, Economic Development
Location: Area D
Bio: Aimee grew up in a small Ontario town and moved out to British Columbia in 1997.  After finishing her studies in food security she moved onto the Fraser Common Farm Coop and became very involved in the community, working with a variety of non-profit groups supporting the rights of small scale farmers trying to make a living in a large farm global food market. This offered opportunity for her to work with several MP’s and she developed a passion for community, good food and the political system. Aimee continues to be actively involved on a variety of boards, has been learning about the political system and discovering ways to develop a consensus within large groups. In 2004, Aimee fell in love with a beautiful little town and moved to Kaslo, BC, where for the first year she worked up to eight jobs. She established herself in the small community and was hired by North Kootenay Lake Community Services Society to implement a food forum for the region.  After a year of hard work and research the Kaslo Food Security project was established and in 2009 the doors were opened for the first accredited community food centre in Canada. In 2014, Aimee was elected the Electoral Area Director for Area D and currently lives in Kaslo with her son.

Ari Derfel
Sectors: Restaurant, Environment, Youth, Waste Management
Location: Blewett
Bio: Ari is the former Executive Director of Slow Money, a national organization focused on catalyzing investment in Local Food Systems. He is also co-owner of Gather, the critically acclaimed, sustainable restaurant in Berkeley, California, and co-founder of Back to Earth Organic Catering, the first organic catering company in the US. He has been featured on numerous print, television, web and radio media worldwide. He moved to a rural property in the Kootenays in 2016.

Chelsey Jones
Sectors: Community Food Initiatives, Economic Development, Restaurant.
Location: Meadow Creek
Bio: Chelsey Jones is mother of 2 young boys and an outdoor adventure and nature enthusiast pursuing her dream to homestead and live sustainably in a vibrant community. Amidst mothering, gardening and adventuring, Chelsey works as the General Administrator for the Lardeau Valley Opportunity LINKS Society. Whenever possible, she sources food for herself and family locally, from her own garden and the many Lardeau Valley food producers / providers. She does this from a deep concern about sustainable food practices and the global environment, and to support the local economy. She seeks to reduce her footprint and contribution to an import/export global food economy, which she views as unstable and environmentally and socially harmful. In addition, Chelsey feels that the healthiest way for her and her family to eat is fresh and local foods which she knows the source of. Chelsey strives to make choices of integrity while having fun and enjoying life … and food food!

Elizabeth Quinn
Sector: Retailer, Environment, Community Food Initiatives
Location: Creston
Bio: Elizabeth grew up in Quebec and moved to Vancouver when she was 19. While travelling in India, Nepal, Thailand as well as Europe in her 20’s she gained an appreciation of poverty and environmental issues and the privilege of living in Canada. She read Diet for a Small Planet at 19, which had a significant impact on her understanding of the politics of food and her food choices. Elizabeth has worked in small-scale agriculture, waste reduction, economic and community development, and environmental education for two Regional Districts, First Nations Organizations and Bands, non-profits and charities. She has over eight years of experience working with the BC Ministries of Agriculture and Health staff and with agencies providing services to low-income families and seniors including to First Nations communities relating to healthy eating and eating fresh, local food. She has secured funding and developed and led projects to provide farmers with tools to improve their business and has a degree from UBC in Resource Management and Environmental Studies as well as experience with nonprofit governance and financial management. She currently leads strategic planning for Fields Forward Society.

Kevin Murphy
Sector: Agriculture (Ministry of Agriculture)
Location: Creston / Regional
Bio: Kevin was born and raised in the Creston valley and returned to Creston in 2012 after having worked for the Farm Credit Corporation for a few years in the North Peace in the late 1980s and for BC Ministry of Agriculture in Dawson Creek as Field Crops Agrologist and for almost 20 years in Vernon as the Regional Agrologist.  Kevin’s most recent position for the Ministry of Agriculture was Team Lead for Livestock Premises Identification and Traceability programming.  He returned to the role of Regional Agrologist in July 2017 to provide agriculture services to the West and East Kootenay.

Kim Charlesworth
Sectors: Economic Development, Community Food Initiatives, Distributors, Homesteading.
Location: Nelson
Bio: Kim practiced law in Nova Scotia briefly before moving to BC in 1996 where she began work for the Federal Government. She moved to Nelson in 2003 and was on Nelson City Council from 2008-2011. Kim joined the Nelson Food Cupboard in 2013 and led the development of a 4000 square foot garden which has created an opportunity for those living in poverty to learn new skills and participate in their own food security. In 2013 Kim brought together a group of people and led the development of the Kootenay Boundary Food Producers Cop, which has just completed its second year of operations, dealing first hand with the issues facing small farmers in our region. She will be the Green Party representative for Nelson-Creston in the May 2017 Provincial election.

Lana Braun
Sector: Farmer, Processor, Environment
Location: Area H
Bio: Lana was born and raised in the kootenays, leaving for university after high school, receiving a BSC in geography. Lana’s roots here are strong with many family members living here currently and historically her grandparents had a dairy farm in the Slocan Valley. Lana spent 20 as a civil servant years working in the NWT and Alberta. She held roles including ecosystem scientist, regional planner, and regional manager of landscape analysis and the senior manager of the geographic information office (GIO) for Alberta Environment. In 2014 Lana moved back home to the kootenays and, with her husband, purchased a farm in the Slocan valley. Their farm is certified organic and they grow food to produce value added products and cut flowers.

Melinda Foot
Sector: Homesteading, Retailer
Location: Procter
Bio: Melinda was born in Nelson and returned to the area with her husband 25 years ago to raise their 2 children.  She has run a small family business, the Procter General Store, for the last 23 years, and has been very involved in local volunteer organizations in the Harrop/Procter area.  A few years ago, Melinda and her husband bought a small farm that they are slowly rehabilitating along with the full participation of their grown children who have chosen to stay in the area.  Melinda has always been passionate about the environment and helping to create a community that is as self sustaining as possible.

Mick Wilson
Sector:Commercial Farming
Location: New Denver
Bio:Mick was born in the UK in 1968. He first came to Canada in 1191 and received permanent residency in 1996. After obtaining a BSc Honours degree in Business Administration and Society and Government from Aston University in the UK, he pursued his life long passion for farming. This led to a market garden business in New Denver, still running after 20 years. He is married to Ruth Wilson, his love and farming partner.

Mickey Wojnarowski
Sector: Food Initiatives, Retailer, Farmer
Location: Nakusp
Bio: Mickey has worked in food most of his life: butcher, produce specialist, grocery manager, produce business owner, health food store manager & owner, fruit farmer. He is the owner of Homegrown Market in Nakusp, which has a mission of food security, organic promotion, non-gmo promotion and connecting customers to quality local food and empowering locals to produce local foods for our local market. It is a store for the people. Mickey has served on numerous boards and has an insider’s view of the retail world, specifically healthy food.

Montana Burgess
Sector: Environment
Location: Regional
Bio: Montana Burgess is the West Kootenay EcoSociety’s Executive Director. She grew up in Kamloops, BC where her parents ran a local cafe. She has worked in the environmental non-profit sector for over 8 years, serving most recently as the Operations Manager of Climate Action Network International. She has participated in over 25 UN climate conferences and a G20 Summit.

Nicole Hergert
Sector: Youth, Community Food Initiatives
Location: Castlegar
Bio: Nicole Hergert has lived in Castlegar for almost 4 years. While parenting 2 small children she has revived the Kootenay Food Strategy Society and is sparking conversations about food security in the city. Her education and experience as a community animator and organizer has helped to build trust for the KFSS and ignite a passion for local food systems in the Castlegar area. A masters in social development and over 10 years in the field means she has the knowledge and experience to facilitate partnerships, understand social networks and leverage important relationships. Her passion for local accessible food and for the importance of food production education in Castlegar have created significant relationships with a multitude of potential partners in many sectors. Her skill is in bring these groups together and finding ways to work together toward a common goal.

Nicole Schreiber
Sector: Community Food Initiatives
Location: Crawford Bay
Bio: Nicole is the Coordinator of East Shore Food Roots, a passionate cook and gardener, and joyful new mom to a baby daughter.  In the Area A community, she has been involved with organizing Seedy Saturdays and plants sales, and in the past two years organized Market Day events, as well as an autumn press fest last year that brought the new Fields Forward Mobile Press to Crawford Bay, with all the donated apples being juiced for the school’s hot lunch program and the Christmas Food Hampers.  She has been meeting all the area’s farmers and food business owners, to learn more about how they are doing and what challenges they would like to see addressed.  She is a member of the Fields Forward Impact Team (now the Fields Forward Society board) and the Creston Food Action Coalition (which organizes the Farmers’ Market and the Harvest Share).

Paris Marshall Smith
Sector: Commercial Farming
Location: Creston Valley
Bio: Paris Marshall Smith was Fields Forward’s first Coordinator, continuing a career dedicated to strengthening local food systems. She brings two related Masters degrees, training as a professional community planner, and a track record of helping communities to set and realize food system goals. Paris’ education and career have centred on growing food systems to foster wellbeing and community resilience. Her studies have taken her from Vancouver to Denmark to South Africa. Her work and volunteer efforts have involved coordinating farm internship programs, sitting on regional planning councils and consulting for provincial government. Prior to moving to Creston in 2016, Paris dedicated more than five years to building the food system at Yasodhara Ashram on Kootenay Lake. She led work to procure, produce, preserve, and process food for over 52,000 meals per year. Today about 60% of the food eaten at the Ashram comes from within 100km. After one year as Coordinator for Fields Forward, she continues to feel positive about how Fields Forward is helping people to act on their shared values and goals.

Patrick Steiner
Sector: Commercial Farming, Homesteading, Community Food Initiatives
Location: Kaslo area
Bio: Patrick began farming in the mid-90’s and spent twenty years developing farming skills and running an organic seed company, Stellar Seeds. He also loved growing food, and always grew produce for sale at local farmer’s markets, and also tried marketing through stores and a CSA weekly box program. No longer a farmer, he is impassioned by the food he eats when he know it has come from a local farm, using sustainable growing methods and supports real people in his community whose story of producing that food he can relate to, and want to support. Patrick currently work as a Food Security Coordinator in Kaslo, using a variety of programs and services to support his communities’ ability to feed itself affordably, ethically and locally.

Ramona Faust
Sector: Economic Development, Local Government, Environment, Farming / Processing / Distributing.
Location: Regional
Bio: Ramona Faust is in her 3rd term as the Regional District of Central Kootenay Director for Area E. With formal training in horticulture and the social sector, Ramona pursued courses in social ventures, activism, press relations and business planning. Living in the Kootenay Lake Area for most of her adult life, Ramona worked for the Ministry of Forests and School District 8. Having a passion for growing food and flowers learned from her family, she had a tiny cottage plant start business Purely Perennials. Ramona was a founding member of the West Kootenay Eco-society and the Harrop-Procter Community Forest organizations where she was the General Manager of operations including Sunshine Bay Botanicals, a community owned certified organic herb farm and medicinal product business. Ramona went on to initiate, design and seek accreditation for the Kaslo Food Security Project while Executive Director of North Kootenay Lake Community Services Society until late 2011. Currently Ramona is a governor on the Real Estate Foundation of BC  Board, is on the Southern Interior Beetle Action Coalition Board and an advisor to Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust. She still has a large garden!

Rob Hay & Sally Titasey (sharing the position)
Sector:Processing, Restaurant, Homesteading
Location: Winlaw
Bio: Rob Hay and Sally Titasey are the owners and operators of The Valley Kitchen – a commercial kitchen that rents space to businesses, individuals and community groups in Winlaw, BC. Rob and Sally share a passion for homesteading, whole foods, local food systems and strong community. Having renovated and managed a large shared commercial kitchen in Calgary AB, the couple have vast experience working with all types of food businesses from caterers and bakers to raw food chefs.

Sangita Sudan
Sector: RDCK – Local Government
Location: Regional
Bio: Sangita Sudan has been a planner for 16 years.  During this time she was a provincial Land and Resource Planner until 2010 at which time she joined the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK).  In her current role Sangita is the General Manager of Development Services where she oversees the operations of several services: land use planning, geospatial information services, community sustainability, building inspection, bylaw enforcement and a conservation service.  Sangita believes in collaboration and with this mindset has had success in developing partnerships and organizations with First Nations and multi stakeholder involvement.  Some notable examples include the Kootenay Lake Partnership, Friends of Kootenay Lake Stewardship Society and most recently the Central Kootenay Food Policy Council.  She also loves to garden, forage in the woods and cook.

Shauna Fidler
Sector:Community Food Initiatives, Homesteading, Processing, Retailer / Economic Development.
Location: Area H
Bio: Currently Shauna is Chair of the West Kootenay Permaculture Co-Op. She is passionate about local food and community building and brings a visionary approach to all projects. With over a decade of graphic design and business consulting experience, Shauna has the skills to build both a beautiful brand while effectively delivering creative marketing messages, and bringing together community.

Tara Stark
Sector: Health
Location: Regional
Bio: Tara works as a Public Health Dietitian for Interior Health in the Kootenay region, supporting improved access to healthy food, enhanced food skills and promoting the social and cultural aspects of eating. She has also worked with the Nelson Food Cupboard and contributed advice and time to many local food initiatives across the region over many years.