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 purpose and vision of the Council (found in the Terms of Reference) and have skills or expertise in at least one related area. The Council reflects the diverse regions and population of the Central Kootenay.

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!

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.

Allan Broom
Sector: Retailer
Location: Nelson
Bio: Allan Broom has been the General Manager of the Kootenay Country Store Co-operative since June 1st, 2016. Prior to that he led several businesses in Canada and internationally. He has been a CEO and board member for the last 15+ years. Allan has 20 years experience successfully leading diverse businesses in complex cultural and business environments.

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.

Dobrila Braunstein
Sectors: Processing, Education, Restaurant, Retailer
Location: Creston
Bio: Dobrila was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Her family moved to Winnipeg, Canada, when she was 11, where she grew up. Dobrila went into Food & Nutrition for 2 years at the University of Western Ontario, but then switched to Food Science and Technology in Udine, Italy. Dobrila completed her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Italy, with the research portion of the latter entirely performed at the University of Manitoba. She works at a Food Scientist at the Columbia Brewery.

Jeff Nield
Sector: Real Estate
Location: Nelson
Bio: Jeff is a realtor with Fair Realty, based in Nelson, BC. Focused on quality service and giving back to the community Jeff has raised over $30,000 for the local community by donating at least 5% of every real estate commission to a charitable organization of his client’s choice. Giving back is his way of investing in the community, to help make Nelson an even better place to call home. Before becoming a realtor, Jeff worked in food systems, driven by a motivation to help people understand where their food comes from and how, through food systems, they’re interconnected with everyone and everything. Then based in Vancouver, he wrote about food for The Tyee and worked with Farm Folk City Folk.

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.

Natalie Andrijancic
Sector: Local Government
Location: Nelson
Bio: Natalie is a Senior Planner with the City of Nelson.

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.

Paris Marshall Smith
Sector: Commercial Farming
Location: Creston Valley
Bio: Paris Marshall Smith is 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.

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.

Steven Kruse
Sector: Restaurant
Location: Riondel
Bio: Steven has been the Chef at Yasodhara Ashram for the past four years, and have been a Red Seal Chef for 20 years with many years prior to that in the food service industry.  Since graduating from the Stratford Chef School (class of ’95) much of Steven’s career as a chef has focused on local, seasonal, sustainable food working in restaurants from Toronto Ont. to Sooke BC.  He now makes his home in Riondel BC, having just recently purchased a house with his wife Catherine, who works at the local Credit Union. Steven has worked with Yasodhara Ashram to increase its procurement of food from the Kootenay area to 30% of its total food expenditure and he is also a member of the East Shore Food Roots group with a focus on development of food systems for the communities from Kootenay Bay to Gray Creek.

Sylvia Chong
Sector: Processing, Education, Farming
Location: Krestova
Bio: Sylvia Chong is a Food Scientist and entrepreneur best known for her expertise in business development and making food safety fun! Sylvia discovered her passion for food at the University of Guelph, where she received a NSERC Industrial Postgraduate Studies Scholarship to complete a Master’s Degree. She has previously worked in the food industry areas of food safety, quality assurance, product development, research and development, and regulatory compliance. Sylvia uses this experience to coach business owners through all stages of growth.  A vetted consultant for the Ministry of Agriculture, Sylvia facilitates the Agri-Food Business Planning Workshop in British Columbia. She is also a Canadian Certified HACCP Professional, an approved food safety facilitator for the Food Processing Human Resources Council of Canada, and a director of the Small-Scale Food Processors Association.  In addition to operating a successful coaching / consulting business, Foundtree Product Design, Sylvia has a food processing business, Fireberry Products.  Fireberry manufactures Hawthorn-based and herbal products made with Kootenay grown and wild crafted ingredients.   She is currently studying and practicing Medical Qigong, and plans to combine this profound energetic practice with food production.

Tanya Wall
Sector: RDCK – Local Government
Location: Area B
Bio: Tanya has called the Creston Valley home since 1980. Prior to being elected Director for Area B, Tanya served as a Councillor for the Town of Creston from 2008 to 2014 and was also the Alternate Director for Area B in 2013-14. Working in the environmental, health and safety field for over 20 years, Tanya has experience in manufacturing, construction and forestry related industries.  As a safety professional, she brings an expert degree of knowledge in emergency service relations as well as experience in occupational health and safety standards and provincial regulations.  She is passionate about peoples’ well-being. Dedicated to her community, Tanya has been involved in many organizations and has devoted countless hours to many projects and events. Tanya currently lives in Erickson with her son Jeramie on a small acreage.

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.

Valerie Warmington
Sector:Community Foundation, Youth, Environment, Local Government
Location: Nelson
Bio: Valerie has undergraduate and graduate degrees in geography with a focus on soil hydrology.  She worked initially in disaster response, agricultural and other environmental rehabilitation in developing countries (Bangladesh, Haiti, Southern Africa).  The presence of landmines and other exploded ordnance in many disaster-effected areas led Valerie to participate in an international process of public awareness raising and political negotiation for a ban on landmines successfully achieved in 1997 and for which the campaign won a Nobel Peace Prize.  She returned to field work in war affected countries as a survey manager gathering data and mapping landmine and un-exploded ordnance contamination and as a mine clearance manager overseeing the return of contaminated land to safe and productive use.  Valerie moved to Nelson in 2007 where she has worked primarily in the social services sector. In 2015 she was elected to Nelson City Council.