Better for the planet.


This informal collective of like-minded innovators has come together to amalgamate our knowledge, build on one another’s unique expertise, and to offer broad-based solutions around climate action in food systems.



Brenda Tjaden spent her career helping western Canadian farms respond to emerging profit opportunities in growing and marketing their crops. She has spent the last three years researching the organic value chain and pursued an education in soil health and regenerative agriculture. Her vision in hosting this inaugural Summit is to showcase and further explore the vital link between soil health, human wellness and climate change. Proceeds from the Summit will be reinvested into developing online learning tools and regional workshops to educate and support landowners to implement new nature-based, regenerative food production practices.

Previously, Brenda worked as a professional grain marketing and policy analyst, educator and farm management expert in her work founding and leading FarmLink Marketing Solutions. Brenda has always been an active volunteer in her local community, a nature enthusiast and a keen follower of global economic trends. Brenda is currently working with a small number of farms, First Nations reserves and commercial organizations.


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Ananda Lynn Fitzsimmons is an out-of-the-box thinker, visionary and environmentalist, with a passion for soil and growing food. She has had lifelong interest in sustainable food production and land management as well as social change and personal empowerment.

She spent many years experimenting with microbial potions based on naturally occurring microbes extracted from plants, composts and soil. In 2008, she teamed up with Dr. Margaret Bywater Ekegard and they founded Inocucor Technologies. The company, now called Concentric, commercializes products for agriculture based on consortia of naturally occurring beneficial microorganisms. She now works as a consultant promoting soil health and regenerative land management practices.



Andrew Midwood, PhD, Department of Biology, University of British Columbia – Okanagan

Andrew Midwood is a research associate at UBC, and has a background in studying soil C cycling in both managed and natural ecosystems. He is currently working on a 5 year federally funded ‘Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Project’ aimed at studying the effects of irrigation on the soils of the Okanagan Valley. He has expertise in the analysis and use of stable isotopes and was originally based in the UK before moving to Canada a few years ago. Andrew has over 20 years of research experience and has collaborated with colleagues from a number of countries including the US, New Zealand, Australia and across Europe.

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BRIAN SMOLIAK, Co-founder & PartneR, Two Degrees Adapt, LLC

Brian Smoliak is a scientist by training, an entrepreneur by necessity, and a servant leader at heart. He was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, also the homeland of the Dakota people: Mni Sota Makoce, land where the waters reflect the clouds. Inspired by outdoor experiences as a youth, Brian earned a PhD in atmospheric sciences from the University of Washington in 2013. His expertise bridges weather and climate. His professional experience spans sectors including agriculture, energy, and human health. 

Brian recently co-founded Two Degrees Adapt, a climate adaptation technology advisory firm that links climate science, economic analysis, and technology solutions to cultivate climate resilience. They believe in the power of partnership to achieve shared goals despite diverse values.



Brooks and Jen White along with their two young children own and operate Borderland Agriculture in the extreme southwestern corner of Manitoba.

“At Borderland, we focus on Regenerative Agriculture by incorporating bison into a highly diverse cropping system. Our bison are the key component to our vision of improving soil health, and we use their natural hardiness in our #graze365 program.  90% of the annual production in 2019 included the use of intercrops, companion crops, and cover crops.  As these cropping practises have been adopted, there is an improvement to the biology of the soil and a reduction to the need for inputs.  With our vision, we were recognized in the 2018 Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmer’s Program.”

Visitors are welcomed to the farm at any time.

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Chef Carl Heinrich, Top Chef Canada Season 2 Winner

Carl Heinrich is the Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Richmond Station. Born in Calgary and raised across Canada, Carl started working in kitchens when he was 13 and studied at the Stratford Chef’s School before training in NYC with Daniel Boulud. He is the recipient of the 2015 Pinnacle Award for Chef of the Year and winner of the Food Network’s Top Chef Canada in 2012. 

Carl’s cuisine is inspired by quality local ingredients and driven by technique. He makes food that he knows his mom would like to eat and keeps flavours pure. Avid gardener and home cook, Carl lives in Toronto with his wife Julia and two kids, Theodore and Jane.



Jeremy Luypen is an award-winning chef with brilliant creative skills and extensive food & beverage experience. He is known as one of the top chefs in the Okanagan. 

He is the current president of the Okanagan Chefs Association and is an instructor in the Okanagan College's Culinary Arts Program.

Jeremy has received many awards for his dedication and passion for the culinary industry in the Okanagan including: the Okanagan Chefs Association “Presidents Award” in 2013, “Member of the Year” in 2014 and “Chef of the Year” in 2016. He built his career at Predator Ridge, where he spent 4 years changing their food philosophy by working directly with local farmers and growers.

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DAWN MORRISON, Founder, Chair and Coordinator of the B.C. Food Systems Networking Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty

In the years away from her ancestral Secwepemc (Shuswap) community, Dawn’s work in various capacities throughout her 20 year long career in Horticulture has literally kept her in touch with her Indigenous roots through applying an ecological approach to studying and working with plants.  Her Secwepemc heritage along with her technical and practical background in horticulture and ethonobotany, as well as her passion for environmental and cultural revitalization lead her to a long lasting career in Aboriginal adult education and community self-development.

Dawn returned home in 2000 to re-connect with her ancestral ties in Secwepemc territory and has since committed to learning and working with Elders and traditional hunters, fishers and harvesters to improve the health and well being of the Secwepemc peoples, the land we have traditionally lived on and our language and way of life. As  a Community Self-Development Facilitator Dawn works from a basis of Indigenous food sovereignty and eco-cultural restoration and has an educational background in the areas of horticulture, adult instruction, restoration of natural systems, and business management.

Some of Dawn’s most recent professional developments include participating in various roles with several indigenous and non-indigenous organizations such as: the  B.C. Food Systems Network – Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty (Coordinator/Chair), 1st Annual Interior of B.C. Indigenous Food Sovereignty Conference (Coordinator), Around the Kitchen Table Project – Aboriginal Women’s Group working on HIV/AIDS Awareness and Prevention (Community Facilitator), B.C. Healthy Living Alliance Community Capacity Building Strategy – Community Development Leader, and Project Associate on various other land, culture and ecology related projects.


Emma Weston, CEO & Co Founder, AgriDigital

Emma is the CEO and a Co Founder of AgriDigital, one of Australia’s leading emerging agtech and fintech companies.

In December 2016, AgriDigital achieved the world’s first settlement of a physical agri-commodity on a blockchain between a farmer and a buyer in New South Wales, Australia and this was recognised by Fintech Australia presenting AgriDigital the Excellence in Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology award for 2017 which was again awarded to AgriDigital in 2018. AgriDigital continues to work with blockchain and other novel enabling technologies to bring efficiency and transparency to global supply chains. AgriDigital was awarded most innovative supply chain tech company series A+ at the 2018 global Agfunder awards in San Francisco and is named in the 2018 KPMG Top100Fintech List.


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ERIN CRAMPTON, Prairie Pasture Hub founder

Erin grew up on a mixed farm in Manitoba in the 1980’s and has spent the last 20 years working on the periphery of agriculture through her store Crampton’s Market.

She is passionate about both conservation and farm advocacy and believes the two naturally go hand in hand. After working with hundreds of farmers she started to see a subset of producers that were making their farms better over bigger. They were layering enterprises to make space for the next generation to stay, creating life and vitality in their rural communities, and creating diversity and abundance on their land and local ecosystems. 

She has recently sold her store to focus on blending her conservation and farm advocacy work into decentralized Savory Hubs.

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FINIAN MAKEPEACE, Co-founder & advocacy director, kiss the ground

As part of the Kiss the Ground media team, Finian has worked with leading experts, farmers, and businesses to bring the ideas of regenerative agriculture and soil health as hopeful solutions to the world’s problems in clear, comprehensible and thought-provoking formats to audiences everywhere.

His background as a leader of a band and lifelong activist has given him the unique opportunity to blend his artistic vision with his ability to organize and advocate for this growing, global, and diverse community. His “calling” is that people experience being a part of making history and he believes that with enough new advocates promoting the ancient wisdom and new science of regenerative agriculture and ecosystem restoration we can heal our planet.



For 12 years, Gillian and her husband have owned and operated a small-scale, organic farm that supplies some of the best restaurants in Canada. She sits, among others at the forefront of the good food movement in Canada. Gillian's talk explores the current agricultural model's role in climate change and the exciting opportunity for agriculture, through regenerative practices, to be part of the solution. She will change your view on carbon and climate change, and open your eyes to what we are doing wrong, and how we can fix it when it comes to farming.

TEDx Talk: We can eat our way out of this mess


Jan REGEHR, OWNER / farmer, oak knoll farms & PINE RIDGE HOLLOW

We are dedicated to promoting and modelling our small family farm through growing and raising natural foods that sustain our land, our community and our souls.

We farm using regenerative and bio-dynamic principles. Quite simply, we farm using many of the same principles and practices our grandparents used. We use scraps from the garden and the restaurant to supplement the chicken and pig foods. We use the manure from the chicken and pigs to nourish and feed the gardens and orchards. The methods we learned from past generations contributes to a dynamic, self-renewing system of farming that doesn’t need chemical fertilizers, pesticides or other artificial inputs.

Oak Knoll farm provides many of the vegetables, fruit and berries, chicken and pork for Pineridge Hollow. Pineridge Hollow is a farm-to-table restaurant that is proud to support the small farm movement. Visit Pineridge Hollow's website.

Our farming practices embrace a philosophy that supports a holistic approach. Our goal is to consider the impact of our decisions on all aspects of our farm, the environment and our community. We aim to enrich the soils and leave them healthier and more fertile with our crop rotations, green manure cover crops and fertilization from our animals. We care for our animals in a natural setting and give them plenty of room to root and forage. We feed our animals non-medicated feed and supplement their feed with garlic, herbs and other natural foods. Our chickens and pigs are free to roam the pasture and forest and supplement their diets with a variety of flora and fauna.

Our hope is that we not only nourish people with the food that we produce, but that we would encourage them to:

•  Cook wholesome foods for their family and friends

•  Grow some of their own foods

•  Support local farmers and vote with their food dollars to strengthen the small farm movement

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JEANNETTE armstrong, Syilx Okanagan

Jeannette Armstrong, Syilx Okanagan, is an Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Okanagan Indigenous Knowledge and Philosophy. She leads the De- Colonization, Indigeneity and Adaptation cluster in ICER. Her CRC research collaborates with the Southern Interior Salish speaking nation groups to re-establish historical relationships based on food and resource sharing, trading and protection practices.

She is a recipient of the Eco Trust USA Buffett Award in Indigenous Leadership and serves on Canada’s Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Subcommittee of COSEWIC.



Joel Williams is an independent plant and soil health educator and consultant based in Ontario. Joel integrates soil chemical & biological assessments, along with plant nutritional analyses as a joined-up strategy for managing crop production. He has a keen interest in managing plant diversity, soil microbial ecology and plant & soil nutrition to optimize soil function and crop immunity. He has a passion for teaching and sharing both scientific and practical information on soil health and agroecology and has lectured to farming audiences internationally.  


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Kate Axten is a 15-year-old with a passion for farming and food.  She farms with her family at Minton, Saskatchewan. Kate is currently a grade 10 student at Gladmar Regional School.  Kate comes from a family of innovative farmers that like to try new ideas, and this has motivated her to help market Axten Farm’s grain.  She puts grain that her family has grown into small bags and sells them on their farm website.  

Kate is also an active member of the Radville 4H Field Crops Club.  This year her project is a flax and chickpea field. She is also the secretary and treasurer for the club.  Kate is involved in the local dance club and plays school sports; volleyball, basketball, badminton, and track.  Although Kate keeps very busy, she always has a smile on her face and is ready to try something new.

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Kevin Petrie, Sustainability Advocate & Culinary Farmer

Farmer Kevin Petrie leads the culinary farm at The Inn at Bay Fortune, Chef Michael and Chastity Smiths legendary dining destination. This five-star country inn is known internationally for growing what it serves. The inn’s farm is defined by a myriad of sustainable systems that transcend organic. Kevin’s low-till, permanent, raised beds are full of ancient wisdom and modern vision allowing him to grow more than 250 different herbs, fruits and vegetables over 8 acres.

Beyond sustainability culinary farming emphasizes flavour, freshness, diversity and education. Every day Farmer Kevin leads the kitchen brigade through a cooperative farm Project. In the evening he conducts an extensive farm tour for the inn’s guests. Kevin and his farm inspire a deeper understanding of how food is produced.

Kevin is a former member of the gardening team at Langdon Hall Country House & Hotel. He holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Windsor and a certificate in horticulture from the University of Guelph. He and his wife Ashlee live in Annandale, Prince Edward Island.


Laura has over 15 years experience in community based, circular economies, social innovation and social entrepreneurship in connection with local food systems development. She is the Co-Founder, Director of Partnerships and Business Development at Récolte (Harvest), a not-for-profit organisation that seeks to catalyze social innovation in the food system through impact oriented projects and enterprises. She also co-founded the organisation Taking Root, a pioneer in leveraging the forest carbon offset industry to promote economic development amongst smallholder farmers in Central America.

She has worked with agricultural communities around the world, taken lead in the start-up phases of a FoodTech company focused on farm-to-restaurant sourcing solutions, and is now working daily with a diversity of stakeholders throughout Québec, and beyond, to create the necessary systemic shifts in support of the future of food.

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Laura Rance is vice president of content for Glacier FarmMedia, Canada’s largest publisher of agricultural news and information.  

Laura grew up on a southern Manitoba farm, studied journalism, and has written about food and agricultural issues in daily and weekly newspapers for the past 38 years. Those experiences have given her a unique insight into the often conflicting perspectives farmers and consumers bring discussions over food.

She has received multiple national and international awards for her work. In 2016, she was recognized by the United Nations FAO and International Federation of Agricultural Journalists for excellence in global food security reporting.

In 2012, she was awarded a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of her contributions to agricultural journalism.

Laura's work has taken her to many parts of the world, including a five-week-long journey through Malawi, Zambia and Ethiopia in 2015 on a special assignment with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. She was studying and writing about how conservation agriculture supports food security and development in Africa.

She lives on an acreage near Carman, Manitoba with her husband Gord. They have four children and seven grandchildren.


Dr. Miranda Hart, Associate Professor and Biologist, UBCO

Miranda Hart is an associate professor in Biology at UBC Okanagan. Her research looks at the effects of humans on soil biology. So much of the Earth’s soils have been devastated by human land use – her work aims to understand what has been lost, and what that means for the world’s ecosystems. And to humanity.

Of growing concern is the use of commercial microbes – in everything from fertilizer to sourdough. While these products may seem innocuous – the potential effects of these invasive species is far from benign. Currently, there is little regulation and no legislation concerning the release of microbes into the environment. However, Hart’s research suggests that they may bring about dramatic changes in ecosystems.

Hart has received several national and international fellowships to pursue her research internationally, and maintains a large research program locally and abroad. You can read more about her research at

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Pauline is a proud Syilx woman, member of the Syilx Okanagan Nation, and Executive Director of the Okanagan Nation Alliance. When she first headed up the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA), the organization had a handful of employees.  Now, after 20 years of innovation and management growth, she oversees an annual budget of 12M. Pauline is passionate about Nation building and Indigenous revitalization and has served on many volunteer boards, including a term as Chair of the First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation. A strong advocate for tackling the issues impeding the prosperity and wellness of Indigenous people, her work has addressed the full spectrum from children, youth, families, and elders to language, culture, health governance, and traditional foods. She loves to share the story of how the Syilx Nation spearheaded the return of the Okanagan sockeye salmon from the brink of extinction. Two of her current passions are speaking up for Indigenous food sovereignty around the world and championing the BC-based IndigenEYEZ empowerment program.



Tannis grew up on a farm in Southern Saskatchewan.  She attended University of Regina and received her Bachelor of Education majoring in Biology.  After a short teaching career, Tannis married and moved to Minton to farm with her husband. As third generation farmers on Axten Farms, Tannis and her husband, Derek, soon realized that their most valuable resource is their soil.   With farming methods such as intercropping, using cover crops, controlled traffic farming, and composting, the family farm works to improve the health of their soil. These innovative practices have revived their optimism for farming and made farming a lot more fun.

Tannis enjoys using the microscope to study the microbiology in the soil and has made it Axten Farms’ focus to be “Loyal to the Soil”.  Every action taken on the farm considers the impact it will have on the microorganism living in the soil. Caring for the soil biology and having a healthy soil environment, means the plants are cared for and crops can be grown with less synthetic inputs.  Relying less on inputs reduces risk and stress. Every year has new obstacles, and Tannis enjoys sharing their farm’s journey.

Tannis and Derek were honored to be named Saskatchewan and Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers in 2017, and to receive the L.B. Thompson Conservation Award in 2018.



Wild Breath’s mission is regenerated people for a regenerated planet. Tamara is the co-Chair of the Summit and will welcome the crowd and participate on the Change Forward panel. Recently she did a TEDx talk on feeling our way to freedom and for her, climate action means the ultimate freedom for all of us. It’s time for our food systems to change, and with knowing that change must start within.

TEDx Talk: See it here



Tracey Kim Bonneau (Syilx) is the Manager of Arts Culture and Adult Higher Learning at the En’owkin Centre. The En’owkin Centre is located in on the Penticton Indian Reserve. The organization was developed in 1979 and formalized as an organization in 1981 registered as the Okanagan Indian Educational Resources Society.

Tracey is an award winning television documentary director, writer and producer. Her expertise is building highly effective teams and designing multi-platform digital projects. Her highly successful production company Of the Land Productions Inc. specializes in capacity building and training.

Tracey is also a veteran free-lance journalist in print, radio and television spanning over thirty years. Her freelance portfolio includes the publications: Aboriginal Voices, Wind-Speaker, Ravens Eye, CBC Radio-One, Peach City Radio, Global Okanagan, PBS KCTS and APTN National news. Her documentary series Quest OutWest Wild Food Season was nominated in four categories for Leo Awards in 2016.

In 2018 Tracey was awarded the Aboriginal Business Excellence Award from the Penticton Chamber of Commerce.


Shane Paterson, Paterson Grain

Shane Paterson is active as a fourth generation member of his family business, Paterson GlobalFoods Inc. (“PGF”).  PGF was founded in Fort William, Ontario in 1908 by Shane’s great grandfather, Norman M. Paterson.  PGF is the owner of Growers International Organic Sales Inc. which is one of the largest organic grain trading firms in Canada.

Shane was immersed in the grain industry from a young age; working in PGF's elevators receiving and shipping grain, and in PGF's construction company building grain elevators and related infrastructure during his adolescence.  Shane currently manages PGF’s grain trading and transportation related functions, and has a wide breadth of understanding of both conventional and organic grain supply chains within Canada and internationally.


WENDY WECKER, saskatchewan farmer

Wendy is a prairie girl, raised in Alberta who, along with her husband Joe and their three children, operate a certified organic grain farm in the Regina Plains. After many years of conventional farming, the Weckers saw the damage that was being done to the soil and ecosystem and made the choice to work alongside nature in an organic cropping system.

Currently, they use a system of Nutrition Farming where they strive to optimize the health of their plants by applying micronutrients as needed. They also use organic soil amendments, such as compost extract, fish fertilizer, kelp, molasses and humates to stimulate the biology in the soil. They have a diverse crop rotation that includes up to 13 different crops, many of which are intercropped. They use companion crops and cover crops on nearly the entire farm. 

Wendy has a personal interest in human nutrition and food policy that developed when her children were very young.  Recognizing that component is often overlooked in our current food production system, it is important to her to produce high quality, nutrient dense grain that is free of chemicals, while having a positive impact on the surrounding ecosystem. She is currently a board member with SaskOrganics.

Download the  full program  here.

Download the full program here.