SPEAKER BIOS

Arthur Agnello
Arthur is a Professor and Extension Fruit Entomologist at Cornell University's NYS Agricultural Experiment Station. His work involves providing recommendations for insect and mite control in tree fruits; survey, diagnosis, biology, and management of fruit arthropods; and development of practical pest management programs in tree fruits, focusing on implementation of sampling and monitoring techniques, pheromone mating disruption, biocontrol, and pesticide application technology. His research and extension programs are oriented around the primary goal of providing arthropod pest management recommendations to the tree fruit industry. His main activities involve interpreting the results of current research on fruit pests and formulating it into useful information that can be used by various clientele groups.

Alix Aitken
Alix has been the Market Manager for the Cambridge Farmers’ Market since June of 2011. In February of 2013, Alix joined the FMO board as a representative from western Ontario. Prior to her work in Cambridge, Alix was a Community Development Worker in Guelph where food security was a central part of her job. Food cupboards, community gardens and other work all lead to making Alix passionate about food, farmers and markets. Alix enjoys being a part of a collective of individuals that are committed to bringing healthy, local food to its residents. She believes markets are the ‘hub’ in every community, and that they should be celebrated for their ability to bring people together.

Dean Anderson
Dean received his BSc (Agriculture) from the University of Guelph, Ontario. He has years of experience conducting research and project management in crop protection. He has worked with the major crops in the agricultural regions of eastern and western Canada and the United States. Mr. Anderson has been working in agriculture occupational health and safety for over 16 years and is currently the Strategic Advisor Agriculture Initiatives, at WSPS. He is currently Chair of the Rural Ontario Institute, Chair of the Ontario Institute of Agriculture and Vice-Chair for the FarmSafe Foundation. He serves on numerous committees nationally and provincially, including the CSA Ag Equipment Technical Committee and Ministry of Labour Farming Technical Advisory Committee.

Paul Bailey
After graduating from the University of Guelph, Paul enjoyed a long and diverse agri-business career before joining the Food Inspection Branch at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs in 2003. Currently, Paul acts as Coordinator of the Risk Identification and Management (RIM) Unit in the Foods of Plant Origin (FPO) Program. The FPO Program utilizes a variety of progressive compliance tools to encourage compliance with Ontario Regulation 119/11 under the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001. This approach to regulatory compliance includes delivery of food safety education and advice to fresh fruit and vegetable growers/packers, as well as to honey and maple syrup producers.

Eugenia Banks
After obtaining her PhD in Plant Pathology at the University of Guelph, Eugenia worked for 25 years as the OMAFRA Potato Specialist. She developed the Integrated Pest Management Program for potatoes, authored the Potato Field Guide and transferred technology to growers by conducting on-farm variety trials and by evaluating emerging sustainable production practices. Every year, she organized the Ontario Potato Conference and the Ontario Potato Field Day. Eugenia retired from OMAFRA in December 2015. After her retirement, she received the 2016 Award of Merit from the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association. Eugenia is now a Potato Research Consultant for the Ontario Potato Board.

Sean Bartlett
Sean was formerly N.M. Bartlett Incorporated Sales representative for the apple growing region of Toronto to Ottawa. Sean occupied this position for 8 seasons, working with growers to help fine tune their spray programs with quality and consistency in mind. Over the last few years he and area growers have worked together to develop new strategies for thinning practices that have proven to be effective in other regions. He grew up working on his families’ farm in Vineland, Ontario where they grew apples, pears, and wine grapes. Sean received his Degree in Business from Brock University and is currently working as Business Unit Manager of Provide Agro Corporation, a subsidiary of N.M. Bartlett Inc.

Brian Bates
Brian owns and operates Bear Creek Organic Farm in Petoskey, Michigan with his wife Anne Morningstar. Brian is passionate about small farm finances, making a living doing what you love, and savvy marketing. Firm believers in transparency through the value chain, Anne and Brian have developed a philosophy called “Full-Transparency Farming” where the farm is an open book for customers, wholesalers, and fellow farmers. With no secrets, a lot of ideas, and some serious elbow grease, Bear Creek has gone from $0 to $180k on 1.5 acres in less than three years.

Garth Baxter
Garth is President of AgriBax Global Inc., an entrepreneurial agri-export company. He is a results-driven leader with 25 years of experience, including senior management positions with Canadian based international agri-food organizations. Originally from Saskatchewan, Garth consults within the agri-food industry, lending his expertise in areas such as strategic planning, risk analysis and process improvement and re-engineering. He is top level Six Sigma leader and trainer. For several years he was Six Sigma Champion at Maple Leafs Food International, where he led the senior management team in the on-going integration of Six Sigma into business strategy development, execution and day-to-day operations; he spearheaded global projects to reduce process waste within the organization; and he recruited and developed additional Six Sigma expertise within the team. Garth holds a BComm from the University of Saskatchewan and a MBA from Cornell and Queen’s Universities.

Randolph M. Beaudry
Randolph is a researcher/extension postharvest specialist at Michigan State University. Research areas include physiology of plant responses to storage environments and technological innovations that improve handling and storage of horticultural produce. Areas of specialization include: application of modified atmosphere packaging; physiology of responses to storage atmospheres; maturity assessment of horticultural commodities; development and evaluation of non-destructive quality assessment techniques; aroma biochemistry and its molecular regulation; application and responses to 1-MCP, and the development of low energy storage structures for smallholder farmers in developing countries. My graduate education from the University of Georgia under Dr. Stanley Kays, where I worked on ethylene release kinetics for ethylene-releasing compounds (MS) and primary metabolism associated with banana ripening (PhD). He has published numerous articles and made numerous presentations around the world.

Guy Belair
Guy holds a Master’s degree in nematology from MacDonald College of McGill University, on the pathogenicity of root-knot nematode in vegetable crops. He has over 35 years of research experience with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada on the biology, and the management of plant parasitic nematodes in horticultural crops, including crop rotation. He is currently working in collaboration with Dr. Benjamin Mimee on various plant-parasitic nematodes such as the soybean cyst nematode, the potato cyst nematode and the stem and bulb nematode. Mr. Belair is one of the few remaining specialists in field nematology in Canada.

Inge Bisconer
Inge is the Technical Marketing and Sales Manager at Toro’s Micro-Irrigation headquarters for the Americas in El Cajon, CA. She has worked in production agriculture and held various technical, sales, marketing and management positions in the irrigation and water treatment industries for over 35 years. Her passion is helping farmers improve profitability and sustainability through improved water and resource use efficiency (WUE and RUE), and advocating for efficient irrigation at both the state and national level. She authored Toro's Micro-Irrigation Owner's Manual, manages Toro’s popular AquaFlow drip irrigation design software and Drip Irrigation Recycling Service, and co-hosts Toro’s “The Water Zone” radio program. She is a Director and Past-President of the California Irrigation Institute, is IA certified and is the recipient of the Irrigation Association’s 2016 Industry Achievement Award. She holds a BS in agriculture from UC Davis and an MBA in technology management from the University of Phoenix.

Dr. Vikram Bisht
Vikram is a Plant Pathologist, Potato and Horticulture Crops with Manitoba Agriculture, based in Carman, Manitoba. He joined the department in January 2010 as Field Crops pathologist. He is involved with late blight forecasting, potato disease and insect surveys in field and storages, and small plot and large scale field trials. Vikram has extensive experience in extension and research in potato seed production and disease management. Vikram managed seed potato production in field and greenhouses for the state of Maine for 6 years and also in China with a private company for 2 years. Vikram obtained his PhD in plant pathology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is an active member of the Canadian Phytopathological Society and serving as Membership Secretary of the CPS and was Chair of the Potato Association of America Extension Section committee.

Bob Bors
Dr. Bors has been a professor in the Plant Science Department at the University of Saskatchewan since 1999. He teaches classes on Fruit Science, Plant Propagation, Greenhouse Management, biotechnology and Introduction to Horticulture. His research involves breeding hardy fruits for northern areas with emphasis on crops that can be mechanically harvested and need little or no pesticides. Ornamental trees and coleus are also being bred in his program. His program has 40 acres of fruit and a 93 year history of developing varieties for northern Canada and is the coldest location in North America for a major fruit breeding program. In recent years his program has released 5 sour cherries, 4 apples, 8 haskap, and 12 coleus varieties. He runs a Prairie Fruit Genebank and regular writes articles for his website. This year he is on a sabbatical to write a Haskap grower manual.

Amy Bowen
Dr. Bowen joined the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in 2009 and was appointed Research Program Leader, Consumer Insights in 2013. With a focus on understanding the consumer, Amy leads a team of researchers to create value-added results for horticulture. She oversees the operation of Vineland’s trained sensory and consumer research panels to understand the drivers that impact consumer preference and choice for horticultural products. Research results inform breeding programs, brand development, new variety introductions, and commercialization. Amy works as part of a multidisciplinary team to identify characteristics consumers seek when choosing fruits, vegetables and flowers. Recent examples of her work include how sensory and consumer research informed the inception of the Cold SnapTM brand, Canada’s first branded pear, and the upcoming release of Vineland’s Canadian ShieldTM rose for Canada’s 150th birthday. Amy has a BSc H from the University of Guelph and a PhD from Brock University. She is a certified sommelier through the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers.

Phil Brannen
Phil is a professor in the Plant Pathology Department at the University of Georgia. He attended the University of Georgia for his undergraduate degree in Plant Protection and Pest Management, where he also received an MS in Plant Pathology, followed by a PhD in Plant Pathology from Auburn University. He has extensive experience with disease management programs in numerous cropping systems. He serves as the extension fruit pathologist for Georgia - conducting research and technology transfer for multiple fruit commodities. His efforts are directed towards developing IPM practices to solve disease issues and technology transfer of disease-management methods to commercial fruit producers. He also teaches the graduate level Field Pathology Course, the History of Plant Diseases and their Impact on Human Societies Course, team-teaches the IPM Course, coordinates the Viticulture and Enology in the Mediterranean Region Course (Cortona, Italy), and guest lectures in numerous other courses throughout the year. 

Paul Brooks
Paul is the owner/operator of Brooks Farms located in Mount Albert, Ontario. He has been farming his entire life, growing fruits and vegetables along with his family. Brooks Farms specializes in pick your own, berries, agri-tourism and fun! For the last four years Paul and his family have been busy planning and building a new 10,000 square foot farm market on their farm. The goal is to open March 1, 2017, for their annual maple syrup festival. The new indoor market will allow the farm to operate year round and will include a bakery, butcher shop and cafe.

Christine Brown
Christine is the Field Crop Sustainability Specialist with OMAFRA, working out of the Woodstock OMAFRA office. She has a provincial focus on manure nutrient management and the role of organic amendments for improving soil organic matter and is a member of the OMAFRA Soil Team. Christine is also a certified crop advisor with a 4R Nutrient Management designation.

Anita and Steve Buehner
Anita and Steve, owners of Bonnieheath Estate Lavender & Winery in Norfolk County, have been growing apples since 1987. In 2010, they began a farm diversification plan that included wine grape and lavender production. In 2013, they began experimenting with hard apple ciders to add to their retail offering. They market their ciders under the Bonnieheath brand of Folkin’ Hard Cider.

Colin Campbell
Colin was born in Thunder Bay, Ontario in 1958. He moved to Prince Edward County with his family at the age of 4. His father worked for Ontario Hydro and had a dream of running a small farm in retirement. Unfortunately his father never made it to retirement as he was killed in a plane crash at the age of 46 after purchasing a lovely farm on the Bay of Quinte near Belleville. Upon graduating in 1982 with an Honors degree in Agricultural Economics, Colin married a fellow Guelph graduate (Dianne Beilby) of Economics and Business and together they started running his father’s retirement project, The Campbell’s Orchards. They have been in business for 34 years now and the business has thrived and expanded. They grow and retail 45 acres of fruits and vegetables, specializing in apples, pears, strawberries, pumpkins and cider, etc. They now have a corn maze and their kids run a haunted wagon ride and are starting a hard cider business on the property.

Kathryn Carter
Kathryn is the Tender fruit (stone fruit) and Grape Specialist for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). Kathryn's current research focuses on screening peach/nectarine rootstocks, improving irrigation efficiency in orchards and evaluating the impact of cover crops on soil health. Kathryn has worked with OMAFRA for the past 15 years. Previously, she was the Pome fruit IPM Specialist. Kathryn has a MSc in Environmental Biology from University of Guelph, and a BSc from Brock University.

Sandra Carther
Sandra graduated from the University of Guelph, OAC’98, with a combined focus in Horticultural Science and Business. She was a Board of Governor’s Scholar and recipient of numerous awards both during and upon completion of her undergraduate studies. After graduation, Carther Plants was established in Thamesville, Ontario as a young plant propagation facility producing vegetable and herb seedlings. In 2012, the venture expanded into strawberry plug plant production with the establishment of a greenhouse nursery system. Her focus to have the nursery based entirely in substrate culture to provide greater assurance of plant health, and the production of the new tray plant types of starter material for hydroponic berry production lead to the company’s recognition in 2014 as a recipient of the Premiers’ Award for Agrifood Innovation Excellence. Carther Plants Ltd. continues to supply national and international markets with quality conventional and organic vegetable and herb seedlings, strawberry plug and tray plants.

Michael Celetti
Michael is the Plant Pathologist - Horticulture Crops with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Plant Science at the University of Guelph. After obtaining his graduate degrees in Plant Pathology from the University of Guelph, he researched disease management at the Agriculture University in The Netherlands. Upon returning to Canada, Mike worked for the Prince Edward Island Potato Marketing Board researching disease and nematode management in rotation crops with potatoes. His interests in chemical control lead him to a position with an international pesticide manufacturing company in western Canada. Prior to joining OMAFRA in 1998, he was the Provincial Plant Pathologist for Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food. In 2006, Mike received the “Award for Achievements in Plant Disease Management” from the Canadian Phytopathological Society.

Susan Chan
Susan is presently pursuing her PhD, studying the native squash bee in Ontario, with special emphasis on the effects of common agricultural practices on squash bee population health. She works extensively on farms to implement on-the-ground projects that support native pollinators. Susan has an academic background in agriculture, education, and pollination biology and is the author of A Landowner's Guide to Conserving Native Pollinators in Ontario. Concurrently with her studies, Susan manages the Native Pollinator Program for Farms at Work, a not-for profit project in central Ontario. She lectures in both Trent University's and Fleming College's Sustainable Agriculture Programs, and is the proud owner of Ten for Joy, a property in Selwyn, Ontario dedicated to conservation agriculture.

Travis Clarke
Travis graduated from the University of Guelph in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, majoring in Crop Science. Upon graduation, he began working for Holmes Agro, a crop input supplier who in addition to typical row crops, specializes in vegetable production. Since entering the agriculture industry, Travis has obtained his CCA certification and has taken an active role in working directly with vegetable producers. Travis, along with Holmes Agro is committed to developing, implementing and demonstrating sustainable practices to help reduce environmental impacts in the community, and thus helping growers achieve the same goals. By using the newest technology and tools available to the industry, Travis is able to help growers make informed decisions regarding their crop production practices to help achieve high yielding, high quality products, while reducing or limiting environmental impact.

Dr. John Cline
Dr. Cline is an Associate Professor in the Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph where he teaches and conducts research in pomology. He also provides outreach to the industry, growers and stakeholders. The primary objectives of the pomology research program are to investigate factors that determine yield and fruit quality of tree fruit crops. Projects include investigating the use of new, size-controlling apple, peach and cherry rootstocks, irrigation scheduling, studying advanced horticultural technologies including new orchard training systems, and investigating plant bioregulators to regulate flowering, plant growth, improve fruit quality and reduce pre-harvest fruit drop. Our research is carried out at the University of Guelph, Horticultural Experiment Station, Simcoe and on commercial orchards across Ontario. John holds a BSc in soil science (University of Guelph), MSc in horticulture (Michigan State University), and a PhD in Horticulture (University of London, UK).

Vanessa Currie
Vanessa graduated from the University of Guelph with an Honors BSc in 1989. She started working on the potato breeding program at the University of Guelph Horticultural Science Department in 1990. For two years, she was lucky to train under retired potato breeder Gary Johnston, who developed the Yukon Gold potato. Vanessa learned a great deal from him, and has been working as a research technician on the program ever since. Dr. J. Alan Sullivan took over in 1998 and together they have been actively involved in a wide range of potato projects, including marketing, production, post-harvest, human nutrition, and new variety development for all end uses. She enjoys working with the potato industry and meeting with growers.

Adam Dale
Adam is a College emeritus professor at the University of Guelph. With over forty years of research, first in Scotland, then in Ontario, he has covered many aspects of berry crop and nut research. He has released twelve strawberry cultivars and taken an active interest in genetic resources and incorporated wild Fragaria virginiana germplasm into his program. He has researched a systems approach to mechanical harvesting in strawberry, and developed management systems for dayneutral strawberries. Recently, Adam has developed systems for greenhouse production of raspberries. Also, he has researched dormancy, flower initiation and frost tolerance in berry crops and is an acknowledged expert on the genetics and management of yield in raspberries. More recently, Adam has been breeding American chestnuts that are resistant to chestnut blight, and has led a multi-disciplinary team to develop a hazelnut industry in Ontario.

Karen Daynard
Karen started her own agricultural public relations, communications and event management company in 2001. Since then she has worked with dozens of Ontario and Canadian farm and rural associations and agri-businesses, ranging from 4-H Ontario, to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, and DEKALB Canada. Karen received The Nuffield International Farming Scholarship for Canada in 2009. Over 2 years, she researched recruitment and communications models used by agricultural colleges and universities around the world. Her results helped Canadian institutions revise the way they gained new agricultural students. She currently sits on the boards of the Ontario Agricultural College Alumni Foundation and Nuffield Canada.

Dr. Jennifer DeEll
Dr. DeEll is the Fresh Market Quality Specialist - Hort Cropswith the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), located in Simcoe. She is currently: 1) studying the effects of anti-ethylene technologies on apple fruit ripening and physiological disorders during storage; 2) developing optimum postharvest practices for new apple and pear cultivars, as well as to reduce mealiness and chilling injury in peaches, and; 3) investigating methods to improve handling and storage of fresh fruits and vegetables. She was one of the first to receive the Agri-Food Innovation Award from the Government of Ontario for previous work on fresh-cut apple slices. Dr. DeEll has published over 80 scientific papers, as well as review articles, book chapters and full books, on subjects pertaining to postharvest physiology and the quality of fresh fruits and vegetables. She is also on the editorial board for the international scientific journal Postharvest Biology and Technology.

Maria Dombrowsky
Maria is a graduate of the University of Guelph where she earned a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Environmental Biology. Her previous experience as a Research Specialist kept her busy in the field where she conducted many trials with different herbicides, insecticides and fungicides on a wide range of fruit and vegetable crops. Now as the Canadian Horticulture Specialist for Nufarm she is responsible for selling Horticultural products to distribution across Canada as well as providing technical and usage advice for a variety of different products and crops.

Andrew Dornan
Andrew grew up in Prince Edward Island where he graduated with his BSc. He then attended the University of Guelph and graduated with an MSc in Environmental Biology in 1993. He began his career with Bayer in 1995, spending six years as a technical sales representative in southwestern Ontario. Since 2002, Andrew has been the agronomic development manager for all Bayer horticultural products in Canada. He has been heavily involved with all aspects of the field development of Velum Prime from early screening right through to commercialization.

Dr. Ken Eastwell
Dr. Eastwell received his doctorate in plant biochemistry at the University of Alberta followed by post-doctoral studies in molecular virology at the University of California, Davis. At Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Summerland, British Columbia, he identified the etiological agent of little cherry disease and managed the little cherry disease control program. Eastwell joined the Department of Plant Pathology at Washington State University in 1997 to direct the program that distributes virus-tested fruit tree clones globally. The program expanded to include hop plants and grapevines, and formally became the Clean Plant Center Northwest in 2011. He played an active role in creating the National Clean Plant Network that was formalized in 2008, and he subsequently served on specialty crop governance bodies. Eastwell’s research investigates virus-like agents of fruit trees and hop, and their management. He established a consulting practice in 2016 after obtaining emeritus status at WSU.

Evan Elford
Evan is the New Crop Development Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) based in Simcoe, Ontario. He works on developing information related to specialty crop production and marketing for a range of crops including ethno-cultural vegetables, specialty berries, specialty grains, and other crops such as hops. Evan grew up on a hog farm in Cannington, Ontario and prior to joining the ministry, he worked for the University of Guelph, industry associations and a horticultural farm operation.

David Epp
David and his wife Charlene are the parents of four daughters aged 27, 24, 22, and 20. David is a third generation farmer in Leamington. In partnership with his brother Peter, they own and operate Lycoland Farms Ltd., growing processing tomatoes, sweet corn, sweet peas, edible beans, snap bean, seed corn, corn, soybeans, and wheat. In addition, David has served on the executive of several agricultural organizations, including the Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers, and Agricorp. He has been active locally in his municipality, as well as serving several terms as Chair of the UMEI Christian High School board of directors. He is an active member of Leamington United Mennonite Church and served in related church organizations. Since May 2015, David has been serving as Ontario Regional Co-ordinator of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

Dr. Les Evans
Dr. Evans is a Professor Emeritus in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph and started his academic career at the University of Guelph in 1975 having obtained a BSc degree in Chemistry from Southampton University, England and a PhD in Soil Chemistry from the University of Wales. He has taught both graduate and undergraduate courses in Soil Chemistry, Water Chemistry and Clay and Humic Chemistry at Guelph and, more recently, at Nanjing University, China. He has been awarded a number of teaching awards for both undergraduate and graduate teaching including Outstanding Teaching Award, Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph, 1995, President’s Teaching Award, 2005 and the University of Guelph’s Medal of Merit in 2011. His current research involves the development of soil adsorption models for phosphorous in Ontario agricultural soils and the development of “Soil Sensitivity Maps for Phosphorous” in agricultural watersheds.

Ken Ferguson
Ken is the Operations Manager with Algoma Orchards Ltd. He began his career at Algoma Orchards in 2009 as an Industrial Electrician, and in 2016 was promoted to Operations Manager for the whole facility. He has helped increase productivity and efficiency in the production of juice and packaging of apples introducing waste water recycling, flat roof solar panels, and rain water collection. He is currently working with Guelph University on a study of Electro Coagulation, installing voltage harmonization, ozone disinfection and an organic digester.

Dr. Melanie Filotas
Dr. Filotas is the Horticulture Crop Integrated Pest Management Specialist focusing on specialty crops with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in Simcoe, Ontario. She works with growers, industry, researchers and ministry colleagues to identify pests and pest management solutions for new, transitional or low acreage crops such as hops, tree nuts and sweet potatoes. Melanie has a PhD in Entomology from Cornell University where she studied biological control of forest insects. Prior to joining OMAFRA, she worked as a researcher with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, looking at use of biopesticides, natural enemies and other reduced risk products to control insects in commercial greenhouses.

Carly Flemming
Carly is currently a MSc Food Science student at the University of Guelph, with research being conducted at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. Her research pertains to the Ontario Stone Fruit Harvest and Cold Chain Best Management Practices project conducted in partnership with the Ontario Tender Fruit Growers. The specific focus is on the sensory and quality profiles of peaches that have been treated with pre-cooling treatments aimed to increase shelf-life while maintaining quality and reducing the development of flesh mealiness. Her previous work and internship experience included evaluating sensory characteristics of horticulture products as well as meat products. Carly is a University of Alberta graduate, having obtained a BSc in Nutrition and Food Science with distinction.

Tom Forge
Tom is a research nematologist for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) at the Summerland Research and Development Centre in British Columbia. Tom’s educational background includes a BSc in Biology from Kansas State University and a PhD in Plant Pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also worked as a post-doctoral research associate at the Macaulay Institute in Scotland; the Pacific Forestry Centre in Victoria, BC; and Oregon State University before assuming his position with AAFC in British Columbia. Tom’s research is primarily focused on: 1) identifying emerging nematode problems in horticultural crops in western Canada; 2) developing soil management strategies to suppress parasitic nematodes and improve replant success of tree-fruit and small-fruit crops, and; 3) understanding the influences of alternative soil, nutrient and water management practices on nematode population dynamics. Tom is also Test Site Manager for the Minor Use Pesticides Program at Summerland and contributes to evaluation of new nematicides.

Jim Forsythe
Jim is a first generation farmer growing and direct marketing fruits and vegetables in Markham for over 42 years and is now based in the Uxbridge area. A new endeavor for their farm this year is the Giving Garden, 1.5 acres of land committed to growing crops to be harvested by groups or individuals at no charge with the understanding that what they harvest is to be given away. A garden that enables people to think of others in need and give to them.

Barry Friesen
Barry is general manager of CleanFARMS Inc., a non-profit stewardship organization committed to environmental responsibility through the proper management of agricultural waste. Under his leadership, CleanFARMS programs have earned a reputation of excellence around the world. A professional engineer, Friesen’s influence in waste management spans over two decades. He led the development of a new composting system for the Niagara Region, introduced stewardship programs for Nova Scotia, and played a pivotal role in establishing Ontario’s municipal waste collection program. Friesen is the founding board member of the Canadian Product Stewardship Council, a board member of the Alberta Plastics Recycling Association, and is active in his local Rotary Club. Previously, he served on the board of the Recycling Council of Ontario, Composting Council of Canada, and the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment’s national task force on packaging.

Marc Fuchs
Marc received his Master's and PhD degrees from University Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France. He joined the Department of Plant Pathology at Cornell University in 2004 with research and extension responsibilities on viruses of vegetable and fruit crops. He has worked on grapevine viruses for more than 30 years. Marc's program is based on discovery-oriented research and on the transfer of discoveries into practical applications. He is currently leading multidisciplinary team efforts on fanleaf, leafroll and red blotch diseases, with the ultimate goal of the development of optimal management strategies.

Amanda Giamberardino
Amanda is Manager of 4R Nutrient Stewardship programs at Fertilizer Canada. She joined the organization in 2012 as the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Project Coordinator, supporting the program’s research, training and extension activities. Concurrently, she was awarded a grant from ECO Canada to pursue her Environmental Professional certification, specializing in research and development, and, communications and public awareness. Amanda’s background is in Chemistry (BSc and MSc) with a minor degree in Physics. Her research thesis was on developing DNA biosensors for norovirus detection in food, a project funded under the Ontario Ministry of Food and Rural Affairs and has been a contributing author to various academic publications. She also served as a teaching assistant for the first year chemistry course at Carleton instructing hundreds of students in the laboratory and was recognized for her efforts with the Donald R. Wiles Prize for Laboratory Demonstrators.

Steven H. Gill
Steve is a fifth generation California farmer and onion processor. Together with his brother David, he is the owner-partner of Gills Onions. The company was founded 1983, and at that time it had just one customer. Presently, Gills Onions is one of the largest fresh-cut onion operations in North America, processing up to a million pounds of onions daily, and delivering peeled, diced or sliced onions to industrial, retail and food service customers. Steve is actively involved in every aspect of the operation from planting, growing and harvesting to processing and packaging. He is also an entrepreneur who is leading the way toward a low-carbon future. In 2009, the company began using onion waste to generate electricity at its processing plant in Oxnard. The system uses onion juice to produce biogas to power the processing plant.

Dr. Bernard Goyette
Bernard received his PhD in 2010 from the Department of Bioresource Engineering at McGill University, Montreal, where he conducted research investigating the application of physical treatments to enhance quality attributes of fresh horticultural produce. Dr. Goyette joined Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in 2011 as a Research Scientist in the area of Postharvest Science, bringing with him almost 20 years of experience in postharvest technology research. He is an agricultural engineer by training, specializing in postharvest treatments and his area of research has included precooling, storage and handling, as well as physical postharvest treatments. Bernard is establishing the postharvest program at Vineland. He specialized in applying thermodynamics and heat and mass transfer principles to develop new storage methods or techniques that maintain optimum freshness and quality of horticultural produce.

Linda Grimo
Linda was born and raised in the Niagara region. She went to Graceland University, in Iowa, and received her BA in Education. She moved to Arizona to teach and while there she earned her MA in Education. She quit teaching shortly thereafter to return to Niagara with her family to work alongside her father, Ernie Grimo, at Grimo Nut Nursery. She helps to manage the farm from the business side and in the fields as well. Linda is actively involved in research with heartnuts to select the best cracking heart shaped nut from her bred trees. They dig and ship trees in the spring, and harvest the nuts from their test/research orchards in the fall selling the surplus crops to local residents. She is a director for both the Niagara North Federation of Agriculture and is the current chair for the Ontario Hazelnut Association.

Benjamin Guth
As the President and Program Manager for Mobilize, Benjamin is responsible for driving all aspects of the program’s strategy, operations, sales and marketing. Benjamin has been with Diamond Global for over 7 years and has previously led the operations and recruitment teams. His past experience in internet marketing and retail operations gives him a strong skill set to now lead the Mobilize program at Diamond Global. Working closely with a wide breadth of Canadian businesses and within key industry sectors, Benjamin spends his days helping organizations develop their labour strategies and sourcing top tier talent throughout Canada.

Will Heeman
Will is the Chief Daymaker at Heeman’s, a berry farm & garden centre east of London. He is a millennial who will show you there is hope for the new generation. After graduating university with a background in marketing, Will accepted a sabbatical position at a garden centre in New Zealand. Upon returning to the farm, he worked alongside his parents, aunt and grandparents, to transform their business into an experienced based destination for thousands of new (young) customers while staying true to their honoured 50+ year history. Will has been the inspiration and creator of a number of exciting food-based events, a line of successful DIY workshop series, development of an online store and recently added coffee bar. Using social and digital marketing, Will has lifted consumer awareness and community support to a level that has increased sales and brand loyalty. Will is a past president of the Ontario Berry Growers Association and was named 2016’s Young Retailer of the Year for North America in the garden centre industry.

Kevin Hollis
Kevin is the Regional Sales Manager for Shea assisting clients define and implement ERP, CRM, BI strategies through consultative selling. He works with business owners and executive management to facilitate innovation and maximizing return on investment with minimal risk. Beyond a double major BA in Management/Economics (University of Guelph) and Executive Sales Management (York/Schulich), lifetime learning includes ongoing involvement with industry associations and professional development groups.

Ashley Honsberger
Ashley is the Executive Director of the Agri-food Management Institute (AMI) and has been with AMI since 2011 in various capacities. She is a graduate from the University of Guelph with a Masters of Science in Capacity Development and Extension. Ashley has experience working with 4-H Ontario, the Agricultural Adaptation Council, Syngenta Crop Protection and the University of Guelph as a teaching assistant. She is an avid volunteer and is driven by her passion to enact positive social change through building a career that leverages the capacity building process in Ontario agri-food businesses. At the Agri-food Management Institute, her work is dedicated to promoting new ways of thinking about agri-food business management for producers and processors. By strategically aligning AMI with commodity, industry and support organisations, AMI is strengthening the capacity of the Ontario agri-food sector to achieve success.

David Hulley
David serves as the Director of Customer Experience at Vineland Estates Winery and is the first Canadian graduate of the University of California, Davis in Fermentation Science. He has worked in the Ontario Wine Industry for almost 30 years as a winemaker, international lecturer, manager, writer, radio and TV personality and consultant. David graduated from the UC Davis as top foreign student in the state of California with the Knowles A. Ryerson Award in 1988. Currently, David enjoys his creative, steering role at Vineland Estates Winery, his corporate speaking and his occasional instructor's role in the wine programs at Brock University and Niagara College. In 2009 David received the much coveted, student-centered, Excellence in Teaching award from Niagara College. David is the author of two culinary books, It's Just a Matter of Wine and Italian Sensibility and is currently working on his third book, Food and Wine Synergy.

Michael Kauzlaric
Michael joined the Business Development team at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in 2009 as Technology Scout and Grower Outreach. In this role, Michael scouts for new technologies, including various tree fruit varieties to fill gaps in the existing pipelines and to improve the overall profitability of the Canadian horticulture sector. He is also Vineland’s liaison to various grower networks across the country. Ultimately, Michael searches for new ways to reduce labour, increase yields and improve the profit picture for the horticulture industry. Michael is a graduate of the University of Guelph with a B Sc (Horticulture Major) and is actively involved with his family tender fruit and grape operation in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Dr. Belinda Kemp
Belinda gained her PhD at Lincoln University, New Zealand on the timing of leaf removal on Pinot noir tannin, flavour and sensory characteristics of wine. She is Senior Staff Scientist in Oenology at CCOVI, Brock University. As well as a scientist, Kemp gained previous practical still and sparkling winemaking experience in commercial wineries in New Zealand and the UK. Her main research areas are wine flavour and aroma. Her research since joining CCOVI has included sparkling wine research projects investigating the effect of sugar and dosage solutions on Niagara sparkling wine flavour and influences of sparkling wine clones and soil type on flavour. She is currently investigating the timing and severity of leaf removal on red grape varieties for still and sparkling wines, and tannin management of Niagara red wine grape varieties. She currently organizes FIZZ Club for Ontario sparkling winemakers and serves on the VQA-O Standards Development Committee and the VQA-O sparkling wine rules committee.

Christoph Kessel
Christoph is the Soil Fertility Specialist (Horticulture) with OMAFRA. He works with industry associations, researchers and ministry colleagues to improve crop fertility management in horticultural crops through research projects, demonstrations and workshops. After graduating from the University of Guelph, he worked in the nursery industry before joining OMAFRA as the Nursery Crops Specialist. He is a Certified Crop Advisor and has the 4R Nutrient Management Specialist designation.

Jacqueline Kowalski
Jacqueline is currently the Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator for Summit County, OH (Akron). Previously she served as the ANR Educator for Cuyahoga County (Cleveland). In this role, she provides Ohioans with research-based information to improve communities and lives. Her primary focus area is small and urban farm development and sustainability with additional responsibilities in agriculture and natural resources. Previous to her current position with Ohio State University Extension, Jacqueline served as the Director of Horticulture and Agronomy for the Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands. While these geographical locations and cropping systems are vastly different, the issues of food security and community development are very much the same with regard to farmer education, integrated pest management practices, and sustainability.

Frederick Laforge
Frederick has worked in berry fruit production since 1989. He earned a Bachelor's degree in agronomy in 1986 and a Master in vegetal biology from Laval University in 1989. He is a member of the Ordre des Agronomes du Québec since 1987. Frederick specialized in tissue culture of raspberry and strawberry and is co-owner of Phytoclone Inc., a tissue culture operation dedicated to berry plant certification and ornamental propagation since 1992. He worked as a consultant in greenhouse production until 1998 and started working part-time for Lareault Nursery. With increasing research activities at Lareault nursery, he started working as R&D director in 2008.

Alan Lakso
Alan is an Emeritus Professor at Cornell University with over 40 years of research emphasizing fruit physiology for integrating crop development with environmental factors and cultural practices as they fruit productivity and quality. His research has emphasized experimentation and simulation modeling approaches to understanding carbohydrate and water physiology, primarily in apples and grapes. His interests also include understanding crop responses to climate change and adapting a variety of new technologies to help growers optimize their practices.

Tracy Lamb
Tracey has been promoting local food, farmers and agriculture for over 25 years. She is passionate about the connection between food and health, the need to appreciate and understand where our food comes from and the vital role that farmers’ markets play in that connection. Tracy and her team develop and implement provincial and national programs to raise awareness, motivate shifts in attitudes and behaviours and increase production and consumption of locally-produced food. An expert in marketing communications in agri-food, Tracy has extensive knowledge of all parts of the value chain, from producer to retailer and from influencer to consumer. Her passion for promoting healthy eating has led to her involvement in countless local food and nutritional education programs across Canada, working collaboratively with all stakeholders to develop innovative yet practical solutions aligned with her clients' business objectives.

Dr. John Lauzon
John grew up in Elgin county between London and St. Thomas, spending most of his time on the dairy and cash crop farm across the road. He received all 3 degrees (MSc, MSc, and PhD) from the University of Guelph in the Ontario agricultural college. He has been faculty there since 2000 teaching two introductory soil science classes, two 4th year classes in soil management and soil nutrient management, and a graduate level course in soil nitrogen management. His research focuses on nutrient cycling and management dealing with issues related to maximizing the agronomic efficiency of applied nutrients and minimizing losses to the environment.

Janice LeBoeuf
Since 2001, Janice has been a Vegetable Crop Specialist with OMAFRA in Ridgetown, Ontario, where she focuses on tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, sugarbeets, and table beets.

Todd Leuty
Todd is the Agroforestry Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs since 1997, working in tree-based industries of horticulture and forestry. Areas of focus include: commercial tree nut horticulture, maple syrup production, sugar bush and maple orchard management, Christmas tree production, renewable wood energy, environmental projects promoting windbreaks and shelterbelts for crop and soil protection, riparian protection and prevention of spray drift. Todd began working with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs at Harrow as Horticultural Crops and Pest Management Specialist of commercial fruit orchards, small-fruit and wine grapes from 1987 to 1997. Todd obtained BSc and MSc degrees in 1984 and 1988 from the University of Guelph in orchard horticulture then integrated pest management in viticulture (wine grape and table grape production).

Ken Linington
Ken is a Policy Advisor for an Ontario agricultural employers group known as the Labour Issues Coordinating Committee (LICC).  LICC is a coalition of agricultural commodity and general farm organizations representing the interests of Ontario farm employers. It was formed in 1991 to develop consensus in the farm employer community on employment and labour related issues, and represent their collective position to government. Industry friendly regulations is its primary goal. Ken shares part of his time as Human Resources Director with Flowers Canada Growers and sits on the Board of the Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council. Previously Ken spent 10 years as a Policy Advisor and 20 years as an extension worker with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs. 

Pete Luckett
At age 14, Pete saw opportunity in the sights, sounds and flavours of England’s busy outdoor food markets. Part theatrical sideshow, part business-savvy, he saw a perfect niche for his gregarious personality and produce know how. He learned how to stand out in a crowd by offering excellent quality, unique products and a fun, exciting shopping experience. He knew everyone by name, treated them like good friends, and they never left his stall without knowing something new, trying something new, a full basket and a smile on their face. Today, Pete operates a 150 acre farm in the Annapolis valley, Nova Scotia. He is a grower, retailer, farmer, marketer, and also now operates Luckett Vineyards where he grows grapes and produces award-winning wines. Whether customers are shopping at Pete's Fine Foods or at Luckett Vineyards, customers don’t “shop” as much as they “congregate,” and every retailer and destination marketer knows the longer they stay, the more they buy! Ambiance, heaped up displays and a caring team to maintain it all are the basics of a powerful merchandising program.

Deb Maes
Deb is the lead for the scouting program for Sylvite Agri-Services based out of Norwich, Ontario. Previously she scouted for twelve years in fruit and vegetables, as well as field crops in and around the Norfolk area. Deb is still in the field scouting, teaching, and checking fields with scouts daily in season and works closely with agronomists, sales reps, OMAFRA staff, and farmers themselves to provide the best and latest information on new diseases and pests.

Bruce Marcovich
Bruce has worked in the Beverage and Food/Produce industry for more than 30 years. He has held various senior operational and executive management positions with multi-national corporations, including The Minute Maid Company, Dominion Citrus and Tetra Pak. This broad-based experience enables Bruce to understand and visualize all aspects and complexities of a manufacturing operation, from conception to market. During the past 15 years he has concentrated on apple processing, with regards to apple cider and apple based products for the apple packing industry, working with customers such as Tropicana, and Loblaw's, using centrifuge's, belt presses and bag presses.

Tim Martinson
Tim has been involved in grape extension and research with Cornell University since 1991, where he completed his MS (1988) and PhD (1990) degrees in Entomology. Since 2007, he was been Senior Extension Associate with the Statewide Viticulture Extension Program. He edits the Veraison to Harvest weekly newsletter distributed statewide September-October in New York, and Appellation Cornell, a quarterly publication highlighting research, extension, and teaching programs in Viticulture and Enology at Cornell. He is project director for the Northern Grapes Project (USDA's Specialty Crops Research Initiative), which focuses on viticulture, enology, and marketing of wines made from cold-hardy grape cultivars in 12 mid-western and northeastern states. Martinson was the recipient of the Research Award from the New York Wine and Grape Foundation in 2007, and the Outstanding Accomplishments in Extension/Outreach Award from the Cornell University'sCollege of Agriculture and Life Sciences in 2015.

Mark Matthews
Mark grew up in the Arizona desert where he gained an appreciation for water in nature and agriculture. His career has focused on understanding how water and nutrients affect grape growth and ripening on which he has published well over 100 papers, many of which have become highly cited papers. After 33 years as Professor of Viticulture at University of California-Davis, he recently took the title of Professor Emeritus. His retirement coincided with the release of his book analyzing the conventional wisdom in winegrowing, Terroir and Other Myths of Winegrowing, on UC Press. He continues to write on matters grape and water.

Margaret May
Margaret has been involved with Program Delivery to growers for more than 25 year with OSCIA. Her passion is helping growers use practical experience and program details to help affect positive change within a farm business. She is currently Regional Program Lead with OSCIA and covers the area from Windsor to Niagara Falls.

Dr. Wendy McFadden-Smith
Dr. McFadden-Smith has been the Tender Fruit and Grape IPM Specialist with OMAFRA, Vineland since 2008. She is adjunct professor and sessional lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences and a CCOVI Professional Affiliate at Brock University and a sessional lecturer in the Oenology and Viticulture Program at Niagara College. She has worked on projects including modeling grape berry moth populations, etiology and management of sour rot of grape, biology and management of black knot and bacterial spot of stone fruit, fungicide resistance in brown rot of cherry, integrated management of fire blight and grapevine leafroll and red blotch viruses and their vectors.

Jordan McKay
Jordan is the retail manager of Willowtree Farm located in Port Perry, Ontario. Willowtree Farm is a mixed farm consisting of fruits, vegetables, livestock, and grain crops. The McKay family farms over 500 acres with 150 acres in fruits and vegetables. They also raise beef cattle and lamb. They have a farm market consisting of a commercial kitchen, bakery, and fresh butcher shop where they sell their own produce and meat, as well as many other Ontario products. Jordan, as retail manager, oversees 11 farmers’ markets and the multitude of retail income streams. Willowtree Farm also has a CSA program and a wholesale side of the business. Jordan is a graduate of the Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Business. Though Jordan has been part of the business since he was a child, he came back to the farm working full-time for the past 10 years.

Dr. Amanda McWhirt
Dr. McWhirt is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Arkansas and serves as the state Fruit and Vegetable Production Extension Specialist with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. She works with commercial fruit and vegetable producers to improve efficiency and productivity of these cropping systems in the state of Arkansas. She currently is conducting research on cover crops, high tunnel vegetable production, and strawberry production. She holds a BS in Horticulture from Tarleton State University, a MS in Soil Science from Louisiana State University and a PhD from North Carolina State University in Crop Science-Agroecology where she conducted research on sustainable soil management practices for strawberry production.

Paul Moyer
Paul is from Vineland where he grew up on the family fruit farm. He attended the State University of New York where he has an Associates Degree in Microbiology and Agricultural Business. He also has his BSc from Auburn University in Agricultural Economics and Marketing. Paul is an inventor, an entrepreneur, and uses his networking skills to grow opportunities where often none exist. For the past 8 years, Paul has concentrated on the value added apple business that he successfully pitched on Dragon's Den. In 2013, Moyer's Apple Products designed and implemented a state of the art facility and cutting-edge process in Niagara where they were the first in the caramel apple industry to receive an SQF Level 2 Global Food Safety Certification.

Joji Muramoto
Dr. Muramoto is an associate researcher (soil science and agroecology) of the Department of Environmental Studies, the University of California, Santa Cruz. He received a BS, MS, and Dr., from the Tokyo University of Agriculture, Japan. He has extensive experiences in research on soil fertility and soil-borne disease management in vegetable production in Japan (1986-1996) and strawberry and vegetable production in California, US., (1996-present). Focusing on evaluating and improving sustainability of organic and conventional strawberry and vegetable production on the coastal California, he is currently involved in research projects on optimizing anaerobic soil disinfestation, a biological alternative to soil fumigation, to California strawberries (2003-), a collaborative research and extension network for sustainable organic production systems in coastal California (2011-) and immobilizing mineralized nitrogen from cole crop residues using organic amendments (2016-).

Dr. Ajay Nair
Dr. Nair is an Assistant Professor working in the area of Sustainable Vegetable Production in the Department of Horticulture at Iowa State University. The focus of his research, extension, and teaching program is on cover cropping, conservation tillage, nutrient management, soil amendments and health, and season extension strategies in vegetable production. He also has an interest in local food production and works on production aspects and techniques needed to meet the rising demand of locally grown produce. He has a doctoral degree from Michigan State University and Masters from University of Maine.

Deanna Nemeth
Deanna is the Horticulture Sustainability Specialist with OMAFRA in the Vineland office. She focuses on nutrient management research and sustainability technology within Ontario’s horticulture sector. Deanna has a Masters in soil science from the University of Guelph.

Nate Nourse
Nate is the Sales Director for Nourse Farms in South Deerfield, Massachusetts. Nourse Farms is a premier grower of the finest small fruit plants and have been in the berry plant business for over 80 years.

Sasha Novakovic
After obtaining his bachelor degree in geological engineering, with a specialization in water resources, Sasha has been working as a hydrogeologist for consulting firm Novaterra Environmental Ltd., in London, Ontario.  Over the last four years his focus has shifted to the preparation of hydrogeological and hydrological studies to support permit to take water applications. He has been involved in over 40 such applications, which include takings from wells, ponds, watercourses, and areas adjacent to wetlands. At the start of his career, he was primarily involved in works related to groundwater, but recent experience has given him the opportunity to evaluate the impacts of surface water takings on both groundwater and surface water features. Through his interactions with the MOECC and Conservation Authorities, Sasha has gained a strong understanding of the requirements that regulatory agencies have with respect to permits to take water and environmental impact site assessments.

Martha Oner
Martha is a Partner, and the National Leader of the R&D and Government Incentives at Grant Thornton LLP. She assists clients across all industries on SR&ED, OIDMTC and tax incentive advisory and compliance matters. With 17 years experience, Martha helps clients across all industries to file maximized and substantiated tax credit claims. Her clients include Food & Beverage, Medical Technologies, Manufacturing, Information Technology, Green Technology, Construction and Agriculture industries. A frequent speaker and author on research and development related funding, she has presented at the Canadian BioGas Conference, Canadian Chinese Professional Accountants Association, Indo-Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Federated Press 7th Tax Planning for R&D Conference and has been a contributor to Grand Valley Construction Association Journal, PLANT Magazine, and Food in Canada Magazine among others. She has also been a member of CPA Canada's SRED Symposium Advisory Committee for the past 2 years.

Michael Pacholik
Michael has been working with Bayer Crop Science in Regina, SK in the Regulatory and Environmental Affairs group for three years as the Chemical Samples Coordinator for Canada. He graduated from the University of Regina in April 2012 with a BSc. In Biochemistry. He is a member of the Bayer Regina site's Waste Committee and works with them to find solutions to improve efficiency with dealing with hazardous waste disposal and has recently taken responsibility as the Canadian subject matter expert on the Phytobac.

Erica Pate
Erica recently joined the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) as the acting direct farm marketing specialist. She works closely with the Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association and Farmers’ Markets Ontario to promote buying direct from farmers. Erica also works on developing and extending resources and training for the direct farm marketing sector. Erica recently completed a contract with OMAFRA as a pome fruit integrated pest management specialist. Prior to that, she graduated from the University of Guelph with a BSc in Agriculture.

Kirk Patterson
Kirk is currently the Marketing and Agronomy Manager at Scotland Agromart Ltd., with more than 25 years of crop consulting experience in a wide range of horticultural and conventional crops in Brant and Norfolk County. He has developed custom precision programs for site specific crop management and established crop specific scouting services for a wide range of crops including ginseng, potatoes, strawberries and vegetables.

John Pilcher
John grew up on a corn and bean farm in Illinois and spent years in business before establishing Coldbrook Farm. An agribusiness entrepreneur, he’s developed products and marketed them in various market channels. He’s an avid learner and communicator about all things aronia, and he consults with other growers. John has been a featured speaker at the Midwest Aronia Association Conference, and the Illiana Fruit and Vegetable Growers Symposium, co-sponsored by Purdue University Extension and the University of Illinois Extension. Although John is an advocate of aronia berries, he says they’re not the best crop for everyone. Like haskap, aronia is in an emerging market. He’s going to tell us his story - how he found higher value in the market for an unknown fruit. You’ll hear about selling rather than educating, developing a cluster of markets, capitalizing on cultural relevance, and listening for opportunities.

Julia Reekie
Julia is a tree fruit researcher working at the Kentville Research and Development Centre in Nova Scotia. Her post-graduate training in plant physiology focused on using a plant bioregulator, Apogee, to manipulate strawberry plant morphology aiming to advance and enhance fruit production. Her current research includes using pre-harvest treatments to enhance postharvest fruit quality, selecting appropriate cover crops to provide added nutrients in apple orchards and testing pesticides to control apple insect pests.

Justin Renkema
Justin is Assistant Professor of Small Fruit Entomology at the University of Florida’s Gulf Coast Research and Education Center. His research program focuses on developing effective IPM strategies, particularly for thrips and spider mites in strawberries. Current projects include: 1) using non-crop flowering plants to benefit strawberry pollinators and natural enemies of thrips and; 2) improving spider mite management and monitoring for acaracide resistance in strawberry nursery and production fields. Justin received a PhD in Biology from Dalhousie University and an MSc in Environmental Biology from University of Guelph. Prior to his current position at UF, Justin was a post-doctoral fellow at U Guelph, working on spotted wing drosophila monitoring and management in berry crops. Justin grew up in rural southwestern Ontario and credits summer employment at Ridgetown Campus of U Guelph for sparking his interest in agricultural entomology.

Andrew Reynolds
Andy has been conducting research in grapes and wines since MSc studies in 1978. Since 1997 he has been Professor of Viticulture, Brock Univ., St Catharines, ON. Before Brock, he was formerly Research Scientist, viticulture & enology, Agriculture Canada Research Station, Summerland, BC (1983-97); NSERC Research Chair in Viticulture, Cool Climate Oenology & Viticulture Institute (July 1997-2002). His sabbatical leaves include Washington State Univ. Pullman (1994-5), studying impact of yeast strain on flavor of Riesling, and implications of acetic acid for stuck fermentations; RH Philips Winery, Dunnigan Hills, CA (2004-5) studying new irrigation technology. Responsibilities at Brock: initially, development of a viticulture & enology 4-yr degree curriculum; teaching; research; administration; consultation. Courses taught include: Grapevine Biology, Grapevine Cultural Practices, Plant Physiology, Introduction to Wines, Advanced Wine Flavor (graduate course). Andy's major research interests: canopy management; site, soil & their impact upon flavor; irrigation and water relations; geomatics, and use of GPS/GIS and remote sensing for studying terroir.

Rachel Riddle
Rachel is a Research Technician in the Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph, at the Simcoe Research Station. She works on weed management in vegetable crops and vegetable crop production. Projects of the research program include evaluating organic weed control products for vegetable crops, conducting pesticide efficacy and crop tolerance trials for Agriculture, Agri-food Canada (AAFC) minor use pesticide program, weed management trials on processing vegetables as well as conducting cucumber and pepper variety trials. Rachel holds a BSc in biology and zoology (University of Toronto) and a MSc in crop science (University of Guelph).

Dominic Rivard
With over 20 years experience in the commercial wine industry, Dominic has been passionately interested in wine since the age of 17 when he started making wine from local fruits and grapes. Over the last decade, Dominic has been busy running numerous wine production and exportation projects with wineries and wine importers/distributors in Canada, USA, Italy, Spain, UK, Tanzania, Chile, Taiwan, India, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan as well as China. Dominic has been engaged in R&D projects in the industry and has perfected numerous dessert wine production techniques including ice fruit wine cryo-extraction. He specializes in cider, fruit wine, dessert wine and ice wine production and is known in wine industry circles as an authority in fruit wine making. Dominic teaches cider production at the college level and speaks at wine symposiums throughout the world.

Jan Schooley
Jan spent 23 years with OMAFRA working in pest management, ginseng and medicinal herb production and food safety. Upon retirement, she introduced a lavender enterprise to her husband’s century farm, Schooley Orchards Limited. Apple Hill Lavender now produces 4.5 acres of lavender and from that production has come an extensive line of value added lavender products. Jan and her daughter Melissa collaboratively operate a farm boutique to market upscale pottery (Raging Bowl Pottery) and lavender products. Recently an assortment of “lavender Gourmet” creations was added.

Mehdi Sharifi
Dr. Sharifi is a Research Scientist at Summerland Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Prior to this position, he held other academic and research positions in various institutions including: Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Agriculture at Trent University (2012-2016), Nutrient Management Research Chair at Dalhousie University (2010-2012), Postdoctoral Fellow at the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada (2008-2010), and NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow at Potato Research Centre (AAFC) (2005-2008). Dr. Sharifi is a recognized expert in nitrogen dynamics in agro-ecosystems. He conducted several studies on nutrients management in diverse cropping systems. His expertise is exceedingly diverse with 42 published peer-reviewed articles in well-known scientific journals, a book chapter and 100 national and international conference presentations. He is an associate editor for Canadian Journal of Soil Science. His research interests include nutrient cycling in agro-ecosystems, soil and plant testing, cover crops and organic amendments management under broad theme of Sustainable Agriculture.

Rebecca Shortt
Rebecca is the irrigation/water management engineer with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Her role with the Ministry involves helping Ontario producers improve their production by providing irrigation and water management expertise to the province. Rebecca is the co-author of many OMAFRA irrigation publications including the Irrigation Best Management Practices book. Most recently, Rebecca has developed demonstrations and presentations on water efficiency and soil moisture monitoring. Her specialty includes water permitting and drip irrigation. In addition to irrigation, Rebecca develops solutions for other agricultural water uses such as fruit and vegetable washing. Rebecca holds a MSc and BSc from McGill University in Agricultural Engineering and has been active in water and irrigation associations across Canada and the US.

David Slaine
David, MSc, PGeo, is the President and Principal Hydrogeologist with Terra-Dynamics Consulting Inc., of St. Catharines, ON, which began operations in 2001. He is a native of Niagara and graduated with an Honours BSc in geomorphology from the College of Biological Science at the University of Guelph in 1978 and a MSc in hydrogeology from the University of Waterloo in 1983. He has worked as an environmental consultant for 34 years and is a federal and provincially recognized expert in hydrogeology. He has worked on projects throughout North America, Germany, Switzerland and Guam and is a Professional Geoscientist in Ontario, Delaware, Florida, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. He has a diversified background and has specialized in the interaction of groundwater and surface water including both water quality and quantity. He has obtained numerous Permits to Take Water in Ontario for farms, wineries, nurseries, greenhouses, golf courses, industries and land developers.

Dr. Andrew Smith
Dr. Smith oversees the Vegetable Systems Trial project at Rodale Institute in Kutztown, PA.  The project looks at measuring soil quality, economic profit, insect damage and weed tolerance, and nutritional quality - quantity of nutrients and other components - in organic and conventional vegetables. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Agronomy and Crop Science from Cornell University, Master's Degree in Entomology from University of Maryland, and recently, PhD in Molecular Ecology from Drexel University. Dr. Smith has also studied Integrated Pest Management in Guatemala with the Peace Corp as well as managed a fruit and vegetable farm for 9 -10 years.

Barbara Smith
Barbara is the Retail Services Supervisor for the Foodland Ontario program. She works with Ontario’s retail groups, farmers’ markets and on-farm market groups to increase market opportunities and prominence of Ontario grown foods. Barbara has been with OMAFRA for over 17 years in various marketing and program roles.

Ted Smith
Ted grew up helping his parents work large market gardens in southern Ontario, and later on Manitoulin Island. After several years and a number of different careers, Ted returned to Manitoulin Island and his love of gardening. His farm, Gypsy Family Farm, is a polycultural blend of plants and animals where organic principles come first. Currently, Ted is serving on the Board of Directors for Farmers’ Markets Ontario®. He also writes a weekly newspaper column where he strongly advocates for family farms and ethical farming practices. Ted is also a MyPick® Verified Local Farmer®.

Charles Stevens
Born in Bowmanville on the family dairy farm, Charles is the last of the Stevens to have farmed this land for over 200 years. While attending the University of Guelph, Charles rented a 40-acre orchard. After graduating in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science degree, Charles purchased an orchard in Newcastle that he has now been farming with his wife and partner Judi for 37 years. Judi is also a graduate of the University of Guelph with a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics. The farm is a state of the art 127 acre orchard planted mainly with Honey Crisp, Ambrosia, and Royal Gala, as well as, 25 acres of Highbush blueberries.

Dr. Laura Strawn
Dr. Strawn is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist of Produce Safety in the Department of Food Science and Technology at Virginia Tech. She holds three degrees in Food Science, as well as minors in Epidemiology and Molecular Microbiology: a PhD from Cornell University, a MS from the University of Florida, and a BS from the University of California, Davis. Her research program focuses on the microbial safety of fresh fruits and vegetables; specifically, the ecology, evolution, and transmission of Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes throughout the produce supply chain. Dr. Strawn is a lead instructor for both the FSMA Produce Safety and Preventive Controls for Human Food Rules associated FDA-recognized curriculums created by the Produce Safety and Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance. Dr. Strawn also serves as leader for the Delmarva Food Safety Task Force “Research” working group. Lastly, Dr. Strawn has received awards from ASM, IAFP and IFT.

Dr. Antonet Svircev
Dr. Svircev is a research scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Vineland, Ontario, specializing in fire blight management and the development of biological control agents for the control of pre- and post-harvest pathogens. Current research on fire blight involves: a Canada wide streptomycin resistance survey in apple and pear orchards, management of young orchards to prevent fire blight infections and the development of a novel biopesticide that uses bacteriophages and a carrier bacteria. Dr. Svircev’s ultimate goal is to keep on advertising (to any one that will listen) and promoting the importance of incorporating biologicals in fire blight control programs.

Dr. Toktam Taghavi
Dr. Taghavi is an Adjunct Faculty and a Research Associate with the Department of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph, Simcoe Research Station. Her research interests include the development of new cultivars of strawberry and hazelnuts for Ontario climate. She is a board member of the Ontario Hazelnut Association and co-leads the research and development working group. She has previous professional experience as an Assistant Professor at the University of Tehran in Iran as well as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the University of Florida. She has experience in transferring research knowledge from the lab to growers, including multiple horticultural crops, fertilizers and crop protection, and post-harvest technologies.

Jim Todd
Jim joined the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), as the transition crop specialist in 2005. He began his career with a BSc from the University of Waterloo, followed by a PhD in plant physiology from the University of Guelph. After graduation, his research focused on plant wax and lipid metabolism and using microarrays to study large scale gene expression in plants. As OMAFRA’s industrial crop specialist, Jim works on identifying crops with potential to serve as agricultural feedstocks for Ontario’s developing bioeconomy.

Joe Tomecek
Joe grew up on his family’s cash crop farm just outside of Chatham, Ontario. He graduated from the University of Guelph in 2006, with a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy. After graduation, he returned to the Chatham area to work with his father, Ed Tomecek, as a crop scout for their independent crop consulting business (specializing primarily in processing tomatoes and sugar beets). In 2008, Joe became a Certified Crop Advisor (CCA), and since then has helped to further expand and diversify the services that Tomecek Agronomy offers to include consulting services on a variety of other crops, soil-sampling, crop planning and data management. Joe has recently received his “4R Nutrient Management Specialist” designation, and prides himself on helping his clients achieve their production goals as an independent agronomist, through an environmentally friendly approach.

Dr. Kevin Usher
Dr. Usher is a phytochemist working on wine grape chemistry with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at the Summerland Research and Development Centre in British Columbia. His research focus is on vineyard management practices and site conditions and how they affect flavor, mouthfeel and aroma in grapes and wine. Dr. Usher has investigated the effects of canopy management, nitrogen application rates and timing, irrigation regimes, terrior and virus infection on the development of aromas and flavours in grapes and wine. Other research includes wine micro-oxygenation with the use of tannin and oak products to advance aging and reduce herbaceous flavour and he has evaluated the sensory impact of leaf petioles in wine. Currently Dr. Usher is investigating leaf removal practices and their impact on fruit development and wine quality.

Ted van der Gulik
Prior to his retirement in 2014, Ted worked for the Ministry of Agriculture for 35 years specializing in irrigation, water management and water resources planning. During his career, Ted built an international reputation for his leading edge work in agricultural water management. This was demonstrated as a recipient of the International Irrigation Association’s 2000 Crawford Reid Memorial Award. Ted was awarded the Premiers Legacy award in 2014 for the many initiatives and models that he spearheaded while with the province. He currently is president of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, a not for profit society established to help implement a Water Sustainability plan for the province.

Laura L. Van Eerd
Laura grew up on a cash crop and finishing hog farm near Ridgetown, Ontario. She earned a triple crown (BSc, MSc and PhD) at the University of Guelph. She is still there but located at Ridgetown Campus as an Associate Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences. With a focus on nitrogen and carbon cycling in agroecosystem soils, her research program has three complementary pillars: 1) the role of cover crops and crop diversity; 2) impacts of management on soil health attributes and its link to primary productivity/resiliency and; 3) methods to optimize nitrogen inputs. Her systems-based approach provides farmers and other decision makers (eg. crop consultants, policy makers) with information to make management choices based not only on crop yield and costs but also on potential environmental impact.

Justine Vanden Heuvel
Justine is an Associate Professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell University. Her research program focuses on how environmental and viticultural factors impact wine style and quality, soil health, vine growth, and fruit composition. Her research has been published in the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture, the Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research, HortScience, and HortTechnology. Justine is active in teaching and mentoring in the undergraduate Viticulture & Enology program at Cornell where she teaches three courses: Wines & Vines, Grapes to Wines, and Wine Culture. She enjoys collaborating with the grape and wine industry in the United States and around the world.

Anne Verhallen
Anne is a Soil Science graduate from the University of Guelph. She has worked for OMAFRA since 1988, starting as a Soil Conservation Advisor working in Essex and Kent. Currently, Anne works in the area of horticultural soil management with projects in a wide variety of soil management areas such as erosion, compaction and water management. Promoting the use of cover crops and supporting better soil health are her passion.

Michele Warmund
Michele has had a diverse career in teaching, research, and extension at the University of Missouri. She has taught ten different courses, including Fruit Production, Grapes and Wines of the World, Applied Horticulture, Arboriculture, etc. In 1993, she assumed Extension responsibilities to fulfill the critical needs of mid-western fruit growers, especially during catastrophic events such as the historic floods of 1993, 1995, and the unprecedented Easter Freeze of 2007, which threatened the viability of the fruit industry. In 2001, Dr. Warmund received the Agricultural Extension Award for Outstanding Statewide Program Leadership at MU. In 2005, Michele began collaborating with the MU Center for Agroforestry where she leads the horticultural research effort on chestnut and black walnut. Her research program has focused on freezing characteristics of floral primordia of fruit crops, chilling models, and floral biology of nut trees. She currently serves as the President of the American Pomological Society.

Sean Westerveld
Sean has served as Ginseng and Herbs Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs since 2008. He received BSc (Agr.), MSc, and PhD degrees in Horticulture from the University of Guelph. Prior to working with OMAFRA, Sean worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the Muck Crops Research Station and as interim leader of the Vegetable and Non-traditional Crops Research Program at the Simcoe Research Station of the University of Guelph. His primary role in OMAFRA is to support the Ontario ginseng, lavender and herb industries through technology transfer and to provide input into provincial and federal policies that may affect the industry. Over the past few years he has been the lead on an initiative to find a solution to ginseng replant disease. Sean is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph.

Peter White
Peter was employed with Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) for 31 years at the Delhi Research Station. During this time, Peter was a Research Technician, Farm Operations Manager and then a Principal Investigator in which he conducted crop tolerance, pesticide efficacy and GLP crop residue trials under the AAFC minor use pesticide program. He has worked on a diverse range of crops including ginseng, tobacco, kenaf, stevia, chicory, amaranth, evening primrose and peanuts to name a few. Peter has also designed and built plot and field-scale equipment used for research trials, including a peanut harvester. Peter is presently working for the Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph at the Simcoe Research Station. His current position is Irrigation Specialist with a focus on subsurface drip irrigation. Peter holds a BSc in Agriculture with a major in crop science (University of Guelph).

Dr. Jim Willwerth
Dr. Willwerth is a Senior Scientist in Viticulture at the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) at Brock University located in St. Catharines, Ontario. His responsibilities are to perform research and outreach services in the field of viticulture with emphasis on grapevine winter hardiness and the priorities of the Canadian grape and wine industry. His expertise includes grapevine physiology and cold hardiness. His research and outreach projects are diverse including: optimizing cold hardiness in V. vinifera, winter protection methods, new bird deterrent strategies, cultivar evaluations, remote sensing and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Thomas Wilson
Thomas is the owner/operator with his wife Nicole Judge of Spirit Tree Estate Cidery in Caledon, Ontario.  A fourth generation farmer, Thomas returned to the family farm after graduating from the University of Windsor with a Bachelor of Arts in 1996. In 2005, Thomas and Nicole purchased a new farm property and in 2009, opened Spirit Tree Estate Cidery. Spirit Tree is an award winning apple farm, cidery/artisan bakery/farm shop/cider mill. To prepare for opening this business, Thomas took cider making courses in Somerset, England and Geneva, New York, USA.  Most recently Spirit Tree has been awarded Best Cider (Apple Lager) OFVC 2015 and Silver, Specialty Cider (Dry Hopped Cider), Canadian Brewing Awards 2015. Thomas is also one of the founding members of Ontario Craft Cider Association, currently holding the position of Chair. He is also a trained chef specializing in artisan bread making and wood fired oven baking.

Rick Wismer
Rick graduated from the University of Guelph with a BSc Agr, majoring in Economics and Business. Upon graduation, he entered the field of public accounting and completed the requirements to qualify as a Chartered Accountant. He owns and operates a mixed farm including vineyards, tender fruit and cash crops and is also a member of the Ontario Institute of Agrologists and Canadian Association of Farm Advisors. He regularly consults in accounting, income tax, operational and succession matters in the agricultural community.

Michelle Wolf
Michelle is a certified coach, speaker, and Director of Training for Farmers' Markets of Nova Scotia. She has worked with over 200 farm owners, managers, and entrepreneurs to help them grow successful markets and businesses. Michelle owned and operated a profitable farm-based business for 20+ years and was an award-winning manager of a mid-size farmers' market. Michelle speaks at direct marketing, farmers' market, organic agriculture and sustainable lifestyle conferences throughout North America, and facilitates the Market Management Certificate program for the British Columbia Association of Farmers' Markets. She is a dynamic, engaging workshop facilitator and a sought-after motivational speaker on business and personal development topics. She holds a Master's Degree from York University and now runs a training consulting company.