Speaker Bios

OFVC 2018 Speakers

Speakers are listed alphabetically by last name. Please note all speakers are subject to change.

Jaye Atlins
Jaye grew up on a family farm in southern Ontario close to where he resides today. He attended Ridgetown College of Agricultural Technology, the University of Western Ontario where he obtained a degree in Economics, and has also attended and completed programs at the Banff School of Management and the University of Missouri. Jaye has held senior positions in a number of companies including National Director of Marketing for Farm Credit Corporation, CEO of the Ontario Wheat Producers Marketing Board, CEO of FS PARTNERS , VP of Government Relations & Strategic Development for the Grain Farmers of Ontario. Jaye currently is the CEO for Agricultural Credit Corporation, the second largest administrator of the Advance Payment Program in Canada. Jaye has held numerous directorships and holds designations as a certified appraiser and the highest designation granted as a professional Agrologist – Distinguished.

Sylvia Augaitis
Sylvia brings a wealth of marketing and communications experience to her role as Executive Director of Marketing of the Wine Marketing Association of Ontario (WMAO).  She earned her marketing credentials working across more than 20 product categories in the consumer packaged goods, retail and not-for-profit sectors.  She and her various teams have been instrumental in contributing to building some iconic Canadian Brands such as Canadian Tire – all in highly charged competitive environments. The establishment of WMAO by the Ontario wine and grape industry is a major step forward in successfully marketing VQA wine to consumers and tourists across the province and internationally.

Alex Barrie
Alex is a Project Engineer in Training at OMAFRA in the Environmental Management Branch where he assists on a number of projects related to soil health, climate change and nutrient management. He grew up on a dairy farm in Bowmanville, Ontario. He received a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Guelph. During university he worked as a co-op student at two Canadian agriculture equipment manufacturers. In addition to working at OMAFRA, he is completing a MASc in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Guelph focusing on vibration control for off-road vehicles.

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 B.Comm from the University of Saskatchewan and a MBA from Cornell and Queen's Universities.

Dr. Janna Beckerman
Janna is a professor and extension plant pathologist specializing in diseases of horticultural crops at Purdue University. She obtained her PhD in plant pathology from Texas A&M University, and her MS and BS in Biology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. In addition to her extension plant pathology programs on landscape plants, greenhouse and nursery management, and fruit diseases, she teaches a graduate level course on "Plant Disease Diagnosis". Dr. Beckerman's primary responsibility at Purdue University is to lead the plant pathology extension education effort in horticultural crops by developing and enhancing a close working relationship between the University, extension educators, and members of the fruit and ornamentals industries. There are two major approaches to managing plant disease in horticultural crops: incorporating disease resistance, when possible, and utilizing fungicides, when necessary. Research in the Beckerman lab focuses on developing environmentally sound disease management strategies that are economically feasible for Indiana growers of specialty crops, from apples to hemp to zinnia. The goal of her extension program is to enable commercial growers to effectively and sustainably manage both chemical (fungicide) and genetic (disease resistance) resources while protecting the environment.

Vaughn Bell
Vaughn is a Senior Scientist working for The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research. Since 2004, his research focus has been on sap-feeding mealybugs in vineyards, with an emphasis on their ecology, biology and ability to transmit (vector) grapevine leafroll virus. By examining the inter-relationship between the vine, virus and vector, his findings have contributed to the development of a practical and financially sustainable virus management approach in New Zealand. Vaughn's doctoral thesis, An integrated strategy for managing Grapevine leafroll-associated virus 3 in red berry cultivars in New Zealand vineyards, included a series of management recommendations that have been communicated to, and widely adopted by, the New Zealand wine sector.

Mary Berg
Mary is a self-taught home cook born in Pickering, Ontario and can pretty much always be found in the kitchen. From an early age, through her undergrad and Master's degree, and throughout the workforce, Mary's love of food never faltered. Always a devoted home baker and cook, Mary auditioned for, competed in, and ultimately won Season 3 of CTV's hit culinary series, Masterchef Canada. After cooking her way through the Masterchef Canada kitchen, Mary's reimagination of culinary classics, while still maintaining the original heart of the dish, became her signature style. One constant in Mary's life is shopping local at Farmers' Markets. Buying local where possible helps build a strong appreciation for the restorative powers of a good, home cooked meal.

Dr. Amy Bowen
Dr. Bowen joined the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in 2009 and was appointed Research Director, Consumer Insights in 2017. 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. A recent examples of her work include how sensory and consumer research informed the release of Vineland's Canadian ShieldTM rose for Canada's 150th birthday. She has a BSc.H from the University of Guelph and a PhD from Brock University and is a certified sommelier through the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers.

Dan Brainard
Dan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Horticulture at Michigan State University. He received his MS from Stanford University in Economics and a PhD from Cornell University in Horticulture with an emphasis on weed ecology and management in vegetable crops. Prior to graduate school he worked on commercial vegetable farms in the Northeast U.S., and served as an agricultural extension educator for the U.S. Peace Corps in Mali, West Africa. His current primary research and extension interests include: 1) development of reduced-tillage cover crop intensive vegetable production systems to help growers improve soils and increase crop resilience to stress; and 2) weed ecology and management in vegetable and field crops.

Ron Brennan
Ron and his wife Stephanie Jaworski own and operate Old 4th Hop Yard, a certified organic hop yard in the historic and picturesque village of Williamstown, Ontario. They began their hops growing journey in 2011, obtained their organic certification in 2013, and have supplied their local brewery with quality hops ever since. Ron was not always a farmer. Prior to the birth of his children, Ron spent a decade as a Senior Quality Assurance Analyst in the software industry and before that, was a Television Broadcaster. Ron is continuously expanding his knowledge in what is still an emerging crop in Ontario, participating regularly in webinars and conferences and visiting other operations. Combining his previous experience with farming, Ron has developed a mobile field logging tool to streamline and facilitate his organic certification.

Tim Brook
Tim is the Water Management Engineering Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. He works with a wide variety of stakeholders including agricultural producers and food processors to improve their operations by providing water management expertise. His project interests include water efficiency, dry soil removal, washwater and wastewater treatment, water quality and drainage. Tim assists producers develop water efficiency strategies and solutions for treating their fruit and vegetable washwater. He was a member of the Holland Marsh Growers Association Water Project and is a co-author of OMAFRA's newly released Publication 854, Vegetable and Fruit Washwater Treatment Manual. Tim holds BA Sc. and MSc degrees in Environmental Engineering from the Universities of Windsor and Guelph respectively. He is a licenced Professional Engineer in the Province of Ontario and State of Michigan.

Mark Brown
Mark is a Registered Professional Forester who graduated in 1986. He has practiced professional forestry in England, Wales, Scotland, New Zealand, British Columbia and now in Ontario. In his capacity as Woodlands Conservation Officer, he currently manages 2500 acres of Carolinian Forests for the County of Middlesex and administers the woodlands conservation by-law. In his spare time with the help of his wife Sara Rowland, they are gradually diversifying their 50 acre farm operations through the establishment of nut tree orchards in Elgin County. For the last 12 months, Mark have served on the Ontario Hazelnut Association Board.

Dr. Gerald Brust
Gerald's IPM Vegetable Program utilizes integrated pest management (IPM) tactics in all of its vegetable production programs. The IPM programs he develops use comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. IPM takes advantage of all appropriate pest management options including, but not limited to, the judicious use of pesticides. In contrast, organic food production applies many of the same concepts in IPM but limits the use of pesticides to those that are produced from natural sources, as opposed to synthetic chemicals. IPM, through its multi-tactic approach will: lessen the potential for pesticide resistance, reduce chemical costs, limit human exposure to pesticides and lower the environmental impact of pest management. His current work examines how best to use biostimulants in vegetable systems. He has found that combinations of biostimulants are necessary to consistently increase yield and quality of produce.

Dr. Rose Buitenhuis
Dr. Buitenhuis is Research Scientist Biological Control at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre since 2010. She is responsible for the development and implementation of biological control technologies for management of arthropod pests, supporting sustainable crop management practices for ornamental and production horticulture. Rose received her MSc in Biology at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands in 1997, and her PhD in Entomology at Laval University, Québec in 2003. She worked as a post-doctoral fellow at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Harrow (2004-2007) and at the University of Guelph (2007-2009) on biological and cultural control of western flower thrips in greenhouse flower crops. Current projects in greenhouse ornamentals and vegetables address the whole spectrum of IPM – from plant resistance, environmental factors and biological control strategies – and how to integrate pest management strategies in the production system.

Joris Cambie
Joris was born in 1965 and grew up on a hop farm in Poperinge/Belgium. In 1993, he took over the farm from his father. His family have been growing hops for many generations including all his uncles. His town is the centre of hop growing in Belgium. Today, of the 18 hop growers left, Joris is the only organic hop grower, growing 12.5 ha of organic hops and a few other crops. Since the nineties, he had the idea to start a brewery on the farm and brew beer with his own hops. After many years as a home brewer and with the help of a friend, they started brewing "Brouwerij De Plukker" in 2011.

Andrew Campbell
Andrew is a farmer, with a passion for agriculture advocacy, social media and new technology. With the farm, known as Bellson Farms, he and his family milk Holsteins and grow corn, soybeans, wheat and hay in southern Ontario's Middlesex County. With all kinds of information available about modern farms, and not all of it being true, Andrew is keen to make sure people get the full story on what farmers do on a daily basis, why they do it and what they care about. He's been featured on CBC, CTV, and other media outlets across Canada for his work in opening up his farm with pictures on social media as the FreshAirFarmer. When he isn't farming or travelling, you'll likely find him spending time at home with his young family, curling at the local club or just enjoying the view from his front porch.

Dr. Denis Cauvier
Dr. Cauvier a recognized global Talent Management expert with over 30 years of experience from the field researching and implementing the best business ideas and practices from around the world. Denis provides proven low cost/high impact methods to decrease costly employee turnover, increase levels of productivity, enhance performance, increase sales and customer satisfaction, increase market share, and boost profits. His strategies have added over $300 million in new value/revenue, and have boosted his client's profits by tens of millions of dollars. As a professional speaker/ consultant, Dr. Cauvier has spoken to over one million people across Canada, America, and 50 other countries. He is a frequent expert in the media and is the best-selling author of 13 books.

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 obtained 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, 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.

Wayne Chambers
Wayne and his family have been market gardeners in northern Ontario for the last ten years. They are very active in the local food movement and local farmers markets. Wayne has been a MyPick member since 2010 and is also a member of the only all MyPick market in northern Ontario.

Susan Chan
Susan has an academic background in agriculture, education, and pollination biology and is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Guelph studying the effects of common agricultural practices on the health of native squash bee populations on Ontario farms. Besides her studies, Susan works on a variety of projects to make conservation of native pollinators more understandable and applicable to Ontario's farmers. She is the author of The Landowner's Guide to Conserving Native Pollinators on Farms, a Technical Guide for Preserving and Creating Habitat for Pollinators on Ontario's Farms, and many short factsheets on the topic of crop pollination and pollinators. With funding from GLASI, she has recently created an online tool for designing pollinator habitat on farms. Susan lectures at Trent University's Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Program.

Dr. Matthew Clark
Matthew Clark earned a PhD in Plant Breeding and Genetics from the University of Minnesota, where he is now an assistant professor of Grape Breeding and Enology, and Extension Specialist. His research focuses on using both traditional and molecular plant breeding approaches to develop improved grape cultivars for cold climate wine production. One key area of research is studying the genetics behind the unique resistances to common grapevine pests such as powdery mildew, phylloxera, downy mildew, and black rot in the hybrid germplasm. The goal is to develop new cold-hardy grape varieties with multiple resistances so that growers can reduce the amounts of pesticides applied in a season.

Luca Corelli-Grappadelli
Luca is a Professor of Tree Physiology, in the department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, at Bologna University since 2001. He is the co-founder of Horticultural Knowledge Ltd., providing fruit size forecasting for apple, pear, kiwifruit, and mandarins worldwide. His biography includes:
• Awards: Fulbright Scholar, 1984; CNR-NATO Fellow, 1987, 1992; Veski Sustainable Agricultural Fellow, 2016
• Teaching: Extensive at under- and -graduate level (Advisor of over 30 PhD and MSci students); Tree physiology; Arboriculture; Fruit Growing, Viticulture; Precision Fruit Growing.
• Member of: ISHS; ASHS; SOI; Am. Pom. Soc.

Geoff Coulson
Geoff has been a meteorologist with Environment Canada for over 34 years. During his career, he has been involved in weather forecasting, training, software development and outreach activities. For the last 13 years, Geoff has been a Warning Preparedness Meteorologist providing weather information and support to all levels of government, the media and the private sector. He also sits on the Provincial Flood Forecasting and Warning Committee and manages the CANWARN volunteer storm spotter program in Ontario.

Dr. Kerik Cox
Dr. Cox manages a program of tree fruit and berry research and extension at Cornell University's New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. Principal research efforts include antimicrobial resistance (fungicides and antibiotics), and applied disease management with a focus on apple, stone fruit, and strawberries. Extension efforts focus on pesticide education, disease forecasting, and applied disease management with emphasis on covered production in small fruit. Since the establishment of his program, Dr. Cox has been conducting antimicrobial resistance and invasive pathogen surveys in New York and the Northeastern United States.

Sheri Crabtree
Sheri is a horticulture research and extension associate at Kentucky State University in Frankfort, KY. Ms. Crabtree received a BS and MS in Horticulture and Plant and Soil Science from the University of Kentucky in 2000 and 2004, respectively. She specializes in fruit and nut crops, particularly pawpaw, and also blackberry, hazelnut, and persimmon. Her research and extension activities include pawpaw breeding, variety trials, propagation, orchard management, harvest and post-harvest handling, value added product development, conducting farm visits, tours, and workshops, and assisting pawpaw growers ranging from commercial orchards and nurseries to homeowners and hobbyists.

Geoff Crane
Geoff is a Canadian public speaker and researcher who has written numerous articles on the importance of emotional and social skills in the workforce and is a pioneer in the field of motivational intelligence. A former senior portfolio manager, Geoff has ties to some of the world's largest banks and professional services firms. Well-versed in the changing demands of today's project-based work environments, Geoff spends his days helping leaders everywhere design and build a litany of soft skills that will help them achieve what matters most. His company, Adaptimist Insights, is a training and development firm that offers evidence-based programming to help clients achieve their personal and professional goals. Specifically, the organization studies and develops curriculum to enhance the vast array of human emotional and social competencies. Its mission is to become a world-class training company committed to developing and empowering leaders from all walks of life, giving them the skills they need to succeed in the pursuit of their goals.

Kyle Craven
Kyle graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture in 2013 and obtained CCA-ON designation in 2015. For the past three years, Kyle has provided field management services to a vegetable farm specializing in handpicked cucumbers and sweet banana peppers near Chatham, Ontario. This past season, the farm drip irrigated 140 acres of sweet banana peppers and implemented an intensive small batch, zone specific fertigation program. Kyle will talk to his experiences with fertigation this past season and the challenges and rewards it brought.

Christopher Cutler
Chris holds degrees from Memorial University, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Guelph. He has been at the Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture since 2007, where he is a Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies. Dr. Cutler conducts research mainly in the areas of insect pest management and insect ecotoxicology, and has received national awards from the Entomological Society of Canada and the Agricultural Institute of Canada for his work. He is well known for his research and perspectives on insecticide-induced hormesis, a phenomenon where small amounts of insecticide stimulate growth, reproduction, or behavior of insects. Chris has published extensively on insecticide-induced hormesis and has delivered many invited talks on this topic in Canada, the United States, Brazil, China, and Europe.

Dr. Adam Dale
Adam is a College emeritus professor at the University of Guelph. With over 40 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, he 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, DEKALB Canada and Farmers' Markets Ontario. 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, the Ontario 4-H Foundation and Nuffield Canada.

Dr. Jennifer DeEll
Dr. DeEll is the Fresh Market Quality Program Lead with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), located in Simcoe. She is currently studying the use of anti-ethylene technologies to retard fruit ripening and control physiological disorders during storage, investigating methods to improve handling and storage of fresh fruits and vegetables, and developing optimum postharvest practices for peaches as well as new apple and pear cultivars. 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 85 scientific papers, as well as review articles, book chapters, and books, on subjects pertaining to postharvest physiology and the quality of fresh fruits and vegetables. She is on the editorial board for the international scientific journal Postharvest Biology and Technology.

Matthew Deir
Matthew is founder and CTO of Croptracker, the popular crop and farm management software system. Croptracker is a cloud-based farm record keeping app that combines data from weather stations, soil sensors, RFID systems, and information recorded by users to help growers, co-ops, and associations make better decisions, and be more profitable. Starting in 2006 with a small group of Apple growers in eastern Ontario, Matthew and his team began building Croptracker into the powerful farm manager software used today by more than 2,000 growers from 40 countries.

Dr. Jason Deveau
Jason is the Application Technology Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. He holds an Honours BSc in Biology & Psychology from Mount Allison University, a MSc in plant cell physiology from York University and a PhD in plant cell electrophysiology from the University of Guelph. Working out of the Simcoe Resource Centre in Ontario, his current focus is to explore methods to reduce pesticide wastage and off-target contamination, to develop methods to spray crops more consistently and to create educational materials for sprayer operators.

Hayden Dooney
Born and raised in Hawkes Bay on New Zealand's eastern coast, Hayden grew up on a family-owned and operated orchard growing primarily apples. After studying and working in the Hawkes Bay grape industry for a short period, Hayden ventured overseas and now resides on the north shore of Lake Erie in Norfolk County where he works for The Norfolk Fruit Growers' Association. Over the past several years, Hayden has worked closely with new technologies that have been adopted at the Associations packing facilities that aid in improving the competitiveness of supplying fresh quality apples into the market.

Todd Einhorn
Todd is Associate Professor and Tree Fruits Specialist with Michigan State University. He directs a pragmatic research and outreach program focused on production efficiency of tree fruit orchards with emphases on regulation of plant growth and development, flowering and fruit set biology, rootstock/scion interactions, cold hardiness and modification of canopy architecture. Prior to joining the faculty at MSU, Todd led a pear and sweet cherry research program at the Hood River Experiment Center for Oregon State University. He serves on the USDA multistate NC-140 project as chair of the pear sub-committee. He was the recent recipient of the Washington State Horticulture Association's 2016 Silver Pear Award and the Oregon, Columbia Gorge Fruit Growers 2017 Dr. Tim Facteau Award for his contributions to the Pacific Northwest tree fruit industries. When not immersed in tree fruit, he enjoys playing hockey and spending time with his wife, four boys and their lab.

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.

Hollis English
Hollis operates Murphy's Farm Market and Bakery in Alliston, ON alongside her brother Calder Murphy. After graduating from the University of Guelph in 2008 with a degree in Landscape Architecture, she decided to renovate and revive the family's farm market. Together with her siblings, they have expanded the business to include a scratch bakery, pick-your-own and agritourism. Hollis is also a mother to 3 little girls under the age of 3 and loves to frequent antique shops when time allows.

Dr. Philip Fanning
Dr. Fanning has 9 years of experience working with control of insects pests in agricultural, forestry and cut-foliage production between Ireland and the United States. Since joining Michigan State University in early 2016, he has worked extensively with Michigan Blueberry growers to help them optimize their IPM programs to mitigate losses from insect pests. He is currently working on two projects funded by USDA NIFA, the first funded under the Speciality Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) program and the second by the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) program. Both are nationally coordinated projects involving collaborators across the United States. These projects focus on research to develop practical tools for growers to control the invasive fruit fly Spotted Winged Drosophila.

Richard Feenstra
Richard graduated from Ridgetown College in 2000 with a diploma in Horticulture. At the age of 23, he purchased a 23-acre fruit farm and was married in 2003. A father of 4, he is currently a second-generation farmer in partnership with his wife and parents, looking to include a brother, in taking over the parent's farm. He has focused on growing apples as a primary crop on the Beamsville area. Over the last 15 years, Rich has adopted global growing techniques and has made many changes to how he grows and the tools he uses. He hopes to finish replanting both farms over the next 5 years, investing in the right varieties and ensuring high efficiency. Rich's primary focus is on growing and marketing a premium product. Always looking to learn, he continues to network with the Ontario Young Apple Growers and other industry interests.

Dr. Melanie Filotas
Melanie is 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.

John Finlay
John has been involved with the Farmers' Markets Ontario program, MyPick since 2009. The program attempts to put credibility and transparency from producer to consumer for those who are active farmers and market their products at farmers' markets. It can be a significant tool in a grower's marketing plan promoting verified products grown on their farm that supports the sales and trust that customers have in their business. Visiting farms, farmers' markets and answering questions is part of the Verifier role. In his spare time, John operates a small farm that includes cash crops and Jersey heifers near Campbellford, ON. In a previous life, John had a 34 year career with OMAFRA, including several years in Horticulture technology transfer.

Leslie Forsythe
Leslie and Jim Forsythe are first generation farmers growing and direct marketing fruits and vegetables in Markham for over 42 years and are now based in the Uxbridge area. It is important for everyone to stay connected to farms, knowing and caring about where their food comes from. The school tours and field trips were developed with this mission in mind. We've been hosting preschool and primary school groups from York, Durham and Toronto regions for over 25 years and continue to do so here in Greenbank. Many of the activities for the public provide opportunities to reconnect to agriculture and nature through our pick-your-own crops, a fun farmyard, forest trail and our on-farm market with produce fresh from our fields.

Hannah Fraser
Hannah, a graduate of the University of Guelph (BSc – Environmental Biology; MSc - Entomology), has been the provincial entomologist for horticulture with OMAFRA since 2000. She works with teams of crop specialists, researchers, and growers to optimize pest management solutions for sustainable crop production, and to transfer new information and technology to the Ontario agricultural industry. Hannah is responsible for monitoring provincial insect pest issues, including threats to production posed by invasive alien species. She loves to encourage others to take a broader view of insects, beyond seeing them simply as pests, and enjoys mentoring future generations of entomologists.

Andre Gagne
Andre has been a part the grocery industry for his entire working life. He started as a Produce Clerk in Ottawa and currently holds the position of Vice President Conventional Fresh Merchandising at Metro Ontario Inc. in Toronto. He has held senior positions at multiple retailers and has worked in both the Ontario and Quebec markets. He also participated as a Board Member of The Grocery Foundation from 2008 to 2017. Andre earned an MBA from the York University Schulich School of Business in 1990. He is passionate about the produce industry and is a registered Grape Grower of Ontario member. He and his wife operate a small grape farm in Prince Edward County called Last House Vineyard.

Dr. Tara Gariepy
Dr. Gariepy is a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, London Research and Development Centre. Her research focuses on invasive insect pests that threaten agricultural productivity. In particular, she develops molecular diagnostic tools for accurate identification, and traces pathways of entry, movement and dispersal of invasive species. Dr. Gariepy's research also involves the development of classical biological control programs for insect pests of agricultural concern, including foreign exploration, assessment of target and non-target effects, and post-release evaluation of establishment and efficacy. Dr. Gariepy currently works on a number of invasive insect pests, including the Brown Marmorated Stinkbug (BMSB). Dr. Gariepy has evaluated the origin, movement and spread of BMSB in Canada and in Europe, and is involved in the development of biological control solutions for this pest in Canada.

Katie Gibb
Water and energy conservation and quality on farms and food processing operations have been the focus of Katie's career. The past 4 years have found her under fruit and vegetable washers, out in orchards, fruit and vegetable fields with irrigation systems measuring water use and looking for ways to optimize that use through reduction, reuse and recycling opportunities. Katie is a project manager with Enviro-Stewards, Inc., an environmental engineering consulting company in Elmira ON, whose mandate is to help clients conserve resources and effectively address potential environmental liability.

Linda Grimo
Linda was born and raised in the Niagara region. She went to Graceland University, in southern 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.

Briana Hagen
Briana is currently pursuing a PhD in the department of Population Medicine at the University of Guelph, under the supervision of Dr. Andria Jones-Bitton. Her current research program involves using both quantitative and qualitative research methods to understand mental health and wellness among agricultural producers in Ontario, including stress, anxiety, depression, resilience, and help-seeking. Before coming to the University of Guelph, Briana completed an honours bachelor's degree in Psychology at the University of Winnipeg (2009), with a mixed methods thesis focusing on help-seeking behaviours for mental health issues among Indigenous peoples in northern Manitoba. Subsequently, she completed a Master's of Science in Community Health and Epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan (2011), continuing to work in mental health research, focusing on risk factors for suicide within Indigenous populations across Canada.

Sheldon Hann
Sheldon is a biologist with AAFC at the Fredericton Research and Development Centre in Fredericton, New Brunswick. He completed his university education at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton with specialization in Forestry and Geographic Information Systems. In 2005, Sheldon began working at the Fredericton Research and Development Centre under environmental health in aspects of soil and water conservation specifically soil classification, interpretation, crop suitability and surface and groundwater quality. His current research activities are focused on the evaluation and development of integrated cropping systems with emphasis on nutrient use efficiency and enhancing productivity, sustainability and soil health. Sheldon has collaborated with colleagues on various publications and presentations from the development of crop suitability maps for the Atlantic Provinces to the evaluation of cropping systems in potato production.

Dr. Ines Hanrahan
Dr. Hanrahan is currently a Project Manager with the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission. She has earned a Diploma in Agricultural Engineering from Humboldt University Berlin, Germany in 1999 and a PhD in Horticulture from Washington State University, USA in 2005. Her professional background in practical and academic horticulture encompasses research, teaching, and consulting for the past 23 years. Dr. Hanrahan's expertise includes the management of scientific projects such as: apple postharvest physiological disorder prevention, optimization of cropping and storage systems for pome fruit, management of plant material evaluation from breeding programs for commercial suitability, and applied food safety research. Her primary focus is on expediting transfer of research results to implementation, to provide an ongoing link between scientists and the industry and to train the next generation of industry professionals.

Christy Hiemstra
Christy owns the Clovermead Adventure Farm in Aylmer, Ontario along with her husband Chris. They purchased the family honey bee business in 2000, and grew the farm into an education and agri-entertainment business with the help of their 3 children. On Sept. 23rd, 2016, tragedy came to the Hiemstra family household when their youngest son, Jordan, died by suicide at the age of 17. This unexpected loss instantly opened the world of mental illness to Chris and Christy. These days Christy regularly shares her story and insights with students in Ontario.

Richard Hoff
Richard is a native of Wisconsin and U.S. Navy veteran. He received his bachelor's degree in horticulture from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls and his master's degree in horticulture from Washington State University. Since then, he has worked as a viticulturist for Ste Michelle Wine Estates and is currently the director of viticulture for Mercer Ranch and Mercer Wine Estates.

Friedhelm Hoffmann
Friedhelm grew up in Germany and graduated from the Farmer's Trade Program and the University for Agronomy. He has worked on a dairy farm, pig farm, horse farm and vegetable farm and a fresh market vegetable farm before coming to Canada in 1998. He is a greenhouse grower and manager for tomatoes and peppers for 7 years and for the last 12 years, was General Operating Manager for a 3,000 acre vegetable fresh market and cash crop operation. During this time, he worked closely with field and vegetable crop fertigation and all aspects of a high quality complex vegetable production implementing precision orientated agriculture. Since 2017, Friedhelm works for Lakeside Grain & Feed, in Forest, Ontario building a new service section, Precision Agriculture Compliance Excellence.

Hank Hunse
Hank took over the family business, Stonechurch, 10 years ago and began rebranding it as Small Talk Vineyards. His father, Lambert, purchased the property when he came to Canada from the Netherlands in 1954. It was originally a fruit and poultry farm that the family replanted as vineyards in 1985 (the Chardonnay patch has vines that are now 30 years old). The then over 200 acre vineyard released its first vintage under Stonechurch in 1990. In June 2014, Shiny Apple Cider was launched and in March 2017, the reserve label, Big Ideas was released. The property is now 78 acres and has 11 grape varieties under vine.

Dr. Sarah Jandricic
Dr. Jandricic has been the Greenhouse Floriculture Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Specialist for OMAFRA since 2015. She is responsible for IPM of both insect pests and plant diseases. A native of the Golden Horseshoe, Sarah gained her MSc from the University of Guelph, studying non-target effects of pesticides on beneficials, and her PhD from Cornell University in 2013, focusing on biological control of difficult- to-manage pest species. Sarah runs the ONFloriculture blog, and aids greenhouse growers in conducting on-farm trials to help solve critical issues in their operations.

Ellen Jennen
Ellen is the Owner/operator of Jennen Farm Market in Thamesville Ontario. She farms 12 acres of high tunnel strawberries with her husband Peter. Ellen also farms over 700 acres including processing tomatoes, grain corn, soybeans for over 25 years. They recently utilized the Croptracker system in the 2017 season to track their strawberry crop, giving them better records, and better product traceability along with better records for Canada Gap certification.

David Jones
After growing up around apple orchards as a kid, David got his official start in tree fruit/vine production and research as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He earned my BS in Horticulture, working in applied tree fruit and grape research at two different UW-Madison agricultural research stations during his time as a student, dealing with apples, sweet cherries, tart cherries, and wine grapes. He then earned his Masters in Plant Pathology from the UW-Madison, working to determine the susceptibility of newer cold-climate hybrids to prominent temperate climate diseases. David started his position with Michigan State University in February of 2017. His current research focuses on horticulture, entomology, and plant pathology issues pertaining to apples, tart cherries, sweet cherries, processing peaches, and plums. He has Extension duties relating to all of the aforementioned crops, and also assists in Extension/outreach to the small wine-grape industry in his region.

Sarah Judd
Sarah farms with her husband, Thomas, and in-laws, at Meadow Lynn Farms in Simcoe, Ontario. They have 50 milking pure-bred Jersey cows and 9 acres of pick-your-own strawberries. After working off-farm for 5 years, Sarah decided to come home and work on the farm full-time where she started the newest venture of the farming operation know as Meadow Lynn Market Garden. Sarah rapped up her third year of the 20-week vegetable CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) this past October. She has grown from a 20-member CSA to over 75 members in only 3 years, with 3/4 acres of vegetables in production in a high -rotation system. Sarah is a University of Guelph graduate, an appointed member on the OMAFRA Appeals Tribunal, and a certified nutrient management planner and NASM planner. Sarah was also Norfolk Youth Entrepreneur of the year in 2017.

Dr. Lee Kalcsits
Dr. Kalcsits is an assistant professor of tree fruit physiology in the Department of Horticulture at the Washington State University Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center in Wenatchee, Washington, USA. He completed a BSA in Horticulture and a MS in tree physiology at the University of Saskatchewan and a PhD in Forestry and Tree Physiology at the University of British Columbia. After a short postdoctoral stint at the University of Victoria, he accepted a position in 2014 with WSU. His research program works towards understanding the interactions between environment, horticultural management and genetics of tree fruit. Currently his work is focused understanding the mechanisms contributing to calcium-related disorders and symptoms of abiotic stress in apple and developing strategies to mitigate those problems.

Jessica Kelly
Jessica is the Direct Farm Marketing Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). She provides business-related support to people selling agri-food products through all kinds of direct-to-consumer marketing channels, including farmers' markets, on-farm markets, CSAs, and agri-tourism. Prior to joining the Ministry, Jessica taught a course in accounting and business at Western University. She studied business administration at the Richard Ivey School of Business and agricultural economics at the University of Guelph, where her thesis focused on the farmers' share of the food dollar in Canada. Jessica and her family have a hog farm in Perth County.

Matthew D. Kleinhenz
Dr. Kleinhenz is a Professor and Extension Vegetable Specialist in the Dept. of Horticulture and Crop Science at The Ohio State University. He is based at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster, OH. Vegetable production involves many tools and methods and a wide set of knowledge and skill, partly because production challenges are complex and require multiple partial solutions (ie. a holistic approach). Matt uses his training as a horticulturalist and crop physiologist, knowledge, and role as an investigator and teacher in helping to create and growers to use improved tools and methods. These tools and methods usually involve establishing and maintaining productive combinations of crop, crop variety, and growing environment.

Richard J. Kuntz
A 30 year employee of Farm Credit Canada, Richard has held several positions in both Field Operations and the Alliances Divisions of FCC and currently works within the Marketing Division at FCC's Corporate office in Regina as a Product Specialist for FCC Management Software. Richard travels coast to coast to Canada 's major farm shows providing management solutions demonstrations on products like AgExpert Analyst, AgExpert Field and Field Manager Pro.

Maggie Kurtz
Maggie is not your average bookkeeper. When she's not out cruising around Wellington County on her Victory Motorcycle, she's helping businesses thrive by looking after their bookkeeping needs. Maggie loves to make a strong impact in people's lives, whether it be through her bookkeeping work or through the long-lasting relationships she has built in her community. Maggie and her team provide businesses with accurate and professional bookkeeping services tailored to their needs. She'll help get your business where you want it to go. She is passionate about building a strong and tight-knit community for children to grow up in.

Martin Laforest
After earning his PhD in molecular biology at Laval University in 1999, Martin worked for 15 years at DNA LandMarks, a BASF Plant Science subsidiary before joining Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in the spring of 2015. Since then, he's been characterizing herbicide resistant weeds with the aim of elucidating mechanisms allowing weeds to survive herbicide application. This information is used to develop quick diagnostic genetic tests. Growers receive their resistance testing results within a week and can apply mitigation strategies in season.

Charlie Lalonde
Charles is the principal of CJ Agren Consulting providing project management and professional services in agriculture. A major focus is in projects relating to reducing the loss of phosphorus from agricultural lands through drainage and application of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship program. In late 2014, Charles became the Project Manager for the Holland Marsh Growers Association Water Project where he has worked with growers, washing facilities to assess waste water technologies. Over 14 technologies were evaluated at various washing facilities. Charles is also managing the Soil De-dirting project as a complimentary project to the Water Project to address reduction of soil load at washing facilities. He currently manages a Sustainable Farming Project for the HMGA, funded through OMAFRA where nutrient stewardship and use of cover crops are the major areas of focus.

Tracy Lamb
Tracy 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.

Liette Lambert
Liette is an agrologist since 1985, and holds a degree from Laval University in Plant Sciences. Since 1990, she has been working as a provincial greenhouse and berry crop specialist at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, located in the Montreal area. Her expertise is mainly focused on IPM, biopesticides and biological control, having investing herself in the sector since 1992. She has been responsible for the provincial plant pest warning network in greenhouse crops for over 15 years. She is also the author of two posters on Biological Control in Greenhouse crops and two pocket guides on pests, diseases, beneficials, disorders, deficiencies and phytotoxicities in strawberry, raspberry and highbush blueberry. During her career, she has published over than 1000 articles and talks. She has been organizing the annual Berry Conference in the province of Quebec for the past 22 years. Ms. Lambert wishes to share her expertise developed in the biocontrol of greenhouse vegetables for use in berry crops.

Daniel Lenko
Daniel Lenko Estate Winery was founded in 1999 by Daniel Lenko. Daniel is a 3rd generation grape grower and viticulturalist - winemaker. In 1959, Daniel's grandfather John and father William planted some of the first Chardonnay vines in Canada, the vineyard thrived in this unique microclimate and at 53 years of age is the oldest Chardonnay planting in Canada. William was a pioneer in the Ontario vinifera wine movement also planting Merlot in 1974 and Viognier in 1990. Daniel leads by example and works daily with staff in all areas of the winery and farm business. By working together with employees, living onsite, and with the winery being his only occupation, Daniel creates a unique workplace culture. Daniels motto is "Enthusiasm and curiosity go hand in hand, not only are we excited with the wines we produce, we are always reviewing and improving our approach to create wines which exceed our customers' expectations".

Dr. Tracy Leskey
Tracy holds a PhD degree in Entomology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, MA. She has been employed by the USDA-ARS, AFRS in Kearneysville, WV, USA, as a Research Entomologist since September 2000 and recently became Director of the Laboratory. Her research has focused on development of behaviorally-based management tools for invasive and native pests of fruit crops. She has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, two patents and over 40 other publications including book chapters and proceeding articles. She served as a liaison to the US House Agricultural Appropriations Committee, providing numerous updates on the pest status of and research progress on the invasive brown marmorated stink bug. She has served as a co-advisor or committee member for over 15 graduate students and post-docs. Dr. Leskey has been interviewed by the New York Times, Washington Post and NPR on and appeared live on Fox News and C-SPAN and has done several stories with National Geographic. 

Kevin Lewis
Kevin grew vegetables and cash crops for the past 30 years for a large fresh market operation specializing in all aspects of fertilizer and irrigation. Through field research and development, he created a field program that increased yield and quality steady. Kevin created and built equipment that made the injection of fertilizer into irrigation systems precise. Since 2017, Kevin works with Lakeside Grain & Feed to bring his experience and knowledge to other growers.

Mark Longstroth
Mark is a Small Fruit Extension Educator for Michigan State University Extension. He has worked in the fruit industry since 1978. He has 24 years' of Extension experience working in the Michigan fruit industry. Prior to 2010, he covered all tree fruit, grape and berry crops in southwest Michigan. Mark now focuses on blueberries and other berry crops. His main education efforts are in crop production, pest management and farm financial management. He has developed cost of production budgets for blueberries and other fruit crops. Mark is especially interested in the impacts of weather and climate on fruit production. Mark's wants to help growers remain profitable and adapt to changes in agriculture.

Frank Louws
Dr. Louws has been associated with vegetable and fruit production agriculture since his youth. He studied at the University of Guelph and Michigan State University and then moved to North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC, to become a Professor of Plant Pathology. Currently he manages a 25% extension/25% research appointment with a 50% commitment as Director of the Center for Integrated Pest Management. His research and extension program seeks to develop disease management strategies in strawberry and tomato production systems. Recent work has included fruit rot pathogens of strawberry, bacterial diseases of tomato, and soilborne diseases of both crops, among other problems. He also leads a USA-wide project to determine the role of vegetable grafting in open field systems to manage diseases and increase crop yield and fruit quality.

Jeremy Lowe
Jeremy is a horticulture research associate at Kentucky State University in Frankfort, KY. Mr. Lowe received a BS in Biology from University of Southern Indiana in 1999, and a MS in Aquatic Sciences from Kentucky State University in 2005. He specializes in fruit and nut crops, with a focus on pawpaw and blackberry, but also hazelnut, and persimmon. His research activities include pawpaw breeding, variety and advanced selection trials, propagation, orchard management, harvest and postharvest handling, fruit processing, value added product development, conducting farm visits, tours, and workshops, and assisting pawpaw and blackberry growers ranging from commercial orchards and nurseries to homeowners and hobbyists.

Bill MacDonald
Bill is a graduate of the University of Guelph specializing in Soil Science/Plant Nutrition and is presently a full time professor in the School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies at Niagara College. Over the past 30 years, he has gained extensive experience in the greenhouse industry, while being production manager of a large floriculture operation in Nova Scotia to owning a family run greenhouse to now teaching and conducting applied research at Niagara College.

Jennifer Manary
Jennifer is 22 years old and currently working for Shore Fresh Packers Ltd., as the Food Safety representative in Port Burwell. She heads up the food safety program for both Shore Fresh Packers which operates under SQF, and Sandy Shore Farms which operates under Canada GAP. Jennifer went to the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus for Agriculture and graduated with a diploma. Before working at Shore Fresh Packers, she worked on her family's farm, maintaining the Canada GAP for their asparagus.

Sarah Martz
Sarah is the Risk Identification and Management Coordinator in the Food Inspection Branch at OMAFRA. Sarah holds an honours bachelor of science in biology and pharmacology from McMaster University, and a master's of science in biomedical and molecular science from Queen's University. Her main role is to lead the development and implementation of food safety risk management programs for foods of plant origin. Prior to joining OMAFRA, she worked at the Public Health Agency of Canada and primarily focused on epidemiological, surveillance and prevalence projects from human, animal and food origin across Canada.

Annet Maurer
Annet is the Market Manager of the Thunder Bay Country Market, one of Ontario's largest year-round Markets. She has been in the role since November 2016, having come to the market from her integral role in setting up Ontario's newest law school at Lakehead University for the previous 4 years. Annet is married to Kirk, an Australian (and now newly Canadian!) who has not fully embraced winters and they have a 9 year old son.

Margaret May
Margaret has a long history of program delivery with OSCIA. She loves to interact with primary producers to find programs and projects that fit their needs to make changes to their businesses. She facilitates Growing Your Farm Profits workshops, Environmental Farm Plan workshops and Biosecurity workshops for all commodities. Her family farms near Glencoe, Ontario with beef cows, sheep and field crops.

Ian McDonald
Ian has been the Applied Research Coordinator for the Field Crops Unit of OMAFRA since 2000 and Crops Innovations Specialist since July 2016, before which he spent 15 years in the agriculture industry as a researcher on new pesticides with Hoechst and Dupont. Ian holds a Bsc (Agr.) in Crop Science, an Msc in Weed Science and a PhD in Environmental Science from the University of Guelph. He is involved in the coordination of research and demonstration activities within the OMAFRA Agriculture Development Branch (ADB) Field Crops unit and is involved in scientific review, protocol and project development, data analysis, and reporting among other functions within ADB. He works with colleagues and partner organizations to find technology tools to enhance producer and advisor knowledge and access to information through research projects, collaborations with academic and farmer partners, online resources and other outreach opportunities. He is co-chair of the FarmSmart franchise of events. He has a special interest in sustainable agriculture production systems and having the farm sector meet more of societies needs and expectations.

Erin McLean
Erin grew up on her family's farm in Buckhorn, Ontario. After leaving the farm for school, work and travel, she came to realize how much she loved and missed the farm and farming. In 2009, she returned to work on the farm full time with her family where they expanded to farm a second nearby farm. They grow a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that they sell directly from the farm, wholesale, at farmers' markets and also host two on-farm festivals. 

Bill Medel
Bill is a second generation fruit grower from Ruthven, Ontario. He and his family operate E & B Medel Orchards Ltd., a 180-acre farm where they grow apples, peaches, pears and plums. They have C.A. storages, as well as a packing line that allows them to market their own fruit. Recently, they have started a tree fruit nursery, Plantigro Ltd., which supplies the need for trees on their farm, as well as other fruit growers.

Carol Miles
Carol is a Professor in the Department of Horticulture at Washington State University, and is the Horticulture Specialist located at the Washington State University, Mount Vernon Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center. She specializes in vegetable crop production as well as cider apple production, and has a strong interest in alternative crops and organic production. Carol has her PhD in vegetable crops from Cornell University.

John Molenhuis
John has been the Business Analysis and Cost of Production Specialist with OMAFRA for the past 17 years. He has been involved with several cost of production studies for grapes, tender fruit and apples and the platform labour savings study with the Ontario Apple Growers. John has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Business from the University of Guelph.

Gurvinder Mundi
Gurvinder is finishing up his PhD in Environmental Engineering at the School of Engineering at University of Guelph. His graduate work entails fruit and vegetable wastewater characterization, treatment and reuse assessment, with a goal of identifying effective technologies for wash-water treatment and to develop mathematical models, such as regression and neural networks for predicting treatment efficiency. His continuous involvement in technical conferences, workshops, research, networking and volunteering keeps him active in the field. He is highly motivated to learn about policy and matters in water conservation relating to Ontario's agriculture and Agri-Food Industries.

Robert Nurse
Robert is a Research Scientist in Weed Management at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Harrow Research and Development Centre. His current work focuses on the study of herbicide resistant weeds. His research aims at providing a better understanding of their mechanisms of resistance, and overall reproductive fitness. It is hoped that this research will lead to more efficient ways to identify herbicide resistance in the field and will improve management methods. Another area of research that he is actively involved in is herbicide evaluations for both field and horticultural crops. Further to this, he is currently the Test Site Manager for the minor use pesticide program at Harrow. Robert holds a BSc Hons degree in Ecology and Evolution from Western University, an MSc degree in Weed Ecology from the University of Guelph and a PhD in Weed Ecology from Cornell University. He has served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Journal of Plant Science and is currently an Associate Editor for the journal Weed Technology. Since 2010, Dr. Nurse has also served as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biology at Western University and as a Special Graduate Faculty member at the University of Guelph in the Department of Plant Agriculture.

Kristen Obeid
Kristen has a master's degree in weed science from the University of Manitoba and an honors bachelor of science degree from the University of Guelph. As OMAFRA's Weed Specialist for Horticulture crops, she leads the development, coordination and implementation of various programs related to weed management issues in Ontario. She is a past recipient of the Deputy Minister's Award for her work as a provincial vegetable specialist. She previously spent several years with the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers and in the private sector coordinating research trials in support of new product registrations.

Tom Plocher
Tom has been involved in cold climate viticulture in Minnesota since 1980. He is best known for co-authoring (with Bob Parke) the book Northern Winework: Growing Grapes and Making Wine in Cold Climates. Since 1996, Tom also has pursued his own grape breeding program, focusing on new grape varieties for red wine. T.P. 2-1-24 was named 'Petite Pearl' and entered the commercial market in 2010. Two new selections, Crimson Pearl (T. P. 2-1-17)USPP and Verona (TP 1-1-34)USPP were named and introduced into commercial propagation in 2015. Tom continues his breeding work, focusing on issues created by climate change. These include resistance to late winter warm spells and late spring frosts, resistance to splitting and rots during late season bouts of heavy rainfall, and resistance to Japanese Beetles.

Dr. Kirk Pomper
Dr. Pomper is Director of Land Grant Programs and a Professor of Horticulture in the College of Agriculture, Food Science, and Sustainable Systems at Kentucky State University. Dr. Pomper received both a BS and an MS in Horticulture from the University of Minnesota in 1985 and 1989, respectively. He received a PhD in Horticulture in 1995 from Oregon State University. Dr. Pomper serves as Research and Extension Program Director for the College. He also serves as Curator of the USDA National Clonal Germplasm Repository for pawpaw species at KSU. His main research area is in pawpaw germplasm development, physiology, nutrition, and organic production. His program has released the pawpaw varieties KSU-AtwoodTM and KSU -BensonTM to the public and these varieties are being sold by nurseries nationwide.

Dr. Sudarsana Poojari
Sudarsana is a Research Scientist at the Summerland Research and Development Center (SuRDC). He earned his PhD in Plant Pathology from Washington State University (WSU) in 2013. His research at WSU was focused on biological, molecular and epidemiological aspects of viruses infecting grapevines and vegetable crops and development of advanced molecular diagnostics for plant viruses. Dr. Poojari works closely with the Viticulture, Enology, and Entomology research team at SuRDC and his research focused on epidemiology and disease management aspects of major grapevine virus diseases.

Josh Puckett
Josh grew up in Poway, California. He attended Sonoma State University where he received an undergraduate degree in Plant Biology. Following graduation, he worked at a number of horticultural jobs before joining Foundation Plant Services where he is currently the Head of Production. He holds a masters in plant pathology from UC Davis. His responsibilities at FPS entail: coordinating introduction of foreign and domestic plant materials, managing department greenhouses, growing facilities and fields, overseeing the movement of selections through testing and treatment, and coordinating distribution of clean plant material.

Dr. Anu Rangarajan
Dr. Rangarajan has been on the faculty of Horticulture at Cornell University since 1996. She serves as the Statewide Fresh Market Vegetable Specialist and conducts a grant-funded research and extension program focused on environmental and economic sustainability of vegetable farms in the Northeast. Her current research focus is on reduced tillage systems for vegetables to improve soil health while maintaining crop quality and yields. She also directs the Cornell Small Farm Program. The program's mission is to help farmers get expert assistance to facilitate all phases of small farm business development, from startup to growth to maturity. Through collaborations with Cornell Cooperative Extension Educators and other service providers, the program provides online and face to face training on numerous topics, including new farm development, helping veterans enter agriculture, expanding wholesale marketing and local food systems, building soil health, and supporting mushroom and livestock production.

Judson Reid
Judson is a Senior Extension Associate with the Cornell Vegetable Program. In this position, he manages a series of research and education projects throughout New York State for greenhouse, high tunnel and field production of fresh market vegetables. Judson is involved in the evaluation of grafting on tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplants; biological pest control, new cropping techniques and low temperature pest management concerns. Current projects examine the viability of grafting of cucumbers for cold soil hardiness, biological insect control in low temperature settings for mixed greens crops, PAR and yield influence of multi-story cropping as well as variety evaluations. Judson has conducted educational sessions with farmers in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Caribbean, Africa, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Cuba (New York) on these topics. Having spent his youth on a northern New York dairy farm, Judson earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Cornell University in agriculture.

Dr. Bruce Reisch
Dr. Reisch specializes in the development of new wine and table grape varieties, as well as modern grape breeding techniques using the tools of genomics, at Cornell's New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, NY. He earned a BS at Cornell University, and a PhD in plant breeding and genetics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Since joining the Cornell faculty, his program has released 13 new wine and table grape varieties. Disease resistance is a high priority, along with low temperature tolerance and fruit quality. In addition to his research responsibilities, Dr. Reisch chaired the Grape Crop Germplasm Committee for over 10 years, a national committee advising the U.S. Department of Agriculture on efforts to preserve wild and cultivated grapevines. He currently leads the "VitisGen" project to apply next-generation sequencing tools to grape breeding programs across the United States. His studies have taken him to conferences and research stations in Australia, Chile, France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Israel, Hungary, Turkey, China, Thailand, Taiwan and Japan.

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 University, St. Catharines, ON. His education includes: BSc (Agr.), horticulture (1978), Univ. of Guelph; MSc, plant breeding & genetics (1980), Univ. of Guelph; PhD (1983), Cornell Univ.; his thesis was: grapevine canopy microclimate in relation to wine quality. He was formerly a Research Scientist, viticulture & enology, Agriculture Canada Research Station, Summerland, BC (1983-97) and NSERC Research Chair in Viticulture, Cool Climate Oenology & Viticulture Institute (July 1997-2002). 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.

Brian Rijke
Brian works on Dentz Orchards and Berry Farm Inc., with his wife's father and uncle in Iroquois, Ontario, an hour south of Ottawa. They grow strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, apples, and peas for wholesale and various other fruits and vegetables for their on-farm market. Brian currently serves as a director for the Berry Growers of Ontario.

Elaine Roddy
Elaine is involved in field research trials and extension. She specializes in sweet corn, cucurbits, beans, peas and asparagus. Her responsibilities include all aspects of crop production and pest management. Current projects include: soil quality and nitrogen efficiency in asparagus, vine crop disease management, native pollinators and IPM for legume vegetables. Elaine is also the editor of the Ontario Field Vegetable Guide (publication 839) and the Ontario Vegetable Crop Protection Guide (publication 838).

Dr. Nikki Rothwell
Dr. Rothwell works as the Extension Specialist with Michigan State University Extension and as the Coordinator of the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Station. She has a split appointment between research, administration, and outreach. Dr. Rothwell received a BS from Western Michigan University in biology and chemistry and went on to receive a MS from Michigan State University and a PhD from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, both in entomology. Currently, she works with cherry and apple growers in northwest Michigan where she conducts applied research and outreach programming based on local and statewide needs. Her research interests include tree fruit training and irrigation systems, pest management strategies, and horticultural modernization.

Sara Rowland
Sara has worked for many municipalities in England and British Columbia. In 2011, she moved to the city of London where she worked as an Urban Forestry Planner implementing the city's first urban forestry strategy. After her first year, she moved to a former gravel-quarry farm that was mostly restored to hay approximately 15 years ago in Elgin County. Taking inspiration from what was already growing on the farm, her and her husband have added many things to the farm, including a perennial garden, fruit trees and most recently, 13 acres of hazelnut orchard with some pecan, chestnut and heartnut trees.

Luis Ruiz
Luis is a highly passionate horticulturist and a team player, who is always pursuing effective ways of sustain food production. He holds a BSc in Agriculture (Catholic University of El Salvador C.A) and is a member of the Ontario Institute of Agrologist. In his home country, he worked at La Colina Farm (480 acres), where he was responsible for crop management on fruit trees and vegetables. He has worked for Algoma Orchards for the last five years, where along with his peers oversees field operations on +1,000 acres of a high density apple orchard in Newcastle, ON.

Eero Ruuttila
Eero is Johnny's Selected Seeds R&D Station Operations Manager in Albion, Maine. Prior positions include Beginning Farmer Educator for UConn Extension, Incubator Farmer Coordinator for the New Entry Sustainable Farmer Project in Lowell, MA, and for 22 years, Director of the 65-acre certified organic nonprofit Nesenkeag Farm in Litchfield, NH.

Jean-Michel Salmon
Jean-Michel, who is 59 years old, obtained a Master of Sciences in Industrial and Food Biochemistry (ENSIA-University Paris VII,) in 1981. After a PhD in microbiology (fermentation technology) held in 1986 (University of Montpellier), and a post-doc stay at the CSIC in Madrid (C. Gancedo's lab), he joined as a research scientist the microbiology research team at INRA in Montpellier in 1983. Since 2003, he has served as Research Director in this institute. His main research topic was the physiology of yeasts (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), and more precisely the study of its interactions with oxygen during alcoholic fermentation and wine ageing. Moreover, he has developed a practical knowledge on the use of yeast mixed cultures during alcoholic fermentation and of yeast lees for protection of wines against oxidation. Since 2011, he is deputy director of the INRA's experimental winery of Pech Rouge in Gruissan (Aude, France), where he focuses his research topics towards the use of innovative technologies to reduce inputs during winemaking. His scientific production relies on 96 peer-reviewed papers, 70 wine-related professional papers, 10 book chapters, 70 international oral conferences, 50 posters in scientific congress and 4 patents.

Nicholas Schaut
Nicholas is owner operator of Bighead Hops, a certified organic hop farm and processing facility in operation for the past 10 years and a founding member/past president of the Ontario Hop Growers Association. He has organized educational seminars for growers and coordinated research into Ontario hops cultural practices and post harvest processing. Nicholas has liaised with other hop grower groups, co-ops and associations throughout eastern North America and was awarded the Premier's Award for Agri-Excellence in Innovation 2015 and The Greenbelt Innovation Farm of the Year 2015. He is a full member of the American Organic Hop Growers Association.

Frank Schreurs
Frank has more than 30 years of management and leadership experience in the food and beverage industry. He began his career in food manufacturing with the Kellogg Co., and transitioned into the services sector with the Guelph Food Technology Centre. Over the course of 18 years, he established and grew the consultancy and auditing business units into the number 1 service provider to the F &B sector in Canada. In 2013, he successfully transitioned GFTC through a merger with NSF International. During his 18 years, Frank lead his team of seasoned industry professionals in the delivery of consultancy and auditing services to the entire supply chain. His knowledge of risk and quality management throughout the supply chain was illustrated through the hundreds of completed client projects. Food safety projects included systems auditing (HACCP, BRC, SQF) as well as development and implementation. Quality projects included SPC applications to overweight control, ROI on asset purchases and specification compliance as well as ISO 9000 systems development and implementation. Frank is currently operating a consultancy business as well as being the Canadian and Pacific North West U.S.A. representative for the Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI).

Marissa Schuh
Marissa is a commercial vegetable production educator with Michigan State University Extension. She works with commercial vegetable growers in southeast Michigan to develop and maintain production strategies that are profitable and sustainable. She meets one-on-one with producers to perform pest and disease scouting and identification, as well as provides consultation on production concerns. She also reports on emergent issues, creates educational resources, and organizes programming. She has a BA from Luther College (Decorah, IA) in Biology and English, and an MS in Entomology from Michigan State University.

Dr. Jonathan R. Schultheis
Dr. Schultheis is a Professor in the Department of Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. He has research and extension responsibilities. The research he engages in is targeted to find better methods to produce vegetable crops. Key research areas are plant establishment; fertilizer considerations that evaluate types, rates and methods of application; grafting; cultivar evaluation; postharvest practices; and irrigation. The primary crops he works with are sweet potato and cucurbits (watermelon, cantaloupe/melons, cucumber, pumpkin and squash). His research program complements his extension program in the subject matter areas specified and involves educational training of county agents; improving grower production practices by disseminating information through publications and regional, state and national meetings, and working closely with industry to discover and communicate cutting edge technologies and information. Dr. Schultheis also is involved in teaching and typically advises and serves on 4 to 8 graduate student committees at any given time.

Dr. Ian Scott
Since joining Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in 2007, Dr. Scott has been involved with several projects related to insecticide resistance, including neonicotinoids and Colorado potato beetle Leptinotarsa decemlineata populations in potato, organophosphorus insecticides and codling moth Cydia pomonella in apple orchards and acaricides and two-spotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae in greenhouse crops. His research program also includes biopesticide discovery and development, specifically investigating the potential of plant-derived compounds as repellents, attractants and insecticide synergists for use in alternative insect pest management strategies. Dr. Scott has a BSc (Biology) and MSc (Environmental Biology) from the University of Guelph, and a PhD in Biology, University of Ottawa.

Dr. Bill Shane
Bill is a senior Extension tree fruit specialist at the Michigan State University Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center. He provides horticultural and pest management outreach to the Michigan tree fruit industry and conducts applied tree fruit research. Research areas include breeding and evaluating new peach and nectarine varieties, rootstock evaluation, peach training systems, predictive models, and plant disease management strategies. His breeding program focuses on improved new peach and nectarine melting flesh varieties for humid, cooler growing regions. Bill's peach training work focuses on tree wall peach systems utilizing improved varieties and rootstock, mechanization, and tree training strategies for increased profitability. Dr. Shane has developed numerous crop loss and predictive models for fungal and bacterial diseases and crop development in sugar beets, small grains, turfgrass, and tree fruit. Bill holds a BS in botany and plant pathology (Michigan State University), MS in plant pathology (North Carolina State University), and PhD in plant pathology (University of Minnesota).

Jerry Shields
Jerry is the Weather Systems Coordinator at the Ontario MNRF and has worked in the Ministry's Emergency Operation Centre for the past 7 years. Jerry's passion in operational meteorology and emergency management has led to a new forecasting methods and redefining the role that weather forecasters can play in providing services to emergency management stakeholders. He is also interested and has demonstrated success in the climatic interpolation of previous weather events and how that can be used to forecast future high impact weather. Jerry's background includes two decades of agronomy and has first-hand knowledge of the implications that weather can have on decision making in the agriculture sector. Much of his drive and commitment to improve and build meteorological forecasting services comes from his struggles in getting relevant, timely weather information for the management of pesticides, fertilizer, drainage and irrigation in his earlier career.

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. She is also 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 U.S.

Marie-Josée Simard
Marie-Josée is a weed scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. She has a PhD in Environmental Science from the Université du Québec à Montréal. She worked for 14 years in field crops at the research centre located in Québec City, before moving to the research centre in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in 2014. She is also adjunct professor at Laval University (Québec) and author or co-author of 38 scientific papers. Her research activities include the evaluation of the distribution, dynamic and fitness of problem weeds (hybrids with transgenic crops, allergenic weeds, herbicide resistant weeds and regulated weeds). She supervised a nation-wide project on glyphosate resistant weeds and is currently working on herbicide resistance in vegetable crops.

Charlotte Smith
Charlotte owns Champoeg Creamery, a raw milk micro-dairy located in St. Paul, Oregon, producing raw milk, eggs, pork and poultry. She serves about 100 families per week out of her farm store on the property. After witnessing too many farmers going out of business due to not being sustainable, she also founded 3CowMarketing.com, an online marketing training company helping farmers across the nation learn online marketing techniques to grow a successful business. Additionally, she hosts a private Facebook group, comprised of a community of farmers focused on connecting with others to learn, share and gain support. Due to her dedication to improving the soil, animals and the people who eat their products, Charlotte was named one of the Top 25 Most Influential Women in the World in Food and Agriculture by the non-profit, Food Tank, in 2016. Charlotte is also the proud mother of a United States Marine, lives in St. Paul, Oregon on the farm with her husband, Marc, (a teacher) and her 2 daughters.

Marian Statham
Marian is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and a Certified Yoga Instructor with over 20 years experience in Brand and Marketing Management. She's been a lifelong health, nutrition and fitness enthusiast and in the last 10 years has studied the power the mind and spirit has on our overall health and wellness picture. She has had first hand experience applying the power of holistic nutrition as she worked to overcome a debilitating autoimmune condition, resulting in her feeling as healthy and fit as ever and thriving in the many aspects of her life. In addition to graduating from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Marian has an Honours degree in Psychology from the University of Guelph, and graduated from the Marketing Management Program at the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. In addition, she achieved her Yoga Teacher Training Certification through the Awakened Life School of Yoga. After years of developing numerous consumer programs in leading consumer packaged goods corporations, she is excited to bring health and wellness programs and strategies to people of all ages, whose lives will benefit by applying the holistic approach to their health and wellness regimen.

Dr. Jayasankar Subramanian
Dr. Subramanian (Jay) is a Professor with University of Guelph, working at the Vineland location. He has over 25 years of experience in fruit crop improvement, breeding, biotechnology and post harvest technology. He has worked with diverse crop species and for the past 12 years has been working with tender fruits- both using conventional and contemporary approaches. Currently he is leading a successful IDRC project involving researchers from 6 different countries and in over 100 farms in these countries. He has been invited to deliver talks in several countries including a recent one at the UN General Assembly's Market Place event in September 2015 and at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, Government of Canada, Ottawa in December. He has published over 60 research papers, released 15 improved crop varieties. He is a member of the editorial board in three International Journals and reviews manuscripts for several journals in plant sciences.

Dr. Narongsak (Tek) Thongpapanl
Narongsak is Professor of Marketing and Product Innovation at Brock University. Dr. Thongpapanl received his BS in Electrical Engineering, his MBA in Technological Entrepreneurship, and his PhD in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (USA). His main research interests include NPD, innovation management, and strategic marketing management in dynamic environments. His ongoing research examines the factors influencing developers' direct interaction with the marketplace as they advance innovations that potentially create both convergent and divergent values and interests for various stakeholders. The past and recent advances in the global wine industry, in fact, serve as good examples of the need for a better understanding of the intricacies involved in customer interaction and innovation outcomes. His research also investigates the exploration–exploitation tension that often presents problems in the implementation of both new-to-the-market and new-to-the-firm innovations, especially in highly dynamic settings, as is the case with the Ontario wine industry.

Bernard Tobin
Bernard specializes in agriculture and food communications. He was raised on a dairy farm in Newfoundland. He's a writer and journalist, and has also worked for two of Canada's leading agricultural communications firms. Today, he works as a consultant to Guelph-based Synthesis Agri-Food Network and leads numerous communications workshops and training sessions for organizations such as Farm & Food Care Canada and Rural Ontario Institute. He's also an active journalist in his role as Ontario Field Editor for RealAgriculture.com.

Dr. 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.

Dr. Elizabeth Tomasino
Dr. Tomasino is an assistant professor of enology at Oregon State University. Her work focuses on wine sensory analysis and wine chemistry analysis, as well as teaching undergraduate and graduate enology courses. Her academic background includes microbiology, winemaking, sensory science, chemistry and food science. A specific area of her work investigates the relationships between aroma chemical composition and sensory perception in wine. She has begun new research looking these relationships in ciders. Other projects include the impact of Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) on wine quality, measurement of chiral terpenes in aromatic white wines, differentiation of Pinot noir wines from Willamette Valley, and the impact of norisoprenoids to Pinot noir wine aroma. Dr. Tomasino runs the OWRI winemaker panel, consisting of winemakers from the area that conduct sensory analysis on research wines. She is the main instructor for the cider classes at OSU.

Joe Turner
Joe has been actively involved in the food industry for over 30 years. He has held various senior positions in Operations, Procurement and Merchandising with one of Canada's largest grocery retailers. Prior to joining the retail sector, he spent a number of years within the food manufacturing sector in administration, marketing, sales and product management roles. Joe's strong passion for the Ontario Food and Agricultural industry lends itself well to his current business development role with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs.

Joe Uyenaka
After graduating from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, Joe worked for H.J. Heinz Company in Leamington, was a territory manager for Niagara Chemicals in Burlington and a Crop Advisor for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food covering Halton, Wentworth, Peel, Wellington and York. Joe then became an Agronomy Specialist for Stoller Canada, followed by being an Agronomist for Cargill Ltd. Since 2012, Joe has been an Agronomist and Territory Sales Manager for NutriAg in Ontario as well as Michigan and New York. Joe is working to develop new nutrient packages to improve the yield and quality of all farm crops by cooperating with agricultural dealers and farmers assisting in production, nutrient and pest recommendations. He is also maintaining the apple IPM Program for Halton, Wentworth, Peel and York region and is a Certified Crop Advisor CCA (Ontario).

John Van de Vegte
John has a Masters of Engineering degree from the University of Toronto and was registered as a Professional Engineer in Ontario in 1989. Since that time, he has filled roles of engineering and management roles in a variety of industries. These include environmental, automotive, custom automation, pharmaceutical and renewable energy. Most recently, John worked at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre as Project Manager, Robotics and Automation. It was during this time that John became more aware of the challenges facing the agricultural industry in Ontario. John joined the Innovation, Engineering and Program Delivery Unit of Environmental Management Branch in August 2015. As an Engineering Specialist, John has been working on a variety of projects related to process optimization, technology development, live-stock welfare and barn fire reduction.

Peter van Weerden
Peter has been with OMAFRA for 32 years and with the Food Inspection Branch for 25 years. As a Risk Management Specialist based at Vineland Station, Peter works primarily with the minimally processed and fresh fruit and vegetable sector in Ontario providing advice to help reduce microbiological, chemical and physical hazards. Advice may include environmental swabs to check for the presence of indicator organisms on surfaces. Peter is also involved in wash-water projects that entails collecting wash-water and product samples to check for the presence of indicator organisms in the water. Advice is given based on environmental swab and wash-water results, and on-site observations.

Josh VanderWeide
Josh is a PhD Graduate Research Assistant at Michigan State University in the Department of Horticulture working under Dr. Paolo Sabbatini. He previously received his Bachelor's Degree from MSU in Food and Fermented Beverage Science, and his experiences working in Dr. Sabbatini's lab fueled his interest in research, and led him to continue his education. Currently, Josh is studying the viticultural practice of leaf removal (also referred to as defoliation), and its implications for mitigating bunch rot and improving fruit quality in cool climate growing regions. This involves two cultivars important to Michigan and surrounding regions, (Vitis vinifera L.) Pinot Grigio and Merlot, and compares mechanization of this practice with manual treatments at various timings.

Dr. Laura L. Van Eerd
Laura grew up on a cash crop and finishing hog farm in near Ridgetown, Ontario. She earned a triple crown (BSc, MSc and PhD) at the University of Guelph. Laura 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: I) the role of cover crops and crop diversity II) impacts of management on soil health attributes and its link to primary productivity/resiliency and; III) 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.

Dr. Elizabeth Wahle
Elizabeth is a Commercial Agriculture Extension Educator for University of Illinois Extension. She provides leadership in food crop horticulture research and Extension programs, with an emphasis in commercial fruit, vegetable and horseradish production. She earned a PhD in horticulture with a focus in weed science from University of Illinois, which resulted in her dissertation entitled "Competition for Nitrogen between Eastern Black Nightshade and Fresh Market Tomatoes." She holds a bachelor's degree in commercial horticulture from Purdue University and a master's degree in horticulture from University of Illinois. She carries out applied research and demonstration trials on food crop horticulture in southern Illinois and carries her Extension program to a variety of horticulture related groups on fruit and vegetable production. In addition, she coordinates the Gateway Small Fruit and Vegetable Conference and the Horseradish Growers Conference and plays a key role with the Illinois Specialty Growers, Agritourism and Organic Conference.

Kelly Ward
Kelly is the Supervisor of Brand Services with Foodland Ontario and is the face behind their social media channels where she manages interaction with over 210,000 Ontarians daily. Kelly is a self-proclaimed digital enthusiast and holds a Masters in Digital Experience Innovation from the University of Waterloo. With Foodland Ontario, she oversees social media strategy development and execution, ad placement and consumer behaviour research to promote local food in Ontario.

Karen Whitty
Karen is passionate about family, the farm and Niagara. This passion is the foundation for her vision of creating an authentic and unique must see Niagara Winery destination in St. Catharines with her husband Doug and their three sons. In 2010, 13th Street Bakery was opened providing a year round retail outlet for Whitty Farms and continues to expand its product offerings with a focus on delivering an authentic Niagara experience. Community involvement is a core value. For Karen, it is a privilege as a business owner to participate in community events such as the CCS Grapes of Wrath fundraiser for the Niagara Wheels of Hope transportation program. Strong business partnerships within Niagara are integral in how Karen directs business at 13th Street. Philosophically she believes the wine industry and all Niagara businesses are stronger together as one community.

Dr. Jim Willwerth
Dr. Willwerth is the Senior Scientist in Viticulture at the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) at Brock University. His responsibilities are to perform research and outreach services in the field of viticulture and to address the research priorities of the Canadian grape and wine industry. His current research program is focused on grapevine cold hardiness and understanding how to maximize cold hardiness in V. vinifera including the use of better V.vinifera plant material. He also has numerous applied research projects ranging from new freeze protection methods to use of new bird deterrent methods. He spearheads large outreach initiatives including the VineAlert Grapevine Cold Hardiness Database and the Grape Preharvest Monitoring program for the Ontario Grape and Wine Industry. Jim works closely with the Ontario grape and wine industry on various technical committees and including a member of the Vintner Quality Alliance of Ontario (VQA-O) Standards Development Committee. He is Chair of the Animal Care Committee at Brock University and serves as Treasurer on the Board of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture, Eastern Section.

Julianna K. Wilson
Dr. Wilson is a Michigan native and graduate of Michigan State University in Horticulture (BS), Plant Pathology (MS), and Entomology (PhD). In her capacity as Tree Fruit Integrator, she conducts collaborative applied research within the framework of whole farm systems resulting in extension programs and products that support the long-term sustainability of the tree fruit industry in Michigan. Recent projects include coordinating the statewide effort to monitor two invasive fruit pests, the Spotted Wing Drosophila and the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, identifying the factors that contribute to apple replant problems in Michigan, and working with growers to develop a set of best management practices for protecting bees in orchards.

Gail Winters
Gail​ is Co-Founder,​ ​Director​ ​of​ ​Operations,​ ​and​ ​Head​ ​Grower​ ​at​ ​GoodLot​ ​Farm​ ​& GoodLot​ ​Farmstead​ ​Brewing​ ​Co. She ​manages​ ​overall​ ​operations​ ​on​ ​the​ ​farm​ ​and​ ​in​ ​the​ ​brewery.​ ​Gail​​ ​​is​ ​a​ ​former​ ​director​ ​of​ ​the Ontario​ ​Hop​ ​Growers​ ​Association​ ​and​ ​is​ ​an​ ​active​ ​participant​ ​in​ ​the​ ​hop​ ​industry.​ ​GoodLot's diversity​ ​includes​ ​growing​ ​brewing​ ​ingredients,​ ​including​ ​hops​ ​and​ ​other​ ​specialty​ ​inputs, organic​ ​vegetable​ ​and​ ​herb​ ​gardens,​ ​chickens,​ ​ducks​ ​and​ ​sheep.​ ​Gail​ ​is​ ​an​ ​advocate​ ​of sustainable​ ​farming​ ​practices​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​a​ ​devout​ ​student,​ ​eager​ ​to​ ​learn​ ​and​ ​implement​ ​new practices​ ​that​ ​may​ ​improve​ ​soil​ ​health​ ​and​ ​increase​ ​yields​ ​while​ ​respecting​ ​and​ ​nurturing​ ​a holistic​ ​approach.​

Barbara Yates
Barb was born and raised on a dairy farm in southwestern Ontario. She is a graduate of the University of Guelph with an undergraduate degree in Agronomy and a Master's Degree in Crop Production and Physiology.  Looking for a new challenge, Barb joined Ferrero Canada as Hazelnut Agronomist and Project Manager in the fall of 2016 with an eye towards the growth of a hazelnut industry in Canada. Prior to Ferrero, Barb enjoyed a varied career in research, development and registration of agricultural pesticides and fertilizers for both and horticultural and row crops. She has worked for Cargill, Dupont Canada, 3M Canada, Agrium and ADAMA Canada. Barb and her family currently live on a small farm west of London, Ontario where they raise sheep and keep a few horses.

John Zandstra
John has been with the University of Guelph's Ridgetown Campus since 1994 and is responsible for conducting cropping systems research on fruit and vegetable crops in southwestern Ontario. He also teaches courses in fruit and vegetable crop management and is the coordinator of the Agriculture and Horticulture Diploma Programs at the Ridgetown Campus. John completed his BSc (Agr) and MSc at the University of Guelph. Research interests include season extension, environmental sustainability, and research to support the development of new crops. Current projects include evaluation of degradable mulch films in field vegetables, development of ginger and hazelnut production systems in southwestern Ontario, phosphorous use in processing tomato, rootstock evaluation in Honeycrisp apple, and cultivar evaluations in plum, apple, sweet corn and processing peas. John also manages the University of Guelph's Cedar Springs Fruit Research Station.

John Zekveld
John and his wife Maxine, along with their 4 children, have owned Zekvelds Garden Market for the last 17 years. The farm market is located in Lambton County, about 20 minutes from the city of Sarnia. The farm consists of 85 acres on which they grow 25 different fruits and vegetables. The Zekvelds have marketed their products through their on-farm retail store, pick-your-own, two farmers' markets, an on-farm bakery, school fundraisers, class trips and a Produce Box Program. John stays up-to-date on all the latest farming practices, spraying programs, cover crops, growing techniques, products, irrigations systems, etc. Maxine runs the Produce Box Program, markets the business through social media, and keeps the farm organized and neat.

Lincoln Zotarelli
Lincoln has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomic Engineering and received the MS and PhD degrees in Agronomy-Soil Science from the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was Assistant Professor in the Agronomy Department of State University of Londrina, Brazil between 2003 and 2005. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Horticultural Sciences Department in the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences of the University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA. His research is focused in the development of best management practices (BMP) for sustainable production of potato and vegetable crops in Florida and increased crop diversification. His Extension program has statewide emphasis on education and dissemination of science-based information on vegetable production, cultivar adaptability, BMP for fertilizer and water management.

Viliam Zvalo
Viliam joined Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in 2014. In his role at Vineland, he investigates field and greenhouse production of world crops, develops new sweet potato slip propagation techniques and also works other new crop opportunities. Viliam brings a wealth of experience after spending 13 years at Perennia Food and Agriculture in Nova Scotia where he provided support to vegetable producers and managed numerous research projects in new vegetable crop development, cultivar testing, pest management and evaluation of different production systems and methods. At Vineland Research, he is leading World Crop Program with objective to develop production systems for non-traditional crops such okra, Chinese long and Indian round eggplants. Viliam holds a PhD in Plant Physiology/Soil Ecology from the Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, Slovakia and an Executive MBA from Saint Mary's University in Halifax.