The board of directors provides overall management of the fund. The board is made up of organic farmers, funders, prairie government organic specialists, prairie organic association representatives, a researcher and a member-at-large.
COIS Project Manager
Marla became interested in organic farming when she lived in England and has been working in the organic sector in Saskatchewan since she returned in 2006. Her passion for organic food and farming has grown as her involvement in the sector deepened. Marla’s day job is with SaskOrganics as their Executive Director. In this leadership role, she is always looking for innovative ways to fulfil the organization's mission to cultivate a healthier world for the benefit of all through organic food and farming. Marla is also President of Organic Connections – the largest organic farming conference in Western Canada, an IFOAM North America Director and serves as a director on two food related community initiatives in Regina – Every Bite Project and Food Regina.
Jim farms with his wife Nettie Wiebe near Laura, SK. Their farm has been certified organic since 1998. Jim and Nettie produce cereals, pulses, hay and finished cattle on 2400 ac. Jim is currently the Treasurer of SaskOrganics and of the Organic Federation of Canada. He is past President and Chair of OCIA International and is the current Chair of TCO Cert's Finance Committee.
Together with his wife Geri, Garry manages an organic farm north of Swift Current, Saskatchewan. They grow a variety of crops, including oats, peas, lentils, mustard and buckwheat, using most of these in companion. Garry is SaskOrganic's President. He has also served on the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool Committees, Saskatchewan Organic Directorate, R.M Council 167, as well as the SaskOats and the Prairie Oat Growers' Association.
Kim Wilton owns and operates Four Sheaves to the Wind, a small organic grain farm in St Eustache MB. She sits on the Manitoba Organic Alliance Board and PODF. She works off farm as a military helicopter pilot who is stationed in Winnipeg MB. Hobbies include beekeeping, cycling, and anything food related.
Janet, together with her husband, manages an organic farm operation. Her current position in the family business, PHS Organics, is as Organic Liaison Officer. She has a background in accounting and started her 25 year career in agriculture as a lender. Janet is also on the Board of Directors of Organic Connections.
Iris got her introduction to organic agriculture at the OACC in Truro, obtaining an MSc in Plant Science at the University of Manitoba under Dr. Martin Entz. Iris continued to work with Dr. Entz on the organic wheat and oat breeding programs and the participatory plant breeding program following graduation. She also worked with Dr. Yvonne Lawley, working with a range of conventional and organic crops. Iris joined Organic Alberta in 2015 as well as the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security. Iris is taking on her next challenge as the Interim Executive Director of Organic Alberta.
Jim lives in Stony Plain, AB where he is a fourth generation farmer and entrepreneur. Jim began organic farming in 1996 with OCIA Chapter #1. Jim crops approximately 1200 ac of organic land and owns an organic retail store called Homegrown Foods Ltd. which now has 9 employees and has grown into 8000 sq ft of retail space.
Karen Klassen farms with her dad on their family grain farm in Manitou in southern Manitoba. She is also a nutrition scientist, experimental gardener and travel enthusiast, and has spent most of her adulthood living outside of Canada. Now she enjoys spending her summers with the plants and animals in the gardens and land on the farm. Karen and her dad are transitioning their farm to regenerative and organic production models. She is a farmer ambassador for the Farmers for Climate Solutions coalition and works as the Program Manager for the Manitoba Organic Alliance.
Scott Shiels Funder/ Grain Millers
Scott Shiels has been in the grain industry since 1992, and has been the Canadian Grain Procurement Manager for Grain Millers since 2017. Scott grew up in the small farming community of Killarney, in southwestern Manitoba, and started his career with Paterson Grain in that same area of the province. He has been in Saskatchewan since 1996, and recently moved to an acreage outside of Yorkton. He and his wife Jenn have 5 children, along with 3 dogs and 3 cats.
Carrie-Anne Palmeri resides in northern Vermont & central Mexico and currently serves as Organic Program Manager for Nature’s Path Foods, North America’s largest organic breakfast and snack food company, which produces Organic & Regenerative Organic Alliance certified foods sold around the world. Carrie-Anne has devoted her career to furthering regenerative & organic agricultural development on a global scale, with particular focus in Latin America, through diverse roles in the private & governmental sectors of organic regulation, public advocacy & public education. In her free time, she finds deep pleasure in mountaineering & gardening.
Joanne Thiessen Martens
Joanne has been studying and working in the area of organic and ecological agriculture for over 20 years. She has a background in agroecology and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Soil Science at the University of Manitoba, researching phosphorus dynamics in organic crop production systems. Previously Joanne worked in research and extension in the Natural Systems Agriculture group, focusing on soil fertility management on organic farms. She lives in Winnipeg.
Laura is an Organic Industry Development Specialist with Manitoba Agriculture & Resource Development. She has a PhD from Queen's University in Kingston, ON and has been working in the organic sector since 2003. Her previous position was as national Director of Canadian Organic Growers in Ottawa, ON. Laura currently resides in Portage la Prairie, MB and works with the organic sector to build capacity and resilience.
Dunling is the Provincial Specialist, Alternative Cropping Systems in the Crops and Irrigation Branch of the Ministry of Agriculture in Regina. His major responsibility is to provide advice and technical support to alternative cropping systems producers, particularly those who are farming organically. His expertise includes soil fertility management, crop rotation and organic crop rotation design. Dunling obtained a BSc in soil science from Nanjing Agricultural University in China and received an MSc and PhD from the Department of Soil Science at the University of Saskatchewan. Prior to Government, Dunling worked as a research scientist at the Natural Research Council of Canada on water treatment and quality monitoring in municipal water infrastructure.