Our Team



Board Members

Elvezio Del Bianca

Elvezio Del Bianco,
Program Manager,
Co-operative Partnerships
Vancity Credit Union

As Vancity Credit Union’s Program Manager for Cooperative Partnerships, Elvezio (“Elvy”) Del Bianco works internally on disseminating knowledge of the cooperative business model to increase Vancity’s capacity to support co-ops, and externally on building partnerships and developing projects with cooperatives and others to help realize a stronger cooperative economy. This work is largely informed by the activities of the Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, the world’s most significant cooperative economy and the focus of Vancity’s Co-operative Study Tour, which Elvy has organized since 2008. Elvy is the founder and organizer of Cooperate Now, a co-op business model education program and the President of the Board of the Clinton Park Thingery Cooperative.

Allison Felker,
Acting Executive Director,
Vancity Community Foundation

 

Heather O’Hara

Heather O’Hara,
Executive Director,
BC Association of Farmers’ Markets

Heather is the Executive Director of the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets and a new organic farmer living on a horse farm in Ladner.

As a social entrepreneur and food lover, Heather believes deeply in farmers’ markets and small-scale farms and farmers as a critical force in our regional food system. Over the past decade, she has worked with a variety of innovative projects, businesses, social enterprises, non-profits and charities including Potluck Café Society, CityStudio and the Vancity Community Foundation to name a few.

Heather has spent a life time visiting her grandparents’ family farm in the Interlake region of Manitoba and is deeply committed to preserving foodlands for generations to come.

Darcy Smith

Darcy Smith,
Manager,
Land Matching Program
Young Agrarians

Darcy was raised with her hands in the dirt sowing seeds and harvesting backyard veggies. With a background in communications and project coordination, this farm enthusiast found her path when she started writing about and working with farmers. Darcy is drawn to projects that empower new entrants to agriculture with much-needed resources. As the Young Agrarians Land Matcher, she spends her days as a farm matchmaker, connecting farmers and land owners in the Lower Mainland.

In addition to her role as Land Matcher at Young Agrarians, Darcy is the Communications Officer for the Certified Organic Associations of BC (COABC) and edits the BC Organic Grower, a quarterly magazine for BC’s organic community.

Hannah Wittman

Hannah Wittman,
Director,
Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, UBC

Dr. Hannah Wittman’s research examines the ways that the rights to produce and consume food are contested and transformed through struggles for agrarian reform, food sovereignty, and agrarian citizenship. Her projects include community-based research on farmland access, transition to organic agriculture, and seed sovereignty in British Columbia, agroecological transition and the role of institutional procurement in the transition to food sovereignty in Ecuador and Brazil, and the role that urban agriculture and farm-to-school nutrition initiatives play in food literacy education.

Dr. Wittman holds a PhD in Development Sociology from Cornell University (2005). She grew up on a farm in Idaho and has built her career on the social organization of small scale farming systems. Her research looks at the services that small scale farmers provide in terms of community access to healthy food and an understanding of where food comes from. Dr. Wittman documents the relationships between community, food and the environment, and helps to develop policies that support a more sustainable food system. In 2014, a report by Dr. Wittman and LFS master’s student J. Dennis examined community farms and agricultural land trusts in the province, as well as identified the needs and challenges for new farmers.

Staff

Heather Pritchard

Heather Pritchard

Heather is not new to big innovative ideas. In the early 80’s when she co-founded Folk on the Rocks music festival, bringing together musicians from the far-flung communities in the Northwest Territories, she did so to demonstrate how a racially divided community could unite around music. In the 90’s, she co-founded an agricultural business on Fraser Common Farm and is recognized as creating the first commercially grown mixed green salad in Canada. In 2006 the company became a coop, Glorious Organics, and since then Heather has been an advocate of “shared farming on shared land”.

As a founding member of FarmFolk CityFolk, her work, over the past 24 years, includes coordinating the BC region of the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Food Security, partnering with Young Agrarians, and supporting the development of Community Farm Cooperatives. She is a founding member of Vancouver Food Policy Council and the BC Food Systems Network and is the current Chair of Slow Food in Canada.

In 2015, Heather was given the Brad Reid Memorial Award for her outstanding contribution to the organic sector in British Columbia. On January 1, 2018, Heather left FarmFolk CityFolk to work full time for the Foodlands Cooperative of BC.

Keeley Nixon

Keeley Nixon, 
Contractor | Program Support 

Keeley has been involved in sustainable and regenerative agriculture since moving to coastal BC from the Northern Interior in 2001 with both her hands in the dirt on local farms and her heart in the community leading a wide range of agricultural projects around seed and land access. Doing behind the scenes work to build resiliency and strengthening community process is what fuels her fire. She brings her experience with countless non-profits, passion for communication, connecting people and general joie de vivre to all that she does.

Michael Marrapese

Michael Marrapese,
Representative,
Fraser Common Farm Cooperative

A long-time member of Community Alternatives Society and resident of the Fraser Common Farm Cooperative in the Fraser Valley, Michael has provided technical and production support for a wide range of non-profit and community action projects including the Oxfam Global Heath Project, the BC Cooperative Housing Federation, Isadora’s Cooperative Restaurant, the Physical Medicine Research Foundation and FarmFolk CityFolk.

He has worked with FarmFolk CityFolk for over twenty years and has worked on many other projects in the intervening years including:

  • Technical Director for the BC Drama Festival, the Dawson City Music Festival, Folk on the Rocks Festival in Yellowknife and the Vancouver Folk Music Festival.
  • Designer and builder of “Beulah”, the ‘Urban Composter’, a composting machine for apartment buildings and small businesses, on a project of Community Alternatives Society.
  • Organizer/Manager of fundraising concerts, tours and recording projects for Music for Nicaragua and Tools for Peace.
  • Participant in several Earthen Building projects most notably the Orchard Sanctuary at Hollyhock on Cortes Island, BC.

An avid photographer, writer and musician he loves working on the farm and marvels at the beauty of nature. And though he moves a lot slower these days due to multiple back and knee injuries he continues to be involved in various projects and seems to be willing to travel at the slightest provocation. 

Advisors

Moira Teevan/Kira Gerwing
Community Investments
Vancity Credit Union

Organizational Members