Our Team



Board Members

Darcy Smith

Darcy Smith,
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.

Jen Cody

Jen Cody

Growing food, increasing healthy food access for low income people, building community with people of all abilities and cultures are key values in her work. Food is Medicine, which not only includes the nutrition that food can provide, but also the relationships we have with each other, the plants, the animals, the soil, the water. How we are in relationship with food and all that goes into growing and harvest and honouring food is Jen’s lifework.

Jen comes to farming and seed saving through her background in community development and nutrition. Jen is an active coordinator/worker and founder of Growing Opportunities Community Farm. In its 13th year, the farm is working with people of all levels of ability, and multiple community partners. Growing Opportunities builds community farms and is now working on 5 sites in Nanaimo. Increasing opportunities for people to access and build food skills and food relationships are important to Jen. Seed saving is farm fun for Jen and she continues to be involved with seed and variety trails with GO. Jen is also a founding member of BC EcoSeeds Coop, Farmship Coop, the BC Food Systems Network and continues to support creating a community food system through her work at the farm, beekeeping, and in the community teaching and organizing community projects, which now include First Nations communities, through her work with Nuu Chah Nulth Tribal Council. v

Colin Dring

Colin Dring, Researcher
School of Environment and Sustainability, Royal Roads University

Colin Dring (he/his) works towards food system justice and sustainability in collaboration with different change makers. He is a community developer, a facilitator, a researcher, a connector, and is inquisitive by nature. He has over 15 years of experience in the field of community food security, agricultural and food system planning, community development, and agri-food policy. He holds degrees in Soil and Environmental Science (B.Sc. 2009), Rural Planning and Development (M.Sc. 2012), and a PhD in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems (Ph.D. 2023). Colin has worked with multiple levels of government including Metro Vancouver, City of Richmond, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Environment Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada as part of the Research Affiliate Program. His work with the government has influenced his interest in the role that state planning plays in achieving justice in the food system through land-use planning, agri-food system governance, and political practices. Colin’s doctoral research examined how local levels of government, across unceded First Peoples’ territories, attempts to shape agricultural futures in contexts of difference, complexity, and unpredictability. His current work explores how communities can imagine alternative food systems (and their contexts) that are socially just and open space for new paradigms of relational ethics, accountability, and reciprocity between humans, other-than-humans, and the Land/planet.  This work aims to shift local food and agricultural planning towards decolonial practices that achieve sustainable and equitable food systems.

Amir Niroumand

Amir Niroumand
Abundance Community Farm

Dr. Amir Niroumand is recognized as a social entrepreneur with a primary interest in utilizing food as a tool for changing cultural values and norms for transitioning to a sustainable society. In 2016, he founded Abundance Community Farm in Agassiz, BC, as a social experiment in creating a community culture that thrives in harmony with nature. The farm operates based on a novel Community Agriculture (CA) model leveraging the interdependence between regenerative agriculture, community development, and the healing arts. The CA model has gained a lot of interest in both the wider urban and farming communities, and was recently featured on the cover of BC’s main agriculture magazine, Country Life in BC.

Dr. Niroumand is also a fuel cell scientist, where he leads cutting edge R&D programs between academia and industry. He is currently a Research Associate at SFU, leading the development of Intelligent Fuel Cell Diagnostics in collaboration with Greenlight Innovation, University of British Columbia, and Jülich Research Centre in Germany. 

Lori Snyder

Lori Snyder
Earth Awareness Realized Through Health & Company

Lori is an Indigenous herbalist and educator with a deep knowledge of wild, medicinal and edible plants that grow in everyday spaces. She has also collaborated with the Vancouver Parks Board, Douglas Community College, VanDusen Botanical Garden, Village Vancouver, and many community gardens and centres in and around Vancouver. She connected with the Vancouver TED Talk participants in 2017, and has also shared her expertise with university initiatives such as UBC Farm, SFU Embark Gardens, the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Bra, Italy, and the Provincial Health Association of BC (PHABC), helping to incorporate Indigenous teachings into the curriculum. Through the Farm2School pilot project, Lori supported the development of nine Indigenous foodscapes on elementary and secondary school grounds in Vancouver.

Today, Lori stewards a medicine wheel garden at the Moberly Arts and Cultural Centre. She is working with the David Suzuki Foundation as a Butterfly Ranger and consults with both the Foundation and the YWCA at Evelyn Crabtree on native plants and their importance in our ecological relationship with other living beings.

Co-founder/Guiding Elder

Heather Pritchard

Heather Pritchard,
Coordinator

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 1985, 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 27 years, includes coordinating the BC region of the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed 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.

On Contract

Olga Lansdorp

Olga Lansdorp

With a love of agriculture and ecology, Olga often finds herself outside with a pair of binoculars on hand. She has a great deal of experience collecting ecological data from a variety of ecosystem types, including local agroecosystems.

She is also community minded, and spent years leading the Farmland Ecosystem Services Project in Metro Vancouver. She is delighted to be contributing to Foodlands Cooperative.

Natasha van Bentum

Natasha van Bentum,
Legacy & Outreach Advisor

Natasha van Bentum (CFRE 1996-2019) is an international fund development and outreach practitioner with a focus on legacies and a keen interest in community food security, social finance and social entrepreneurship. Over the years, Natasha has been instrumental in promoting the creation of legacy programs both in Canada and worldwide. This has resulted in millions of dollars being put to work to address the vital issues of our times, and help create a greener and healthier future for future generations. Natasha’s philosophy and commitment to mentoring a new generation, as well as producing and freely-sharing high quality publicly-available resources and tools for the sector, is well recognized. Follow Natasha on Twitter @GiveGreenCanada

Michelle Tsutsumi

Michelle Tsutsumi 
Organic BC

In transitioning from trauma counselling to organic farming, my passion for organizing and engaging community networks truly started to thrive. With over two decades of non-profit work, communications, organizational process, and interconnectivity enthrall me. I flourish in work cultures of generative collaboration and shared leadership and, in turn, I endeavour to create this space for others wherein they feel seen, heard, and celebrated. My present area of focus is holding space for difficult conversations and exploring the embodiment of disrupting dominant cultural characteristics.

I grow food on the unceded land of Secwépemcul’ecw and, in doing so, acknowledge the tension inherent in the practice of agriculture and Indigenous-settler relations. As a communicator, I engage in difficult conversations around dominant cultural mindsets and structures so that we can transform them into a more just and equitable way of being.

Michael Marrapese

Michael Marrapese,
Communications and IT

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. 

Past Board Members

Hannah Wittman

Hannah Wittman
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.

Mark Vickars
Past Board Member
FarmFolk CityFolk

Mark is the former CEO of Choices Markets and has a lifelong commitment to volunteerism, social activism and continuing education. As a retirement gift to himself Mark recently completed the Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture program at UBC Farm. The UBC program re-energized his commitment to helping nurture, protect and promote BC’s Foodlands and Agro-producers. Additionally Mark is keen to use his business world experience to help develop local and community based food enterprises. Currently Mark sits on the board of FarmFolk CityFolk and volunteers his time mentoring individuals and businesses entering the organic food industry.

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,
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.

Advisors

Moira Teevan/Kira Gerwing
Community Investments
Vancity Credit Union