Executive Director: It is fair to say that Keltie Butler has her hands in many local pies. The Executive Director of Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia Cooperative, Keltie has previously worked with the Food Action Committee of the Ecology Action Centre as well as Toronto Refugee Community Non-Profit Home and Housing and as an instructor with St. Lawrence College (Sustainable Local Food Certificate). Thanks to many years of apprenticing and working on small-scale organic farms, Keltie more than whet her appetite for agriculture. She and her partner Michael now own and operate Small Holdings Farm in Pictou County. At the heart of her love of local food and farming is the unstoppable ability of food to bring people together regardless of language, culture, or age. Keltie is passionate about community development, food security, agriculture and she has a serious sweet tooth.
Marketing & Administration Coordinator: A longtime farmers’ market supporter, Alicia Steeves comes to the cooperative with a love of local food and craft. Alicia has worked on several certified organic mixed vegetable farms, and runs a small scale cut flower operation in Lunenburg, NS. With a background in writing and photography, along with years of experience as the social media coordinator for the award-winning Halifax Crafters Society craft market, Alicia is passionate about promoting local products, makers and markets by telling their stories.
Director of Training : Michelle Wolf is a certified coach, education trainer, and Director of Training for Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia. She has worked with over 200 farm owners, managers, and entrepreneurs to help them grow successful markets and businesses through her extremely popular training programs and as private clients. Michelle owned and operated a profitable farm-based herb company for 20+ years and sold at farmers’ markets for 18 years, also managing a mid-size farmers’ market for six years and winning Market Manager of the Year. Michelle speaks at direct marketing, farmers’ market, organic agriculture and sustainable lifestyle conferences throughout North America, and we are proud that she is one of our own. She is a dynamic, engaging workshop facilitator with a wealth of organic production and agricultural business experience, and a sought-after motivational speaker on business and personal development topics. www.WholeGreenHeart.com.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President: Ashley Martin is a graduate of Saint Mary’s University with a degree in Environmental Studies and Biology. Working in the not-for-profit sector, Ashley has been involved in event coordination, fundraising and research. In 2009, she took over managing the Hubbards Farmers’ Market and, in 2011, she began managing the year-round Lunenburg Farmers’ Markets as well. Ashley continues in these positions, having become a mainstay and expert in the NS farmers’ market sector.
Vice President: Margaret Ells Congdon grew up on a mixed farm in the Annapolis Valley, where she gained an appreciation for working on the land, growing your own food and supporting local small business. She attended the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and received a Bachelor of Science in Plant Protection. She has lived in Great Village for the past 30-odd years, where she has gardener, raised four children and worked as a caterer and personal chef. Following the example of her parents, she has been an active volunteer with church, community and 4-H throughout the years. In January 2016 she was hired as the Manager of the Truro Farmers’ Market Cooperative. She loves her job as it gives her an opportunity to talk with customers, promote talented producers and craftspeople, partner with the community, and talk about food production and security.
Treasurer: Living on a former dairy farm in Scotsburn (though not currently commercially farming), Dave Hachey comes to this position with interest in food for the role it can play in our culture and future economic success. He spent 10 years on Wall Street as a trader, two years training traders in India and East Asia, is a tech entrepreneur and supervised the birth of over 300 lambs while restoring his farm to productive use. He is optimistic about the talent and energy he sees rejuvenating rural Nova Scotia and believes skill sharing and a supportive ecosystem can help us all eat and live better. He has a day job as a Pricing Analyst at Sobeys, Inc. and is married to Christine Whelan (www.wonkyeye.ca). They have 2 kids: Simon and Izzy, Slipper (dog), Nugget (cat), and a flock of chickens that look funny when they run.
Secretary: Jessie Palmer grew up on an organic farm in Cape Breton and has been a vendor at markets across Nova Scotia since she was a teen. As an adult, she spent years overseas frequenting local markets and loved developing connections with the vendors. She founded Cabbage Patch Kimchi 3 years ago, and has grown the company through the Halifax Forum Farmers’ and Seaport Market. Her products are now carried in stores across the province. Jessie holds a degree in international development from Dalhousie and lives in Halifax where she also works with the Immigrant Settlement Association of Nova Scotia. She is excited to be a part of the board to help promote and support local markets.
Member at Large: Being a child of a military family, we had opportunity to travel and live in exotic places but I mainly spent my formative years growing up in the Annapolis Valley. As a youth, I learned an appreciation for agriculture by picking strawberries in the summers and apples in the fall. It was the practice in those days for schools to send students to harvest the apple crop as labour was hard to find. Following in my father’s footsteps, I spent 32 years in the Canadian Forces, travelling and living in foreign lands, For many years, I was active with Scouts Canada as a leader and involved with many other organizations. Upon retirement, I began fulltime work with Askwurks Inc., a small woodworking business that mainly sells its products at local farmers’ markets around the Halifax region. I am looking forward to being part of the next exciting phase of growth for the Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia Cooperative, working with very talented team members with genuine interest in sustaining a healthy farming community.
Member at Large: Robin Johnston is the owner-operator of Robin’s Roost Farm, a small-scale vegetable farm on the South Shore. She sells the majority of her produce direct to customers at two farmers’ markets – the Lunenburg Farmers’ Market and Privateer Farmers’ Market in Liverpool. In addition to being a vendor, Robin is an enthusiastic market shopper and the secretary/treasurer of the Privateer Farmers’ Market. Her passion for farmers’ markets stems from a life long love of good food and the joy of sharing this love with other people. As the newest member of the FMNS board she looks forward to continuing to learn more about the farmers’ market sector in Nova Scotia.
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