Board of Directors
Marla Carlson BA, BSc
My interest in organics began 17 years ago when I started to become interested in how the food I was eating was being produced. At the time I was living in the south west of England, in the heart of organic agriculture, and began to develop direct relationships with the organic farmers that were growing the food I was eating. When it was time to move back to Regina seven years ago, I accepted a position at Farmer Direct Co-op to develop and manage the domestic fair trade program. During my time at the Co-op I also had the opportunity to develop the Co-op’s governance framework, oversee human resources and be a part of the team that launched the Farmer Direct Co-op brand - the first domestic fair trade, organic good brand in the marketplace. I have recently started to work part time for the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate (SOD). SOD is currently going through a revitalization process and I am looking forward to applying all that have learned and the connections I have made in the organic industry to work with the board to strengthen the organization to ensure that it meets its full potential. In addition to the Organic Connections Board, I have also served as a founding board member and Chair of the Domestic Fair Trade Association and a member representative on the Saskatchewan Co-operative Association. Prior to my job with SOD I was a Board member of the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate overlapping with my work on the Organic Connections Board. I continue to be a committed organic consumer, gardener and cook. I love the work that I do knowing that it is contributing to developing and maintaining the infrastructure that is needed to ensure that organic farmers are supported, markets are developed and consumers are educated on the benefits of living an ‘organic life’.
Debbie is a founding member of the Organic Connections Board of Directors, and served as its President from the beginning until 2015. She has been an active participant in the local, National and International organic communities since 1990. Her “hats” have been many and varied. At various times over the last several years she has served as: the manager of the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) Canada, the Foreign Affairs Director for OCIA International, voting member of the Canadian General Standards Board Technical Committee, Board member for the Organic Ag Centre of Canada, Administrator and later Board member for the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate (SOD), advisor to the SOD Organic Agriculture Protection Fund Committee, President of OCIA International, President of the IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements) Accredited Certifiers Association, and numerous other Boards and Committees. She has delivered presentations and workshops on various aspects of the organic food system at conferences around the world and also to smaller groups of students, producers or consumers.
At the moment she is President and Chief Financial Officer for SW Sask OCIA Chapter 8 as well as Editor of the Organic Alberta magazine, accreditation committee member to the International Organic Accreditation Service (IOAS), and one of the original, still serving members of the National Organic Value Chain Round Table.
Debbie and her husband Ian moved to the Miller family farm at Lisieux, in the rolling hills of Southern Saskatchewan, in 1979. By 1990 they had come to the realization that not only were they poisoning their land and themselves with their intensive chemical use, but they were also slowly going broke in the process. There had to be a better environment in which to raise their two children, Dustin and Nancy. They bit the bullet and began the transition to organic production. By 1993 all 1100 acres were 100% OCIA certified. Ian passed away in 2012, and although Debbie still lives on the farm she is no longer an active farmer. In addition to her “organic” activities she operates a travel agency from her home, and spends her winters running a Bed and Breakfast in Costa Rica, serving as many fresh, local and organic ingredients as she can source.
Janet works at P.H.S Organics. Prairie Heritage Seed Organics is an organic grain company located in Radville Saskatchewan. Its main commodity is Kamut, but they also deal in Flax, Wheat, Peas and feed grains. Prior to working at P.H.S. Organics Janet worked as an Agricultural Lender for 15 years in accounting and dealing with farmers. Along with working at P.H.S. Organics, Janet and her husband Alex also manage an Organic family farm with family members. Janet has been working in the agricultural industry for over 25 years. She has volunteered on Organic Connections for the past two conferences and is excited to be on the Board and helping to support organic farmers. Janet and Alex have three children; Broden who is 16, Aline who is 14 and Erin who is ten.
My start into the world of organic food began at the very young age of ten when my parents decided to become organic farmers. I feel that growing up on an organic farm, along with the living off the land lifestyle my parents promoted, shaped the direction I took as a young adult. I went to university and worked on the farm in the summer, finally completing a degree in Environmental Sciences. Once I was done my degree I thought getting a job would be pretty easy but I was very wrong. I had zero work experience in the environmental field but lots of organic farming experience. I was able to secure a few contracts doing research or working in the field but these were temporary jobs that didn't really make me feel like I was making the world a better place. My big break happened when I got a contract with Brenda Frick at the OACC. For the first time I felt really happy about the work I was doing, and loved working with organic farmers. I spent three years with the OACC and then my life changed again. My husband and I had two wonderful children who I have had the privilege to stay at home with for the last 6 years. Only recently have I stepped back into the working away from home. I am currently working for Ecocert in Saskatoon as their customer service person for the certified organic farmers in western Canada. Ecocert has been really great and I truly enjoy working with farmers again. I think that farming is one of the hardest jobs out there and the number of people who know how to farm is becoming less and less. So organic farmers should be very proud of themselves, they provide food for many many people and they don't pollute, contaminate or destroy life to do it. That is why I decided that working with this group of people is the best way to work with people who are also trying to change the world and make it a better place.
Mark Gimby was raised on a mixed farm at Marsden, SK. He graduated from the School of Agriculture, U of S., in 1977 and began work at the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) in 1978 as a technologist. Mark worked on projects that looked at energy use on organic farms and the viability of organic agriculture techniques.
In 1989 Mark went was licensed by the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) as an organic inspector.
He headed the Development of the Organic Producers Information Service (OPIS) which included a data base and a newsletter aimed at linking producers with International buyers.
Mark worked with Indigenous groups in Central America with CUSO & CIDA to help develop markets for the crops they produced.
Mark left the SRC in 1980 and joined Growers International Organic Sales, Inc., the largest exporter of organic grains in Canada. Mark is the exclusive grain buyer for the company.
Mark has contributed greatly to the growth of the organic sector on the Prairies and has sat on many boards and committees. He is a founding Board member of Organic Connections.
I was born and raised on a farm east of Kenaston Saskatchewan. We started farming conventionally in 1972. We have an organic grain and beef operation since 1992 with our son, his wife and family.
I have been involved with the organic industry in the following Capacities:
- Former National President of Canadian Organic Growers
- Past President of Saskatchewan Organic Directorate
- Chair of SOD/Organic Agriculture Protection Fund
- Former Saskatchewan Representative on Organic Federation of Canada
- Former Vice President of the Organic Federation of Canada
- Voting member of the C.G.S.B. Expert Committee on Organic Agriculture
- On the SOD Food Miles Committee
- Founding Board member of Organic Connections Conference
- Twice Past President of the Kenaston Lions Club
Lisa Mumm was raised on her family’s organic seed and sheep farm, and is a fourth generation farmer. She is passionate about everything organic, from seeds and soil to marketing and promotion. Together with her parents, Jim & Maggie Mumm, she runs the family farm and business, Mumm’s Sprouting Seeds. When Lisa isn’t growing seed in the field, selling seed from the office, or sprouting seed into sprouts and microgreens, she loves gardening, and wild harvesting, and spending time with her horses.
Lisa actively works to promote the rights of farmers and consumers to grow and eat non-GMO food. She works with the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network in its efforts to stop GM Alfalfa, and is a member of the SOD: Organic Agriculture Protection Fund Committee. Lisa also sits on the board of directors of the Canada Organic Trade Association.
Denis and Vonnie live in the Dysart area near where Denis grew up on a mixed farm. They have three grown children and one granddaughter.
Since purchasing the farm in 1974 Denis has managed it organically. It wasn’t until the mid 1980’s when we first certified the land as organic. After working in the retail industry for 23 years he decided to further his education and took Inspector training through the distance education course at the Assiniboine College. Since 2000 he has been an Independent Organic Inspector inspecting throughout Canada for a number of Certifying bodies.
During his years involved in the organic industry, Denis has served on various organic boards including Saskatchewan Organic Directorate, OCIA, and is currently on the OCIA Research and Education Board.
Denis always looks forward to seeing every one at the Organic Connections Conference.
Trina and her husband Troy have an organic grain farm at Rockglen, SK. She grew up in the area and attended the University of Saskatchewan receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree and the University of Regina where she received a Bachelor of Education degree. Trina lived and taught school in northern Alberta for two years, she and Troy then returned to Rockglen to farm and decide organics was the best choice for them. They very much enjoy the farm lifestyle and see many exciting possibilities in organic farming. Trina is a substitute teacher which enables her to spend more time at home with her three young children. This is Trina’s third year on the Board of Directors you can meet her at the Organic Connections Booth.
Marion farms with her husband Ray at Moosomin where they have an organic grain farm, though they live in Regina. Their land has been managed organically since 1991 but was certified in 1995. During her years involved in this industry, Marion has served on the local chapter Board in a variety of capacities, on the OCIA International Board and various committees of OCIA and on the Research and Education Board of OCIA International. Over the past three years, Marion has been the President and Chair of the former OCIA Canada, now known as TCO Cert, a newly incorporated and accredited, not for profit, organic certification body headquartered in Humboldt.
Marion worked as a Teacher Assistant with the Regina Public School Board specializing in work with students with various disabilities for close to 20 years. Ray and Marion have four grown children and three grandchildren. They like to travel and often combine travel with some form of involvement with organic agriculture. In 2009 Marion retired from the school system and worked as the Media Coordinator for the Food Miles Committee of the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate where she helped to create the Dining with the Stars 13 part television series. Most recently, she works half time for Farmer Direct Cooperative as the Agricultural Justice Internal Auditor. She is a member of the Organic Round Table, the Grains Round Table and the rep for her municipality for the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS). Marion was the Event Coordinator for Organic Connections from 2011- 2015.
Carla Borsa, PAg
Carla has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan. She serves on the Agribition Board of Directors and has chaired the Education, 4-H and Scholarship areas, currently she is chairing the livestock file. As a past 4-H member she enjoys giving back to the program through judging and volunteering.
Carla has a complementary part time contract with the Saskatchewan Young Ag Entrepreneurs as their General Manager. Carla also has her own company - Prairie Ag Business Management specializing in project, event and administrative management services in the agriculture industry. She resides near Waldheim, SK where her and her husband have a small herd of cattle. Carla looks forward to planning the 2018 Organic Connections Conference and Tradeshow.