Organic Connections

Organic Connections

Organic Connections

Organic Connections

Organic Connections

Organic Connections

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Organic HeroesCelebrating the Organic Sector on the Prairies

Honoured at Organic Connections 2018


Debbie

Debbie and her husband Ian moved to the Miller family farm at Lisieux in 1979. By 1990 farming wasn’t fun anymore.  They were poisoning their land and themselves with their intensive chemical use. This was not an environment they wanted for their children, Dustin and Nancy. They bit the bullet and began the transition to organic production. By 1993 all 1100 acres were 100% certified organic. Farming was fun again.
At that time there was very little information available on how to farm organically.  Synergy magazine published a story about an organic farmer located in southern Saskatchewan. Ian found his number and called him. Together they founded OCIA chapter #8 to make it easier for farmers to share information. The chapter attracted so many like-minded farmers that Debbie quit her day job and became the first chapter administrator. Debbie learned at a young age that if you see something that needs doing – you do it. She saw a need for people to help in setting up new organizations and to work on organic standards, certification and accreditation systems. So, she did it. Her work took her to several interesting places across Canada and around the world. She visited farms growing everything from coffee to beans to rice. Witnessing the strength and endurance of farmers everywhere was a humbling experience. She learned there were really no differences at all.
 
Sample of Debbie’s organic involvement:
- Organic Connections Founding President
- International Organic Accreditation Service (IOAS) accreditation committee
- Member first Organic Value Chain Round Table
- Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) International President as well as service on several international level committees
- IFOAM Accredited Certification Bodies Association Founding President
- Columnist for Canadian Organic Growers Magazine
- Editor, Organic Alberta magazine
- Saskatchewan Organic Directorate (SOD) Administrator, Board member, Chair of Production Manual Committee, and Food Miles Committee
- Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) voting member
- OCIA Canada Regional Manager
- SOD Organic Agriculture Protection Fund (OAPF) Advisor
- Organic Ag Centre of Canada (OACC) Board Member
- U of S Trade/Market Analyst Steering Committee Member
- U of S Prairie Research Coordinator Steering Committee Member
- Canada-Ukraine Farm Program: project consultant/partner
- Invited guest to Terra Madre slow food conference in Italy
- Organic Regulatory Committee member
- Canadian National Organic Coalition (CNOC) founding member
- Organic Alberta Finance and Member Services Manager
 
Ian passed away in 2012. Debbie left the farm and moved to Alberta to work with Organic Alberta. She enjoys living closer to her daughter Nancy and is delighted that her son Dustin and family have moved back to the farm and are re-imagining it in new and wonderful ways.