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Organic Connections

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Organic Connections

Organic HeroesCelebrating the Organic Sector on the Prairies

Honoured at Organic Connections 2022

Brenda Frick

Dr. Brenda Frick describes herself this way: I have had a diverse career based on a solid science background, a dedication to organics, and more than thirty years as a liaison between the scientific community and the organic community. My role has been to listen, learn, and share information to facilitate the growth of organics.

Brenda brings an interesting blend of education to her work. She studied at the University of Regina for her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees, completed a PhD in Weed Ecology at the University of Western Ontario and then returned to Saskatchewan. She added a Degree in Education from the University of Saskatchewan and then Organic Crop Inspection certification. 

Organic farmers tend to know Brenda for her work in research, communication, inspection or teaching. She worked as the Prairie Co-ordinator, based at the U of S, for the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada from 2003-2010. She conducted organic inspections for various certification organizations from 2011-2018.

Brenda left lasting gifts by editing and writing portions of the 2nd edition of Organic Farming on the Prairies (2013) and being a contributing author of the Organic Field Crop Handbook (Canadian Organic Growers, 3rd Edition, 2017). Many read her organic columns in the Western Producer (2003-2015). She wrote or cowrote numerous extension factsheets, and spoke at meetings large and small. She revamped and still teaches the award winning (2013) Distance Education course for U of S: Weed Control in Organic Agriculture (2007 to present).

Brenda has mentored others interested in Organics, helped organize conferences (was an Organic Connections advisor and board member from 2003 to 2013), and has done important consulting work in the organic sector. She worked with a Saskatchewan First Nation to develop and deliver an organic school garden/greenhouse/cooking program. 

Honoured at Organic Connections 2022

Scott Beaton

Scott works for Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation primarily doing easements and wetland restoration, and work to maximize carbon sequestration and resilience in farming systems. In his spare time, Scott operates a 640-acre organic farm near Rosser, MB along with his wife Jenny and their adorable daughter, Charlotte and new guy Callum. His farm includes 120 acres of conservation lands. The remaining acres are dedicated to crop production incorporating livestock as a management tool. One of the most impressive things about Scott's farming career is it's very humble start. Scott started without very many assets and has built his successful operation on his own hardwork and perseverance.

Scott has a clear idea of what he sees as the future of his farm with goals set that support the idea of sustainable organic agriculture that does more with less. His goals are 1. Improve soils 2. Grow good, healthy food 3. Minimize inputs and energy that must be paid for and 4. Derive sustainable income enough to support one family on one section of land. Scott is very knowledgeable on the most recent developments of organic grain production, is very well read, and is very meticulous in his farming career.

Scott's farm is a special example of what can be possible when an agricultural system is managed on the ecosystem level. Scott is not afraid to implement big-picture ideas and concepts and demonstrate their effectiveness in a commercial cash crop system. He has done an incredible amount of work establishing shelter belts to provide food and shelter for wildlife all while increasing the yields of his crops. He was also a participant in the operation pollinator program which allowed him to convert several acres of land to permanent habitat for pollinators and other wildlife.

Scott is also active in on the Prairie Organic conference organizing committee and is the host of the informative Grain on the Brain podcast now available through the Manitoba Organic Alliance

( On this podcast Scott has interviewed experts in organic agriculture such as researchers, other farmers, grain buyers and extension specialists. This is a great resource for organic farmers in the prairie region and serves to highlight the progressive and innovative work happening in organic agriculture in the prairies.

Honoured at Organic Connections 2022

Will Oddie

Will Oddie has been an organic champion since switching to organic production in 1989. With his total commitment to the organic movement, Will has worked tirelessly to increase the profile of organic production and lent his efforts to several organic organizations in Saskatchewan, Canada and internationally. A long-time proponent of the benefits of farmers sharing their knowledge, Will continues to support organic farmer education by organizing seminars, webinars, workshops, and field days. He is also strong supporter of dedicated and applied organic research. 

Will’s understanding that strong organizations are the backbone of a strong community is reflected in his many decades of volunteerism in the organic industry. Even before becoming certified in 1991, Will became a founding member of the OCIA SK Chapter 4 (now TCO Cert Chapter 4), a commitment continuing to the present day. Will served in multiple executive and committee positions (President, Secretary and Treasurer) and currently serves as Secretary of the Chapter. Will is a firm believer that TCO meetings, with their educational component, give farmers a chance to share valuable information, critical to the improvement of the industry. 

In the 1990s, Will served on the Executive of OCIA International and when it changed to a Board Structure, he served on the Board for two years (early 2000s), serving one year as Chair of the organization. Will is very grateful for the other organic heroes, and those yet to be named, who worked tirelessly with him on that Board. 

In 1998, Will was involved in the creation of the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate (SOD) and served a two-year term as President. When Sask Organics was formed in 2015, Will served on the inaugural Board of Directors as Treasurer and later as President. Will is currently the Board Secretary and Chair of the Education & Research Committee. Will has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to strengthening organic organizations over the past three decades. 

Will has been an organic farmer for over 30 years and his commitment to continuous learning and sharing his knowledge are reflected in willingness to undertake on farm research projects. This illustrates his understanding of the importance of farmer engagement in developing tools to meet the agronomic challenges and to help ensure the sustainability, resiliency, and profitability of their operations. Will and his wife Elaine have also hosted field days on their farm, where he not only shares the results from his own on farm research but puts together a full program including presentations from researchers, technicians, provincial government specialists and equipment demonstrations, providing an information-rich program with the best of hospitality. 

Will is passionate about the need for good applied organic research and for the need to get research results out to organic producers, in a format easily applicable at the farm level. He has been instrumental in the early development of Sask Organics education program and is constantly looking for new and different ways to get the agronomic word out, especially to farmers who may not be attending the workshops, field days and conferences. 

Will is driven by the notion that the organic industry cannot rest on its laurels - that organic production needs to move beyond mere elimination of prohibited products. Will believes that real progress for organics will involve a much greater emphasis on advancing soil health with its subsequent improvement in food nutrition and ongoing farm profitability. 

Will is a natural mentor. A willingness to learn and to ‘have a go’ are important attributes for folks working with him on his farm – something his kids and grandkids will also attest to. Will is generous with his many skills – from wood working to farm machinery repairs – and patient with his mentees providing them with the support they need to successfully complete any task he asks of them, leaving them with a sense of accomplishment as well as a new skill set. A strong family man, Will is also a much-loved husband, father and a grandfather of nine. 

Honoured at Organic Connections 2018

Arnold Taylor

Arnold was born and raised on a farm east of Kenaston, Saskatchewan. He and his wife Sharon started farming conventionally in 1972. They have an organic grain and beef operation since 1992 with their son, his wife and family. He has 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 SaskOrganics/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
Arnold was first certified in 1992 and at that time and in subsequent years he used the statement  "organics put the fun back into farming". It is still fun!