Speakers 2020

Joel Williams

Plant and Soil health Educator, Integrated Soils

Joel Williams is an independent plant and soil health educator and presenter on soil dynamics, plant nutrition and integrated approaches of agroecological farming. Joel integrates soil chemical and biological assessments, along with plant nutritional analyses as a joined-up strategy for managing crop production. He has a keen interest in managing plant diversity, soil microbial ecology and plant and soil nutrition to optimise soil function and crop immunity. Joel has worked throughout Australia and Europe and is currently based in Canada. He has a passion for teaching and sharing both scientific and practical information on soil health and agroecology and has lectured to farming audiences internationally.

Caroline Halde

Assistant Professor in Agroecology, Université Laval


Dr. Caroline Halde is an assistant professor in agroecology at Université Laval. She grew up on an organic dairy and grain farm near Montreal, QC. She received a B.Sc. in Agronomy from Université Laval, a M.Sc. in Agriculture from Dalhousie University, and a Ph.D. in Plant Science from the University of Manitoba. She has completed her postdoctoral studies in weed ecology at Cornell University. She now leads the Agroecology Lab, with multidisciplinary research interests in soil health, nutrient cycling, agronomy, and ecology. She co-designed the Summer School in Agroecology at Université Laval.

David Montgomery

Geologist and Professor in Geomorphology, University of Washington


David R. Montgomery is a MacArthur Fellow and professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington. He is an internationally recognized geologist who studies landscape evolution and the effects of geological processes on ecological systems and human societies. An author of award-winning popular-science books, such as Growing a Revolution: Bringing our Soil Back to Life (2017), The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health (2015) and Dirt: The Erosion of Civilization (2007) he has been featured in documentary films, network and cable news, and on a wide variety of TV and radio programs, including NOVA, PBS NewsHour, Fox and Friends, and All Things Considered. His books have been translated into nine languages. He lives in Seattle, with his wife Anne Biklé and their black lab guide-dog dropout Loki. Connect with him at www.dig2grow.com or follow him on Twitter (@dig2grow).

Dominic Lamontagne

Associate Founder, En Pleine Gueule

In 2003, Dominic Lamontagne and his wife founded the Naked Lunch Gastronomie in Montreal, where traditional catering meets ready-to-eat canned goods. The adventure ended in 2012 when Dominic and his family moved to Sainte-Lucie-des-Laurentides to build a small artisanal farm that would allow them to feed a gourmet countryside restaurant. The project turned out to be impractical and led to the publication of the book “La ferme impossible” (foreword by Joel Salatin), an essay published by Écosociété in 2015, and then the practical guide “L’artisan fermier” (the "Artisan Farmer", foreword by Marc Séguin), published in 2019 with this same publisher. Since then, the couple has campaigned tirelessly for the legalization of small-scale artisanal farming.

Mkomosé (Andrew Judge)

Coordinator of Indigenous Studies, Conestoga College


Mkomosé (Dr. Andrew Judge) is coordinator of Indigenous Studies at Conestoga College, sessional Lecturer at Sir Wilfrid Laurier University, and former visiting professor at the Center for Engaged Learning Abroad in Cayo District, Belize. He specializes in traditional Indigenous knowledge, ethno-medicine, and land based learning. Mkomosé regularly works with Elders to support conscious awakening to respond to the current state of society. Andrew is an initiated Mayan day keeper and participates in the ancient ceremonial practices of his Anishinaabeg ancestors. In 2018 Andrew founded Minjimendan (In a state of remembering - minjimendan.com) an Indigenous foods garden dedicated to restoring the vitality of Earth.

Louis Robert

Agronomist for Quebec's Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ)


Louis Robert is an agronomist with more than thirty years of experience in agriculture in Quebec within the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Quebec (MAPAQ). His expertise is in soil management, cropping practices, fertilization, crop rotations, farm manure management and alternative crops. After bringing to light the influence of the pesticide lobby in research, he was dismissed from his position at MAPAQ in 2018. He returned to his job 10 months later, receiving an apology from the Prime Minister of Quebec, François Legault.

Corine Singfield

Farmer and Researcher for the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems in British Columbia


Corine Singfiled has been a farmer for almost two decades. She has a deep commitment to creating integrated and closed loop agricultural systems that merge production and ecosystem functions. In the past, she has managed farms and led the creation of farm education programs. She now works for the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems as a researcher in organic and regenerative agriculture. Her research focuses on the integration of crop and livestock systems. She is looking at low-till and no till methods for restoring depleting soils using intensive rotational animal grazing.

Nicole Tautges

Cropping Systems Scientist and Research Director at UC Davis's Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility


Nicole is a Cropping Systems Scientist and Research Director at UC Davis's Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility. Nicole has conducted on-the-ground agricultural research in wheat, corn, beans, forage, and grazing systems, as well as working with Kernza, a new perennial grain crop. Her research focuses on increasing the diversity of crop rotations and landscape cover in agricultural production systems using a variety of techniques, including the incorporation of legumes, organic soil amendments (e.g. compost), and grazing into row crop rotations. She is especially interested in research linking soil microbial communities and activity to nutrient cycling and agroecosystem functioning, particularly in terms of productivity and economic outcomes for growers.

Mark Shepard

CEO of Restoration Agriculture Development

Mark Shepard is the author of Restoration Agriculture, a book written about New Forest Farm, a 110-acre perennial agricultural savanna, one of the first in the USA. NFF is a planned conversion of a typical row-crops grain farm into a commercial-scale, perennial agricultural ecosystem using oak savanna, successional brushland & eastern woodlands as the ecological models. Trees, shrubs, vines, canes, perennial plants & fungi are planted in association with one another to produce food (for humans and animals), fuel & medicines. Mark’s adapted keyline water management system is foundational to NFF and he currently helps others establish water systems of their own.

Sara Harper

Founder, Grounded Growth LLC

Over the past 20 years, Sara has developed deep expertise within the intersections of agriculture and climate change — and within business and sustainability. She worked as a legislative staffer on agricultural and environmental issues in the U.S. Senate on the agricultural carbon offset issue, built alliances between farmers, environmentalists and Republicans on the issue of climate change for Environmental Defense Fund and worked as a sustainability consultant for U.S. national farm associations and global agribusiness companies in the private sector. In late 2017, Sara launched Grounded Growth, LLC — a unique online resource platform that provides strategy, educational resources, connections and marketing. The members-only site is part private Linked-in, part nerdy Netflix -- all focused on building regenerative supply chains. Fueled by commercial scale regenerative farmer members, Grounded Growth is one of the few places that is opening doors for farmers to move beyond being a commodity -- and helping emerging brands embed regenerative ingredients into their brand value.

Ryan Boyd

Farmer and Owner, South Glanton Farms (MB)

Ryan is a family farmer who is passionate about soil health, forage efficient cattle and no-till cropping systems. Ryan operates a mixed farm just north of Forrest, Manitoba with his wife Sarah, daughter Piper, son Bingham, and parents Jim and Joanne Boyd. He was recently awarded a 2019 Nuffield Farming Scholarship, allowing him to travel the world to learn more about grazing systems with ruminants and their agroecological benefits.

Kris Nichols

Soil Microbiologist and founder of KRIS (Knowledge for Regeneration and Innovation in Soil)


Dr. Kris Nichols is the founder and principal scientist of KRIS (Knowledge for Regeneration and
Innovation in Soil) Systems Education & Consultation. She currently works as a Soil
Microbiologist and Research Consultant with Food Water Wellness Foundation, MyLand
Technologies LLC and Understanding Ag., LLC. Previously, she was Rodale Institute’s Chief
Scientist from 2014-2017 and a Research (Soil) Microbiologist with the USDA, Agricultural
Research Service (ARS) for 14 years. Kris has B.S. degrees in Plant Biology and in Genetics
and Cell Biology from the University of Minnesota, an M.S. in Environmental Microbiology from
West Virginia University, and a Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of Maryland. Her focus
is addressing current and future agricultural needs by building upon a soil health foundation to
identify biological tools to enhance soil health, water and nutrient use efficiencies, pest and
disease management, and mitigate climate change to provide long-term solutions to agricultural
economic viability, food insecurity, and ecosystem services loss. Kris grew up on a 640-acre
grain farm in SW Minnesota. Dr. Nichols has received several awards including the 2012
Conservation Research Award from the International Soil and Water Conservation Society and
has over 25 peer-reviewed publications as well as been quoted in numerous outreach

Abe Collins

Grazier, consultant, cofounder of LandStream, Inc. and a founding board member of the Soil Carbon Coalition


Abe Collins is a grazier, consultant, cofounder of LandStream, Inc. and a founding board member of the Soil Carbon Coalition. Abe has worked over his life to grow topsoil, shepherd deserts back into prairies, measure landscape function, and build practical tools to equip farmers and ranchers to contract their services growing natural capital and ecosystem services. He has grazed sheep, beef and dairy cattle and lives in Winooski, VT.

Vivian Kaloxilos

Owner & Principal Consultant, DocTerre

Vivian studied at the School of Environment at McGill which spearheaded her passion to find solutions to both ecological and social crises. She has also been studying, observing permauculture and agroecological principles for close to a decade. Her goal was to apply these ecological concepts as solutions towards mitigating disastrous biodiversity loss, increasingly abrupt weather patterns, world hunger and clean water shortages. With ecological field work training with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in 2011, Vivian confirmed that applied field ecology was the direction to go in. In 2013 she went on to study with Dr. Elaine Ingham of Soil Foodweb Inc, training in soil ecology, applied microbial soil regeneration, high quality compost, and more. In 2015, after a few years of getting the hang of the practical aspects of this knowledge, she founded Docterre. Docterre is a consulting service and laboratory which offers regenerative soil services in Quebec and Canada, offering assistance and support in educational, scientific and practical applications of soil regeneration. From 2015 to 2018, Vivian worked with Dr. Ingham part time, training soil life ecologists around the globe. Alongside four brilliant women, Vivian worked to create the “Living Soil Symposium Montréal -- Restore the Climate, Feed the World,” event which took place over three days at Concordia University in 2017. To this day, Docterre continues to collaborate with various actors; honoured to lend support to farmers, ranchers, municipalities, other ecologists, compost companies, businesses and schools from across the province and the country as they transition themselves towards regenerative soil and ecological management systems, and as they wish to understand their own systems. Vivian is also one of a growing number of artists participating in the Art of Regeneration initiative, providing thought provoking and inspiring messages of empowerment and concrete progressive changes through musical performances.

Gillian Flies

Owner, The New Farm


Gillian Flies worked as a human rights investigator, aid worker, election observer and management consultant on four continents before finding her true calling as a farmer. In 2003 she and her husband, Brent Preston, abandoned successful careers in Toronto, packed up their two young children, and moved to a run-down farm outside Creemore, Ontario. Since then, they have built The New Farm into a thriving business and a leading light in the good food movement, providing vegetables to some of the best restaurants in Canada and raising over a million dollars to make local, organic food accessible in low income communities. Gillian is the President of the Canadian Organic Growers and is a leader in the organic and regenerative farming movement. She speaks often on food and farming issues.

Adam York

Farmer and Co-Founder, AgriBio Systems


Adam York is a fifth-generation farmer in Central Illinois. Having never been satisfied with the status quo, he is always trying to improve yield on the farm. He was taught to farm conventionally from those around him, including his grandfather, father, uncle, fertilizer salesmen and professors. While they were gaining yield, they were also spending a fortune doing so and even worse, they were damaging the soil. In 2012, he started some trials on the farm with biologicals and started to see that this might be the future of agriculture. With continued self-education and through close collaboration with educated people, Adam and his partner Brad Hobrock started AgriBio Systems in 2016. This has led to improved education, understanding and success for not only his own farm but other farms as well.

Paul Hrycyk

Project Manager, PUR Projet

Paul is an adaptive manager, problem solver, and soil expert with a strong understanding of carbon dynamics and sequestration potential under various agricultural management practices. After earning his MSc in Soil Science, Paul joined PUR Projet as Project Manager and lead on Regenerative Agriculture topics, where he develops, implements, manages and monitors ecosystem restoration projects in agricultural landscapes across North America. Paul works with PUR Projet’s clients to support the adoption of regenerative practices within their own supply chain and reduce their scope three emissions through insetting projects.

Catherine Lefebvre

Podcast Host, Radio-Canada Ohdio

Catherine Lefebvre co-hosts, "On s’appelle et on déjeune", a podcast by Radio-Canada OHdio about food. Passionate about travel and culinary culture, she is especially interested in the history of agriculture and of typical dishes of each country. She regularly shares her travels in Le Devoir.

Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin

Owner-Founder Regeneration Farm LLC, Founder+ President Regenerative Agriculture Alliance


A native Guatemalan, Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin began working on economic development projects with indigenous Guatemalan communities in 1988. He served as a consultant for the United Nations Development Program’s Bureau for Latin America and as an advisor to the World Council of Indigenous Peoples. He was a founding member of the Fair-Trade Federation in 1994. Before coming to the U.S. in 1992, Regi worked with artisan communities across the highlands of Guatemala, connecting their small enterprises with fair trade networks in Europe, the U.S. and Canada. Regi’s has pioneered innovations in a Regenerative Poultry System that is at the center of a multitude of national and international initiatives. This system is designed to be uniquely aligned with the social, economic and ecological conditions of small farms and marginalized communities and is designed for large-scale and global impact. At the Regenerative Agriculture Alliance, Regi works on system-level strategies designed for global application, currently, his work covers communities in the US (Northfield, MN, Omaha, Mead and Winnebago NE, Pine Ridge SD), Hazelton British Columbia, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. Most recently, Regi authored a book titled “In the Shadow of Green Man”, My Journey from Poverty and Hunger to Food Security and Hope.

Suzanne Allaire

Owner, GECA Environnement

Suzanne Allaire has been working in environmental science for more than 25 years. She has collaborated with a wide range of industries, private companies, government agencies and research institutions to reduce the impact of humans on the environment by adding value to residues, protecting soil and improving carbon balances; the last 13 years being mainly on biochar and pyrolysis of residues. She has worked as a full professor at Laval University for 16 years, then started her own business. As owner of GECA Environnement, she works as an expert on biochar, pyrolysis products and their markets along with optimisation of their properties for their best usages. She supports municipalities, companies and organizations in various aspects of pyrolysis projects such as selection of technology, market development, R&D, project management, etc. She is a board member of the International Biochar Initiative, the most important organisation about biochar in the world. She has written over 500 publications related to the environment for various countries and types of audiences.

Valerie Gabriel


Valerie Karonhiatakwen Gabriel is a Kanien’kehá:ka environmental, wildlife, and agricultural consultant with over 20 years of experience in the agricultural sector and 10 years in the environmental sector with significant effort towards developing sustainable business opportunities where there has been no such concept yet thriving in her community of Kanehsatake. Public speaking, agricultural and cultural educational programs and community based environmental sustainability projects have been at the core of Valerie’s local efforts of contributing to a better world. Valerie Gabriel is the owner of Nations Garlic, a small-scale intensive garlic, and multi-crop farm which focuses on teaching young adults the concepts of geography, kanien’kehá:ka culture, and biodiversity through the everyday interactions with food.

Todd Harrington

CEO, Harrington's Organics

Todd Harrington has decades of experience in regenerative organic and sustainable plant care specializing in the manufacturing and applying of compost extract, compost teas and compost, custom building compost tea extractors, brewers, and spray equipment-- a true pioneer of practical knowledge and experience in applied soil ecological regeneration. Todd began his journey as an arborist specializing in plant and landscape health. After a few years of working in the domain, he grew increasingly uncomfortable with the amounts and kinds of chemical products that were normally applied. He founded Harrington’s Organic Land Care 1987, to offer a landscape health service that worked with Organic fertilizers, amendments and liquid biologicals as opposed to chemical fertilizers and insecticides. Today, Todd continues to consult with farms and companies from around the United States and overseas, helping customers reach their goals and save valuable time and money. Over these past decades, the program that Todd has developed for soil regeneration that has shown consistent results, whether in large scale agriculture, conventional orchards, in green spaces and parcs, to soccer field and lawns. Todd’s passion from day one has been educating, consulting and teaching people and businesses how to transition from chemical dependent to a true regenerative and sustainable practice.

Steve Groff

Owner, Cover Crop Coaching/Hemp Innovators


Steve Groff and his family, farm 305 acres of cash grain crops, cover crops for seed, pumpkins, hard squash and heirloom tomatoes in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. For the past 25 years, his Cedar Meadow Farm has conducted
thousands of cover crop research trials- out of which he developed the Tillage Radish- known and used around the world. Steve is the founder of Cover Crop Coaching which educates farmers and farm advisors about effective cover crop use. Recently he launched Hemp Innovators, a subscription-based educational network for those interested in growing hemp.

Jérôme Laganière

Research scientist, Canadian Forest Service

Jérôme Laganière obtained his doctorate degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of Quebec in Montreal, where he studied carbon dynamics in the soils of boreal forest ecosystems. Dr. Laganière then joined a multidisciplinary research team at Memorial University of Newfoundland to assess the impact of climate change on the forests of Newfoundland and Labrador, at the watershed scale, and their importance in the global carbon cycle. He is now a research scientist at the Canadian Forest Service of Natural Resources Canada, and associate professor at the University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, where his research aims to better understand the issues related to the harvesting of forest biomass and its utilization to generate energy. In addition to his research on bioenergy, he is interested in the effects of planetary changes such as climate change, biodiversity loss and changes in land use, the functioning of forest soils, with an assumed penchant for carbon-related processes.

Rattan Lal

Professor of Soil Science and Director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center, Ohio State University.


Rattan Lal, Ph.D., is a Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science and Director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center, The Ohio State University, an Adjunct Professor of University of Iceland, and visiting professor at PUCV, Chile. He has been awarded seven honorary doctorate degrees from Norway, Germany, Spain, Moldova, India, Chile and USA. He was President of the World Association of Soil and Water Conservation (1987-1990), International Soil and Tillage Research Organization (1988-1991), Soil Science Society of America (2006-2008) and the International Union of Soil Sciences (2017-2018). His professional research interests include soil carbon sequestration for food and climate security, conservation agriculture, principles and practices of soil erosion control, eco-intensification of agroecosystems, soil restoration, and sustainable management of soils. He authored 950 journal articles, authored/edited 100 books, mentored 360 researchers from around the world, has a 145 h index, 97,000 total citations, and is editor of the Advances in Soil Science, and Encyclopedia of Soil Science. He has worked on six continents, travelled to 105 countries, and made on average one keynote international presentation per month since 1980. He is laureate of the 2018 GCHERA World Agriculture Prize (Nanjing, China), 2018 Glinka World Soil Prize (Rome, Italy), 2019 Japan Prize (Tokyo, Japan), and 2019 IFFCO Prize (New Delhi, India).

Fredy Perez Zelaya

Agronomist, Café Organico Marcala

Fredy Perez Zelaya is the lead agronomist for Cafe Organico Marcala, S.A. (COMSA), a coffee producer organization uniting more than 1,500 farmers from the department of La Paz, Honduras in the production, processing and sale of premium-quality, organic coffee. COMSA is recognized as a regional leader in the transition to regenerative organic practices, with Fredy serving as one of the primary architects and promoters of the organization’s methodology Finca Humana, (farming at a human scale), and their promotion of the "5M’s" (Organic Matter; Micro-organisms; Minerals, Living Molecules and Grey Matter). Their experimental farm and learning center, La Finca Fortaleza, offers monthly intensive workshops in organic best-practices and over the years, COMSA has trained thousands of farmers from their base of local farmers and learning delegations from across Latin America and beyond. COMSA is one of the leading coffee farmer organizations to experiment with the application of the Cool Farm Tool to calculate farmer carbon sequestration in their agroforestry production systems.

Monika Firl

Director of Sustainability, CoopCoffees

Monika Firl is the CoopCoffees Director of Sustainability. With more than 25 years in the coffee industry, she has worked as Green Coffee Buyer, Producer Relations and Projects Manager, and in Quality Control. For the past 6 years – Monika's primary sustainability focus has been on the coop’s “Carbon, Climate and Coffee” initiative, supporting coffee farmers to accelerate regeneration of their soils, reforestation and climate resiliency, and in 2020, to implement the Cool Farm Tool and the pilot project to issue environmental service payments to farmers in relation to their validated carbon sequestration. Prior to CoopCoffees, Monika worked with a variety of development initiatives while living in Central America and Mexico from 1991 to 2000. She founded and directed CENCITA, a community-focused information center on alternative technology based out of San Salvador; and she coordinated a regional Campesino a Campesino learning and exchange program, facilitating technical training and market development with coffee producers’ cooperatives and other farmer organizations. Monika holds a Master’s Degree in Journalism and a BA in International Relations.

Jordan Lebel (Host)

Associate Professor, Marketing of Food, Concordia University

Jordan Lebel's research focuses on hedonic and aesthetic consumption, especially as it relates to the definition of pleasure, its various dimensions, and its impact on decision making and behaviour in the areas of food choices and healthy eating and lifestyles. His research on comfort foods, and particularly chocolate, has been featured extensively in both broadcast and print media around the world. He is a regular commentator on food and restaurant marketing issues in the local and national media.

Marie-Élise Samson

Agronomist and Ph. D. Candidate in soil conservation, Université Laval

Marie-Elise Samson is trying to determine the best agricultural practices to put in place to store carbon in agricultural soils, and fight against climate change. An agronomist by training, she is passionate about fertility and soil health, which in turn can reduce our dependence on synthetic fertilizers.

Michelle Garneau

Geography Professor, UQAM

Michelle Garneau holds a bachelor's degree in physical geography and a master's degree in plant ecology from Laval University. She completed her doctorate in paleoecology in the biology department of the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. She worked as a researcher for almost 10 years at the Geological Survey of Canada where, among other things, she coordinated the paleoecology / paleoclimatology component of the Canadian High Arctic Climate Change Observatory on Ellesmere Island. She joined UQAM in 2001 as a professor in the geography department. She is a regular member of Geotop and an associate member of the Center d'études nordiques [Nordic Studies Center], two strategic groupings of the FRQNT. She is involved in several national and international research projects linking aspects of peatland dynamics and climate in the boreal and subarctic biomes. Since her arrival at UQAM, Michelle Garneau has supervised more than 50 master's students and more than 20 doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows. She has twice served on IPCC committees associated with the guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventories. In addition to her scientific activities, she is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Society for the conservation of the Lanoraie Bog.

Olivier Lalonde

Supply Chain Manager and Agronimist, Eko-Terre

Olivier Lalonde holds a bachelor's degree in agronomy, specializing in plant production, and a master's degree in plant biology, both obtained from Laval University. In 2010, he joined the CÉROM team, a public interest research center, during which he contributed to the development of the hemp sector in Quebec. He has now been employed by Eko-Terre since 2017, where his main responsibility is to develop the supply chain of natural fiber for textile applications. He is currently still pursuing certain research projects.

Caroline Magar (Host)

Landscape architect, member of the AAPQ


Caroline Magar is trained in environmental design and landscape architecture. She has been working for 10 years in Montreal in urban ecological planning.

Tannis Axten

Farmer, Axten Farms

Tannis farms at Minton, Saskatchewan with her family. Every action taken on the farm considers the impact it will have on the microorganisms living in the soil. With farming methods such as intercropping, using cover crops, controlled traffic farming, and composting, the family farm works to improve the health of their soil. These practices have revived their optimism for farming and made farming a lot more fun.

Genevieve Lawlor

Associate Designer | Outreach, Regenerative Design Group


Genevieve Lawlor is an Associate Designer with Regenerative Design Group (RDG), an award-winning ecological landscape architecture and planning firm that specializes in productive, resilient landscapes. She and her colleagues work on a wide range of projects, from broadscale regenerative agriculture planning to detailed urban farm design. Genevieve brings to her work a balance of analytical, conceptual, and on-the-ground skills, honed over many years working on agriculture and landscape projects domestically and abroad. Currently, Genevieve is on the team leading the Massachusetts Healthy Soils Action Plan, initiated to protect and enhance soil resources across all land types to support thriving ecosystems and communities in the Commonwealth. She holds a MA in Ecological Landscape Design and Planning from The Conway School.

Christian Taillon

Shareholder, Ferme Taillon et fils Inc

Christian Taillon lives in St-Prime in Lac-Saint-Jean where he has been a shareholder of Ferme Taillon et fils Inc since 1981. They are now 4 owners of a certified organic business since 2003. The farm produces organic milk with 75 dairy cows, packaged poultry (2.6 million kg / year) and has more than 800 hectares of cultivated land (wheat, buckwheat, barley, rye, flax, oats, hemp and fodder). The farm started growing hemp in 2004. To this date, hemp production covers over 150 hectares, which has enabled Christian to develop solid expertise in this production.

James Whetung

Founder, Black Duck Wild Rice

James Whetung was born in 1952 in Mud Lake Indian Reserve (now Curve Lake First Nation), Ontario. At that time, the Williams Treaty of 1923, which made access to traditional foods illegal, was actively enforced. James has worked for the past 38 years to restore his and his community’s connection to Manomin (wild rice) – one of the main sources of Anishinabek food security and food sovereignty. James has a B.A. in Native Studies/Cultural Studies from Trent University. He is the published author of “The Vision Seeker” and has participated in live theatre, television shows, and movies/documentaries about Indigenous food. James is the father of four children, grand-father of seven, and great-grandfather of eight.

Sundaura Alford-Purvis

Executive director, Canadian Society for Organic Urban Land Care

Sundaura Alford-Purvis has been working in the horticultural industry since 1998 and was an avid gardener for over a decade before that. She is now the owner and the landscape designer at A Cultivated Art Inc., teaches the Sustainable Landscape Design course in the Horticultural Industries program at Algonquin college and works part time as the executive director for the Canadian Society for Organic Urban Land Care. Her particular focus is on the role that the horticulture, an industry that heavily influences how the vast majority of green spaces within communities are cared for, can play in restoring relationships between people and the rest of nature, especially in urban environments.

Mélanie Gautier

Ph.D. Candidate Laval University, AgroEnviroLab and IRDA

Mélanie Gauthier is a doctoral candidate in plant biology at Laval University, in collaboration with AgroEnviroLab and the Institute for Research and Development in Agroenvironment. Ptrviously, she was responsible for Research and Development for 5 years at AgroEnviroLab, a renowned company in Quebec for its expertise in soil analysis. During this period, she collaborated on numerous soil health projects, notably on the development and application of indicators used to measure the physical and biological properties of agricultural soils. Her current research focuses on developing a soil health index that would link new indicators, agricultural practices and crop yields. Mélanie is particularly interested in soil microorganisms and their interactions with cultivated plants. She holds a bachelor's degree in biology and a master's degree in plant molecular genetics. Through her doctoral studies, her main objective for the next few years is to develop tools for assessing soil health that will guide producers and agricultural stakeholders towards sustainable and innovative agricultural practices.

Michelle Holliday

Consultant and author

Michelle Holliday is a consultant, facilitator, author and researcher. Her work centers around “thrivability” — a set of perspectives and practices based on a view of organizations and communities as dynamic, self-organizing living systems. With this understanding, we recognize that we can create the fertile conditions for life to thrive at every level – for individuals, for organizations as living ecosystems, for customers, community and biosphere. With this as her guide, Michelle brings people together and helps them discover ways they can feel more alive, connect more meaningfully with each other, and serve life more powerfully and effectively through their collective action. She is the author of the highly acclaimed book, The Age of Thrivability: Vital Perspectives and Practices for a Better World.

Paul Slomp

Farmer, Grazing Days

Paul Slomp was raised on his family’s dairy farms, first in the Netherlands, then in Alberta—farms that were at the forefront of the grass-based dairy movement. His love of mathematics and science led him to study engineering at the University of Alberta. After volunteering near the Zambia-Malawi border with Engineers without borders for four years, he returned to Canada to work in Canadian food policy and later to start his own farm to develop and showcase the ability of alternative models of agriculture to produce food for people in a way that regenerates soil and rejuvenates ecosystems while being economically viable with the aim of providing a different model on which to base agricultural development. Paul, his partner Josée and two kids are currently breathing new life into the abused soil of a recently acquired farm in St-André-Avellin, QC. Their farm is called Grazing Days and they mob graze a herd of 200 bovines and a sounder of 70 pigs on 370 acres and market the meat from 70 cattle and 70 pigs per year directly to households in the Ottawa, Gatineau and Montreal areas.

Mike Verdonck


Mike Verdonck is a second-generation farmer on a 2250 acres (900 hectares) cash crop operation in Ste-Marthe, Quebec. Soil health has always been a concern for his operation, which is why he uses low soil disturbance methods and recently integrated the 5 soil regenerative principles to his operation. Mike seeks to dismantle the public misunderstanding around the time and patience required to restore soils through regenerative agriculture. His soil mantra is: “keep your soils covered, keep your soils alive.”

Sedalia Kawenno:ta’s Fazio

Mohawk Elder

Sedalia’s cultural roots lie across the bridge in Kahnawake, the place where she grew up and lived most of her life submerged in Mohawk traditions. Montreal was simply another forgettable city, and she has always felt her heart belonged in the country. In spite of this pull, Sedalia moved to Montreal twelve years ago to be closer to her first-generation family. Once here, she loved the ease of city life where services and necessities are always within reach, but she quickly realized the physical tie that encourages Aboriginal youth to connect to their heritage was missing. This lack of a connection led Sedalia to begin a ten-year long project that centred around the creation of a sweat lodge focusing on the traditional healing methods of her culture and the bridging of cultural roots. Sedalia’s passion and dedication led to the establishment of a permanent home for her community project within the Botanical Gardens of Montreal. Like many other citizens, Sedalia still believes that the city needs work, especially when it comes to strengthening Aboriginal ties, but she proudly maintains that a move to the city, any city, does not mean that you need to set aside your roots. As a country girl from Kahnawake in the metropolis of Montreal, Sedalia strongly believes that her role is to promote people helping people.

Antonious Petro

Scientific Director, Regeneration Canada

Antonious Petro is the Scientific Director at Regeneration Canada and Master's candidate in soil sciences at UQAT. He also has a diploma in biology and in community economic development. Antonious is interested in soil carbon sequestration in agricultural soils and in ecological services of urban soils. His specialty is scientific vulagrisation in ecology and agri-food, sustainability project management, and citizen mobilization around climate change.

Bethany Jaqua Siebold

Assistant Manager, Global Sustainability, General Mills

At General Mills, Bethany Jaqua Siebold helps lead efforts to advance regenerative agriculture and economic sustainability within key raw material categories by building partnerships with internal stakeholders as well as suppliers and farmers. Prior to starting this role in May 2019, Siebold worked at Target Corporation for 4 years in Merchandising and Sourcing.

Jim Eckberg

Agronomist, General Mills

Jim Eckberg is an Agronomist at General Mills. He builds partnerships that advance regenerative agriculture in the farm community. Working with environmental scientists and farmers, Jim develops outcomes-based approaches to improving farm profitability, soil health, and biodiversity. He completed a MS (University of Nebrask-Lincoln) in ecology and a PhD (University of Minnesota) in agroecology.

Philippe Crête

Principal Advisor, Alternative Private Investments, Fondaction

Philippe Crête is Principal Advisor for Alternative Private Investments at Fondaction where he develops financing activities and manages the firm's assets in the field of natural capital. He is particularly interested in the use of innovative market mechanisms to finance the achievement of environmental objectives in the forestry and agricultural fields, in particular carbon markets and payment systems for ecosystem services. Philippe Crête has over seven years of experience working for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as Climate Finance Advisor and as Regional Advisor for the UN-REDD Program in Africa.

Andréanne Grimard

ESG & Impact Director


Andréanne has over 10 years of experience studying the interrelationship between supply chains, land use and climate change. Before joining ECOTIERRA, Andréanne was North-American Director for Solidaridad Network, where she negotiated partnerships between actors in the supply chains of thirteen basic products in order to drive the development of public-private partnerships and others business models to promote sustainable sourcing. Previously, Andréanne led the work of the Prince of Wales' International Sustainability Unit on the drivers of deforestation. As such, it brought together agro-industries, NGOs and the governments of Indonesia, Brazil and Ghana to identify ways to decouple agriculture from deforestation. Andréanne also worked at the United Nations Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity. Fluent in English, French and Spanish, she holds a master's degree in environmental policy and regulation from the London School of Economics and a bachelor's degree in international development from McGill University. In 2011, she was selected as the World Economic Forum Global Shaper.

Brad Hobrock

Co-founder, AgriBio Systems


Brad grew up on a family farm and continues to be a key player in the 2,600-acre operation, which is located in Cass County, Illinois, near Beardstown. Besides growing corn and soybeans, this farm also had a swine operation until 2011 before shifting to grain only. In high school, Brad was active in the Future Farmers of America (FFA), often showing hogs in livestock competition. An alumnus of the University of Illinois, Brad graduated in 2003 with a B.S. in Agribusiness with an emphasis on agronomy. He then worked at Crop Production Services in the seed division, then spent nine years at Wyffels Hybrids as a district sales manager. Together with his business partner and fellow central Illinois farmer Adam York, Brad launched AgriBio Systems in 2015. Before then, both partners had worked with and conducted field trials with various bio-based products. This experience would become the catalyst for the new company. One of Brad’s biggest passions is helping farmers be more efficient, consistent and profitable. He sees regenerative farming as the true future of agriculture.

Paul Luu

Executive Secretary, "4 per 1000" Initiative

Paul LUU is an agricultural engineer specializing in tropical agronomy. He graduated from Agro ParisTech, the Institute of hot regions of Montpellier, the National School of Applied Agronomic Sciences in Dijon and the University of Montpellier (Doctorate in population biology). He began his career in the field, with 6 years at the head of agricultural research projects in the Caribbean (Saint Lucia), the Indian Ocean (Sri Lanka) and the Pacific (Tonga), before joining the International Relations Service of the Ministry of Agriculture. During the following 7 years within this service, he was in charge of multilateral relations with the FAO, the World Bank and the CGIAR, bilateral relations with the countries of Africa and the Mediterranean, as well as the management of the French food aid (200,000 tonnes of cereals per year), as Project Manager and then as Office Manager. This was followed with 9 years, which he devoted to the development of agriculture in the French overseas departments and territories, 3 years as Technical Advisor for "Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry" in the Office of the Overseas Ministry, then 6 years as Director of the Office for the Development of Overseas Agricultural Economy, the establishment managing European agricultural aid (PAC) and national aid for overseas regions. In 2011, Paul LUU was appointed Director of Agropolis International, an internationally oriented association bringing together the scientific community "Agronomy - Environment - Biodiversity - Water" from the Languedoc-Roussillon Region (with over 10,000 people). Since September 1, 2016, Paul has been the Executive Secretary for the "4 per 1000: Soils for Food Security and Climate" Initiative, launched during COP 21 in Paris.

Michael Warren

CEO, Earth Alive Clean Technologies

Michael Warren is Chief Executive Officer of Earth Alive Clean Technologies. He is an innovator in regenerative business practices, encouraging a way of doing business that is both ecologically sound and revenue-generating. He is a sought-after speaker on regenerative agriculture and dust neutrality. He has extensive knowledge regarding all aspects of soil health and its impact on food ecosystems as well as the importance of living soils for many other natural processes such as dust control, climate change, desertification, eutrophication and biological diversity among others. At Earth Alive he has led research and development efforts, focusing on naturally occurring beneficial bacteria and other microorganisms to create products that help regenerate ecosystems while being cost-effective and stable. He has been promoting and encouraging sustainability, environmental stewardship and community resilience through business for over 20 years. Particularly, he is interested in the relationship between soil health and nutritional density of foods, soil health and nutrient retention of various foods as well as microbes for dust control. He is able to put regenerative practices to work growing organic food with his family and he is on the board of Regeneration Canada.

Jennifer Cates

Operations Manager, NRhythm

With over twenty years in operational and human-resource leadership positions, Jen is responsible for overseeing the outsourced management division of nRhythm. Her expertise is in designing and creating employee retention and engagement programs, which include both individual well-being resources and community volunteering projects. Additionally, she is responsible for the staffing, management and implementation of primary strategies for specific client’s operations.

Melissa Leung

Business Development, GECA Environnement

Melissa graduated from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor in Science. She has been working at GECA for almost 2 years and has been responsible for marketing, market development, public relations and lead generation. She brings with her a passion for humans and science, combined with a sustainable vision for the future. She believes there is a huge opportunity for green innovative technologies and practices to transform the way we do things today and to propel us towards a zero waste and regenerative future.

Brittany Cole Bush

Shepherdess Land & Livestock, Owner-Operator, Grazing School of the West, Executive Co-Director

Cole has over 10 years of experience working in the fields of land stewardship and prescribed grazing with small ruminants as a self-deemed urban shepherdess. She also is a creative entrepreneur of Shepherdess Holistic Hides, which works to divert waste streams produced by the meat processing industry. By intercepting the skins directly from processing plants she is able to preserve the raw skins working with a regional tannery. She then sells the beautiful finished and tanned hide from sheep and goats "raised and grazed" in the West to urban and online markets. Cole got her start working with land and livestock by creating and managing commercial-scale contract grazing programs throughout Northern California on both private and public lands of about 1,000 acres annually. Managing several herds of upwards of 2,500 head of sheep and goats she and her team, Star Creek Land Stewards employed prescriptive grazing strategies for fire hazard reduction and land stewardship projects in restoration, invasive species management, and enhancement of ecosystem function. Cole is also directing the development of the Grazing School of the West, a vocational training program and a technical assistance provider for the development and implementation of prescribed grazing projects in Southern California.

Audrey Bouchard


An agronomist since 2004, Audrey Bouchard completed her undergraduate studies at Macdonald College at McGill University in 2003. She holds a bachelor's degree in agricultural science with a major in soil science and a minor in ecological farming. As an Agri-environment advisor in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region for 16 years now, she works passionately to support businesses in optimizing their agronomic results in a sustainable manner. Specializing in organic farming since 2010, she is actively involved in the development of this sector and is currently supporting several certified companies and others in the process of transitioning to organic. She has been involved in the development of industrial hemp in her region since 2007. She collaborates with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Quebec (MAPAQ), agricultural producers and other regional actors in order to optimize the performance of this plant in our cropping systems.

Leah Vineberg

Change Management Consultant, Percolab

Leah Vineberg specializes in social innovation and change management for whole systems, with expertise in relational culture and well-being. She helps to provide meaningful contexts for communities, teams and organizations where the connection, clarity, energy and creativity still untapped can flourish. Leah helps to access and mobilize collective intelligence so that each person is seen and has a voice, and also in which these stakeholders are personally committed to contributing to the co-creation of the future they wish to achieve. She holds a master's degree in Human Systems Intervention from Concordia University.

Glenn Munroe

Principal Researcher, Compost Council of Canada

Glenn has been working in the environmental field for more than 30 years. His work has included policy development with the Ontario government, consulting on environmental issues, managing a composting company focused on research and development, and launching a lab specializing in the biological testing of soils. He has authored several publications, including a vermicomposting manual for farmers that has been widely distributed globally. Since 2016 he has been with the Compost Council of Canada, where his primary focus is soil health. Currently, he is a principal researcher for a project to develop a roadmap to optimizing carbon in Canada’s managed soils.

Hugo Martorell

Quebec Regional Program Coordinator, SeedChange

Hugo is the Quebec Regional Program Coordinator at SeedChange, formerly USC Canada. Hugo first studied at McGill and then earned his Master’s in food policy and governance at Concordia University. Hugo has worked alongside organizations and networks in public health, agriculture and social development in Montreal and Quebec. As a researcher, he has conducted policy scans and authored with peers publications on policy and collection action. As a practitioner, he dedicates his time with local and global food and farming networks. He is excited to continue supporting farmer-to-farmer knowledge networks in Quebec. Read more about the Quebec program.

Alexandra Groome Klement

Operations Manager, nRhythm

Alexandra is passionate about solving the world’s most complex social and environmental issues by helping organizations reach their full potential. She discovered this passion through a range of work adventures, including: managing international events for a network with members in 73 countries focused on the power of the internet to improve peoples’ lives; fundraising to plant 200k trees and support the climate resiliency of 3000+ smallholder farmers; managing a small grants program for creator of the World Wide Web -- Tim Bernes Lee's organization; co-creating a digital platform to map and connect the global regenerative agriculture movement; and managing customer development at a vertical farming startup. Alex now leads product development at nRhythm where she fulfills her passion for helping mission-driven organizations grow their impact. Alex is trilingual and has lived in 7 countries in Africa, Europe, and Central and North America.

Kate Axten

Young Farmer, Axten Farms

Kate Axten is a 15-year-old with a passion for farming and food. She farms with her family at Minton, Saskatchewan. Kate is currently a grade 10 student at Gladmar Regional School. Kate comes from a family of innovative farmers that like to try new ideas, and this has motivated her to help market Axten Farm’s grain. She puts grain that her family has grown into small bags and sells them on their farm website. Kate is also an active member of the Radville 4H Field Crops Club and is the secretary and treasurer for the club. Kate is involved in the local dance club and plays school sports; volleyball, badminton, and track.

Michelle Décary

Farmer/Co-owner, Au Petit Boisé Permaculture Farm

Michelle Décary has been involved in organic farming since 2004. In 2009, Michelle and her husband Kory Goldberg started Au Petit Boisé permaculture farm, a micro-farm located in Québec's Eastern Townships. Au Petit Boisé supplies vegetables to about 40 families and a local market, using only manual tools and a no-till approach. They planted an edible forest garden in the spring of 2014, which produces fruits, berries, nuts, mushrooms, and eggs as a by-product or pasture-paddock-raised hens, who feed on insects, weeds and rotten fruit under the trees and bushes. Au Petit Boisé also has an educational mission, training volunteers and interns in holistic garden practices, as well as hosting farm tours and workshops.

Daniel Gobeil

1st Vice-Chair, Producteurs du lait du Québec:fr]Premier vice-président, Producteurs du lait du Québec

Daniel Gobeil is from Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean, where he operates a dairy farm with 125 lactating cows out of a total of 210 heads. He also operates 800 acres of land where he grows hay, wheat, soybeans and corn. Chairman of the Board of Directors of Producteurs de lait du Saguenay – Lac Saint-Jean [Dairy Producers of Saguenay - Lac-Saint-Jean] since April 2017, he became the 1st Vice-President of Producteurs de lait du Québec in December 2017. His involvement in this organization dates back to 2007. In addition, Daniel Gobeil has served on the agricultural advisory group in his region, his regional federation of the UPA, within Agrinova and the Agri-Food Research Fund focused on northern agriculture. He is also a shareholder of the St-Fidèle cheese dairy.

Florence Bouchard Santerre

Assistant Director, Economic Research, Producteurs du lait du Québec

Florence Bouchard Santerre has been Assistant Director of Economic Research for Les Producteurs de lait du Québec since 2018. The team she is a part of advises the organization's leaders on policies and issues related to the dairy industry and supports the teams responsible for milk marketing operations on various projects. Florence is notably responsible for the sustainable development file of the organization. Previously, she worked as an economic advisor for the Union des producteurs agricoles [Agricultural Producers Union] after studying agroeconomics and law at Laval University.

Frédérique Lavallée

Agronomist and Founder, Écoboeuf

Frédérique is an agronomist and MA candidate in soil science and agroforestry at the University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue. It was during her bachelor's degree in agronomy at Laval University that she developed a passion for the agricultural world. There, she completed an internship in an integrated pest management consulting club during which she acquired concrete knowledge on methods to reduce the environmental footprint in agriculture. With deep respect for the environment, she co-founded Écoboeuf, a company aiming to develop concrete solutions to build sustainable agriculture adapted to the reality of Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

Brenda Tjaden

Founder, Sustainable Grain

Brenda Tjaden has a long history helping western Canadian farms respond to emerging profit opportunities in growing and marketing their crops. In the process of founding Sustainable Grain, Brenda spent the past 3 years researching sustainability protocols and the organic value chain, their opportunities and vulnerabilities. She also pursued an education in soil health and regenerative agriculture and continues to build out her network in this field. Previously, Brenda worked as a professional grain marketing and policy analyst, educator and farm management expert. Brenda has always been an active volunteer in her local community, a nature enthusiast and a keen follower of global economic trends. Brenda is dedicating the next chapter of her career to the positive stories in farming, reuniting commercial agriculture with environmental consciousness, and helping to create a safe, nutritious supply of food for all.

Macha Bertrand

Market Developer for regenerative agriculture, Soil Capital

Passionate about new economic models, ecological transitions and social entrepreneurship, Macha has spent her last years developing social startups with high impact potential in Mexico and Belgium. Active in sectors as diverse as education, ethical and solidarity finance, food and energy, Macha keeps her slightly crazy dream of seeing the economy recover a status of nobility by putting itself at the service of a more inclusive, fair and sustainable society. As a graduate in Management Engineer followed by a postmaster in International Business at the Louvain School of Management through the CEMS program, she tries with patience and perseverance to reconcile her desires for societal change with the reality of everyday life, joyfully punctuated by the energy of her two young children: Arthur and Mila. She joined the Soil Capital team in 2019 where she is responsible for developing markets for farmers practicing regenerative farming.

Karen Ross (Host)

Project Manager, Agriculture and Pesticides, Équiterre

Karen Ross is a Project Manager at Équiterre, one of Canada's leading environmental organizations working on policy and education in climate change and agriculture. Karen comes to Équiterre with a Ph.D. in geography with a focus on agricultural policy and years of experience as a policy advocate and researcher on sustainable food systems. From Équiterre’s Ottawa office, Karen advocates for federal policy change to reduce dependence on pesticides, reduce agriculture's carbon footprint and increase the sector's climate mitigation potential.

André Lamontagne

Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ)


Born in Saint-Félicien in 1960, André Lamontagne holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Laval University and has training in counseling, psychotherapy and transactional analysis from the Eastwind Institute in Halifax. Addtitionally, he has a master’s in Educational Psychology and Human Relations from Mount Saint-Vincent University in Halifax. He also holds a professional helicopter pilot license.
Before entering politics, he had a career in business: he owned three supermarkets; co-owned a network of travel agencies with 20 offices in several regions of Quebec; he was President and co-owner of a management consulting firm and he was the owner of a business specializing in the purchase, refurbishment, resale and rental of helicopters.

He has worked as an advisor and coach to a clientele of managers, mainly from the business community. He has also been, over the years, an investor and director of several technology companies in the manufacturing sector, in electronic commerce and in the industrial field.

In 2014, he made the leap into politics by being elected in the riding of Johnson under the banner of the Coalition Avenir Québec, a role he retained thanks to his re-election in 2018.
It was after this victory that the Prime Minister honored him by appointing him Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ) and Minister responsible for the Center of Quebec region.

Brian McConkey

Chief scientist, Viresco Solutions Inc

Dr. Brian McConkey is Chief Scientist for Viresco Solutions Inc, an environmental consulting firm that helps clients strategically navigate the complex and evolving world of sustainability with a focus on agriculture, greenhouse gases and sustainable supply chains. Prior joining Viresco Solutions, Brian had 35 years of diverse experience in agri-environmental research, technology application, and science policy, primarily with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada within the Canadian Government. His research has been wide ranging including soil and plant processes, soil health, water-agriculture inter-relationships, impacts of climate change on agriculture, quantifying carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions at field to national scales, and the assessment of the sustainability of agricultural production.

Sophie Mandago

Independant Journalist

Sophie Mangado is a freelance journalist, based in Montreal. As a researcher in print and documentary, she is particularly interested in issues of social justice, environmental justice, human rights and education.