Name: Wanda Hamilton
Title: Communications Officer NSFA
Phone: (902) 893-2293
Bio: Wanda is employed as Communications Officer with Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture. Wanda grew up on a dairy farm in East Noel and still resides in rural Nova Scotia with her family of 3 children. Wanda volunteers with many community groups; Home and School, Christian Education and is also General Leader of Cobequid 4-H Club.
"I believe that Agricultural Awareness is a vital part of our industry and we need to take every opportunity to educate, inform and promote agriculture in Nova Scotia."
Name: Geneve Newcombe
Title: Co-chair Ag Awareness Committee, and NSFA Producer Representative
Bio: Geneve's family are owners of Cornwallis Farms Ltd in Port Williams, NS. where they have laying hens for table eggs, broiler chickens and dairy. They also have an on-farm feed mill and grow most of the grain used to feed their livestock.
"I have always had a passion for agricultural awareness and education and have been involved in the provincial committee at various levels over the past 13 years. We host school and group tours each year and I have also done presentations on agriculture to a variety of audiences".
Name: Cathy Vallis
Title: NSFA producer representative, President Sheep Producers Association of Nova Scotia
Phone: (902) 895-4039 Fax: (902) 897-5640
Bio: Cathy and son, James, farm a small Rideau flock at Princeport, NS, where they sell replacement ewes and lambs. Cathy has been working with sheep since 1982 and is also an agent for Canadian Co-Operative Wool Growers in Atlantic Canada.
Cathy has lots to keep her busy. Besides running the farm and raising her son, the 4-H leader is currently president of Sheep Producers Association of Nova Scotia and also runs a livestock supply store.
Name Kara Irving
Title: Co-chair Ag Awareness Committee, and Dairy Farmers of Nova Scotia representative
Bio: Kara currently operates a dairy farm in Pugwash with her parents. They have 40 purebred Holstein cows in milk production. Kara has been part of the Ag-awareness committee for approximately 8 years and has had the opportunity to be involved in many activities for both children and adults. She feels it is important that producers make the consumers aware of the positive benefits to supporting local products and supporting local farmers.
"I was a very active 4-H member and continue to help the 4-H program with various judging events. I am a director with our local Holstein club - Central Nova and enjoy attending local show and exhibitions. I have also served on the Board of Directors of the Dairy Farmers of Nova Scotia for 8 years. Our farm tries to follow best management practices set out for Quality Milk, Nutrient Management and Environmental Issues. On a regular basis our farm participates in Open Farm Day. It is a wonderful opportunity to get friends, neighbors and members of the community together to see a farm operation up close. Most times many children attend with parents or grand-parents so it becomes a family event".
Name: John Eikelenboom
Title: Agricultural Producer
John is a livestock and crop farmer in Rines Creek and has recently entered the grape industry with plans to build and run a winery, and also to partner with other progessive farmers to market our produce. He has always been passionate about marketing and networking as part of his plan for sucesss. John says, "The Ag. Awareness Commitee will give me the opportunity to share my thoughts and passion dealing with locally produced food."
Name: Mary Lou Power
Title: Producer representative, Nova Scotia Fruit Growers Association
Bio: Mary Lou has a long history of involvement with Nova Scotia agriculture. She runs a family farm together with husband David, part of which is a tree fruit operation (apples). They grow a variety of apples for the fresh and processing industry, including the traditional as well as the newer Honeycrisp, Ambrosia, and Gala. As well they have a new AgriToursim venue – Applewood Guest House which is a renovated 200+ year old home on the farm property.
She is a former President of the Nova Scotia Fruit Growers Association and has served on the board for the past 12 years. She is currently Chair of the Education Committee, a director and the treasurer of the NSFGA. She sits on the Healthy Eating Nova Scotia Guiding Group and was involved in Ag Awareness work in both schools and on the Annapolis Valley Health Promoting Schools Producer Supplier Committee for several years.
Mary Lou reminds us: "Nova Scotia Agriculture is more than food on your plate."
Name: Avril Vollenhoven
Title: Regional Communications Officer - Atlantic, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Phone: (902) 426-2353
Bio: Avril has worked in communications and public relations at both the provincial and federal levels of government for over 20 years. In her current role as the Regional Communications Officer for Nova Scotia, Avril promotes awareness of the importance of the agriculture and agri-food sector through strategic planning and communications support to stakeholders while ensuring compliance with Government of Canada communications policy and related legislation and guidelines.
Name: Michelle Amero
Title: Coordinator, Healthy Eating, Public Health, NS Department of Health Promotion and Protection
Phone: (902) 424-3749
Bio: Michelle Amero is a Registered Dietitian who completed her Bachelor of Science degree and Dietetic Internship at Mount Saint Vincent University and her Master of Science in Community Health and Epidemiology degree at Dalhousie University. Michelle has worked in Public Health in Manitoba and Nova Scotia at both the regional and provincial levels for many years. Michelle currently provides leadership and direction for the development, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of provincial level healthy eating and public health nutrition-related policies, standards, and programs for government and the Public Health System through supporting implementation of Healthy Eating Nova Scotia, the province's healthy eating strategy.
Name: Heather Fulton
Title: Dairy Farmer/ Young Farmers Forum
Phone: (902) 986-1724
Bio: Heather grew up and currently works on a dairy farm near Stewiacke NS.
"Agriculture has always been a huge part of my life and a passion I'm planning on pursuing for the rest of my life. I love rural Nova Scotia and I want to see it prosper well into the distant future. I believe the state of agriculture here can change and improve if people become more educated about their food and where it comes from. I am very involved in Young Farmers and I feel that group is also key to the future of agriculture. I enjoy representing them on the Ag Awareness committee and look forward to being a part of upcoming events and ideas".
Name: Lindsay Murray
Title: Office Administrator - Women's Institutes of Nova Scotia
Bio: Lindsay grew up just outside of Truro on a family owned dairy farm. She is the Office Administrator for Women's Institutes of Nova Scotia. WINS aims to raise awareness of agriculture and rural Nova Scotia through education, training and other methods.
Name: Ashley Shepard
Title: Program Coordinator, Dalhousie Agricultural Campus
Phone: (902) 893-8123
Bio: Ashley Shepard grew up in Bedford, NS and has always had a passion for animals and their environment. She graduated from NSAC in 2007 with a concentration in Animal Science. Being a city girl and not from a farming background, she has gained the experience and knowledge for the importance of agricultural education at various levels through Nova Scotia Agricultural College. She brings a different perspective to the group, looking from the outside in, to the industry.
"I really enjoy promoting agriculture through recruiting students to NSAC. I have the pleasure almost everyday of standing up in front of a class to discuss the opportunities in agriculture. It's important for students to be aware that the ag industry is a large part of today's society."
Name: Michael Kittilsen
Title: Agricultural Resource Coordinator, Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture
Bio: Michael Kittilsen grew up on a small dairy farm in Nova Scotia. He was involved in the Nova Scotia 4-H movement as a member for 10 years. In 1996 Michael graduated from the Nova Scotia Agricultural College with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics. Michael has a diverse work background; including summer work on various farms, silvaculture work, and Christmas trees. He began his professional career as a 4-H Specialist with the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture. Michael has sat on various agricultural related committees and also was the director of the National 4-H Citizenship Seminar in Ottawa in 2006. In 2008 he became the Agriculture Resource Coordinator in the Central Region. In this role he has assists farmers and the general public find answers related to agriculture, including helping those interested in becoming new farmers.
Outside of work Michael is an avid woodworker and fly fisher and has volunteered on many volunteer committees. Michael and his family live on a small mixed farm in North River.
Name: Marilyn Webster
Title: Science Consultant, English Program Services, NS Department of Education
Phone: (902) 424-4272
Bio: Marilyn Webster, Science Consultant for public schools in Nova Scotia, promotes scientific literacy through hands-on, minds-on science, as the focus of all curriculum initiatives. With her enthusiasm, innovation, and ability to make connections to other disciplines, science is a class where it is possible for everyone to acquire the skill, knowledge, and attitudes needed today. Marilyn's national and international involvement in doing and thinking science has been demonstrated through her commitment in presenting workshops and through her dedication as a volunteer in a variety of organizations. Her long-term commitment to science learning continues to affect everyone she comes in contact with - one by one. Scientific literacy is the focus of all that she does within the public school system and in the wider community.