Council status: Active
Ministry responsible: Agriculture and Forestry
Local food is a $1 billion market that is growing rapidly and represents a key part of Alberta’s economy. The Local Food Council will explore opportunities to encourage the development and success of Alberta’s local food sector as part of a strong and diversified agriculture industry.
The council appointment is an important milestone in implementing the Supporting Alberta’s Local Food Act, the government's commitment to building and sustaining a strong local food economy.
The council will provide a report to the minister, within one year, with advice and recommendations on provincial policies, programs, pilot projects or initiatives that will help grow and sustain the local food sector.
The council is required to consider:
- potential barriers and challenges for local food producers and processors, including specific challenges faced by small producers and processors
- local food aggregation and distribution
- risk management tools for local food producers and processors
- consumer awareness of and access to local food
- certification opportunities for local food producers and processors
The council will dissolve after their final report has been submitted.
The council consists of 2 co-chairs and 13 members. Members were selected through a public recruitment process to reflect the diversity of the agriculture industry and Alberta’s local food system, gender makeup and geographic locations.
Jeff Senger, co-chair
Jeff Senger is an agriculturalist who moved from Calgary to Sangudo to revive the town’s abattoir with the help of a community investment cooperative. Jeff has a science and accounting background and has grown his meat-making hobby into a successful local food business, Sangudo Custom Meats. The shop now employs several full-time staff and focuses on hiring young people to entice them to stay in the community. They deliver custom cuts of naturally raised and organic meat to some of Edmonton’s best restaurants. Jeff has an authentic investment in the local food process and an extensive background in board and committee work.
Susan Schafers, co-chair
Susan Schafers is a second-generation egg and pullet farmer. She is the vice-chair for Egg Farmers of Alberta and chair for Parkland County's Agricultural Service Board. Susan has broad experience serving on local, provincial and national boards and committees. She has strong governance training as well as experience in facilitation and consensus building. Susan holds a B.Sc. in Agriculture and Food Business Management from the University of Alberta.
Jason Andersen is the owner and operator of Kathy's Greenhouse near Kitscoty. The greenhouse grows bedding plants and field vegetables that are sold directly to consumers on the farm and at local farmers' markets. Jason has served on the board of the Alberta Farm Fresh Producers Association since 2015 and is currently the president. Jason is also the vice-president of the Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association, where he has been a board member since 2014.
Cherie Andrews, with her husband Art, have grown Chinook Honey Company since 2004. Following a direct-to-consumer business model, Cherie manages the retail and marketing and guides production of value-added products such as honey infused sauces, jams and jellies. In 2005, she chaired the Alberta Beekeepers Commission Mead Committee, which eventually got approval for commercial mead production from the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission. Cherie and Art opened Chinook Arch Meadery in 2008 and have been promoting mead and the Alberta estate winery industry ever since.
Corbin Bourree is the vice-president of product and merchandise at SPUD.ca and Blush Lane, which provide local food to customers across Alberta through online delivery and storefronts in Calgary and Edmonton. Corbin previously served as vice-president of Sustainable Food Edmonton, and was a member of the Northlands Ag committee in 2015. Corbin was named as a NeXT (New Exciting Thinker) Award winner by Canadian Grocer. He implemented hiring policies at SPUD, which saw the company recognized as a champion of inclusive employment.
Eric Doef is a second-generation partner at Doef's Greenhouses Ltd., a state-of-the-art, year round greenhouse near Lacombe. Eric and his family have a passion for providing local food to Alberta markets. He is well connected to the Alberta greenhouse industry and was recently awarded the Top 10 under 40 by Greenhouse Canada magazine.
Ellen Goddard is an agricultural economist and the co-operative chair for Agriculture Marketing and Business at the University of Alberta, where she conducts research on food demand and policy. She also sits on the National Steering Committee for Public Trust in Agriculture and is a member of the Council of Canadian Academies Expert Committee on the Socio-Economic Impacts of Antimicrobial Resistance in Canada.
Nicola Irving is the owner and manager of a local pork processing facility and free range pork farm, and has 12 years’ experience working in the local food industry. Nicola is a director with the Alberta Farmers' Market Association, local producer liaison for Indulgence Edmonton, and mentor-coach for the Agriculture and Food Council’s Agri-Food Business Mentorship Program. Nicola holds a B.Sc. in Agriculture from Harper Adams University College (UK), and a Certificate in Management Studies (CMS).
Lisa Kitt is a certified organic small-scale mixed farmer who direct markets her products to surrounding communities. She currently sits on boards for her regional organic association and local community hall. Lisa has past experience on the National Farmers Union Board working with policy that affects new entrant famers and small family farms. Lisa holds a B.Sc. from Augustana Faculty, University of Alberta.
Kye Kocher has been working in the local food sector for six years. He is the owner/operator of the farm business, Grand Trunk Veggies, and has held several roles with YYC Growers and Distributors, Calgary's urban and rural farm cooperative. As the former general manager, past-president and past-secretary of YYC Growers, Kye built additional sales channels and managed a team of warehouse and farmers’ market staff to create a robust image and story for the organization: local farmers working together to feed Calgarians fresh, healthy and local food.
Lisa Larson is a senior planner with the City of Edmonton who leads a stellar team of professionals that builds resilience and vibrancy in Edmonton's local economy. On a day-to-day basis, Lisa works closely with local business associations to help them bring Edmonton's main streets and commercial areas to life. Lisa is a trained and registered professional planner who holds an MA in Community and Regional Planning from the University of British Columbia. Of her many accomplishments, Lisa is proud to say she has only been stung a handful of times by her backyard bees.
Patricia (Pam) McKinnon-Coco
Patricia (Pam) McKinnon-Coco is an early childhood caregiver for children ages 3 1/2 to 5 at the Waldorf School in Edmonton. Pam has served on numerous boards and committees including Edmonton Seedy Sunday, Alberta Porphyria, Refugee Response Collective and Locavoria. Pam loves to garden, eat and shop local. She enjoys knowing about her farmer/producer and where her food comes from.
Nancy Nolan is a farmer in southern Alberta with her husband and three children. They operate Lambtastic Farms and direct market their lamb to restaurants, hotels and grocery stores all over Alberta. They have a mixed farming operation including sheep, crops, and cattle. Nancy is a member of Slow Food Calgary and is a champion of good, clean fair food. Nancy is a Red Seal chef who has cooked internationally and at home. She believes buying local is always better and looks forward to making it easier for consumers to make that choice.
Jessie Radies is the director of agriculture for Edmonton Northlands. In this role, she supports industry growth, innovation and understanding. Jessie has built a reputation as an entrepreneurial, innovative, creative leader and advocate for agriculture, local food and independent business. She has over 30 years of restaurant experience and 10 years of community development experience. Jessie grew up on a farm in southern Alberta and currently resides in Edmonton with her husband and two daughters.
Kate Stenson is the director of programs at Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association. In this role, she works with a team to bring community members together, using food as a tool for engagement as she believes in the power of food to create small and large scale change. Kate is currently working with an entrepreneurial team to launch a hospitality group, Fare Community, which has a vision that the food economy can be reimagined to put people, food and planet first. Kate will soon begin there in the role of vice-president of food innovation.