Growing Local Connections to Food and the Environment


North Okanagan Food Systems Initiative

2019 Forum: Growing Local Connections to Food and the Environment

Saturday, March 2, 2019 – 9:00am to 3:00pm

Okanagan College – Vernon Campus

7000 College Way, Coldstream, BC

Sliding Scale cost $10 – $20                    Local food lunch & snacks provided

This is the second annual forum organized by the North Okanagan Food System Initiative (NOFSI). This year’s focus is on the environmental side of our regional food system, exploring three themes, including: water, waste, and land with the overarching theme of climate change.

The aim of our forum is to bring together actors in the North Okanagan food system to inspire ideas, transfer knowledge and spark action for positive change in our regional food system. The day will include presentations and success stories, panel discussions, networking opportunities, and an open space exercise to further discuss ideas and identify priority actions.

For more information, contact:

Canadian-Agricultural-PartnershipREFBCRDNOOKCollegeBC and Canada

Funding is provided in part by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative, Real Estate Foundation of BC, Regional District of the North Okanagan and Okanagan College – Vernon Campus.

Forum Agenda

1. Doors open – registration, networking, coffee, snacks8:00 a.m.
2. Opening Remarks & Introduction8:30 (30 min)
3. Keynote: Doreen Liberto “How California’s Climate Change Programs Will Reshape Land, Water and Waste Management in our Food Systems”9:00 (30 min)
4. Session 1 – Our Connections with Land
• Land Panel speakers: Rosalind Williams, Splatsin Teaching Society; Lee Hesketh, Rancher; Heather Pritchard, Foodlands Cooperative
• Table Dialogue
• Plenary & Summary
9:30 (60 min)
BREAK (coffee & snacks)10:30 (20 min)
5. Session 2 – Our Connection with Water
• Water Panel speakers: Jennifer Miles, Water Sustainability Coordinator RDNO; John Janmaat, UBCO; tbd, ONA/OKIB.
• Table Dialogue
• Plenary & Summary
10:50 (50 min)
6. Session 3 – Our Connection with Waste
• Waste Panel speakers: Keli Westgate, Spa Hills Compost; Dave Derbowka, Passive Remediation Systems; Jaye Coward, Farm Bound/Zero Waste.
• Table Dialogue
• Plenary & Summary
11:40 (50 min)
LUNCH BREAK12:30 (45 min)
7. Break-out Group Activities – Prioritizing Solutions and Action Items
• Group Discussion
• System Mapping
• Prioritize Action Items for the region
1:15 (1hr 20 min)
8. Sharing Solutions2:30 (20 min)
9. Closing Remarks2:50 (10 min)
10. Invitation to networking and social at Marten Brew Pub 3:30 to 6pm

2019 NOFSI Forum Speaker Bios


Keynote Speech: How California’s Climate Change Programs Will Reshape Land, Water and Waste Management in our Food Systems

Doreen Liberto, AICP, MDR, is the owner of Earth Design International (EDI), located in San Luis Obispo, California.

Doreen has forty years of experience in land use planning, environmental analysis, public policy formation and mediation. She works with the agricultural, ranching communities and government agencies to conserve land so food sources are close to local markets. Doreen also works with government agencies and developers to manage and reduce landfill waste. Doreen has been involved in climate change legislation, adaptation and cap and trade grants. She participated in the COP21 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference. Doreen just returned from a trip to Bhutan where she spoke at a workshop before the Secretary of the National Land Commissioner and his staff on various issues, including climate change. She has a graduate degree from Pepperdine School of Law and an undergraduate degree from the University of California and taught as an Adjunct Professor for twenty years at Cal State University, San Luis Obispo, in the City and Regional Planning Department.


Lee Hesketh – “Jack of all trades, master of none.” Lee’s perspective on environmental sustainability has been influenced by his varied background working in the resource management field. Raised on a cattle ranch, working early on as a logging contractor and forestry technician then moving into the field of habitat restoration have all provided Lee with a unique practical perspective on managing for biodiversity. Since 2000, Lee has managed the Farmland Riparian Interface Stewardship Program FRISP which works to build environmental awareness and stewardship capacity in the agriculture sector.

Heather Pritchard – From founding member of FarmFolk CityFolk to Executive Director to Farm Program Manager, Heather’s work over the past 25 years includes coordinating the BC region of the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Food Security, partnering with Young Agrarians and supporting the development of Community Farm Cooperatives. Heather is a founding member of Vancouver Food Policy Council and the BC Food Systems Network and in 2015, was given the Brad Reid Memorial Award for her outstanding contribution to the organic sector in British Columbia. She is the national Chair of Slow Food in Canada. In January 2018, Heather developed a new co-op: Foodlands Cooperative of BC – a provincial land trust that acquires land that is passed on to be managed by local community groups.

Dr. Rosalind Williams is an elder, past Chief and a long-standing advocate for the revitalization of the language and culture of the Splatsin people. She has worked as a consultant, negotiator, land claims researcher, and historical and genealogical researcher, working to document community history and traditional stories in new forms, such as plays and songs. In 2000, she created the Splatsin Teaching Society, a community childcare and teaching center, to ensure that the language and culture are passed on to future generations. In 2018, her lifetime of achievement was recognized at UBCO by the awarding of an honorary Doctor of Letters.


Dr. John Janmaat holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Queen’s University, with specializations in Natural Resource and Environmental economics. That degree was preceded by a Masters in Business Administration from Simon Fraser University and a Bachelors and Masters in Agricultural Economics from the University of British Columbia. Dr. Janmaat presently holds a research chair in Water Resources and Environmental Sustainability at the Okanagan campus of UBC. He has a number of research projects underway that focus on local water and environmental issues. Water and environmental issues in the Okanagan frequently intersect with agriculture, which brings agricultural issues into his work on a regular basis.

Jennifer Miles is the Water Sustainability Coordinator for the Regional District of North Okanagan. Her goal is to help the community avoid water restrictions by encouraging wise water use through landscaping adapted to the Okanagan climate and supporting the region’s largest water use sector, agriculture, in maximizing water use efficiency.


Jaye Coward is the owner of Farm Bound Organic Produce delivery service, was the 2016 winner of Community Futures North Okanagan’s Enterprize Challenge and is about to open a Zero Waste store in Kelowna.

Dave Derbowka is the owner or Passive Remediation Systems or PRSI, a phytoremediation company based in Armstrong since 2005. He helped start Armstrong Spallumcheen Environmental Trust in 2002, and today, as chair, manages a legacy bursary fund for post secondary environmental related studies. Dave grows hybrid poplar trees in landfill wastewater and also makes biochar, a carbon sequestration product made by putting carbon feedstock through pyrolysis, the process of burning waste at a high temperature in the absence of oxygen.

Keli Westgate is the Sales and Marketing manager of Spa Hills Compost a food waste pick up service out of Salmon Arm. She sits on the Board of the local non-profit Sustainable Environment Network Society, is a Certified Permaculture Designer and is on the faculty of Okanagan College, teaching compost and marketing courses.