Derek was born and raised in a small town in southern Ontario called Brooklin. His only connection to agriculture as kid was growing pumpkins on his grandfather’s acreage and selling them out of a wheelbarrow on his street. He picked up a degree in history from Wilfrid Laurier University and hit the road shortly thereafter, spending the next seven years of his life working as a tour guide in Germany. It was a stint on a farm in Tasmania that plunged him down the path of pursuing farm work wherever he could find it. He returned to Canada in 2013 and moved to Alberta in 2017.
He has a decade of experience under his belt as an organizer and communicator on climate and food security issues. Derek has worked for national not-for-profit organizations like Food Secure Canada and his articles on climate change and clean energy have been published in The Narwhal and National Observer. His agricultural experience is all over the map (literally)—a wild boar and shiitake mushroom farm in Quebec, a CSA in Ontario and cattle farms in Alberta—and he was part of Young Agrarians Alberta’s first ‘graduating class’.
Derek is probably best described as part community organizer, part somewhat-skilled farmhand and part storyteller. He currently splits his time between Calgary and whatever farm in central Alberta he is working on during the growing season.
Marie was born and raised in Athabasca, AB, on a traditional cattle and grain farm. She moved to Edmonton in 2003 to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Alberta. Sometime during her stay at the University of Alberta, she contracted the travel bug and spent several years travelling and living abroad after completing her studies.
It wasn’t until 2015 that she found herself back in her home town and starting a new adventure – helping her brother start a tree farm! It was during this time that her interests in farming, gardening, plants, and wildlife began to re-emerge. She and her husband now live on a 10-acre homestead surrounded by the Boreal Forest near Jackfish Lake with their two cats, who have refused their new roles as farm cats and are still living the (pampered) good life. They are currently living in and restoring the original homestead log cabin on the property and are in the process of converting it to a fully off-grid accommodation.
Marie currently sits as the President of the Athabasca Farmers Market Association and attends weekly markets where she sells eggs from her heritage flock of hens and handmade soaps infused with local herbs and plants. She is passionate about being an active and positive member of her community, and enjoys spending her summers at the lake and camping as much as possible.
Brenda is a community investment and evaluation professional with a focus on building resilient rural communities. She holds a Masters of Holistic Science from the University of Plymouth.
Brenda’s focus is on supporting and creating space for leaders and change-makers who are stepping up to make rural Alberta a viable and exciting choice for people. She has over 20 years experience in the corporate and non-profit leadership and engagement related to environmental sustainability, community affairs, and learning in Europe, Asia, and North America. Most recently, she served as the manager of the Stettler Learning Centre.
Currently, Brenda is working part-time with the Alberta Real Estate Foundation on Community Investment and Evaluation, and is a Master Practitioner candidate with the Centre for Holding Space. She’s involved in a variety of community initiatives such as the Next 30 Alberta, the Association of Communities Against Abuse, including RR2CS.
When not out in the community, Brenda can often be found out foraging and harvesting on Earth Works Farm, which she manages with her husband, Vance, and their young son. Earth Works Farm, located in Stettler, is guided by principles of Holistic Management and Permaculture. Brenda and Vance manage pasture raised poultry, pork, and grass-finished beef.
Lance was born and raised on the Kainai First Nation (Blood Reserve) in southern Alberta. His background is in the communications arts field with an extensive knowledge in audio and video production. He recently served as councilor for the Blood Tribe Chief and Council from 2012-2020. It was from his participation on the Lands Committee portfolio that Lance realized the importance of farming and ranching best practice and the revitalization of traditional Blackfoot knowledge in sustaining and reintroducing the native plants and animals to Siksikaitapi (Blackfoot Confederacy) territory. This recently included the Kainai Iinnii (buffalo) project in which the Kainai First Nation has introduced a buffalo cultural herd into the community.
Lance currently sits on various organization boards in neighbouring southern Alberta towns and cities in assisting Indigenous community members with the proper support for housing and resources for living in urban communities. His interests include art, music and graphic arts design. Lance lives in Lethbridge with his family where he operates GhostRattle Arts, a small graphic design, multimedia and t-shirt business.
Trina’s rural roots stem from Peace River, Alberta, where she grew up passing many hours on the land: hiking, horseback riding, gardening, hunting and fishing. She eventually moved south to the big city and pursued a BA in Cultural Anthropology at MacEwan University.
Trina’s passion for rural communities led her to work with various grassroots development organizations in Edmonton, including Change for Children Association, The Urban Farmer, Child Family Health, and Alberta Council for Global Cooperation. She spent nearly a decade working to support food security, human rights, and gender equality projects in rural communities in Canada, Latin America, and East Africa.
In 2013, from Kabale, Uganda, Trina began to document and write about the experiences of female food producers. Five years later, Trina was thrilled to publish Women Who Dig: Farming, Feminism, and the Fight to Feed the World (University of Regina Press, 2018), a book that captures her research with over 140 women farmers from three different continents and eight different countries. The book focuses on many of the challenges facing women farmers, while celebrating the ways they’re overcoming challenges – climate change, gender-based violence, access to farmland – and feeding their local communities.
Today, Trina is a freelance writer and author. She spends her summers working at a boreal fire tower in northwestern Alberta, where she tends a huge vegetable and herb garden. She recently published her second book, Lookout: Love, Solitude, and Searching for Wildfire in the Boreal Forest.
Learn more at www.trinamoyles.com.
Dana is also the Young Agrarians Prairie Program Manager and is working to grow the next generation of regenerative farmers. Young Agrarians is a program of Organic Alberta and the Agrarians Foundation. Dana strives to support inspired thinking and action in agriculture and rural communities. Dana’s formal education was in Animal Science, earning a B. Sc. from the U of A. Her and her partner recently moved back to the family farm near Shoal Lake, Manitoba. Through their farm they want to demonstrate how holistic planned grazing livestock can heal our planet.
Here is an interactive map of all of our recent events throughout Alberta and online.
February 2, 2019
Partners: Alberta Community and Co-operative Association (ACCA)
April 10, 2019
Speaker: Daniel Chappell of Olds College
July 25, 2019
Speaker: Erin Daly, PhD Candidate at the University of Alberta
September 26, 2019
Speaker: Cole Gross, PhD Student at the University of Alberta
January 9, 2020
Speakers: Ken Espheter, Battle River Railway