Staff & Board
Justin Cantafio is anchored by a steadfast belief in the power of small-scale, community-based businesses to build truly sustainable social and economic development. It’s what drove him to spend his master’s degree living and working on ten organic farms from Quebec to the Pacific Coast. He’s since helped with managing Atlantic Canada’s first sustainable seafood subscription program through Off the Hook Community Supported Fishery, worked with the Ecology Action Centre to spearhead a Canada-wide program to promote locally-sourced food in schools, universities, and hospitals, and connected small-scale fishers and aquaculturalists with high-value markets across Nova Scotia and beyond with Halifax’s Afishionado Fishmongers. When he’s not crafting up ideas to re-localize our economy and promote local businesses, you might find Justin running in the woods, cooking up big hearty meals with friends, or relaxing in his tiny cabin by the sea.
Director of Training
Michelle Wolf is a certified coach, education trainer, and Director of Training for Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia. She has worked with over 200 farm owners, managers, and entrepreneurs to help them grow successful markets and businesses through her extremely popular training programs and as private clients. Michelle owned and operated a profitable farm-based herb company for 20+ years and sold at farmers’ markets for 18 years, also managing a mid-size farmers’ market for six years and winning Market Manager of the Year. Michelle speaks at direct marketing, farmers’ market, organic agriculture and sustainable lifestyle conferences throughout North America, and we are proud that she is one of our own. She is a dynamic, engaging workshop facilitator with a wealth of organic production and agricultural business experience, and a sought-after motivational speaker on business and personal development topics. www.WholeGreenHeart.com.
Jessie Palmer grew up on an organic farm in Cape Breton and has been a vendor at markets across Nova Scotia since she was a teen. As an adult, she spent years overseas frequenting local markets and loved developing connections with the vendors. She founded Cabbage Patch Kimchi 3 years ago, and has grown the company through the Halifax Forum Farmers’ and Seaport Market. Her products are now carried in stores across the province. Jessie holds a degree in international development from Dalhousie and lives in Halifax where she also works with the Immigrant Settlement Association of Nova Scotia. She is excited to be a part of the board to help promote and support local markets.
Administrative & Communications Coordinator
A longtime farmers’ market supporter, Alicia Steeves comes to the cooperative with a love of local food and craft. Alicia has worked on several certified organic mixed vegetable farms, been a farmers’ market vendor, and is a florist whose inspiration stems from growing and designing with local flowers. With a background in writing and photography, along with over five years of experience as the social media coordinator for the award-winning Halifax Crafters Society craft market, Alicia is passionate about promoting local products, makers and markets by
telling their stories.
Being a child of a military family, Steve Hopper had opportunity to travel and live in exotic places, but he mainly spent his formative years growing up in the Annapolis Valley. As a youth, Steve learned an appreciation for agriculture by picking strawberries in the summers and apples in the fall. It was the practice in those days for schools to send students to harvest the apple crop as labour was hard to find. Following in his father’s footsteps, Steve spent 32 years in the Canadian Forces, travelling and living in foreign lands. For many years, Steve was active with Scouts Canada as a leader and involved with many other organizations. Upon retirement, Steve began full-time work with Ashwurks Inc., a small woodworking business that mainly sells its products at local farmers’ markets around the Halifax region. Steve is looking forward to being part of the next exciting phase of growth for the Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia Cooperative, working with very talented team members with genuine interest in sustaining a healthy farming community.
Member at Large
Robin Johnston is the owner-operator of Robin’s Roost Farm, a small-scale vegetable farm on the South Shore. She sells the majority of her produce direct to customers at two farmers’ markets — the Lunenburg Farmers’ Market and Privateer Farmers’ Market in Liverpool. In addition to being a vendor, Robin is an enthusiastic market shopper and Market Manager of the Privateer Farmers’ Market. Her passion for farmers’ markets stems from a life-long love of good food and the joy of sharing this love with other people.
Member At Large
Pauline Singer (info coming soon)
Marketing & Outreach Coordinator
Emily Lawrence is driven by her passion for promoting the work of small businesses and local craftspeople. Raised working in her family’s artisan bakery, she’s passionate about the connection between food and community. As an artist, crafter, and baker, Emily typically has her fingers in multiple creative pots at once. Throughout her education at NSCAD University obtaining her Bachelor of Fine Arts, Emily worked with local organizations in the arts and culture sector. While cooking up and promoting projects and fundraisers, she developed an affinity for the swift, visual language of marketing and has specialized in this work ever since. Emily moved to Halifax from Ontario in 2012, and is now hooked on living next to the ocean.
Margaret Ells Congdon grew up on a mixed farm in the Annapolis Valley, where she gained an appreciation for working on the land, growing your own food and supporting local small business. She attended the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and received a Bachelor of Science in Plant Protection. She has lived in Great Village for the past 30-odd years, where she has gardener, raised four children and worked as a caterer and personal chef. Following the example of her parents, she has been an active volunteer with church, community and 4-H throughout the years. In January 2016 she was hired as the Manager of the Truro Farmers’ Market Cooperative. She loves her job as it gives her an opportunity to talk with customers, promote talented producers and craftspeople, partner with the community, and talk about food production and security.
Living on a former dairy farm in Scotsburn (though not currently commercially farming), Dave Hachey comes to this position with interest in food for the role it can play in our culture and future economic success. He spent 10 years on Wall Street as a trader, two years training traders in India and East Asia, is a tech entrepreneur and supervised the birth of over 300 lambs while restoring his farm to productive use. He is optimistic about the talent and energy he sees rejuvenating rural Nova Scotia and believes skill sharing and a supportive ecosystem can help us all eat and live better. He has a day job as a Pricing Analyst at Sobeys, Inc. and is married to Christine Whelan (www.wonkyeye.ca). They have 2 kids: Simon and Izzy, Slipper (dog), Nugget (cat), and a flock of chickens that look funny when they run.