Staff & Board

Executive Director

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.


Rachael Browne is originally from Australia and moved to the Annapolis County in December 2020. She took on the task of Manager at the Annapolis Royal Farmers and Traders Market at the start of the 2021 season. Not a stranger to growing food or farmers markets, Rachael has spent the majority of her life travelling the world and has always had a great appreciation for supporting local in the places that she visits. Filled with ideas on how she can make a difference in the world, Rachael is very excited to be on the board to support farmers’ markets throughout Nova Scotia.

Member At Large

Shawn Crouse is a red seal chef who grew up on the family farm and is no stranger to having fresh food all around him. Once he finished culinary school and moved to Nova Scotia, he became passionate about growing his own vegetables to put into his creations and started a small scale homestead. In 2020 he and his wife became vendors at the Tatamagouche Farmers’ Market to start their farm business but the market was struggling during the pandemic and in need of a manager. They eagerly accepted a co-manager position and helped build the market back up to be a place for the community to gather and support local businesses all in one place. This created their passion for building and sustaining essential local food systems which also inspired their farm-to-table food truck. Shawn serves a comfort food menu in Tatamagouche on the weekends, inspired by the markets offerings and fuelled by his vendors products. His goal is to create an affordable and locally sourced menu, giving the community a truly local option while showcasing what the small businesses around them have to offer. 

Communications & Creative Lead

Emily Lawrence combines artistry with marketing and culinary experience and bakes it at 350 degrees. Raised working in her family’s bakery, she’s always been passionate about the connection between food, craft and community. Emily has worked as a promotions specialist and content creator for a variety of food and craft based businesses and organizations. As an artist and maker, she has an affinity for the visual language of marketing through photography and digital storytelling. In her spare time, Emily can be found baking cakes and growing flowers.


Ashley Marlin has managed farmers’ markets on the South Shore of Nova Scotia since 2009. She brings experience working with local producers, artisans, not-for- profit groups, volunteers, students, and government. She has previously served on the board of Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia for six years as secretary and president. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Saint Mary’s University in biology and environmental studies. She is passionate about a strong sustainable local economy.


Gareth Winsor was born and raised in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. However, growing up Gareth spent his summer vacations alternating between his great uncle’s cattle and grain farm in the Canadian Prairies and his grandfather’s lobster fishing wharf in Newfoundland. Some of his earliest memories are of exploring old barns and farmland and playing around lobster traps and fishing nets.

This exposure to farming and fishing nurtured both a respect for the importance of local food producers and their role in local economies, as well as a passion for cooking with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. These sentiments were further reinforced in 2006 when he moved to the Annapolis Valley where he was overwhelmed with the quality and variety of locally harvested food. Gareth now lives in Halifax and works in corporate finance as a CPA. On weekends, you can find him fly fishing, hiking, camping or putting his feet up at his cottage.

Member at Large

Therese Cruz’s desire to foster community spirit while promoting local artisans and producers is what motivated her to become involved in the organizing and setup of markets. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, then immigrating to Toronto, Ontario, has given her a unique perspective on food accessibility and security, as well as the various cultural relationships surrounding food. She has over 15 years of experience in the food service and retail industries, and that helps her create a well-curated experience as a Director of the Shelburne Guild Hall Market. She also is a jewellery artist which enables her to understand how much markets are vital to thriving communities by supporting small businesses and keeping local economies going. As a witness to how a farmers’ market can change the dynamic of a community in a positive way, Therese would like to continue to play an active role in that, in a much broader scale through the FMNS.

Membership & Programs Lead

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.


Kristi Russell re-located to Nova Scotia with her family from Ontario in 2013. Interested in living a more self-sufficient lifestyle, they left the hustle and bustle of city life and headed to rural NS where they started a hobby farm. Hristi and her husband, Colin began as vendors selling at the New Glasgow Farmers Market selling jams, jellies and sticky buns and eggs. In 2015, Kristi began her current role as Market Manager. Over the past 8 years, Kristi has focussed her attention on learning more about agriculture, using her varied career experience to support small local businesses and increase local food security. She is passionate about her community and is always excited to work with others to shape the future.

Member at Large

Steph Osberg is a business management professional based in Armdale, Nova Scotia. With a background in management consulting, they currently work with Osberg Solutions, providing innovative technology solutions to not-for-profit organizations. Their expertise lies in web systems administration and custom application development, helping these organizations achieve their goals and better serve their clients.

Passionate about food security, Steph is actively involved in the food movement in Halifax. They are a graduate of the Food Leadership Program through the Ecology Action Center and serve as a volunteer, and board member of the Spryfield Market. Excited to contribute to the vital work of Farmers Markets Nova Scotia (FMNS), they strive to ensure food security in their home province.

Steph is a dedicated professional committed to making a positive impact and serving their community through their expertise in business management, technology solutions, and active involvement in food security initiatives.

Member at Large

Rhonda Johnson lives in Spryfield but grew up in North Preston where she was taught the importance of family, friends and community. In her community she was taught by the elders in her  family how to pick apples and berries and to turn what she found in the backyard into pies and jams. She believes strongly in supporting local. She is a vendor in Spryfield, the Halifax Brewery and Alderney Landing farmers’ markets. The Halifax Brewery Farmers’ Market holds a special place in her heart. It’s where her great grandmothers would travel by horse and wagon to sell their items. For over 18 years Rhonda has worked with the province and volunteering in the community which is her passion.