Who We Are

The National Farmers Foundation (NFF) is a charitable organization dedicated to the promotion, creation and enhancement of food systems based on the principles of food sovereignty: sustainability, equity, and justice. Through research, education, and projects that advance these principles we aim to support food producers and provisioners, workers, and rural communities in Canada.

Our Values

The NFF strives to integrate and reflect the following values in our work and organizational practices:

  • COLLABORATION & COOPERATION: We create greater impact by seeking common interests and using collaborative and cooperative strategies within our organization and among the organizations with which we work. We collaborate closely with organizations with whom our values and mission are aligned such as the National Farmers Union.
  • SOCIAL & ECONOMIC JUSTICE: We apply a social and economic justice lens to our work. We reject the corporate control and exploitation of our food systems.
  • SUSTAINABILITY & CONNECTION TO NATURE: We support food systems that value the contributions of nature through agro-ecological production and provisioning methods that protect and enhance ecosystems and diversity, as well as improve resilience and adaptation, especially in the face of the climate crisis.
  • RESPECT & EQUITY: We values and respect the identities, experiences, and rights of those who have traditionally been marginalized and excluded from our food systems, including small scale family farmers, pastoralists, artisanal fisherfolk, forest dwellers, Indigenous peoples and agricultural and fisheries workers who cultivate, grow, harvest and process food. We reject colonial, racist, and patriarchal policies that have sought to undervalue, divide, discriminate against, and eliminate them. We are committed to partnering with and decolonizing our relationships with the original stewards of the land.

Our Organization

The National Farmers Foundation is governed and run by a seven-person voluntary Board of Directors, and has one staff person. Directors are in sympathy with the goals, objectives, and policies of the National Farmers Union, and are all members or associate members of the NFU.

Annette Desmarais

President

Annette Aurélie Desmarais was the Canada Research Chair in Human Rights, Social Justice and Food Sovereignty from 2013 to 2023 at the University of Manitoba.

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She is a professor and the author of La Vía Campesina: Globalization and the Power of Peasants (Fernwood Publishing, 2007), co-editor of three books on food sovereignty, and editor of Frontline Farmers: How the National Farmers Union Resists Agribusiness and Creates our New Food Future (2019). Prior to obtaining her doctorate in geography, Annette was a small-scale cattle and grain farmer in Canada for 11 years; she also worked as technical support to La Via Campesina for over a decade. She continues to conduct participatory research with member organizations of this transnational agrarian movement. Her main research interests are agrarian change, food sovereignty, questions related to land tenure, and rural social movements.

www.landfoodsovereignty.ca

Glen Koroluk

Treasurer

Glen Koroluk has spent most of his working career in the non-profit and charitable sector as a community organizer and coordinator on issues such as inner city housing, food sovereignty, community development, and environmental sustainability.

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He is currently the executive director of the Manitoba Eco-Network and volunteers as a board member with the National Farmers Foundation. He holds a BSc. from the University of Winnipeg that focused on geography, climatology and statistics.

Katie Ward

Secretary

Katie Ward is a 9th generation family farmer from West Carleton-March, northwest of Ottawa. Along with her husband, Mathieu-Andre Chiasson, she raises sheep, pigs, and chickens on pasture which she direct markets to farmer’s markets and restaurants. She also grows hay, wheat, oats and barley, and vegetables.

Jamie Baxter

Director

Jamie Baxter is an Associate Professor at the Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University in Halifax, where he works on legal issues related to land, food, agriculture and local government.

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Jamie first pursued his graduate studies in economics, focusing on rural and community development, and was a visiting Fulbright Scholar at the Appalachian Center, University of Kentucky. He went on to study law at the University of Toronto, clerked at the Federal Court of Canada and completed his doctorate in law at Yale. Jamie’s research group works closely with community organizations, most recently on projects about collaborative urban-regional food systems governance, shellfish and seaplant farming, and farmland tenure transitions.

Dianne Dowling

Director

Dianne Dowling grew up on a mixed farm north of Toronto, and has lived for almost 50 years on a farm east of Kingston, Ontario. 

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She was an elementary school teacher for 32 years, and has been active in food and farm organizations in the area since her retirement from teaching in 2008. She served as a director, vice-president and president of her National Farmers Union local, and as member and chair of the Food Policy Council for Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox-Addington; she was a founder and continues as a board member of the Kingston Area Seed System Initiative, an organization that supports regional seed-saving. She is a member of the National Farmers Union national farmland committee, and has co-chaired several regional and national NFU conventions. She is proud that two of her children have established their own farm businesses on the farmland she and her husband owned.

Yuill Herbert

Director

Yuill is an internationally recognized expert in climate mitigation and adaptation with two decades of experience.

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Yuill is an active participant in United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change processes, has led model development for the International Energy Agency, and was a fellow of Project Drawdown. Yuill serves as a director on the boards of the Canada Research Chair on Sustainable Community Development, the Canadian Worker Cooperative Federation, and Tatamagouche Community Land Trust, where he lives at Waldergrave Farm. 

Kalissa Regier

Director

Kalissa Regier is a former NFU Youth President and co-owns and operates Remoué Family Farms in the beautiful rolling hills of Rockglen, Saskatchewan.

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Kalissa and Tyler grow organic cereals, oilseeds and pulses for the domestic and international markets. Kalissa is passionate about improving resilience in farming, both in the ecosystem and in her community. She spent several years as farmer representative with La Via Campesina, and continually draws on the experiences with LVC and NFU to guide her current local work. Aside from the farm, Kalissa and Tyler own Goose Creek Industries, which currently manufactures a low disturbance rod weeder for use in both organic and conventional field cropping. Kalissa is also in her second term as a council member for the RM of Poplar Valley. Kalissa and Tyler live on the farm with their 3 kids, Annika, Theo and Felix. 

Wyanne Sandler

Coordinator

Wyanne joined the NFF as a Coordinator in early 2022. She brings to her role skills and experience in non-profit management together with a passion for farming, food sovereignty, and social, ecological, and climate justice.

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Most recently she held the role of Executive Director of the Antigonish Women’s Centre & Sexual Assault Services, an organization dedicated to service delivery and social change in rural Nova Scotia (Mi’kma’ki). Wyanne grew up on a small mixed farm in Prince Edward Island, and has worked with farmers throughout her life, first in PEI, then in Guatemala, and finally in Nova Scotia, where she now lives on a small homestead with her partner (a beekeeper) and their two young children. Locally, she is involved in organizing on food security, economic justice, as well as supporting migrant and climate justice initiatives.

The National Farmers Foundation’s work extends to regions across the country and we acknowledge the treaty rights and the unceded rights and title of Indigenous peoples throughout Turtle Island.

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