Farms at Work Board of Directors

Become a Board Member

Kelly Carmichael (Chair) maintains a high-profile marketing and communications portfolio spanning over 15 years. She holds a degree in Graphic arts and communications. She uses her skills to move progressive initiatives forward. Formerly, as the Executive Director of a national not-for-profit she was tasked with building a movement for proportional representation in Canada. Carmichael comes from many generations of traditional farmers. As a young person, she spent summers on her grandmother’s farm. When she is not working as a communications professional, she and her husband run a regenerative, rotational grazing, farm-to-fork farm business serving the GTA. Kelly believes a return to ecological methods of farming are necessary to address many of the challenges facing humanity.

Pat Learmonth (Secretary/Treasurer) joined the new Board of Directors after serving as Project Director of Farms at Work for twelve years prior to its incorporation. She was the Environmental Farm Plan Representative and Workshop Leader for Peterborough County for seven years and co-founded the East Central Farm Stewardship Collaborative. She is past Chair of the Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development Agricultural Advisory Committee and current Co-chair of the Peterborough Alliance for Food and Farming and Chair of the Peterborough Agricultural Roundtable. Pat and her husband own a farm near Peterborough.

Josh Arias a Management Consultant for Serecon, providing technical and professional advisory services to a wide variety of facets of agriculture and environmental science.  He is a Professional Agrologist (P.Ag) with a Masters Degree in Environmental Science from the Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph and a Registered Microbiologist with the Canadian College of Microbiologists.  Josh has significant experience and passion for renewable energy and GHG emissions reduction. His wife comes from a six-generation beef farm based near Peterborough.

Larrissa Jerome has been an ecological farm worker for over 10 years in Perth County, Waterloo Region, and now in the GTA. She studied food security at both U Waterloo and TMU, using every research opportunity to support local food systems, food policy councils, and community food projects. This season, Lara is farming at County Left Farm in Claremont while working to secure a long-term lease in Rouge National Urban Park to begin her own farm operation. From personal experience, Lara understands how organizations like Farms at Work are pivotal for supporting new and young farmers in our increasingly challenging farming landscape.

Erika Inglis grew up in agriculture, spending her childhood climbing trees and picking rocks on her family's mixed livestock and cash crop farm in southwestern Ontario. She began working in small-scale organic vegetable production as a teenager and has spent most of the last decade working as a farm worker and for farm-to-table restaurants. She is now a student of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems at Trent University and works with Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development as a project coordinator for a local food wholesale initiative. Erika is also a board member for the Seasoned Spoon, a cooperatively owned non-profit farm-to-table café located on the campus of Trent University. Erika is passionate about building resilient local food systems, food justice, and farmer-to-farmer knowledge networks. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, writing poetry, and exploring the wilderness with friends.

David Minshall is a self-employed management consultant with a long history of management positions in industry. He holds an MBA in Finance from Queen’s University. David’s family farmed in Peterborough County beginning in the late 1970’s, cropping and raising pigs. He still lives on the farm and is now undertaking tree planting on marginal land. 

Natasha Sheward is the Coordinator of the Trent Vegetable Gardens (TVG), a Peterborough-based, field-to-table, non-profit farm. The TVG aims to bolster food sovereignty in Peterborough by providing food by donation, managing community garden plots, and hosting experiential learning opportunities for both students and community members. She is a supporting member of the Trent Student Seed Savers, and was previously the Program Coordinator for Net Zero Farms, a pilot project of Green Economy Peterborough designed to support local farms and agribusiness’ in tracking and reducing GHG emissions. Natasha holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Toronto Metropolitan University specializing in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems from Trent University. 

Melissa Spearing is a professional seed biologist at the National Tree Seed Centre in Fredericton New Brunswick, while working towards a Master of Forest Science degree at the University of New Brunswick. Her background spans organic garlic and nursery production and promoting native Grow-Me-Insteads at her parent’s nursery business in Bethany, propagating Species at Risk for local recovery programs, delivering tree seed collection training for the Forest Gene Conservation Association, training at the Millennium Seed Bank in England, and a diploma from the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture. Wherever she roams, she loves walking in the woods, foraging, preserving, eating and sharing stewardship of the land with others.

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A Few Past Directors:

Amy Stein lives on a permaculture homestead in Grey County, Ontario. During her career in capital markets and financial management, Amy’s professional focus evolved from large corporations to smaller, innovative and mission-oriented enterprises. She has expertise in building financial frameworks for unconventional and complex endeavours including, for example, Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto. In recent years Amy created a local farm co-ownership model to protect more farmland under the stewardship of ecological farmers, while offering them affordable long-term access to land with a home and the opportunity to build equity. Her education includes an MBA from The Wharton School in finance and accounting, as well as degrees in economics and environmental studies from University of Toronto.

Jen Johnstone is the Executive Director at the Alzheimer Society of Peterborough, Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland and Haliburton. Jen has over 15 years experience in fundraising and is the chair of the Peterborough Area Fundraisers’ Network executive board.  Jen started in agriculture during her time with Everdale Community Teaching Farm, during which she helped establish the Black Creek Community Farm in Toronto.  After moving to the Peterborough area, Jen operated  Wyndberry Garden, a cut flower farm in Lakefield, Ontario. With over 10 years of experience in the food and farming sector,  Jen is passionate about local food systems, the environment, and supporting new entry farmers to get off to a good start.