The ACORN Board of Directors

ACORN is a membership-based non-profit incorporated cooperative with a ten member Board of Directors and an Executive Director.

Sylvestre Dion

NB, President

Dakota Varen

NS, Vice-President

Dakota Varen is a small-scale vegetable farmer in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia working towards a locally, organically produced product being a feasible option for low and average income individuals.

Mike Beamish


Mike Beamish runs Beamish Orchard a small organic apple orchard (500 trees) just outside of Charlottetown, PEI, where he also runs Deep Roots Distillery.

Kent Coats


Kent is passionate about growing great tasting food. He wants to grow vegetables that make people want to eat them and believe that this will change the way people eat. He feels that eating healthy food will improve our health and eventually change the way we grow food through public demand and awareness. Kent gave up a professional engineering career in 2006 to grow food full time and have grown a sustainable business ever since. With his awesome staff in 2018 we grew 12 acres of organic veggies and feed people in Sackville, Dieppe and Moncton all year! Organic just makes sense to me.

Joanne Venart


Joey Pittoello


Joey Pittoello has an undergraduate degree specializing inphysics but his life since then has been anything but specialized. After graduating from university, Joey lived for three years in Shikoku,Japan teaching English at public schools on a tiny island of 600 people in Shikoku, Japan. There he acquired an interest in small scale farming practices, human relationships with food, and agricultural policy. He returned to Canada to learn Organic farming practices and has been a small scale organic farmer ever since. Joey joined Just Us! Coffee Roasters as a chocolatier to support his farming habit in 2010. He has since worked as a coffee roaster, Director of Coffee, Operations Manager and now General Manager of the worker co-op of which he is a member. His partner Sarah, and two children Mia and Lewyn live near Wolfville, Nova Scotia on their small organic farm.

Mark Wilson


Mark is the owner and operator of NL Organics Ltd. and the Newfoundland Gourmet Mushroom Company. As a Senior Associate Consultant with Goss Gilroy he also provides both organic agricultural expertise and business guidance. Operating a 9-acre diversified veggie and mushroom farm in Portugal Cove Newfoundland and Labrador takes up most of his time when he’s not playing music or active in politics. He’s served the greater farming and food security community as a board member of Food First NL, ACORN NL, Common Ground Co-op, FEAST, and as NL’s Director to the Organic Federation of Canada. Trained as an IOIA Organic Crop and Processing inspector Mark brings over 38 years of small farm life, culture, and business to the project from Ontario, the UK, USA, and rocky old NL.


  • Susan MacKinnon, PEI Dept. of Agriculture & Forestry
  • Av Singh, Perennia
  • Terri MacPherson, NS Dept. Agriculture
  • Claude Bertheleme, NB Dept. of Agriculture, Aquaculture & Fisheries
  • Rose Halliday, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada
  • Jean Lambert, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada
  • Shawn Ingraham, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • Jane White, Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Natural Resources