The ACORN Team
 

Janice Melanson

Executive Director
admin[@]acornorganic.org

Janice has lived and worked in communities across Canada, from BC’s agricultural fruit belt to Montreal, Quebec, to Sackville, NB where she moved with her family in 2014. Passionate about personal and community food security, Janice is a gardener and long-time supporter of organic agriculture. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Sackville Farmers’ Market since 2015.

Janice brings with her years of leadership experience and rigorous training in governance, finances, and non-profit management in the charitable sector, including prominent health charities such as Breast Cancer Action Quebec, and the Kidney Foundation of Canada. A self-described “dot connector”, Janice brings not only years of campaign and program management experience, but a solid track record in networking and engagement, bringing constituent partners and collaborators to the table and uniting them under a common purpose.

Stephanie Hughes

Regional Program Coordinator
(Atlantic Canada), The Bauta Family Initiative on
Canadian Seed Security
seed[@]acornorganic.org

Steph joined ACORN in February of 2013. Since then she’s been working as part of The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security to support farmers and seed savers, increase ACORN’s knowledge of and involvement with seed networks, and strengthen Atlantic Canada’s wonderful, and blossoming seed movement. Steph’s work includes designing and supporting research, training, and networking projects and events for growers, as well as working within the emerging seed library movement. From ACORN’s renowned annual conference to the Bauta Initiative’s many field-based projects, Steph’s role is central to ensuring that Atlantic Canada’s seed community is visible in this work, supported by the program, and able to contribute to a national seed movement that is everyday finding itself stronger and more capable.

Steph has an academic background in International Development Studies, with a focus on food issues and a minor in Political Science, from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In the execution of her work for ACORN, Steph draws upon nearly a decade of experience working in social and environmental justice movements, including years of exploration (volunteering and studying) to better understand and improve food sovereignty at the community level, both in Canada and internationally. With a particular background in community development, permaculture, and communications, Steph endeavours to bring a systems approach to this work, engaging with folks in a collaborative and empowering way.

Tegan Renner (On Leave 2018-2019)

Outreach & Marketing Coordinator
tegan[@]acornorganic.org

Tegan grew up on a mixed family farm in southern Ontario, pursued a degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo, and after completing her thesis research on consumer understandings of organic agriculture, has never looked back on the perfect pairing of these passions that her career in organics has proven to be.

She joined the ACORN team in 2012 after more than two years of working in the Ontario organic sector, largely managing a variety of farmer and consumer educational projects for Canadian Organic Growers (Perth-Waterloo-Wellington Chapter), but also working in the orchards at Ignatius Farm and conducting sector research for the Organic Council of Ontario.

Tegan is currently taking the lead on ACORN’s NS Outreach & Marketing project, the CSA Network and the organization’s participation in OrganicPriceTracker.ca. In her role as ACORN’s NB Coordinator, Tegan has overseen several projects focused on advancing organics in the province, and developed connections with and between producers, retailers, farmers’ markets, and other agricultural organizations. Most recently, she worked closely with members of the NB Organic Committee to support the development of the 2014-2018 NB Organic Strategic Plan and is moving forward with implementing the sector’s priorities from this plan, with a notable focus on consumer education efforts.

Tzomi Burkhart

Outreach & Communications Coordinator (July 2018-October 2019)

outreach[at]acornorganic.org

Above all else, Tzomi loves eating creative meals of local and delicious foods. She grew up in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and the East Kootenays, where even near-desert conditions and harsh winters couldn’t slow down her mother’s huge gardens. As a young adult, she worked on organic farms across the continent with her dog, her father’s best kitchen cleaver, a copper pan, and a propane stove. In 2012, she landed in Wolfville, NS where she completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Environmental and Sustainability Studies at Acadia with a focus on Sustainable Community Development and a double major in History. During her studies, she assisted in a publication about community based water quality projects nationwide, continued working with local farmers by reducing food waste and creating preserves, and completed a thesis examining the use of greenwashing by some environmental non-profits. Tzomi’s focus is always on the “glocal” - thinking globally and acting locally in the rural communities and small towns where she is most at home.

She is an avid gardener, wildcrafter, fermenter, and canner who can’t wait to share her delight of local foods with ACORN members. She will be responsible for all ACORN’s print and digital communications and will lead ACORN’s consumer education programming and marketing initiatives during Tegan’s maternity leave.

Brittany Maguire

Environmental Projects Coordinator

environment[@]acornorganic.org

Brittany is passionate about environmental and social justice, sustainable food systems, conservation, and community engagement, among other things. She grew up in the Greater Toronto Area and has since studied, worked, and volunteered for variety of environmental initiatives in Eastern Canada and Latin America. Brittany has an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and International Development Studies from Dalhousie University in Halifax and a Masters in Environmental Studies from York University in Toronto.

Brittany joined ACORN in 2017 as the Conference Assistant, and has been assisting with events, communications, strategic planning, grant writing, and administration work. As the Environmental Projects Coordinator, she is now coordinating ACORN’s new initiative Cultivating Climate Resilience in Atlantic Canada to support climate adaptation on farms and in our food system. To encourage climate adaptation planning, she is working with farmers to support the implementation of climate adaptation strategies, developing programming and resources, facilitating knowledge transfer, and collaborating with key partners.

Sophie Routhier LeBlanc

Events and Administrative Assistant

events[@]acornorganic.org

Sophie was raised in a small town in the southeast of New Brunswick. She left New Brunswick to pursue her post secondary education at the University of Ottawa where she earned a Bachelor in Geography and Environmental Studies. In Ottawa, Sophie was able to enrich her perspective on various environmental issues, cultivate knowledge on the local produce advantages to urban farming at the ‘École d’été d’agriculture urbaine’ in Montreal and coordinated zero waste initiatives. As the coordinator of the campus Free Store, an initiative to encourage sustainability on campus, Sophie worked closely with the Office of Campus Sustainability where she developed more knowledge on sustainable practices. Sophie is happy to have returned to the Atlantic region and is rediscovering sustainability initiatives in her home province.

Sophie is excited to contribute and learn with the ACORN team. She is helping with the organization of the ACORN annual conference and is offering administrative support to the team. If you call the office you will hear her friendly voice and she will happily find the answers to your questions.

Jill Pelkey

Fund Development Coordinator

development[@]acornorganic.org

Raised in Woodstock, NB, Jill left her hometown to complete a Bachelor of Arts degree from Mount Allison University. Jill focused her studies around Psychology, Business and Gender Studies with the intention of incorporating wellness and social justice into business practices. She is passionate about ethical operations and supporting non-profits and joined ACORN in May 2018.

Prior to joining the team, Jill worked in coordination with Mount Allison University on various university advancement projects including research, fundraising campaigns and event support. As the Fund Development Coordinator, she is working to realize new revenue streams that will support and expand developing initiatives to fulfill ACORN’s strategic goals.