Masters of Food and Resource Economics Previous Speakers

Krisha Lim

Krisha Lim is an Associate Director of Monitoring and Evaluation at International Care Ministries (ICM). She works collaboratively with the Research and Operations teams in the design and evaluation of ICM’s programs on economic, social, health, and education interventions targeting Filipinos living in ultra-poverty. She also trains enumerators in field offices to collect high quality data, cleans and analyzes data from randomized controlled trials and other experimental studies, and present results to staff and program partners. She holds a MSc in Agriculture and Resource Economics from University of Alberta and was a visiting scholar at the Buffet Institute Global Poverty Research Lab.

Sumeet Gulati

Sumeet completed his Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics at the University of Maryland in College Park, USA, in 2003, and has since been at Food and Resource Economics at UBC. In his research, Sumeet focuses on questions related to the formation and effectiveness of environmental policies, for example, should our government subsidize hybrid electric vehicles, what are the benefits of paying people to scrap their old cars? Sumeet teaches Environmental Economics and Policy in the MFRE program.

Nick Brusatore, Founder at Vertical Designs

An early pioneer in the vertical farming space, Nick Brusatore is a known design expert in the commercial production of plants using vertical growing technology to fully automate and accommodate low cost production with high level of quality. Mr. Brusatore has been Chairman of the Applied Research Board at The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and nominated for the award of excellence in Canada Agriculture. Nick was the initial funder and founder of Affinor Growers and Vertical Designs and the current holder of two global vertical farming patents. He is currently funding a state of the art facility under construction for Cannabis on his property in Abbotsford BC.

Dylan Jones, Founder at Coast Protein

Dylan views small value-driven businesses as the catalyst for great change in the Canadian economy. He created the idea of Coast Protein to see food production and protein consumption to be completely disrupted. Dylan’s drive for a more sustainable future comes from his love for Canada’s winters and deep, deep powder snow.

Alan P. Ker, Director and Professor, Institute for the Advanced Study of Food and Agricultural Policy, University of Guelph, Guelph Ontario

Alan is the Director of the Institute for the Advanced Study of Food and Agricultural Policy. The Institute attracts and supports students in the area of food and agricultural economics, hosts conferences, publishes FAREShare (newsletter) and supports FARETalk (podcast). Alan served as 2016-17 President of the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society and sits on the editorial boards of the Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics and the European Review of Agricultural Economics. Alan has testified before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food. His interests are varied having published in leading academic journals ranging from agricultural economics, economics, statistics, probability, law, animal science, and plant science. Current research involves the link between climate change, innovation, and yield volatilities, issues related to risk management and crop insurance, and developing methodologies that borrow information from like dgps to increase small sample efficiency of nonparametric estimators. Alan has also written for the popular press publishing on issues related to agri-food policy in the “National Post”, “The Hill Times”, and “Conversation Canada” as well as others.

Jessica Taylor

Jessica Taylor was leading Bioenterprise British Columbia as the Acting Regional Manager and supports clients across the country in her role as Senior Analyst. Jessica relocated to British Columbia in 2016 to spearhead the organization’s expansion into western Canada. As Acting Regional Manager, Jessica worked with stakeholders across British Columbia to build a diverse and sustainable ecosystem to support the growth of agri-tech and food companies. Jessica has a keen interest in project management, organizational behaviour and building meaningful strategic relationships. Working with the Senior Management team, Jessica helps to develop and implement growth and sustainability strategies for Bioenterprise. She also works closely with the Analyst Team and strategic advisors to provide consistent, effective support to Bioenterprise clients. Prior to Bioenterprise’s national expansion, Jessica worked in the head office as the Senior Analyst in Food & Food Systems and was responsible for supporting clients and training Bioenterprise’s growing team. Jessica has also worked in facilitation, inventory control and customer service roles. Jessica holds a Master of Science degree in Nutrition and Nutraceutical Sciences from the University of Guelph, a Certificate in Business Analysis from the University of Toronto and is trained in Knowledge Translation and Transfer (University of Toronto).

Rosy Mondin Executive Director Cannabis Trade Alliance of Canada

With over 18 years of legal and entrepreneurial experience, Rosy Mondin serves as strategic advisor for companies involved in the processing, distribution, and safe use of medical cannabis. She co-founded Soma Labs Scientific in 2014 and is now the CEO of Quadron Cannatech Corporation. She is the first woman to hold the role as CEO in a publicly traded cannabis company. Rosy is also the co-Founder and Executive Director of the Cannabis Trade Alliance of Canada (CTAC) and Special Advisor to the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD), where she works with industry leaders, government legislators and educators to develop an inclusive, safe, and ethical cannabis industry.


Harmony Bjarnason, MFRE’15, BC Agriculture and Food Climate Action Initiative – Kelowna

Harmony works with the BC Agriculture & Food Climate Action Initiative on the Regional Adaptation Strategies program – a regional approach to evaluating the agriculture sector’s risks and opportunities in relation to climate change. She develops and delivers projects to support adaptation and build sector resilience in farming communities in BC. She also operates a small hops farm in Kelowna.


Jeff Carmichael

Jeff Carmichael has a Ph.D. in environmental economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He manages the Utility Research and Innovation team at Metro Vancouver, where he has worked for 10 years on wastewater and water research, energy recovery, climate change, and sustainability issues. He is also a volunteer committee member with the BC Water and Wastewater Association. Prior to that he spent several years as a Research Associate at the Sustainable Development Research Institute at UBC, working on sustainability and climate change issues as well as water management concerns in the Okanagan.


Chelsea Erhardt, Trader, Renewable Fuels and Compliance, Elbow River Marketing

Chelsea Erhardt works with the compliance trading team at Elbow River Marketing. Chelsea is passionate about environmental markets and has spent the bulk of her career focused on North American carbon offsets. Recently she joined Elbow River and has helped the company manage its exposure to cap-and-trade markets, low carbon fuel standards, and renewable fuel obligations across North America. The team looks forward to continuing to demonstrate success in compliance trading and further growing its already diverse proprietary trading portfolio of RINs, carbon and LCFS credits. Chelsea holds a Master of Science in Environmental Economics from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK.

Bruce Turris, Fisheries Management: How Theory Becomes Operationalized

Bruce is an economist, but very much a practitioner. For the first 17 years of his career, he was an official with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, in the Pacific region. He subsequently went into private practice, working very closely with industry as well as government. He does extensive consulting work outside of Canada, as well as within, with examples being the US (both coasts), China and Europe.

Hurrian Peyman, Climate Innovation and Solutions Branch, BC Government


Lon LaClaire, Director, Transportation at City of Vancouver.

Prior to taking on this position, he had acted in the Director role for almost a year. As Director, Lon oversees all aspects of transportation, including planning, design, engagement, traffic and parking management. Lon has worked for the City for about 20 years. He started his career by designing bikeways and traffic calming and quickly moved on to work on the City’s newest rapid transit lines – the Millennium and Canada SkyTrain Lines. He was a key contributor to the two most recent, award-winning, long range transportation plans – the Downtown Transportation Plan and the City’s Transportation 2040 plan. Before moving into the Director role, Lon managed the City of Vancouver’s Strategic Transportation Planning Branch for a number of years. Lon completed his undergraduate degree in engineering at Concordia University in Montreal and completed his Masters in Transportation Engineering and Structures at the University of Calgary.

B. Kelsey Jack, James L. Paddock Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics, Tufts University

Kelsey works on the intersection of environment and development economics. She will present her paper titled: “Charging ahead: Prepaid electricity metering in South Africa.”

Dylan Jones, Founder @ Coast Protein: Sustainable Cricket Protein Bars and Powders

Dylan views small value-driven businesses as the catalyst for great change in the Canadian economy. He created the idea of Coast Protein to see food production and protein consumption to be completely disrupted. Dylan’s drive for a more sustainable future comes from his love for Canada’s winters and deep, deep powder snow

Brian Mauza, Ocean Spray Canada (ret.)

Brian is a professional agrologist active in the BC Institute of Agrologists with 41 years in the horticulture/agriculture sector in British Columbia. He has worked with growers and grower groups, traveled to visit other growing regions in Europe, Japan and North America, as well as represented grower groups with respect to research and industry issues with the Federal and Provincial governments, educational institutions and the private sector.

Colin Carter, Professor, University of California, Davis: Economics of Genetically Modified Crops


Karina Sakalauskas, Industry Specialist, Berries, Ministry of Agriculture

Karina is a Berry Industry specialist with the BC Ministry of Agriculture, in Abbotsford, BC. Prior to this, she spent the last 8 years as the Research Coordinator of the BC Blueberry Council, working closely with growers and other stakeholders to manage disease issues, and facilitate knowledge transfer through educational programs.

Brian Smith, BC Assessment, Agricultural Land Valuation

Brian Smith is a Deputy Assessor with BC Assessment in the Fraser Valley region. He is a member of the Appraisal Institute of Canada and has spent the past 9 years working on the valuation and taxation of all property types. During that time he has spent a considerable amount of time working on the valuation of properties that fall within the Agricultural Land Reserve and the corresponding property taxation of this group of properties.

Julie Wilson, Master of Land and Water Systems (MLWS) Academic Coordinator


Christian Langpap, Associate Professor, Oregon State University

Dr. Langpap is an applied economist specializing in environmental and natural resource economics.As part of his seminar, Dr. Langpap led a fireside chat with MFRE students where he discussed “The Role of the Private Sector in Environmental Policy“.

Hanako Okano, Retail Marketing Specialist At Unilever/Ben & Jerry, Japan

Hanako Okano is the Assistant Brand Manager for Ben & Jerry’s at Unilever Japan. Her breadth of experience includes management consulting at Deloitte Tohmatsu Consulting and new product development at Dole Japan. She co-wrote a nutritional health book on long-term living in 2007 and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Food Market Analysis from the University of British Columbia in Canada. Hanako Okano is a global citizen and currently lives in Tokyo, Japan.

Jennifer Woron, Director of Marketing & Sales at BC Dairy Association

As the Director of Marketing & Sales, Jennifer contributes to the promotion of milk consumption in BC through BC Dairy Association’s provincial marketing initiatives. In particular, Jennifer manages the Association’s “Buy Local. Eat Natural.” initiative (now We Heart Local) and Powered by Chocolate Milk program. In addition, Jennifer manages the organization of the very popular BC Dairy Industry Conference.

Kirk Homenick, President of Naturally Homegrown Foods Ltd.

Naturally Homegrown Foods Ltd. is a Maple Ridge, BC based premium snack food company.  It produces a line of hand cooked chips under the Hardbite brand name.  Kirk has over 16 years’ experience in the consumer food and agri-food marketplace having previously worked at Houweling’s Nurseries, Forbes Medi-Tech, and BC Hot House Foods.  Throughout his career he has held roles in many different areas including sales, marketing, operations, general management, strategic planning, and corporate development.   Kirk holds a Masters of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University, and an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California.

David Fraser, Professor, The University of British Columbia

David is a professor in the Animal Welfare Program and is cross-appointed between the Faculty of Land and Food Systems and the W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics at The University of British Columbia. Loblaw, Canada’s largest grocery retailer, recently named Professor David Fraser as scientific advisor on animal welfare. David has served as an advisor on animal welfare for the retail and restaurant sectors in the United States and for the World Organisation for Animal Health, and is a member of Canada’s National Farm Animal Health and Welfare Council. In his role as scientific advisor to Loblaw, he will conduct research, provide expert opinion and scientific guidance, and help the company ensure that their commitments are aligned to animal welfare standards and best practices.

Arjan Stephens, Executive VP of Sales and Marketing for Nature’s Path Foods

Arjan is responsible for leading Nature’s Path’s strategic direction in regards to product development, communications, sales, advertising, and packaging. Looking to champion Nature’s Path as a trusted name in quality organic foods, Arjan has led his team through integrated consumer awareness campaigns, grassroots organic gardening programs, an expansion into the European market, and the acquisition of Que Pasa Mexican Foods. In 2012 Arjan was named one of Business in Vancouver’s top 40 under 40.

Joel Brooks, Marketing Communications Specialist at Okanagan Specialty Fruits 

Joel Brooks is the Marketing Communications Specialist for Okanagan Specialty Fruits (OSF), a grower-led biotech company based in Summerland, BC. In this role, Joel helps lead the company’s communication efforts, including managing OSF’s day-to-day communications activities, engaging in consumer and media relations, handling social media activities, and drafting the company’s marketing and educational materials. To date, OSF’s chief focus has been developing and securing regulatory approval for Arctic® apples, which were commercially approved in March 2015 after years of rigorous review. Arctic® apples are varieties that, through genetic engineering, are enhanced with a nonbrowning trait that prevents enzymatic browning from occurring when the fruit is bitten, sliced or bruised.

Monte Staats, Manager of Hop Yard, Operations, Persephone Farms Persephone Brewing Company, Open Demonstration Hop Yard and Business Resource Centre

Monte Staats holds a degree from the Masters of Land and Water Systems program at UBC and is co-founder of Hop Yard Collective, a small business that is attempting to find innovative ways to support and grow the hops industry in BC.  Monte has been involved in designing, constructing and farming hops on the Sunshine Coast in an effort to forward the BC hops movement and support the local craft beer movement. He has most recently worked with Persephone Brewing Co. developing a feasibility plan and working business models for a small scale commercial hops farming in BC.

Norm Chan, Co-Founder/Director, Greens Organic + Natural Market

Greens Organic + Natural Market is a young innovative market founded by two UBC alumni who are passionate about promoting a healthy, fun, and sustainable lifestyle. It is an industry leader with unique offers including 100% organic produce, a full whole animal butchery, and a restaurant level deli with in-house industry chefs where everything is made from scratch. Fully community oriented, Greens is committed to purchasing local where possible, minimizing processed foods and providing the freshest, tastiest, and newest natural and organic items.  The company is completely independent and proudly BC owned and operated. Norm Chan is Co-Founder/Director at Greens and is actively involved in all stages from inception including branding, startup funding, construction, operational growth, consolidation & expansion. He holds a B.Sc in Computer Science from UBC and has held various leadership roles in software, aeronautics/air traffic control and project management. During his mandate at Greens, he has overseen revenue growth past the 5+ million level and company achievements such as Vancouver Westside/Kitsilano Chamber of Commerce – Entrepreneur of the Year and Westender Best of the City – Gold.

April Bellia, founder of Granola Girl

April Bellia founded Granola Girl Enterprises, Inc in 2011 after 12 years of running a wedding cake business. As a mom-preneur, April wanted to create an everyday product with a focus on women and to celebrate the everyday girl. Granola Girl granola stands out with organic ingredients and a home-made taste, sweetened with maple syrup (no refined sugar here!). The bonus is 2 superfood ingredients: hemp hearts and goji berries. Beyond the yumminess factor and unique packaging, this simple granola cereal has a greater message; Granola Girl is building a community of like-minded fans who are active, support local businesses, fuel up with natural foods and create amazing and serendipitous experiences every day!

Lauren Archibald, Marketing and Sales Development at Ethical Bean Coffee

Lauren Archibald works in sales and marketing at Ethical Bean Coffee, inspiring consumers to drive positive social and environmental change through their daily cup of coffee. Ethical Bean is a leading, Vancouver based, roaster of 100% Fairtrade certified, organic coffee which has grown into an international success. Fostering relationships with B Corp, Fairtrade, and other key partners, Lauren is always seeking new ways to collaborate and bring the Ethical Bean story to life. Previously working as the Western Marketing Manager at Bullfrog Power, Lauren engaged brands such as MEC, Rocky Mountain Soap, and Deloitte to leverage their support of renewable energy through innovative marketing activation. Lauren is a known connector and is armed with delicious coffee, contagious energy, and a passion for adventure on the beautiful West Coast and beyond.

Sabrina Santoro, Communications Manager at BC Salmon Farmers Association


Shaun Strobel, Product Director at Skipper Otto’s Community Supported Fishery (CSF)

Shaun is Skipper Otto’s son, who began fishing with his father when he was just 7 years old. In addition to fishing, Shaun selects and maintains solid relationships with other fishermen and navigates the complex logistics of getting fish from the hands of the fishermen to the hands of the CSF members. Dismayed at the dwindling salmon fishing fleet in the wake of the big business Seine fleet and fish farms, Shaun wrote an M.A. thesis at SFU on the labour history of fishing in BC. Shaun was a high school Social Studies teacher for many years, taught SCUBA diving, and is a technical diver.

Will Horter, Director of Strategy at Dogwood Initiative

As Director of Strategy (former Executive Director) Will oversees the strategic choices of  all Dogwood Initiative’s programs. Will received his law degree Summa Cum Laude from the University of California, after completing a B.A from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire where he majored in Anthropology and Third World studies. Prior to being called to the B.C. Bar in 1995, Will worked extensively as a community and labour organizer around the world. He also serves on the board of numerous international, national and provincial non-profits. His passion is helping local people solve local problems. He lives in Victoria.

Heather Wood, Senior Policy Analyst at Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Heather Wood is the Regional Manager of Aquaculture Programs, based in the Pacific regional office of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Previous positions held at DFO include Senior Marine Protected Areas Coordinator and International Policy Team Lead. Prior to joining DFO, she spent 10 years working with Environment Canada in both Ottawa and Vancouver as a Senior Policy Advisor on international and intergovernmental issues, with a primary focus on Canada-US relations. Before joining the Federal Government, Heather worked in both the private and NGO sectors as a land-use planner and strategic advisor on natural resource issues. Heather has a BAH in Geography from Queen’s University and a Masters’ of Urban Planning from McGill.

David Minato, Regulatory Affairs & Community Manager at BC Salmon Farmers Association

David Minato is a graduate of Simon Fraser University and also holds a Diploma in Fisheries and Aquaculture from Malaspina College. His aquaculture career began in 1987 at a private salmon hatchery located north of Campbell River. In 1994, he took a sixteen year hiatus from salmon farming as the owner operator of Campbell River Pet Centre, returning to salmon farming in his current position at the BC Salmon Farmers Association

Jessica Verhagen, VP Business Development & Strategy at Ecosphere

Althelia Ecosphere – the asset management platform established to demonstrate that competitive financial returns can be fully aligned with the preservation of natural capital and social development started a new venture, Ecopshere+. The founding mission is to build scale in the marketplace for environmental assets, such as those created through Althelia Ecosphere’s Althelia Climate Fund 1. The Climate Fund was launched in June 2013 backed by notable institutions from the public and private sector with a mission to align economy with ecology by financing integrated rural landscapes that support conservation of natural ecosystems alongside ecologically sustainable commercial activities. The new venture will give businesses across multiple sectors, investors, consumers and other key stakeholders access to assets from projects and programmes that help deliver the <2ºC carbon budget. Jessica has more than a decade of experience at the intersection of environment and finance. She previously worked for Axine Water Technologies, the B.C. Ministry of Energy and Mines, and the B.C. Climate Action Secretariat.

Policing Loan Sharks: Evidence from the unlicensed money lending market in Singapore

Kaiwen Leong, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and  Haibo Xu, Fudan University, Shanghai

Lon LaClaire, Director, Transportation at City of Vancouver

Lon LaClaire is the Director of Transportation for the City of Vancouver. Prior to taking on this position, he had acted in the Director role for almost a year. As Director, Lon oversees all aspects of transportation, including planning, design, engagement, traffic and parking management. Lon has worked for the City for about 20 years. He started his career by designing bikeways and traffic calming and quickly moved on to work on the City’s newest rapid transit lines – the Millennium and Canada SkyTrain Lines. He was a key contributor to the two most recent, award-winning, long range transportation plans – the Downtown Transportation Plan and the City’s Transportation 2040 plan.  Before moving into the Director role, Lon managed the City of Vancouver’s Strategic Transportation Planning Branch for a number of years. Lon completed his undergraduate degree in engineering at Concordia University in Montreal and completed his Masters in Transportation Engineering and Structures at the University of Calgary.

Jordan Suter, Resource Economist at Colorado State University

“A Spatial-Dynamic Economic Analysis of Groundwater Management Policies” Homepage Publication list