Board of Directors

Vancouver Farmers Markets Board of Directors

Your Local Farmers Market Society (YLFMS)/ Vancouver Farmers Markets is pleased to open nominations for Board of Directors for 2017-18. Please see nomination info here.


Carla S. Shore – Chair
Carla is Principal of C-Shore Communications Inc., a full-service public relations consultancy. As a public relations strategist and writer, she helps organizations manage communications issues that range from sensitive, high profile topics to publicity-driven events. Fluent in English and French, Carla’s experience includes communications planning, media relations, media training, social media, facilitation, and speechwriting. She is particularly adept at plain-language writing, translating subject-specific text into English.

Among her professional achievements, Carla was the Director of Communications for the Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of the Sockeye Salmon on the Fraser River, drafted the Agriculture Plan for BC, was media liaison to the Select Standing Committee on Health’s investigation into childhood obesity, and was a member of the Vancouver Food Policy Council for four years. Carla has been a member of the Farmer’s Market board since 2013. She is also on the board of LOCO BC and a member of the Vancouver Board of Trade’s Women’s Leadership Circle. She lives in Vancouver with her family.

Meeru red 2015

Meeru Dhalwala – Vice Chair
Co-Owner and Chef, Vij’s and Rangoli, Vancouver
Co-Owner and Chef, Shanik, Seattle

Meeru Dhalwala was born in India and moved to Washington, DC at a very young age with her parents. In DC, she worked with various international non-profit organizations on human rights and economic development projects. She received her Master’s degree in Economic Development from Bath University in England. Meeru moved to Vancouver in February 1995 to join Vikram Vij and has since been cooking and running the kitchen at Vij’srestaurant. In February 2002 Vikram and Meeru opened up their second restaurant and marketin Vancouver called Rangoli.

In December 2012, Meeru opened Shanik restaurant in Seattle with Oguz Istif, who is C.O.O. of the Vij’s companies. Shanik has received much acclaim in the Seattle as well as national media, including a James Beard nomination as semifinalist for 2012 Best New Restaurant in the U.S. In Seattle, Meeru participates in many cooking events, including those for Seattle Farmers Markets. She hosts various fundraising private dinners on behalf of environmental issues, the most recent one on behalf of Bees and Colony Collapse Disorder.

Meeru manages all aspects of running her kitchens and creates all of the recipes at her three restaurants. She is committed to improving her business environmental footprint, through her choices inproduce, seafood, meats and most notably through the introduction of crickets and other insects on her menus.

Meeru also wrote the two Vij’s cookbooks: Vij’s—Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine, which won Cuisine Canada’s 2007 Gold Award for Best Cookbook, and Vij’s at Home: Relax, Honey, which placed second in the Best Indian Cuisine Book in the World category at the 2010 Gourmand International World Cookbook Awards in Paris, France.

As a board member of Vancouver Farmers Markets, Meeru was the lead in drafting the organizations updated board governance manual and by-laws. She was also part of the Executive Director’s Review Committee and is a current member of the committee for farmers markets expansion and outreach. In May 2014, Meeru initiated and hosted at Vij’s the first pacific northwest “Farmers Markets Summit” where staff from Portland, Seattle and Vancouver farmers markets gathered for a day of discussions, brainstorming, planning and eating.

In addition to her avid support of the farmers markets in Vancouver and Seattle, Meeru works closely with staff at UBC Land and Food Systems and with UBC Farm on various fundraising initiatives to build an academic, teaching, farm center for students, the BC community, and visitors from around the world.

Meeru is very passionate about sharing her cooking skills and ideas with others who have the same goal as hers: to feed their families and friends a combination of easy, delicious, healthy and local. She is an avid reader and researcher on all things related to food, the environment and health, and combines this knowledge with running her businesses and creating relationships with her community at large

Marta Becker – Treasurer
Marta has been the Board Treasurer for YLFMS since 2011, overseeing a period of remarkable growth and expansion of markets throughout Vancouver, with market vendor sales exceeding $8 million in 2014. After moving to Vancouver in 2008 from San Francisco, Marta became a regular at the Trout Lake market. “I really came to value how the market provided not only healthy food, supporting local farms and food systems which is important to me, but also how it helped create such a strong sense of community, place and connection for me as a newcomer, which inspired my interest in joining the board to offer my support.” Marta also sits on the board of Vancity Community Foundation.

Professionally, Marta is an international financial consultant with many years experience working with social impact and economic development agendas around the world that leverage the creative use of capital. Areas of expertise include institutional strategy involving international infrastructure, trade and development finance, community finance including MSMEs, social enterprises, strategic philanthropy, impact investing and results management systems in an international development context. Since joining International Financial Consulting, Ltd. in 2014, Marta has concluded mandates with the World Bank in connection with the Middle East/North Africa Transition Fund addressing post-Arab spring development challenges, the UK’s Department of International Development in connection with the Private Infrastructure Development Group, and is currently working with the Caribbean Development Bank on gender equity initiatives. Previously, Marta worked for innovative change-makers from the non- profit and social enterprise community, including RSF Social Finance and Coast Opportunity Funds working on conservation and economic development with First Nations in the Great Bear Rainforest region of BC. She has also worked in the corporate sector for Motorola Inc. and Enclude Solutions as well as for Export Development Canada, a Canadian federal crown corporation.

Marta holds an International MBA from the American School of Global Management (Thunderbird) and a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance, Honours) degree from the University of Manitoba, Canada.


David LePage – Secretary
David LePage is a Principal with Accelerating Social Impact CCC, Ltd. (ASI), one of Canada’s first incorporated social purpose hybrid corporations. He is a partner in the launch of Buy Social Canada.

David brings his professional, community development and local food experience forward in his application for a Board position with the Vancouver Farmers Markets.

Through ASI David provides direct support and strategic advice to blended value businesses, social enterprises and social finance developments. He is involved in multiple public policy initiatives and research projects to support the social enterprise ecosystem across Canada. ASI is a partner in launching and building the Buy Social Canada campaign.

David is the former Team Manager of Enterprising Non-Profits, where he led the effort to expand the enp social enterprise development and training model across Canada. He initiated Canada’s first Social Purchasing Portal in 2003.

 In his past, David has been a small farm vendor at the Madison, Wisconsin Farmers Market and a project manager for the Omaha Inner City Community Gardens Project.

 His current engagement includes: Founding Member & Chair of the Social Enterprise Council of Canada; Member, Social Enterprise World Forum Steering Group; Member, Canadian CED Network Policy Council; Member, Imagine Canada’s Advisory Committee; Member, British Columbia Partners for Social Impact; Program Adjunct and Professional Advisory Committee, Sandermoen School of Business MBA in Social Enterprise Leadership.

 David has over 35 years of extensive experience in the non-profit and social enterprise sectors. He has worked in rural and urban communities and across multiple cultures.


Martha Burton
For 18 years Vancouver based Renewal provided investments, grants and collaborations for long-term solutions to create a conservation-based economy in the region. Martha served these roles in Renewal
initiatives: As faculty (2005 – 2008) for Play BIG, a series of invitational workshops for those with significant resources. Since 1996, she has been a regular consultant at the annual Social Venture Institute (SVI) held at Hollyhock on Cortes Island. As part of her responsibilities, Martha is a director of Renewal Land Company, which promotes conservation-based land use and created a viable model of forest conservation on private land with its Siskin Lane a bare land strata development.

Martha is a founding member of Women in Commercial Real Estate (in Tennessee), a member of Vancouver Board of Change, LOCO Vancouver and the Non-Profit Centers Network, where she also formerly served on the steering committee. A native of Tennessee, she joined Solomon Development Company in 1982, becoming a partner in 1984. There, she leased and managed commercial and industrial properties. She advises enterprises in the USA and Canada on real estate solutions. To build capacity in the nonprofit sector, she leads workshops about leasing and purchasing real estate. She is an active participant in Vancouver’s Social Purpose Real Estate Collaborative: a consortium of funders, investors and government representatives that engages in, and has made investments in, social purpose real estate.

Martha currently serves on the Executive Board for Vision Vancouver Electors Association; sharing Vision’s commitment to lead Vancouver toward a new future with solutions to increase affordable housing, support arts and culture, while building greater food security and a green economy. Since 2012, she has served as Treasurer on the Board of Creative Cultural Collaborations, a non-profit facilitating the creation of public art by bringing together local arts organizations, the artist and the public.

Martha grew up on a working farm (with a large vegetable garden); learning the art of home canning and preserving food from her Mom, Grandmother and Aunties. She has lived and shopped at the Farmers Markets in Vancouver since 1999.

Since joining the YLFMS board Martha has focused on fundraising for RIPE, co-organized the silent auction system, and developed terms of reference for fundraising to become a standing committee of the organization. She serves as Co-Chair of VFM’s new Fundraising Committee, building on our successful outreach last year that brought in new sponsors and work on implementing plans to develop different donor programs for the society. Martha also offers expertise with contracts related to facility and real estate. She continually promotes the society to her wide network of friends and associates.

MariaDobrinskayaMaria Dobrinskaya
Maria is a lifelong Vancouverite, an engaged community member, and a full time parent of two young children. She is driven by a passion to increase the level of access and involvement we can all have with our governments and communities.

Maria has led the board of Vancouver’s governing municipal party, Vision Vancouver, since 2012. As Co-Chair, she manages a fifteen-person board, recruits new board and committee members, and recently oversaw the successful third term election. Maria speaks on behalf of Vision Vancouver in the local media, and was a regular commentator on municipal issues on CBC Radio Early Edition.

Prior to her role on the board, Maria served as a senior political aide to Gregor Robertson, both in his constituency office in Vancouver-Fairview when he served as the MLA for the area, and during his first term as Mayor of Vancouver.

Before working in government and politics, Maria spent over a decade in Vancouver’s hospitality and tourism sector.

Raised in a household where words like ‘permaculture’ and ‘compost’ were part of the lexicon, Maria grew up knowing first-hand the importance of sustainable food systems, as well as the key role of food in nourishing not only our bodies but our families and communities. Having children has deepened that understanding for Maria, and has heightened her commitment to ensuring that local food systems are accessible, and that healthy, real food is an integral part of our lives.

Maria has a degree in Communications and Political Science from Simon Fraser University. A regular at the Trout Lake Farmers Market, Maria is married to an Executive Chef, lives in the Commercial Drive area, and grows her own food on a small community garden plot at Woodland Park.

JeremyDouglasJeremy Douglas
Jeremy is a professional fundraiser, partnership builder and advocate for sustainability. He currently heads the leadership giving team at the David Suzuki Foundation (DSF), where he connects impactful environmental programs with philanthropic leaders. In addition to sustainably growing funding for

DSF’s strategic goals, Jeremy also led on securing major support for David Suzuki’s cross-country Blue Dot Tour and subsequent environmental rights campaign.

Jeremy has a passion for food systems as a catalyst for change across a number of important issues, including climate change, health, community building and the economy.

Before DSF, Jeremy lived in London, UK, developing and implementing strategies to secure major funding for organizations including BBC Media Action, Tomorrow’s People and Action for Children. During that time, he piloted innovative non-profit impact investment models, such as charitable bonds. He also spent a year teaching English on an isolated atoll in the Marshall Islands.

Jeremy has a MA in cultural studies from Goldsmiths, University of London, and a BA in philosophy from the University of Western Ontario. He is currently a board member at Green Teams of Canada.

Jesse Halperin
Originally from the Toronto area, Jesse came out west for school ten years ago and never looked back. He moved to Vancouver in 2008 and works as a lawyer, advocating and negotiating on behalf of companies, organizations and individuals in various litigation disputes.

Since discovering the array of farmers markets in the Vancouver area, there is little Jesse looks forward to more than getting out to one (or more) of the markets on the weekend – rain or shine. Although he has no previous board experience, Jesse is a fast learner and is organized, diligent and efficient. Most importantly, he is extremely eager to make a difference on the Your Local Farmers Market Society board.

In his spare time, Jesse loves to cook, ride his bike, and work his way through his ever-growing list of the city’s newest restaurants.


Eric Patel
Eric has extensive experience in strategy, finance and operations with companies ranging from Fortune 100 conglomerates to start-ups in the US, Europe and Canada. He serves on the Board of Directors for Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers and Daiya Foods, and on the Advisory Board of ACL Services. Eric earned a Masters of Business Administration in Finance from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Policymaking from Brown University. Prior to his current roles, Eric was CFO and helped lead the turnaround of Crystal Decisions (now Business Objects/SAP), one of the world’s premier business intelligence software companies.
Eric is passionate about the potential to create a world-class sustainable salmon aquaculture industry in B.C. and serves on the Solutions Advisory Committee of B.C.’s Save Our Salmon.

Steven Snyder
Steve has been practicing in the field of architecture and construction for over 25 years. He has previously worked for Osburn /Clarke Productions, a firm which specialized in high end post and beam homes built on challenging West Coast sites. In 2003, he founded his own residential design firm – Shelter Design. During that time, Steve partnered with another firm in the design of a Co-housing community on Bowen Island. Currently, he works for the Vancouver School Board  as a Project Manager overseeing the design and construction of new schools.

Originally from Windsor Ontario, Steve moved to Toronto to complete a Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Toronto. While in school he worked in upscale restaurants in Toronto and discovered a love of ‘good food’. In 2002, Steve took a hiatus from architecture and founded Ramble Jamble, sourcing and making organic and wildcrafted preserves. He sold his products at Farmers’ Markets’ all across the Lower Mainland and Whistler. This experience led to lasting relationships with the farmers who supplied and supported his products.

Over the last three years as a YLFMS Board Director, Steve has primarily focused on matters related to the long term goal of ‘permanency’ for the market venues – reviewing new development proposals, and working with YLFMS staff in partnering with City officials to create a security of place for existing market sites. Steve brings to the Board his experience in construction, design, project management, governmental relations – and a familiarity with market dynamics from his days as a vendor.

Jyoti Stephens

Jyoti Stephens has a deep-rooted passion for sustainability and organics. As a third generation family member and Sr. Director of Human Resources and Sustainability for Nature’s Path Organic Foods, she is deeply committed to sustainable agriculture and the company’s mission of “leaving the earth better than you found it”.


Jyoti leads Nature’s Path’s commitment to sustainability, including initiatives around ethical sourcing, energy efficiency, waste reduction, community engagement and eco-friendly packaging alternatives. She works with cross-departmental teams to help manage sustainability goals and ensure the company is doing its best to create systems that reduce the unnecessary use of resources. She is also in charge of the strategic direction for the human resources and in building a culture that truly lives into the values of the organization.

Jyoti has served numerous boards including the Sustainable Food Trade Association. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Victoria and an MBA with a focus on Sustainable Food and Agriculture from Pinchot University.