Board of Directors
Current Board of Directors
Ally Dick – Chair
Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, Ally is a chartered accountant with extensive experience working across a wide range of industries. He spent ten years with Ernst and Young, in London, UK and Vancouver, supporting startups to large multinationals. Ally has spent the last 3 years at Lululemon, and is currently a director in the finance department, providing guidance on finance and accounting matters.
Ally is passionate about the farmers markets’ goals of supporting our farmers and producers around Vancouver, and building the community atmosphere which enhances our neighbourhoods. As an avid cook, he recognizes the ability to source incredible organic and delicious food across the whole city is something that requires the continued amazing commitment from all of those involved in the markets.
He enjoys visiting his local West End market or cycling further afield to visit others with his young son. He is particularly excited about being able to bring his financial experience to ensure that VFM can maintain a stable base that will allow it to continue to flourish for many years to come.
Lauren Akin – Vice Chair
Lauren was born and raised in Vancouver and is passionate about fresh, healthy food. She lives a primarily plant-based lifestyle and as an avid home cook, is an advocate for using the best locally-grown and seasonal ingredients available. For her, the Vancouver Farmers Markets represent an essential connection to BC farmers and the best year-round source for delicious, sustainably grown food for all Vancouverites.
A regular at the Vancouver Farmers Markets, she has watched the organization grow from one weekly market to a thriving, multi-market artisan food and craft experience which is an integral part of Vancouver’s identity as a community.
Lauren works as a lawyer at the Vancouver office of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. She regularly advises public and private companies in connection with complex transactions, the negotiation of contracts and corporate governance matters. Lauren also has experience in marketing and advertising, brand management, public relations, event planning and fundraising initiatives. Lauren has a degree in commerce and marketing from the Sauder School of Business and a law degree from Dalhousie University.
Jenny Marsh – Secretary
Jenny is the Executive Director of the Vancouver Public Library Foundation, where she leads fundraising initiatives including the current Storeys that Transform capital campaign to expand and enhance Vancouver’s Central Library. She is passionate about building connected, creative, and sustainable communities.
Prior to her role with the Library, Jenny was a major gifts fundraiser in the Faculties of Medicine at UBC, and further back in time, worked as an account manager with marketing agencies in Vancouver and Tokyo. She grew up surrounded by the berry fields of the Fraser Valley and has loved growing, preserving, and preparing food since childhood.
Jenny has volunteered with a number of organizations including Farm Folk, City Folk and Slow Food Vancouver. She spent several months in residence reconstructing what is now the Ecovillaggio Torri Superiore in Liguria, Italy. She has been an enthusiastic customer of VFM (currently Riley Park) since 2005.
Elyse Crowston – Treasurer
Elyse is an enthusiastic convenor, impact investor and is a passionate advocate for solutions for a sustainable future. Elyse’s career has been exclusively focused on environmental sustainability and an inclusive, resilient economy.
Elyse is the Vice President of Operations at Active Impact Investments, a Certified B Corp based in Vancouver, whose mission is to support environmental sustainability through profitable investment. Active provides money and talent to accelerate the growth of early-stage climate tech companies in Canada and the US. At Active Elyse is responsible for internal operations, investor relations, marketing and communications, and platform services for portfolio companies.
Elyse began her career cultivating climate and sustainability campaigns at Ecojustice, Canada’s largest environmental law charity, where she recognized the need for financial incentives to drive environmental action. Elyse then spent five years with Renewal Funds (BCorp) where she supported their raise of $147M for sustainable consumer goods and environmental technology. Elyse also developed accessible place-based venture funds with Rhiza Capital (BCorp). In addition to being the Treasurer and serving on the Revenue Generation Committee for VFM, Elyse is also a founding Board Director with Vancouver B Local (the community of local B Corp businesses), Board Director of the Global Venture Capital Platform Community, and was a 2021 Advisory Board Member for Nada Grocery. In 2020, Elyse was named a Clean50 Emerging Leader.
Terry is born and raised in Vancouver and has worked in senior Finance and Accounting roles for over 20 years. He spent 18+ years with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts in Vancouver, Seattle, and Switzerland. His other work experience is within bars, restaurants and theatres across Canada.
He is also a VFM vendor who along with his amazing wife and Pickle Crafter Mandi Burmas, operate the Mandi’s Mickles canning business. They offer fermented dill pickles as well as other delicious canned products from carrots to fiddleheads.
Terry is very excited to work with the different vendors to help grow their businesses as well as work with the VFM board to achieve their short-term and long-term goals and objectives.
He is an avid sports and music fan and loves attending live events.
Jeremy currently runs programming for a non-profit agency called GROWcery Food Network Society that focuses on empowering people to grow their own food. Last year the organization created a modern sub-irrigated community garden in New Westminster with a group of participants who were retraining for the workforce. The project also included trainee landscaper positions from a temporary housing complex that the garden backs onto, where each trainee also grew a food garden.
Prior to his work with GROWcery Food Network, he managed programs for Western Canada Community Projects, including First Nations racing canoe building programs. Tapping into his film and photography background, he has produced a short documentary on intergenerational knowledge transfer within a local canoe carving family that is currently playing film festivals world-wide.
Jeremy obtained his degree in environmental geography from UBC and has pursued various passions since graduation including producing films, commercial photography, and more recently has turned his attention towards food security initiatives. Previous volunteer work includes 7 years on the Vancouver Aids Memorial Society and 3 years with the Pacific Club Vancouver. This is his first board position since becoming a parent.
Jeremy lives in North Vancouver with his wife, 2 kids and 2 cats and spends a lot of time in the Cariboo.
Paul is the farmer and owner of Hannah Brook Farms, a vegetable farm in Burnaby BC growing specialty salad greens and vegetables. He started Hannah Brook Farms 16 years ago, supplying farmers markets and restaurants in Vancouver, and more recently offering online ordering for individuals and families. He has been a vendor at Trout Lake for 15 years, and at Kitsilano and winter markets since they began. He is also a longtime resident of the Trout Lake area. As both a vendor and neighbour, he understands the positive role the Vancouver Farmers Markets play in our community.
Paul believes that farmers and vendors should have a direct role in the leadership of the Vancouver Farmers Market society. He is glad to be taking on this role as a board member and hopes more farmers will follow. Ultimately his goal is to continue our great relationship with the community and improve communication between staff, vendors, and other stakeholders.
A Vancouver local and advocate for farmers and producers, Suzy is a vendor and co-owner of Salt & Harrow, an organic mixed vegetable farm offering apprenticeships and new farmer training programs. She is also Co-Director of the newly established Southlands Grange Centre for Farming and Food in Boundary Bay, an emerging educational centre hosting a variety of events and programs including a newly launched Farmers Market, community orchard and gardens, and agricultural workshops.
Suzy made her entrance into the organic community through her career in craft beer, as Operations Manager of Vancouver’s first organic brewery, Dogwood Brewing, with a focus on sourcing some of the finest organic ingredients from local BC producers.
Prior to her pursuits in agriculture, Suzy worked in global healthcare and clinical research with Syreon
Corporation, an expert contract research organization conducting international clinical trials, health
economics and outcomes research across a broad range of chronic and rare diseases.
Suzy is a member of the National Farmers Union and the BC Craft Brewers Guild.
Ilana has invested the past 12 years as a social entrepreneur in Vancouver’s food justice community. She co-founded and directed Fresh Roots for 7 years, sat for three terms (7yrs) as a member of the Vancouver Food Policy Council, and was awarded the Greenest City Leadership Awards of Excellence in 2013 and the Remarkable Women in Food in 2014.
For the past 16 years Ilana has been a neighbour, shopper, and vendor with the VFM. Once upon a time she collected veggie waste from the Trout Lake Market, creating compost that fertilized the early growth of Fresh Roots. As a former farmer, she comes to the VFM with strong relationships and a willingness to bring voice to current vending farmers. As a community organizer, she comes with strong municipal and community relationships. Ilana believes in the current direction of the VFM, and would love to be a part of supporting the markets’ journey from “temporary” to “permanent” status at their various sites.
Also, Ilana is a settler on these unceded territories, and holds this reality while working towards justice and food sovereignty. Helping expand the stability and equitable reach of the VFMs is one way of working towards these goals.
Engaged in food security and the local food movement for 14 years, Joanne works for Little Mountain Neighbourhood House (LMNH) as the Community Engagement Coordinator and at CCEC Credit Union in Member Relations. As the steward for the Riley Park Community Garden, a food sustainability project of LMNH, she builds allyships to increase our community capacity and resilience. As a former volunteer with Slow Food for 9 years, she feels allied with farmers and teaching co-consumers where their food comes from and who is growing it. She attended Terra Madre and Congress during the time she chaired the local slow food group. During this time, she was involved with starting the slow food cycle tours in the Fraser Valley and the Bike the Blossoms event in Vancouver.
The Garden’s partnerships, that include the Riley Park Farmers Market, has created an inclusive gathering point that reflects our core visions to improve food security, ecological sustainability and community development. Joanne wants to bring this perspective and experience to her role as a VFM Director.
For more than 20 years, I have planned and developed liveable cities. My experience includes a decade in the public service in community development, affordable housing, and urban planning, and another decade in the private sector where I have managed high performing teams developing transformative urban projects in Greater Vancouver and Toronto, and more recently in London and Edinburgh in the UK. My passion for liveable cities is also reflected in my personal life and in my volunteer work in a variety of community, leadership and mentoring roles.
- VFM Annual Report 2021 (including 2021 Financial Statements)