Board of Directors

Vancouver Farmers Markets Board of Directors

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.

Jesse Halperin – Vice Chair
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 – Secretary-Treasurer

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.

Lauren Akin

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.

Erica Bernardi
Currently, I am co-owner and co-CEO of Earnest Ice Cream, a company started with my business partner in 2012. We launched the business with just the two of us, an ice cream tricycle and the help of Farmers Markets as our main retail outlet. We have now grown to 4 scoop shop locations, a number of wholesale accounts around the lower mainland and over 100 employees. We are a values based business – we care about good food, environmental and social justice and each other. We strive to incorporate our values into every decision we make and how we operate as a business.

In my previous life I have worked in a variety of fields and positions – Project Management, Sales & Advertising, Marketing, Farming (as a Wwoofer) and Co-ordinator of the Vancouver Fruit Tree Project (non-profit). As a market vendor and entrepreneur I believe I can bring a different perspective and range of experience to the Board, and gain a lot from the position myself. I am passionate about our local food systems and economy and believe the VFM plays an integral part in this system.

Pamela Brain
Pam is a founding partner of BrainComm Strategy & Design, a strategic branding and graphic design company based in Vancouver. BrainComm is made up of a team of senior marketing & design specialists, who believe in balancing creativity with business practicality. As the company’s brand strategist, Pam has worked with both small and large organizations across a variety of sectors, with a particular emphasis on natural foods and technology. She has a passion for growing businesses and brands, and works to develop strategies that meet our clients’ objectives and deliver strong ROI.

Growing up on acreage in the Fraser Valley, Pam learned vegetable gardening from her mother, and is a long-time advocate for local and sustainable food production. She completed her Organic Master Gardener Certification in 2009 and is a keen urban gardener and farmers’ market supporter. Pam believes that VFM plays an important and necessary role in our local food ecosystem, and she looks forward to taking an active part in the ongoing success of the organization.


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.

Winney Chow
About 15 years ago, when my first child started elementary school, I became very interested in urban farming, permaculture methods in farming and creating urban green spaces. Along with a few other parents, I raised funds, collaborated with school administration, and organized parents and students to create a school garden that continues to evolve and thrive today. I’ve spent a lot of time educating myself on these issues on how to influence and assist my community in achieving a level of food security, diversity and independence.

My professional career is in the field of Trade Finance and I’ve worked in both government and private industry. I specialize in sales and marketing for such products as credit insurance, political risk insurance, guarantees and bonding, export financing and letter of credit documentation. My work involves analyzing risk and logistical structures and bringing solutions to the executive/management of exporting companies. Some companies are as small as a few people and others are multinational corporations, all spanning a wide variety of industries.

From 2010 to 2012, I volunteered with Junior Achievement, talking to high school students about money management. In 2013, I became the Secretary of the Canadian International Trade Promotion Society, a non-profit organization which fosters cultural and economic ties with China. Finally, since 2015 I’ve volunteered at the Vancouver Food Bank and have worked at the Gordon Neighborhood House in the West End at their weekly Food Hub for the past year.

I see working with the VFM as a vehicle to reach out to a wider audience and to make more of an impact on our community. I am conscientious, logical and methodical in my approach to solving problems. My years working with leaders in business, parents and neighbors have honed my skills in communicating and have given me experience in bringing together alternative perspectives to create synergistic solutions.

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.

Jenny Marsh

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.

Michael Mortensen
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.