With growth comes complexity. As a result of globalization and intricate trading channels, we have been increasingly disconnected from our food suppliers and the people behind the ingredients in our kitchens.
On January 17th, we explored how to localize supply chains and improve transparency to create more regenerative, regionally-rooted food systems. During this webinar, we heard from two farmers and a food industry entrepreneur who are actively working to implement new approaches in their communities. We were joined by grain farmer Tannis Axten from Axten Farms, wine producer Rachel Lightfoot from Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards, and Sheena Russell, founder of Made with Local snack company. The conversation was facilitated by Communication and Food Innovation Strategist Isabelle Marquis, RD.
About the farmers:
With her husband Derek, Tannis Axten owns and operates Axten Farms, a multi-generational family farm in the beautiful rolling hills of Southern Saskatchewan. On their land, the Axtens grow pulses, oil seeds and ancient grains with a focus to be “Loyal to the Soil”. By using regenerative practices such as reducing disturbance, intercropping, keeping the soil covered, and maintaining living roots as long as possible, Tannis and Derek work to create a healthy environment for their soil life. The Axtens built a food-grade seed-cleaning plant and flour mill on their property which enables them to offer their grains directly to companies looking for single-source products. Their goal is to create an environment that brings back life not only to the soil, but also to their community.
As part of the fourth generation of the Lightfoot family to farm the land where the Lightfoot & Wolfville winery sits today, Rachel Lightfoot is passionate about keeping the land in agriculture. She is particularly interested in sustainable farming systems. Her background in the wine industry spans roles in wine production, hospitality and marketing. In addition to nurturing nearly 40 acres of grapevines for wine production, Lightfoot & Wolfville operates as a working farm, growing ingredients for the winery’s farm-to-table restaurant and full-service event venue. Spectacular views of Cape Blomidon provide the ideal backdrop for guests to connect with the distinctive terroir of Nova Scotia.
About the speaker:
Sheena Russell is the founder of Made with Local, a Canadian snack company that’s on a mission to raise the bar for sustainable snacking. For over a decade, Sheena has led MwL by crafting irresistibly delicious, nourishing foods while cultivating community impact in partnership with Canadian farmers and producers. As a Certified B Corp, Sheena is committed to leading her company with ethical, sustainable sourcing, prioritizing the health of people, the planet and local communities.
About the moderator:
Isabelle Marquis, RD, is a Communication & Food Innovation Strategist. With over 20 years experience as a nutrition, food marketing and communications professional, Isabelle has unique multidisciplinary expertise in many facets of the food industry. Renowned for her rigour, contagious passion and strategic creativity, Isabelle is also an outstanding communicator who knows how to inspire as well as mobilise.
Now self-employed, Ms Marquis is firmly committed to helping improve the food supply, in terms of both health and sustainable development, by supporting companies of all sizes in the Quebec and Canadian food sector in their innovation and communication efforts. She also contributes to a number of mobilising projects with industry support organisations such as CIBIM, CTAQ, Amélioration alimentaire Québec, Équiterre and Foodbridge.
A well-known speaker and a reference in her field for many medias, Isabelle acts as Innovation and Sustainable Development Ambassador for SIAL Canada and has been a contributor to the program L’épicerie on Ici Radio-Canada Télé since 2018.
About the campaign:
This webinar is the third in a 6-part webinar series, and is part of our Stories of Regeneration campaign. The campaign aims to enhance public awareness around regenerative agriculture practices and how farmers contribute to combating climate change and food systems issues.
The webinar series will run from November 2023 – March 2024. All sessions are free to attend live, and free to watch later. We encourage you to register for as many sessions as you’d like!
Keep an eye out for our podcasts, short films, and blog posts that will be released throughout the coming months too.