Emma Holmes with her farm mentor, John Wilcox, at UBC Farm Sept 2008

BC Ministry of Agriculture Welcomes New Organics Specialist

in 2018/Ask an Expert/Organic Community/Organic Standards/Winter 2018

Susan Smith, P.Ag.

Please take a moment to welcome Emma Holmes, our new Industry Specialist for Organics! She is based at the Agriculture Centre in beautiful Abbotsford, and while serving a temporary assignment for the Ministry of Agriculture as the New Entrant Agrologist, Emma successfully competed for the Organics Specialist position.

Emma is an alumni of UBC’s Faculty of Land and Food Systems, with an MSc in Soil Science and a BSc in Global Resource Systems. At UBC, her focus was sustainable agriculture and she was privileged to visit a wide variety of organic farms in the province and learn directly from growers as part of her class work. Emma also took part in two programs that provided her with on-farm skills: the UBC Organic Agricultural Internship and Canadian Farm Business Step-Up. She went on to complete an 8-month intensive permaculture program at the Bullock Brother’s Homestead, and spent a season managing a small-scale diversified organic farm on Salt Spring Island. Emma has been teaching about sustainable soil management and agriculture since 2011 at UBC Farm and garden clubs around the Lower Mainland; and is the Soil Science instructor for KPU’s Tsawwassen Farm School.

Emma Holmes

Before joining the Ministry of Agriculture, Emma coordinated an on-farm extension program for small-scale organic growers in Metro Vancouver where she worked closely with farmers, researchers, universities, and agrologists on the complex issues pertaining to climate change. She was also the operations manager of Skipper Otto’s Community Supported Fishery; programs manager of the Vancouver Urban Farming Society; and is a qualified Environmental Farm Planner.

As the outgoing Industry Specialist for Organics, I will be playing a role over the next four to six months (through April) in assisting Emma’s transition to the Organics file. As Emma steps away from her new entrant role and into organics, I see an opportunity for her work to be informed with new entrant opportunities and ideas for development of improved extension for the BC organic sector. Her work will include collaboration with the organic sector and other agencies to support the growth of organics in British Columbia. Continued support and stewardship of the transition to mandatory organic certification in BC will also be key. I look forward to Emma’s collaborative style and her organized approach to engagement.

Please take some time over the next little while to welcome Emma.

[A quick note from the editor and COABC: While we’re excited to have Emma on board, we are so very grateful to Susan Smith for all she’s done in her role as Industry Specialist for Field Vegetables and Organics. A big thank you to Susan from the organic sector—don’t be a stranger!]

Susan Smith is an Industry Specialist for Field Vegetables and Organics at the BC Ministry of Agriculture.

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