Peterborough Alliance for Food and Farming Members

(August 2021)

Dawn Berry Merriam (Co-Chair)  

Dawn has over 35 years of planning and community development experience in the Peterborough region.   She has worked as a planner in municipal and provincial settings and has served on many local boards and committees that have helped build a healthy and sustainable community.  She is a partner with Merriam & Associates and presently helps manage the family farm that has been in the family for four generations.  Dawn has a graduate degree from Trent University and continues to be affiliated through the Trent Centre on Aging & Society. She is a recipient of the Peterborough & Lakefield Community Police Service’s Community Service Award in recognition of her community involvement.

Pat Learmonth (Co-Chair)

Pat is the Director of Farms at Work, a non-profit regional project supporting new farmers, food system development and farmland protection in east central Ontario. Pat served as Environmental Farm Plan Representative and Workshop Leader for Peterborough County for seven years and co-founded the East Central Farm Stewardship Collaborative. She is past Chair of the Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development Agricultural Advisory Committee and current Chair of the Peterborough Ag Roundtable. She served on the Board of Sustain Ontario and the Policy and Advisory Committee of Ontario Farmland Trust. Pat holds degrees in Environmental Studies and Law. Pat and her husband own a farm near Peterborough.

Brad Appleby 

Brad is Supervisor, Development Planning Infrastructure and Planning Services Department, City of Peterborough.Brad coordinates the City’s review and approval process for plans of subdivision and is active in numerous planning policy initiatives.  Since 2011, Brad has been directly involved with the City’s ongoing Official Plan Review and the writing of the City’s new Official Plan. Brad holds a Master of Arts in Planning from the University of Waterloo, is a full member of the Ontario Professional Planners Institute and the Canadian Institute of Planners and has been a member of the Sustainable Peterborough Future of Food and Farming Working Group since 2012.  

Jillian Bishop

Jillian is passionate about building community food systems and connections between them. She is a strong advocate for urban agriculture, supporting local farmers and getting your hands in the dirt. She works at Nourish as Community Food Cultivator where she supports the creation and sustainability of community gardens across the region and teaches people how to work together and to grow and preserve their own food, and save seeds. She is also the Manager of the Peterborough Downtown Farmers’ Market, and owner of a small heirloom seed business. 

Marion Burton 

Marion is a local labour activist who supports good green jobs in a sustainable world and who believes in working collectively for the betterment of all.  Raised on a dairy farm in OSM township she is well aware of the struggles for our farmers.  She served two terms on OSM municipal council.  Recently Marion was nominated by local women and is featured in “Inspiring Women”, a project designed to highlight the work of local women in our community.

Gabi Dragomir

Gabi is the Rural Economic Development Officer for Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development.  She works with the Peterborough region’s rural communities and businesses to identify rural and agriculture-based investment opportunities. Gabi develops and converts leads and inquiries into investment expansion, job creation and development activities that ultimately help to create a thriving economy, resulting in regional prosperity. 

Melissa Johnston

Melissa received her MA from Trent University in Sustainability Studies.  Her research focused on governance and management best practices used at farmers’ markets across Ontario.  Since graduating, she has worked as a research consultant on projects pertaining to sustainable agriculture, local food advocacy, rural transportation, rural performing arts, and market garden design.  

Lauren Kennedy

Lauren is a Registered Dietitian with Peterborough Public Health. Since obtaining her Masters of Science in Foods and Nutrition, she has worked in public health, primary care, and diabetes prevention/management. Her current focus is work with food systems, promotion of food literacy, and efforts to address local food insecurity. Lauren works closely with local and provincial networks including the Peterborough Food Action Network, Future of Food and Farming Working Group, and Ontario Dietitians in Public Health. 

Adam McLaughlin – MA Political Science / B.Soc.Sc. Political Science/Communications 

As a community member, Adam is looking to help ensure that Peterborough’s localized agri-food system continues to grow and remains a lasting feature of the region. With a desire to become a small-scale farmer and contribute to the success of the region’s agri-food system, Adam hopes to incorporate into his future farming activities his current research in the MA in Sustainability Studies program at Trent which explores the potentialities of civic agriculture to contribute to a region’s community problem-solving capacities. Adam brings a critical and analytical approach to understanding the complexities of the agri-food system and seeks to contribute to the PAFF a focus on how small-scale farming can become a viable option for new farmers while also being a catalyst for social sustainability. 

Linda Slavin

Linda is a long-time local food activist since she worked as a young girl at her family supermarket in Havelock.  Since that time, she has helped (a) to facilitate a local study on organic foods; (b) worked on the development of the “Kawartha’s Own, Locally Grown” label to promote local foods; (c)  managed COIN – a social enterprise business which offered lunch-counter training at the library for many years.  Linda has enjoyed being part of Sustainable Peterborough’s Future of Food and Farming Working Group since its inception and is impressed with the member and Co-Chairs’ knowledge and support for relevant, sustainable research and projects.

Bryan Weir, RPP, MCIP, Director of Planning, County of Peterborough

Bryan is the County of Peterborough’s Director of Planning and is responsible for Planning, Geographic Information Systems, County Forests and the Land Division office.  Bryan is a Full Member of the Canadian Institute of Planners and is a Registered Professional Planner.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography from the University of Western Ontario and also has a Master of Science degree in Rural Planning and Development from the University of Guelph.  

Trevor Crowe, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs, Ex officio

Trevor is the OMAFRA Agriculture & Rural Economic Development Advisor covering Northumberland, Peterborough and Haliburton Counties. Trevor was raised on a 6,000-acre family farm in Prince Edward County – a 10th generation farm growing mainly commodity crops. He has extensive experience in economic development, having worked as Community Services and Program Coordinator for Prince Edward County and served as a member of the board of directors of the Ontario East Economic Development Commission. Trevor has a degree in Mechanical Engineering and has completed the International Certified Economic Development (CEcD) certificate program.

Associate Members:

Judy Coward:  Planner, Economic Development Advisor, and Peterborough County farmland owner

Heather Thoma:  Food Procurement Coordinator, Ontario Central East Student Nutrition Programs, main office in Peterborough