COTA’s Board of Directors are selected democratically by an internal voting process. The individuals selected help determine the strategic direction that COTA takes on the numerous issues it addresses thought the year.
The 2013-2014 COTA Board of Directors is as follows:
Ryan Benn is the President of Teldon Media Group and alive Publishing Group Inc.
For the past seven years Ryan has played a strategic role in overseeing the overall business strategy, resulting in the delivery of break-through results.Looking ahead, he will be focused on accelerating the adoption of Teldon's suite of integrated media products and services to both small businesses and enterprise customers.
In addition to Teldon and alive, Ryan is a member of YPO (Young Presidents' Organization).
He currently sits on numerous boards including the Canadian Health Food Association (Vice Chair), Inspire Health, The Teldon Community Foundation, Global Mothers, and is actively involved in Bulembu International. During his off time Ryan enjoys cooking, growing organic vegetables, collecting fine wine, golfing, watching the Canucks, and spending quality time with his family.
Dag Falck is the Organic Program Manager for Nature's Path Foods Inc. - North America’s largest organic breakfast food and cereal manufacturer
His portfolio entails ensuring organic integrity and growth from the farm level through to consumers. Part of his duties includes developing and presenting seminars to producer, manufacturer and consumer groups, building strong networks within the industry. To this end Dag has built a prominent profile in the organic sector.
He takes a keen interest in the Canadian organic industry. He has been active in the Canadian OTA Advisory Committee, strengthening OTA as a viable trade association in Canada. He is a current board member of the Organic Agriculture Center of Canada (OACC) dedicated to promoting organic industry research and infrastructure development.
He was educated as an agronomist in Norway. Through his 15 years of experience and training as an organic inspector, verifying a variety of organic crops from market gardens to field grains and also complex processing, Dag has gained a unique perspective and understanding of the organic sector. He has training in conflict resolution and mediation and has taught communication skills to large and small organizations
Mike Fata is CEO & Co-founder of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods and has run all aspects of the company since 1998.Previously he spent five years in extensive studies of diet and nutrition as he made the life changing decision to lose over 100 lbs and go from 300lbs to his current 180lbs. This remarkable accomplishment has given him an excellent knowledge of human anatomy, diet and nutrition and a motivation which allows him to speak to professional groups on improving health and well-being.
Mike has won numerous business awards including Young Entrepreneur of the Year (2004), Socially Responsible Business Award (2006), Company of the Year (2010) and CHFA Organic Achievement Award (2010).
As well, he has guided Manitoba Harvest to be on the Profit 100 list of fastest growing companies in Canada four of the past five years. Mike has been on television, radio and quoted in newspapers and magazines regarding hemp foods, nutrition and sustainable business. Mike has served as a Director of the Manitoba Food Processors Association and Director and President of the Canadian Hemp Trade Association. Mike lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba with his beautiful wife Autumn and two healthy children Roan and Rain Fata.
Maureen is one of the sixty-eight members of the Big Carrot Natural Food market, a worker owned cooperative retailer in downtown Toronto. The Big Carrot is Ontario’s first certified organic retailer and one of the founding members of the Non-GMO Project. In her role as Standards Coordinator and Chair of the Standards Committee, Maureen is responsible for reviewing incoming products, staff and store education, as well as promoting the numerous sustainable food initiatives that the Big Carrot values.
Maureen is passionate about supporting the work of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, has proudly served two terms on the Board of Directors of the Organic Council of Ontario and continues to serve on the boards of the Non-GMO Project and The Big Carrot.
He completed his college education at the Institute of Food Technology in St-Hyacinthe in 1979. Until 1984, Martin worked as a representative for a company selling products to agricultural producers. During that same period, he completed part-time studies in administration.
He became a farmer in 1984 with the purchase of a farm in difficulty. He discovered his talent as an entrepreneur and started in 1985, a recovery company of liquid dairy by-products. In 1996, he created Prorec inc. with his brother, for the recovery of solid food by-products from food factories and intended for animal feed. This company operates a sorting and mixing center and retrieves dairy plants and food by-products from many food production factories. This process was recognized with an award of a significant prize in Quebec.
Over the years Martin has continually involved himself in the community. Whether on various committees for the protection of the village school or for the transformation of the church into a multifunctional space for the entire community or as a city councilor for his village during a period of 6 years. He also involved himself in creating the Association of Cranberry Growers of Quebec and served as vice president in the early years (APCQ). As research and technical monitoring are important in cranberry growing, he was the founding president of the technical supervision club Atocas Quebec (CETAQ). His current principal occupation is as President and CEO of Fruit d’Or
Kelly A. Monaghan of Ash Street Organics Inc. is the current Chair of the Canadian Organic Technical Committee, the industry sector group responsible for writing and revising Canada's national organic standard. In early 2009, Kelly co-wrote the training curriculum for certifiers, inspectors and producers on the new Canadian organic standard and that year facilitated training sessions for processors across Canada. She is currently writing the Canadian chapter for an international organic processing textbook and assisting to write a guide for Canadian retailers on our new national regime.
She also volunteers as Membership Committee Chair of the International Organic Inspectors' Association and is active on the Processing and Permitted Substances List Working Groups for the Canadian Organic Standard.
Lisa Mumm was raised on an organic alfalfa seed and sheep farm near Shellbrook, SK. After completing a BA in International Studies at the U of S, she returned to the family farm to pursue her passions of organic agriculture and health food. Together with her parents, Jim & Maggie Mumm, she runs the family farm and business, Mumm’s Sprouting Seeds.
Lisa actively works to promote the rights of farmers and consumers to grow and eat GMO-free food. She works with the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network in its efforts to stop GM Alfalfa, and is a member of the SOD: Organic Agriculture Protection Fund. She also sits board of directors of the Organic Connections conference.
I, along with my wife, Doreen and four kids, farm 3,500 acres of certified organic production, and have been growing organic grains for twenty years. Back in 1987, there was less formal processing and distribution within organic circles, and we found a need to try to satisfy that part of the market.; As a result, Grainworks was started and includes a certified organic cleaning, milling, processing and warehousing facility. Grainworks currently offers over 110 different certified organic items, which we have grown or sourced, to customers throughout Western Canada.
Over the past 20 years, I have been involved in the organic industry through local certification bodies, and for a time, through the national organic standards both as the chairman of COAB and the chair of the standards committee, and through numerous speaking engagements; In 1997 we were finalists for Outstanding Young Farmer for Alberta.