Cathy Bartolic, Executive Director, Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association
In her role as Executive Director, Cathy Bartolic works closely with the Board of Directors to address members’ needs and to coordinate the association’s activities.
Cathy has a degree in agriculture from the University of Guelph and is a graduate of the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program. Her previous broad-based experience, from developing canola hybrids to creating training programs for Ontario farmers, makes her an ideal leader for this not-for-profit; she understands the multitude of needs that various farmers have and is passionate about direct farm marketing and agri-tourism and their potential in Ontario. Cathy also owns and operates Perennial Petals, a farm business that she started in 1992. The business grows fresh cut field flowers and garlic.
What can Cathy talk about? Cathy’s knowledge and leadership at OFFMA allows her to discuss in depth the mission and activities of OFFMA. With over 30 years in agriculture, she is able to impart a wealth of knowledge about Ontario farming as well. From highlighting unique Ontario farms beyond apples, strawberries and pumpkins to discussing how farming is changing in the 21st century, Cathy can take you behind the scenes of our direct marketing farm industry.
Leslie Forsythe, President, Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association, secretary treasurer Forsythe Family Farms 2009 Inc.
Forsythe Family Farms 2009 Inc. is located in Greenbank, Ontario ; their 3rd and final location. Working alongside her husband Jim and sons, their market garden and agri-tourism farm is open May through till Christmas. The Forsythe’s sell what they grow directly to the public through their on farm market and at various farmers markets which their sons attend. Their most popular crops are strawberries, peas, beans and pumpkins.
Forsythe Family Farms, originally based in Markham in 1972, incorporated in 2009. The farm has evolved over the years to remain sustainable and meet the needs of a changing population. Changes of location, necessitated by the pressure of encroaching development, required them to make changes in their marketing strategies to continue to attract people to their farm.
Leslie’s passion is in maintaining this rural connection to farming and food production in an ever increasingly urbanized region; on farm education plays an important role. The Forsythe’s have been offering school tours and field trips for over 25 years, encouraging children to understand how agriculture impacts their lives on a daily basis. A host of farm ‘n’ fun activities make family visits an enjoyable and interesting outing on the farm.
What can Leslie talk about? She loves to talk about the joys families and children experience when visiting farms and the importance of keeping rural connections in an urban culture. Keeping farms sustainable helps keep them accessible and each member farm in the Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association offers a unique mix of activities for the public to enjoy which helps make these connections possible.
Leslie has years of experience explaining farming and agricultural terms to non-farming folks…and she loves doing it.
Amy Strom, Spokesperson, Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association and Co-Owner, Strom’s Farm
Amy Strom, President, Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association and Co-Owner, Strom’s FarmAmy Strom owns Strom’s Farm in Guelph, Ontario. The farm grows sweet corn, pumpkins and is a big proponent of providing quality products and exceptional customer service. Most recently, it added a bakery to the farm using local fruit and its own pumpkins in their pies.
Amy holds a Bachelor of Science Honours degree from Pennsylvania State University in Health Administration. She joined the OFFMA board in February 2005 and has been a great asset ever since; her understanding of farming and the issues that affect Ontario farmers in particular has allowed OFFMA to truly cater to its members.
What can Amy talk about? Amy’s experience in running a successful farm, coupled with her dynamic personality, makes her the ideal candidate to talk about farming and the farm fresh experience. Thinking of visiting a farm? Amy can reveal fun, summer activities your kids can enjoy or how to pick the perfect pumpkin for Halloween.
Jesse Lauzon, Spokesperson – Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association and Food Manager, Springridge Farm
Jesse Lauzon, Food Manager, Springridge Farm and Vice President, Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing AssociationIn 1989, Jesse began his career in farm marketing working in the strawberry fields at Springridge Farm in Milton, Ontario. After graduating from Queen’s University Jesse then went on to graduate from George Brown College’s chef training program before returning to Springridge in 1999 as the farm’s first manager.
At Springridge, which is visited by over 25,000 school children annually, Jesse looks after the development, production and sale of farm fresh gourmet foods, preserves and baked goods. Jesse believes that this is an exciting time to be a direct farm marketer, and to be in the business of food, helping to preserve the link between farm and table.
What can Jesse talk about? Let Jesse entice the taste buds with his extensive food knowledge. He’ll take your audience through the entire field-to-fork experience and talk about the importance of farm marketing and agri-tourism in our province. Want to be an expert strawberry picker, find out what’s in season or get tips on how to make the best-ever apple pie, then Jesse is the chef to talk to.