Alison Bell, Chair

Alison is a chef, food educator and all-round gastronomer. Her commitment to bolstering the local food system has seen her work closely with local farmers, help initiate innovative projects like the Groundswell Community Greenhouse, lead the formation of three local food non-profits. Alison’s passion for simply-prepared, delicious foods using the freshest ingredients has always guided her cooking and teaching practices.

After receiving her Red Seal Chef’s Qualification and working in a variety of culinary positions, Alison returned to university to become an educator and taught professional cooking at David Thompson Secondary School in Invermere for 20 years. Alison’s passion for food and the food system saw her complete an MA in Gastronomy with her dissertation focusing on food security and agriculture in the Columbia Valley and she is currently a member of the Columbia Valley Community Economic Development Commission, representing the agricultural and local food sectors. A career change has allowed her to travel the world part time as Culinary Director of ACE Camps Travel Co. Alison is thrilled to follow any path that leads to the most delicious dish or ingredient, whether it is in a farmer’s field in British Columbia or at a café in Provence, but she always loves coming home to the bounty of delicious foods available in the Columbia Valley.

Sylvia Page, Secretary

Sylvia’s interest in local and in particular local, organic food, began in the year 2000 and was mainly driven by health concerns. Committing to local and organic brought great results for her health and she has been committed ever since.

She became aware of the CV Food and Farm a few years ago and attended the 2019 Annual meeting. She was so impressed with the passion that was evident to support locally grown and produced food.

As she was exploring ways to give back to the community in a volunteer capacity, this seemed a perfect match.

She joined as the group’s secretary in January 2021 and is still learning of the many ways CV Food and Farm benefits this region and its residents, both producers and consumers.

Dale Wilker, Director

Dale, soil whisperer and farmer at Old Blue Truck Farm, has spent the last 15 years pursuing the goal of bringing more local healthy food to the Columbia Valley, but his farming career actually started over 58 years ago. Dale used to ride on his grandpa’s lap while he was working the fields on their 30 acre vegetable farm near Kitchener, Ontario.

Fast forward 43 years, in 2005 Dale was asked to be part of the team that built the Community Greenhouse for the Groundswell Network Society. The knowledge and experience he gained over the 11 years that he was a board member at Groundswell gave him, and his family the courage to start their own farm. After a few years of searching for the right land, The Old Blue Truck Farm was born in 2016. For five years they have sold fruits and vegetables at the local markets, through a CSA, and at their own farm stand.

Andrea Salzbrenner, Director

Andrea is the Chef Instructor and Teacher of the Culinary Arts program at David Thompson Secondary School in Invermere. She is a Red Seal Chef and certified teacher, leading the program that she took as a former student.

Andrea grew up in the Columbia Valley and enjoyed learning about food, cooking and sharing food with others so much that it inspired her career choice. In 2013, she returned to Invermere and took over the Chef Training program at DTSS from her mentor and friend, Alison Bell. She feels lucky to be able to continue growing the program in the community.

Andrea is passionate about cooking, teaching and connecting with local youth and families over food. She hopes to inspire kids to get into the kitchen with the abundance of local foods, and to care for their families and communities through great meals!

Hedi Trescher, Director

Hedi was born in Switzerland and immigrated to Canada in 1951, where she attended high university in Vancouver. She met her husband Alfred while working at a summer job in Radium Hotsprings and together they purchased their farm in Brisco in 1962. Initially they took over 40 Herford cows and grew certified seed potatoes, before raising purebred Charolais heifers.

Off the farm, Hedi served as the Secretary for the BC Charolais Association and on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Charolais Association. She also wrote and marketed the computer program Brisco Beef Herd Management which is still in use today. Additionally, Hedi developed the Neighborhood Invasive Plant program and served as director on the East Kootenay Invasive Plant Council.

For the past decade, Hedi has volunteered as the Projects Coordinator for the Windermere District Farmers’ Institute. Her projects have included the building of the abattoir, the development of the AgriPark and the Ecological Services Initiative.

Hedi still resides with son Peter on the farm in Brisco. They now have a cow/calf operation where they breed crossbred cows to Charolais bulls.

Anna-Marie Rautenbach, Director

Anna-Marie, born and raised in South Africa, has over 25 years of international experience in Education and Hospitality Industries, with specialization in Food & Nutrition, Culinary Skills, Food & Beverage Management.

Anna-Marie’s, first international opportunity was as Private Chef in New York City (NY, USA), and this was the start of her passion for international flavours and culturally diverse food. An avid culinary tourist, she enjoys exploring local food markets, food farm visits and local food experiences.

With an emphasis on sustainable food practises, she was part a research team, investigating Agritourism in British Columbia, specifically in the Lower Mainland. This ties in with her current focus and interest on sustainability of food through awareness and reduction of food waste.

Glenda Wah, Secretary

Glenda, alongside her husband Jack embarked on their horticultural journey in 1982 when they purchased Winderberry Nursery from the Taylor family. At that time the business consisted of two small greenhouses and was only open for two months each spring.

They spent the next 36 years ‘growing’ the business into the thriving family operation it is today. Winderberry is now made up of over 20,000 square feet of greenhouse area, a nursery and garden centre, a five acre certified organic vegetable and fruit farm, Edible Acres, operated by daughter Lin and husband Oliver, and the Edible Acres Cafe and Catering, operated by daughter Anna and partner and chef, Randy.

Although the business is now owned and in the capable hands of Lin, Oliver, Anna and Randy, Glenda remains committed to the vision of community, healthy lifestyle, and all that Columbia Valley Food and Farm stands for. She encourages anyone who is interested in the many aspects surrounding local food to join our vibrant organization!