Groundbreakers

Board and Staff

Emily Bulmer

Emily Bulmer is an Master Organic Gardener and long time lover of food, and longtime Smithers resident. She is a professional Agrologist and has had articles on food and rural life published in Northword Magazine and Country Life in BC. Emily holds a BSc in Environmental Planning and currently works for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Mark Fisher

Mark holds a Bachelor of Public Administration. He has 15 years experience as a project developer, front line worker, manager, and director of various community-based social services organizations. Mark also has 10 years of entrepreneurial experience and currently owns and manages High Slope Acres, a three-acre market garden and CSA project specializing in garlic, squash, and agro experiences.

Helene Fleury

Helene found her home in Smithers after a two-year snow hunt. The vibrant community with its vibrant farmers’ market keeps Helene in Smithers where she enjoys playing outside with her daughters. Helene has worked on environmental education projects, as a curriculum designer, and teacher. She is currently scheming to sell the tastiest product at the Smithers farmers’ market.

Janik Heer

Janik has a diploma in Agricultural Production and Management from Olds College. He grew up in the Bullkey Valley and now manages Robin Creek Dairy, a dairy and beef farm in Quick. He believes that local food production and consumption is an integral element to the success of Bulkley Valley agriculture and serves as a board director on both the BV Dairymen and BV Cattlemen associations as well as Groundbreakers Collective. He spends his free time with his young family.

Monica Howard

Monica is the co-owner of both a treeplanting company and a natural food store, Nature's Pantry in Smithers. She believes that local food should be accessible to everyone in a community, maintaining that local food tastes like “real” food. She has degrees in PHE and Economics from Queen's University and provides bookkeeping skills to Groundbreakers to help the organization focus on getting good food to the community as efficiently as possible.

Gail Jenne

Gail is a community worker: her jobs and passions are about strengthening community. She is a coordinator of Ground to Griddle Neighbourhood Kitchen, a director of the Local Vocals Community choir, and founding member of Driftwood Foundation, Princess Neighbourhood Garden, and now Groundbreakers. She has always had an interest in real food and food security and is excited about the possibilities Groundbreakers brings to the community. She is also a wife, mother of three, and grandmother of three.

Emily McGiffin

Emily is a writer and rural development consultant. She has worked with dozens of organizations—cooperatives, non-profits, and small businesses—in northwest BC and internationally to develop and manage a wide range of grassroots projects.

Monica Strimbold

Monica is a high school Trades/Technology teacher with a background in writing and treeplanting. She believes in providing support to the people who work hard to offer locals delicious, nutritious, homegrown food. She likes to ski, hike, run, canoe, and hang out with her husband and son.

Dawn Hanson (Harvest Box Program Coordinator)

After many years in Vancouver, Dawn returned to the Bulkley Valley with her husband for a “one-year test” … five years ago. She has worked as a local food systems researcher, flight attendant, and special education assistant. She loves canning, gardening, riding motorbikes, and reading, among other things she can't seem to find time for. Most recently her main job has been that of a sleep deprived parent, which her prior job as a community development coordinator did little to prepare her for.