REBECCA IVANOFF

Regional Program Coordinator,
Ontario
rebecca@efao.ca

As a child, Rebecca was fascinated by the plants around her, and in particular the connection between plants and culture. This led her to pursue an undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph were she studied botany and anthropology in the newly formed Arts and Science program. After a few years in Provincial Parks working to interpret the cultural and natural history of specific places, she was introduced to farmers in Honduras who were doing on-farm research and participatory plant breeding. She had the honour of working with these farmers as part of an Anthropology and International Development Masters degree through the University of Guelph. These farmers in Honduras inspired her to connect with local Ontario networks doing similar work. In 2013, she joined Whole Circle Farm as a CRAFT intern and worked up to co-managing the 10-acre CSA and market garden. During this time, she also helped to reintroduce seed production to the farm system. One of the projects she started is an ongoing, participatory pepper breeding project with three other southern Ontario farmers with support from plant breeders at Cornell University. This project is now part of the EFAO’s Farmer-led Research Program. During the summer of 2018, she was the manager of the Western Ontario Seed Hub, a project supported by The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security. Here she grew a demonstration garden of Ontario-bred vegetable varieties, ran vegetable variety trials, and undertook seed breeding and production. In farming, plant breeding, and seed saving she has continued to work with plants and culture, and seeks to honour the past, present and future.  Rebecca is based at the regional host organization for Ontario, the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario, as the Research and Seed Program Coordinator.