The ACORN Team

Janice Melanson, ACORN Executive Director

Janice has lived and worked in communities across Canada, from BC’s agricultural fruit belt to Montreal, Quebec, to Sackville, NB where she moved with her family two and a half years ago. Passionate about personal and community food security, Janice is a gardener and long-time supporter of organic agriculture. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Sackville Farmers’ Market since 2015.

Janice brings with her years of leadership experience and rigorous training in governance, finances, and non-profit management in the charitable sector, including prominent health charities such as Breast Cancer Action Quebec, and the Kidney Foundation of Canada. A self-described “dot connector”, Janice brings not only years of campaign and program management experience, but a solid track record in networking and engagement, bringing constituent partners and collaborators to the table and uniting them under a common purpose.

Tegan Renner, Outreach & Marketing Coordinator

Tegan grew up on a mixed family farm in southern Ontario, pursued a degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo, and after completing her thesis research on consumer understandings of organic agriculture, has never looked back on the perfect pairing of these passions that her career in organics has proven to be.

She joined the ACORN team in 2012 after more than two years of working in the Ontario organic sector, largely managing a variety of farmer and consumer educational projects for Canadian Organic Growers (Perth-Waterloo-Wellington Chapter), but also working in the orchards at Ignatius Farm and conducting sector research for the Organic Council of Ontario.

Tegan is currently taking the lead on ACORN’s NS Outreach & Marketing project, the CSA Network and the organization’s participation in In her role as ACORN’s NB Coordinator, Tegan has overseen several projects focused on advancing organics in the province, and developed connections with and between producers, retailers, farmers’ markets, and other agricultural organizations. Most recently, she worked closely with members of the NB Organic Committee to support the development of the 2014-2018 NB Organic Strategic Plan and is moving forward with implementing the sector’s priorities from this plan, with a notable focus on consumer education efforts.

Stephanie Hughes, Regional Program Coordinator
(Atlantic Canada), The Bauta Family Initiative on
Canadian Seed Security

Steph joined ACORN in February of 2013. Since then she’s been working as part of The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security to support farmers and seed savers, increase ACORN’s knowledge of and involvement with seed networks, and strengthen Atlantic Canada’s wonderful, and blossoming seed movement. Steph’s work includes designing and supporting research, training, and networking projects and events for growers, as well as working within the emerging seed library movement. From ACORN’s renowned annual conference to the Bauta Initiative’s many field-based projects, Steph’s role is central to ensuring that Atlantic Canada’s seed community is visible in this work, supported by the program, and able to contribute to a national seed movement that is everyday finding itself stronger and more capable.

Steph has an academic background in International Development Studies, with a focus on food issues and a minor in Political Science, from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In the execution of her work for ACORN, Steph draws upon nearly a decade of experience working in social and environmental justice movements, including years of exploration (volunteering and studying) to better understand and improve food sovereignty at the community level, both in Canada and internationally. With a particular background in community development, permaculture, and communications, Steph endeavours to bring a systems approach to this work, engaging with folks in a collaborative and empowering way.

Tara Scott, ACORN Organic Transition Coordinator

Tara Scott was raised in Northeastern New Brunswick. After studying at Nova Scotia Agricultural College (now DAL AC) and Olds College in Alberta, Tara traveled and worked in varying aspects of horticulture.

After settling in South West Ontario, Tara was a farm manager at Greenfields Farm growing and selling to Farmers’ markets and wholesaling throughout the GTA. She then co-farmed a 250 member CSA at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre, in Guelph and oversaw harvest and marketing as well as trained interns in the Principles and Practices of Organic Agriculture program. She has also worked with the Organic Council of Ontario, FarmStart and Ecocert Canada.

As the Organic Transition Co-ordinator Tara works to support new entrants and existing producers in their transition to organic certification as well as coordinate resource development and training, including the ACORN Annual Conference.