View presentation slides and videos from our Build Resilience event

On March 6, 2020 at Monora Park Pavilion in Mono, about 100 people spent the day hearing how three local farmers are taking on the challenges of a changing climate, to better sequester carbon and keep their soil healthy. A panel discussion featuring the speakers as well as representatives from three conservation authorities and municipal climate change specialists took questions from the audience and discussed what supports were available for farmers wishing to adopt more resilient practices. A local lunch was served, catered by Lavender Blue and sponsored in part by 3Gen Organics.

Read the speaker bios and watch video of their presentations below. Thanks to Mag Ruffman for capturing the day and editing and posting the videos.

More about our speakers

Mike Swidersky graduated with an agriculture diploma from the University of Guelph in 1998. He farms with his wife Amber and two teenage children in Melancthon Township in north Dufferin County. The family’s farm business consists of a commercial flock of annual pasture lambing ewes, custom grazing groups of steers and heifers and a cut flower business which is operated by Amber. 100% of their farm is perennial pasture with no hay or crops grown. Mike’s particular interest is with intensive grazing and extensive pasture management. He has managed the local community pasture (Grey Dufferin Community Pasture) for the past 8 years. In 2019 they grazed a total of 800 steers and heifers as well as 300 ewes and their lambs.

Watch Mike’s video or view his presentation slides:

Gillian Flies worked as a human rights investigator, aid worker, election observer and management consultant on four continents before finding her true calling as a farmer. In 2003 she and her husband, Brent Preston, abandoned successful careers in Toronto, packed up their two young children, and moved to a run-down farm outside Creemore, Ontario. Since then, they have built The New Farm into a thriving business and a leading light in the good food movement, providing vegetables to some of the best restaurants in Canada and raising over a million dollars to make local, organic food accessible in low income communities. Gillian is the President of the Canadian Organic Growers and is a leader in the organic and regenerative farming movement. She speaks often on food and farming issues.

Watch Gillian’s video or view her presentation slides:

Brett Isreal is a fourth generation farmer who farms with his father and grandfather on their 700 acre family farm near Drayton, Ontario. A graduate of Queen’s business Brett has applied his entreprenarial skills to farm management and animal husbandry. He will talk about the challenges of transitioning from conventional farming to organic both in crops and their 180 hog (farrow to finish) business. In addition to cash cropping, they grow feed for their 3gen Organics pork business—their pigs are on a “five minute diet”. Brett employs the fundamentals of good soil health and is a prospective member of Ontario Soil Health Network.

Watch Brett and Jamie’s video or view their presentation slides:


8:30am — 9:00        Registration and coffee

9:00 — 9:15             Welcome and opening remarks: Jamie Richards, Am Braigh Farm

9:15 — 10:00            Brett Israel, 3Gen Organics, Wallenstein

10:00 — 10:45          Gillian Flies, The New Farm, Creemore

10:45 — 11:00          Break

11:00 — 11:45          Mike Swidersky, intensive grazing farm, Melancthon

11:45 — 12:30pm    Panel discussion: What supports are available for farmers wishing to transition to more resilient practices?

Panelists include our three farmer speakers plus:

Shannon Stephens, Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority 

Alexandra Service, Town of Caledon Climate Change Specialist 

Mark Eastman, Credit Valley Conservation Authority (moderator)

Watch the panel video.

12:30 – 2:30pm        3Gen Organics local lunch and networking

Presented by:

In partnership with: