Staff

Carolyn Young
Executive Director

Since joining OCO in early 2016, Carolyn has placed renewed emphasis on serving members' needs and campaigning for an Ontario organic regulation. Prior to joining OCO, Carolyn worked as the Director of Sustain Ontario, the alliance for healthy food and farming.  Together with member organizations, she advocated for the support of healthier food systems through education, network development and collaborative action.  

Before Sustain, Carolyn had extensive experience in food security, farming and environmental policy issues through her Masters research focused on farmers' markets and her time at the Stop Community Food Centre. She has worked on farms and farming issues in four provinces in addition to visiting farms across Canada and abroad as an Independent Organic Inspector. 

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Stuart Oke
Communications and Membership Manager

Stuart joined OCO in 2020 and is a passionate proponent of organics, regionalized food systems and food sovereignty. He has spent the past decade as an organic farmer,  organizer, and advocate. He is the current Youth President for the National Farmers Union (NFU) a position that enables him to advocate solutions to the problems facing new farmers today. He is also a board and executive committee member for the national organic organization Canadian Organic Growers (COG) a registered charity focused on training, supporting and advocating for organic farmers in Canada. 

He is excited to bring his experience to the OCO team and help continue the critical work OCO undertakes on behalf of organic producers, processors, and retailers in Ontario. When Stuart isn't working for OCO you can find him on his farm Rooted Oak Farm newly relocated to Eastern Ontario. 

Kelly Ray
Project and Research Coordinator

Kelly joined OCO in January and is passionate about conservation and environmental science with her favourite project being the identification of different plants in Southern Ontario through the creation of an Herbarium. Her interest in organics stems from the positive environmental impact organics has on the Earth.

Kelly has a BSc in Biology (ecology specialization) and Philosophy and is looking forward to bringing her perspective towards supporting OCO in content development, publication, and data management.

Lily Phan
Administrative Assistant and Bookkeeper

Lily joined OCO as our newest Admin and Bookkeeping assistant in March. Lily Phan is a newly minted small-scale ecological farmer, growing vegetables near Bolton, Ontario. She is an advocate for local food systems and regenerative agriculture. Lily believes that food and farming are key links to a better future for humanity on a healthy planet. She has been practicing bookkeeping in some form or other for close to a decade and has almost 20 years of administration under her belt. 

Jaimie Cryder
Marketing and Education Coordinator

Jaimie joined OCO in July 2021 to coordinate our campaign for the Climate Action and Awareness Fund. Through her studies for her Bachelors of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria, she became aware of and inspired by the relationship between food, people and the environment. Since then, supporting the transition to a more sustainable food system has become the focus of Jaimie's professional, academic, and personal goals. In addition to working with the OCO, Jaimie is currently pursuing a Master's in Human Geography at the University of Toronto. Jaimie is excited to apply her education, past work experience in the non-profit sector, and desire to create a more sustainable future to the OCO's work.

Samantha Mills
Communications Coordinator

Samantha joined OCO in August 2021 as the Communications Coordinator. Samantha comes from a large family of Ontarian farmers and fondly remembers growing up in a farming community. 

Growing up, she got to experience first-hand the different food systems within Ontario and developed a deep love for environmental conservation and organic agriculture. After attending the University of Waterloo for Rhetoric, Media and Communication Studies, Samantha has worked in many different writing and communication roles but she is excited to be able to use her skills to help effectively communicate OCO’s powerful message. 

Kaelin Barichello
Strategic Partnerships Coordinator

Kaelin joined OCO in August 2021 as the Strategic Partnerships Coordinator. While attending the University of Waterloo for Environment, Resources, and Sustainability, they developed a passion for food security, food justice, and sustainable food systems. They are drawn to the complex and truly universal nature of food issues, and hope to see the human relationship to food become a point of reciprocal positivity between people and the planet. They are excited to bring this passion into their work with OCO, where their focus is facilitating multi-stakeholder collaboration to strengthen the organic sector within the province. 

Bel Gao
User Experience and Data Intern

Bel joined OCO as a User Experience and Data Intern in September. She is a Master of Information student concentrating on User Experience Design and Human Centered Data Science at the University of Toronto. Her interests are in sustainability and plant-based cooking. She’s excited to bring her passion for building empowering and meaningful digital experiences to OCO's team.

Meera Nagpal
Website and Information Systems Coordinator
Meera joined OCO in October 2021 as a Website and Information Systems Coordinator. Her passion for sustainability and climate action led to an interest in organic agriculture. After attending the University of Waterloo for Mathematics, Meera has worked in multiple data engineering and analyst roles and is excited to use this experience to support Ontario’s transition to more sustainable agriculture through OCO.