Building healthy relationships between urban and rural people, and between humanity and nature.
One School · One Farm connects urban schools with land partners in their region.
The goal is healthier people through healthier land. This goal is reached through planning and planting diverse habitats that support pollinators, sequester carbon, prevent erosion, and maintain the water cycle.
To actively co-create solutions to the extinction crisis and climate change through the building of biodiverse, regionally appropriate habitats that host pollinators, sequester carbon, provide food species, and transpire water, thereby acting in the reduction or prevention of erosion and drought.
To promote relationship building between rural and urban populations, ensuring that all students are made to feel welcome and important.
To increase and enhance Ecological Literacy within the school systems.
Acting within the knowledge that the prairie provinces are home the most endangered ecosystems in North America – Prairie.
Board of Directors
Andrew Johnson, President
Andrew’s love for trees and the outdoors began while exploring the shelterbelts on the family farm as a child. After side journeys working in I.T. and achieving a B.A., the call of nature grew too strong and Andrew began a career in arboriculture, becoming an ISA-certified arborist. He works in the Urban Forestry department for the City of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Janet McVittie, PhD, Secretary
Janet, recently retired from the College of Education at the University of Saskatchewan, developed her love for the outdoors in her youth in Yellowknife. Having great teachers in highschool in the 1970’s, she learned that the outdoor environment she valued was under threat, due to increasing human population and increasing consumption. She has spent much of her life working to teach about these threats, and potential solutions.
Recently, she has realized that individual actions, although important, are not enough. Policies need to be enacted to support systemic changes towards socially and ecologically responsible behaviour. As Saskatchewan Indigenous groups teach, we must take no more than we need, and leave much for nature. We must be thankful for all that we take. Projects she has been involved with are SwaleWatchers, working to preserve a slice of native prairie, Wild About Saskatoon, supporting urban residents to value the “wild” areas of the city, the Prairie Habitat Garden, a naturalized teaching garden at the University of Saskatchewan, and her own yard, which produces fruits and vegetables for humans and o
Brent Kreuger, Treasurer
Brent has a simple goal; he wants to change the world. He lives in an ecovillage where everyone there has made a commitment to build and live an environmentally friendly lifestyle.
He sometimes feels like he’s homesteading circa 1800. He grows and raises as much of his own food as he can, generates his own electricity, does not use fossil fuels for heat, uses composting toilets and chops his own firewood. “A man who chops his own firewood is twice warmed by that same tree,” is one of his favourite sayings. And speaking of trees… He plants them. Lots of
them… and he’s planted them every year since he started this adventure. So far, it’s been
literally thousands of trees, and he’s not finished yet.
Brent gives tours and sustainability presentations to hundreds of people a year including school groups, university classes, engineering and architectural firms, and anyone also interested in living a “green” lifestyle.
Brent’s other two passions are education and entrepreneurship. He and his wife own a company that promotes and teaches people how to own and operate their own enterprise. So far there are over 1200 businesses that have started through their company. He is also an advocate of alternative education and works hard to improve the education process itself. He
has written white papers on the topic and many of his research essays and blogs have been picked up for publication and re-posting to other alternative education sites. Don’t get him started talking about any of these three topics as he’s been known to carry his soapbox with him.
Joanne Blythe, Board Member
Joanne grew up on a farm with a shelterbelt, a place where she, her siblings and cousins spent days playing exploring and creating adventures. She came to love the trees therein – cottonwoods, green ash, Manitoba maple, American elm, and yes caraganas too. She moved to Saskatoon to attend university and has spent her working and volunteering life with community-based groups including the Women’s Calendar Collective, Project Ploughshares Saskatoon, the Training for Health Renewal Project, and the Mozambique Canada Maternal
Health Project. She is a founding member of Permaculture Saskatchewan, a long-time member
of the Wild About Saskatoon Steering Committee, and an active member of the Swale Watchers. Joanne coordinates Pollinator Paradise YXE– a Wild About Saskatoon project devoted to encouraging and supporting people in growing native plants and bringing them back home to where they belong, in their gardens, boulevards, back alleys, schools, and workplaces.
She has been growing native plants including grasses, flowers, shrubs, and trees in her city yard for many years now, learning from them year by year. She says the words of philosopher farmer Wendell Berry sums it up best for her, “…the care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and
to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope.”
Brian Thorstad, Board Member
Brian is a retired physical education and health teacher, whose grade nine health class was one of the original partners with One School One Farm, through Restoring 71. Brian firmly believes that the health of our planet and all its inhabitants is closely linked to the health of human
beings. One School One Farm’s dedication to creating eco-buffers, shelter belts, pollinator/prairie strips, and planting native plants is a vital contribution to the biodiversity and health of our planet.
Over the last 5 years, Brian has become an avid gardener and followed the principles of One School One Farm in his Saskatoon yard/garden and on his parent’s farm. After retiring, Brian believed so much in the mission of One School One Farm that he has continued to be involved by joining the board and creating a partnership between the Science Trek class and his parent’s farm. It has truly been a privilege for Brian to be involved in One School One Farm and help students see that there are achievable solutions to our environmental crisis.
Elizabeth Bekolay, BSc, Executive Director
Elizabeth (Liz) started her ecological studies canoeing with her family on the North Saskatchewan River. Luckily, Gen X kids had a lot of freedom and she continued her studies in the forests nearby. After grappling with ecological grief from an early age she became driven to search for solutions. While completing studies in biology and ecological education in 2005 she started working in the Beaver Creek Valley, just south of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Nature-based education, food, and ecological restoration became the focus of her education and career. Elizabeth continues to spend half her time in this valley as a nature-based science educator for the Saskatoon Public School Division.
During the growing season Elizabeth runs a small business called ‘Lichen Nature Design and Education’ through which she designs and implements small scale prairie restorations and ecological gardens. During winter she writes books based on stories she told her children when they were young. She published her first children’s science fantasy, Nature’s Apprentices: The Magic of the Peatlands, in November of 2022. Elizabeth is the founder and executive director of the One School One Farm Shelterbelt Project.