Who We Are

Vision

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.

Mission

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 to the most endangered ecosystems in North America, the native 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.

Evan Nienaber, Board Member

Evan is one of the teachers of the Let’s Lead Nīkānētān Grade 8 program. He was born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and has been a teacher in the city for more than 10 years. He has a passion for learning on and from the land and has made it an integral part of his pedagogy. 

Evan enjoys time outdoors camping, canoeing and being on the land. He has been a school partner with One School One Farm and Muskeg Lake for the last year.  Despite being relatively new to planting, gardening, and farming, he has eagerly embraced these experiences alongside his students and is excited about the ongoing partnership.

Lorna Conquergood, Board Member

Lorna grew up with the best of both worlds (as many of us did in Saskatchewan) having a family home in the city and two sets of rural grandparents who taught her about gardening and land stewardship. Realizing that not everyone had these privileges is the main reason Lorna is passionate about the vision for One School One Farm. Lorna holds M.F.A., B.F.A. and B.Ed degrees and is an artist and educator who works for the Saskatoon Public School Division.

Elizabeth Bekolay, BSc, Executive Director

Elizabeth (Liz) is a mother, nature-based educator, author, and founder of One School One Farm Shelterbelt Project.

Liz is thankful for the incredibly diverse communities of people and plants that she has the privilege of working with in this role.