As Executive Director of Organic Alberta from 2008 to 2019, Becky recognized an opportunity as she heard organic grain buyers predicting a crisis of undersupply – and offering to help fund a solution. In concert with SaskOrganics and the Manitoba Organic Alliance, Becky led the design and fundraising for the multi-sector solution that launched in 2014 as the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative (POGI). During the four years of its initial mandate, she devoted almost a quarter of her time to leading POGI while continuing at the helm of Organic Alberta.
Becky’s astute leadership has proven pivotal in building a united prairie voice for organic grain. Holding an MA in Anthropology from Concordia University, she has expertise in strategic planning, fundraising and fund development, community engagement and organizational and industry development. Her diverse experiences include everything from agricultural education programming for youth at risk and for university students in Cuba to founding an apprenticeship program and leading business and leadership development training. She has also conducted research on rural capacity building, food supply chains, local food, food security and sustainable agriculture for universities and municipal and provincial governments. With POGI’s initial funding set to end in 2019, she is now part of a team seeking to grow the initiative into a national conversation.
A visionary collaborator, Becky is also a founder, board member and fundraising team member of the Prairie Organic Development Fund and has participated on the industry-federal government Organic Value Chain Round Table since 2015.
Today, Becky is the Principle of Becky Lipton Research and Consulting.
What Makes Becky a Champion?
Recognized across Canada as a strong leader in the organic sector, Becky provides an articulate and thoughtful voice that has helped draw attention, resources, and credibility to the movement. Her skill at building and supporting strong teams has enabled POGI to tap the best available expertise from all parts of the value chain, within and beyond the prairies. Thanks in large measure to her in-depth knowledge and her ability to zero in on strategic goals, POGI has made significant strides in boosting production, developing relationships and solidifying markets.
“When we were initially designing POGI, companies worried about not having enough organic grain for their current customers, never mind people knocking on the doors wanting to get in. And there wasn’t a prairie-wide partner to turn to. Four years later, there’s a sense that the crisis has been averted. POGI solved the crisis by working collaboratively to fill some of the major needs. We knew that just increasing supply on its own was a bad idea, because that doesn’t lead to resiliency. So we spent a lot of energy and resources building base tools, including data reports that are now used for business planning. We want to build off of those successes as well as learn from evaluations, which tell us that direct on-farm support is one of the best ways to inspire change. My worry is if there’s no funding for the next phase, we will realize, ‘Oh no, we’re back in crisis.’”