Marla’s interest in organics began 17 years ago when she started to become curious as to how her food was being produced. At the time, she was living in the south west of England, in the heart of organic agriculture, and began to develop direct relationships with the organic farmers that were growing the food she was eating. When it was time to move back to Regina seven years ago, she accepted a position at Farmer Direct Co-op to develop and manage the domestic fair trade program. During her time at the Co-op, she also had the opportunity to develop the Co-op’s governance framework, oversee human resources and be a part of the team that launched the Farmer Direct Co-op brand – the first domestic fair trade, organic good brand in the marketplace. She continues to be a committed organic consumer, gardener and cook. She loves knowing that the work she does is contributing to developing and maintaining the infrastructure that is needed to ensure that organic farmers are supported, markets are developed and consumers are educated on the benefits of living an ‘organic life’.
What Makes Marla a Champion?
Marla Carlson wears many hats within the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative. She is the Chair of the New Grower/Transition Advisory Committee, she participates in the Optimization Advisory group, and she also serves on the POGI Steering Committee. Her leadership style in these committees is enjoyed by those she works with. With her ability to bring structure and process to discussions and planning, Marla is able to create consensus within a team. POGI has benefited profoundly in visioning and direction due to Marla’s skill in thinking big picture. Marla’s leadership and guidance has helped to make the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative what it is today.
“The Prairie Organic Grain Initiative brought together farmers, researchers, government, NGOs, processors, brokers, buyers, and certification bodies to work toward a common goal of increasing the resiliency of the sector. To include all aspects of the value chain in the development and execution of the project meant that the challenges were addressing were viewed from many different perspectives. This approach encouraged engagement and buy in for the project and resources that have been created to increase the quantity and quality of organic grains to enhance resiliency and stability in the organic sector across the Prairies.”