AGRIFIRST Canada is an independent consulting firm specializing in First Nations Agriculture Development. We strongly believe that Agriculture must be a corner stone of every community's economic development strategy. We value a strong client working relationship and understand the importance of maintaining confidentiality in a competitive market. Experience of our management team, the reputation of quality of service they have earned is now an asset to this newly formed company.
AGRIFIRST Canada provides services throughout Western Canada. Services currently provided by AGRIFIRST Canada include:
- Agriculture Projects Preparation, Establishment & Management
- Project Feasibility Studies
- Strategic Business Planning
- Agriculture Projects Evaluation
- Conference Hosting
- Investment Facilitation
About the Founder
Jammi Kumar, M.Sc., P.Ag., founder and General Manager of AGRIFIRST Canada
Jammi brings a wealth of experience and expertise in areas of small farming systems development, capacity building and organizational design. Jammi provides unique solutions to complex and sensitive issues that involve balancing of culture, environment and the business operations.
Jammi is a trained Agriculture Economist. His experience and expertise is supported by a Master of Science in International Agriculture Development (University of London, UK) and Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (AP. Agriculture University, India) He is a certified Professional Agrologist and a member of BC Institute of Agrologists.
During his 20 years of International Agriculture development, Jammi worked with Food and Agricultural Organization of United Nations in several management positions. Much of his work with the United Nations was focused in the Caribbean and Latin America region, in creating sustainable rural communities. He also served as the Director of Agriculture with the Government of the British Virgin Islands for nine years.
Jammi served with the BC Ministry of Agriculture for nine years as First Nations Agribusiness Development Specialist. During his term he also performed the role of Program Lead for the Ministry's First Nations Agriculture Program. While in the BC Government service, Jammi conceptualised, implemented and managed the "First Nations Community Foods Systems Project". During 2010, his project received Premiers Award for "Innovation and Excellence in Public Service"
Jammi is an experienced public speaker. He was called upon to speak at several First Nations economic development forums. Being a nature lover and environmentalist, Jammi enjoys doing professional landscape photography in his free time.(www.jkphotoshop.com)
About Our People
AGRIFIRST Canada engages the services of experts and industry leaders in providing cost effective services to First Nations. The following individuals work along with the General Manager as and when needed on contractual terms:
CHIEF JOSEPH NORRIS
Chief Joseph Norris was born in Westhome, B.C. on the Halalt First Nation located on Vancouver Island. He worked in the Timber Industry and oil fields in British Columbia and Alaska. Retired at 50 and moved back to Westholme and was elected Chief of Halalt. He is also considered to be a Hereditary Chief.
Chief Norris currently owns and operates Naut'sa Corporation, specializing in First Nations economic development and creating joint ventures. As a successful business man, Joe is well respected among the First Nations of BC for his innovative ideas of creating businesses and leading communities towards path of self- sustainability.
Chief Joe Norris sits on various Boards of Directors, including First Nations Agricultural Association, Provincial Residential School Board and advisory Board of Storm Cat Energy Corporation.
WRAY McDONNELL , P.Ag.,
Wray is a graduate of UBC with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. He has had a long and varied career in working in crop insurance supervision and adjusting, with the delivery of Federal Provincial agriculture agreements (ARDSA), and managing the BC Ministry of Agriculture's horticulture and agriculture programs. In addition, he supervised the Ministry's First Nations agrologists in the delivery of programs. He has had considerable experience with farm business management as well as benefit cost analysis of capital projects. Wray knows rural BC well through his work on many aspects of agriculture issues. Recently he worked with others to organize and facilitate meetings to get First Nations input to help the Ministry of Agriculture develop programs for native peoples. Wray is a member of the BC Institute of Agrologists.
Beverley O'Neil is a citizen of the Ktunaxa First Nation, and owner of O'Neil Marketing & Consulting, and Numa Communications Ltd. Beverley specialises in community economic development in a wide range of sectors including tourism, culture, trade, facilitation, fundraising, event planning, training programs, proposal preparation, and business and marketing planning.
The experience she brings includes:
- Public consultation and facilitation for corporate and national organizations on sustainability, energy planning and exports, Aboriginal culture, restructuring and economic development;
- Aboriginal joint venture, business and economic development planning;
- Coordination of Band involvement in Tribal and private sector initiatives; and,
- Marketing, Media and Publicity services.
Howard Joynt P. Ag.
Howard's specialty is in the area of farm management. He takes a practical approach to matching people's dreams to what is possible, given their resources and knowledge. He likes to help people map out the financial and economic parts of their plans. He values the linkage that people have to their communities and helps design business structures to the benefit of both the community and individual. He is a strong advocate of the "Small is Beautiful" approach to economics.
Howard and his wife Edie have turned their urban lot into a garden, "The Garden of Edie" where they grow 10 types of berries and assorted vegetables. When not gardening, they are either hiking or canoeing somewhere in BC.
Debra specializes in food processing and creating value added food enterprises. She has over 25 years of experience in all facets of the food industry, including extensive government experience. Debra's greatest goals are to help advance and grow the domestic food manufacturing industry and to reconnect people with food and the industry that gets it to their plates.
Debra established Dragon SOLV Solutions in 2010 to develop innovative solutions for the food industry concerns such as climate change, dietary related disease, economic development and food security. Dragon SOLV Solutions provides consulting services to help organizations with practical and valuable programs that advance and grow the agri-food industry.
Debra has been working with First Nations communities on the Produce Preservation Program - helping to develop practical hands on food preservation curriculum, business development resources and engaging remote communities to participate.
Erik specialises in agricultural value chain development in Western Canada and Western Europe. He introduces innovative technologies that provide the value chain with cutting edge market advantage and competitiveness.
The experience he brings to the team includes:
- Industrial hemp value chain development. Extensive knowledge in fibre production, processing, product development and market development.
- Near-Infrared Spectroscopy: NIR is a modern technology applied in analysis of agricultural products ranging from fibres, grains, processed foods as well as manures.
David Zirnhelt is a rancher and a consultant in economic development and land use policy. He is from the Cariboo region of BC, and has worked extensively with First Nations in the Province. He and his family raise grass feed beef, woodlot products, lumber and build timber frame houses. David has been doing on farm research and production of industrial hemp.
David's formal education is in Political Science, but he has been a student of agriculture and forestry and has farmed for over 30 years. David serves as advisor to Board of First Nations Agriculture Association.
David was an elected member of the Legislature in BC for 12 years from 1989 to 2001. While in the legislature he served as Minister of Economic Development; Agriculture, Food & Fisheries; Aboriginal Affair ; and Forests.
Jane Boulton has a Diploma of Technology from BCIT in Agriculture Management and has worked for 15 years for Agriculture Canada and also managed her own farm. Jane also worked extensively with the First Nations in Central Interior of BC promoting agriculture and self- sufficiency.
She has a wide variety of experience in working with First Nations individuals and communities. She worked with First Nations organizations and bands on community health projects, aboriginal agriculture initiatives, affordable housing research, and cross cultural projects dealing with racism and developing cross cultural understanding.
Jane served as the project coordinator of the Senden Sustainable Agriculture Resource Center in Hazelton, where she renovated a historic farm and developed it into a demonstration farm and practical training facility to train the peoples of the Upper Skeena region in employment and horticultural skills. In this project she worked with a team of First Nations individuals to train them as they did the work of the project.
Lorraine is from Halalt Band on Vancouver Island. She is an experienced horticulturalist and has worked extensively with many of the First Nations on the Island. Lorraine's expertise is in establishment and coordination of community gardens. She served as project co-ordinator for the Island for First Nations Needs Assessment Project as well as the First Nations Produce Access Initiative of the BC Ministry of Agriculture.
About Our Collaborators and Partners
AGRIFIRST Canada collaborates with the following organizations in delivering quality services to our clients:
- AGRICULTURE AND AGRI-FOOD CANADA ABORIGINAL AGRICULTURE INITIATIVE
- BC MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE FIRST NATIONS AGRICULTURE DEVELOPMENT
- NAUT'SA CORPORATION
- O'NEIL MARKETING & CONSULTING
- PACIFIC NORTHWEST GROUP OF COMPANIES
- GITXAN GOVERNMENT COMMISSION
- STO'LO COMMUNITY FUTURES
- VANCOUVER ISLAND HERITAGE FOOD COOP SOCIETY
- CANADIAN HEMP TRADE ALLIANCE
- EMERSON HEMP MANITOBA