DeLisa Lewis and Jana Kotaska met in Bella Coola in 2006 while doing field work for our PhDs. After completing our degrees, we moved to the Cowichan Valley to start Green Fire Farm in 2014. Our vision was (and still is) to build:
- a diverse farming system that produces vegetables, fruit, meat, and eggs, recycles nutrients on farm, and reduces off-farm inputs;
- a community of customers who know how their food is grown and raised;
- a place where people come to learn about farming; and
- a practice of working with our local ecosystems.
DeLisa is the Lead Farmer at Green Fire Farm. A second, or skipped-generation farmer, DeLisa found her joy of farming helping out on her grandparents’ mixed farm in the Ozark foothills. She is a farming educator, researcher, and community volunteer. DeLisa helped create and was lead instructor for the new farmer training program at the UBC Farm from 2011-2014; is an Assistant Professor and teaches three courses in Land and Food Systems at UBC each winter; mentors new farmers through Young Agrarians and other networks; and trains our Green Fire Farm field crew each year. She is engaged in research collaborations focused on soil health and nutrient management, sits on the accreditation board of the Certified Organic Association of BC, and is sought after as a speaker at farming conferences and events in the off-season. She was honoured in 2020 with the Brad Reid award for her leadership and service to the community of organic growers in British Columbia.
Jana takes care of administration and communications at Green Fire Farm, looks after livestock, and helps with harvesting and selling produce. She has a background in ecology, environmental science, and planning, and completed a PhD focused on decolonizing resource management. For as long as she can remember, she wanted to live on a farm and has always been interested in growing, harvesting, and preparing food. In addition to working on the farm, she is a mother and an environmental consultant. She is currently a member of the North Cowichan Environmental Advisory Committee.