Respecting the Land Speakers

Plenary Speakers

photoJames Magnus-Johnston
The Future is Now: Community-Led Transitions to a Post-Growth Economy

James is the Canadian Director of the Centre for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE), an organization that promotes the transition to a dynamic economy without “growth.” He is also an Instructor of Political Studies and Economics with Canadian Mennonite University, the Co-Chair of Transition Winnipeg, and the Executive Director of RISE Urban Incubator, Inc, a social enterprise start-up that promotes, tests, and mainstreams innovations for resilience. Previously, he worked in the financial industry, in policy positions with lawmakers, and in the communications industry as an editor. James promotes the transition to a steady-state economy through financial reform, low-impact living, and the use of entrepreneurship to ignite change. He has an MPhil in Economics from Cambridge University, where he authored a thesis on the growth dynamics imposed by the global banking system.

MikeUnrau-headhsotMike Unrau
Respect in the New Economy:  Circulating New Ideas about Money

Mike Unrau has worked for years in community economic development, environmental education, social action and the arts. He works presently with Calgary Dollars, a complementary currency system working to shift to the new economy through relocalization and financial resiliency. He has been invited to present in Den Hague, Netherlands, on Developing Government Support for a Complementary Currency as well as in Banff at the Quest for Meaningful Work on Aligning Purpose and Passion for the New Economy, among others. He’s also worked as Manager of Environmental Education at Green Calgary Association, and has a Master’s Degree in Arts and International Social Work, where he directed several self-initiated international projects leading and teaching University students in social work for application in micro-financing in rural Indian community development.

A fiery passion for meaning-making, human interaction, and multiculturalism, Mike uses a participatory research model in his facilitation, with a holistic approach to education initiatives and also a “big-picture” thinking in seeing connections between community, administration and relationship. Oh, and he plays in a band, too.

IMG_4913Duane Guina
Prophet by the Land

Duane was born and raised on a mixed farm in the Radisson district. After high school, Duane’s love of nature kept him on the farm for another 5 years before enrolling at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

He received a degree in Agricultural Economics in 1986 and worked for Farm Credit Corporation from graduation until April of 1998.

Duane left government work to establish Farmland Legacies.  The work involves stewardship, outreach & education, and a paradigm shift in the way non-profits work.  He has a passion for ecology and sustainable living as they relate to food and agriculture.  Duane hopes that through this work he can positively contribute to the creation of a better food system and therefore a better world.

Duane has three grown daughters, Sarah, Lynn & Danielle.  He currently resides in Wynyard near the Home Quarter Project.

Local Panelists

Alternative Energy – Transitioning beyond peak oil


Russell Hawkins

Russell Hawkins was a “Built Green” certified, “R2000 licensed” home builder.  He is now co-owner of Camrose Energy, and installed the first 2 grid connected solar PV arrays in Camrose.

If the name sounds familiar, he ran for mayor promoting sustainability.  As a member of the Green Action Committee, he’s seen first-hand the actions and attempts of the City of Camrose in becoming a “greener” city.

He awaits the day that curb-side recycling comes to town.  His family promotes “square foot gardening” in their front yard.  They envision the day when Camrose uses native plants for beautification and edible forests in the parks.  You may have seen him driving around town in the company diesel Smart car which gets 70mpg.

Learn more at

Lougheed 007Gordon Lougheed

Gordon moved to Camrose in 2010 and became involved in volunteer positions with the City of Camrose and is currently vice-chairman of the Green Action Committee, sits on the Municipal Planning Advisory Committee and the Camrose Land Use Bylaw Re-write Committee.

Gordon provided project management for Camrose’s first commercial ICF building. The project’s design and construction won out over 700 other Logix distributors to achieve the “2013 Most-Outstanding Commercial Building of the Year” award for all of North America.  He also designed and built the first eco-friendly ICF house in Fort McMurray in 1998 and first full eco-friendly house in Camrose with an EnerGuide rating of 87.

Gordon has over four decades of project management experience in Alberta, the Middle East and Asia.  He has worked as an independent consultant to monitor owner interests on large capital projects relating to design, budgets, costs and schedules from initial design to commissioning & start-up. He has specialized in project controls on high risk projects relating to new innovative technologies and pilot projects for Suncor, Syncrude, Transalta, Alberta Pacific and Imperial Oil.

paulPaul Cabaj

SPARK is Alberta’s first Member-Owned Power Retail Co-Operative focusing on green energy. At SPARK we believe that we can do much better for conscientious Albertans by working together to take the role of power retailing into our own hands, and together, start moving the needle on how Alberta produces and consumes its power.

Paul is a well traveled father of three who holds a Bachelor of East Asian Studies at the University of Alberta Business and is working on a Masters in Leadership focusing on cooperative decision making. He has worked and lived in Asia and South America (including a stint as an owner of a pan-Asian restaurant). Paul has assisted dozens of start-up cooperatives and community owned businesses get off the ground, and is currently working on developing vehicles that will make it easier for Albertans to invest in locally owned businesses. Paul was awarded the Canadian National Award of Merit for Cooperative Development in 2011.

David Dodge, host and producer of Green Energy Futures Photo Greg Schnell

David Dodge

David is the host and producer of Green Energy Futures multi-media project that produces video stories on YouTube, radio stories on the CKUA Radio Network and blog stories online at the Huffington Post. David is a journalist, photographer and communicator. He has worked for newspapers, published magazines, produced books on nature and popular history and he produced more 350 radio programs on sustainability for the CKUA radio network.  David was executive director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society in Alberta, the project manager for and the communications director of the Pembina Institute. Even though all of David’s experience is in environmental communications he is a biologist with a Degree in Forestry from the University of Alberta.

Sustainable Land and Food Systems

takota coen

Takota Coen

Takota was born and raised on Grass Roots Family Farm, where his family has managed their land according to organic agricultural principles for 26 years. With the help of community supported agriculture they have recently began transitioning their farm to a perennial based agricultural system that utilizes a variety of livestock, fruit and nut trees and the patterns of the land itself to mimic a healthy natural ecosystem. In addition to farming, Takota is also the founder of Deep Roots Permaculture where, through his experience and love for the land he works to educate and help others design practical and ethical living systems that are earth restorative. He is a Red Seal Journeyman Carpenter and holds a Permaculture Design Certificate from The Permaculture Research Institute. Central to all his work, Takota seeks to help others cultivate a meaningful connection to the natural world.

cliff croppedCliff Drever

A local Agri-business owner with a passion for beef and forage production. We operate a cow/calf/grasser operation south of Hardisty. Our goal on the ranch is to improve our soils by grazing perennial and annual cocktail crops. We believe  that the land we have to use can provide nutrient dense protein for humans while at the same time allow for plants, animals and microbes to thrive. I believe that the land resources that are available for farmers and ranchers today can transition from our commodity crops that are energy dependent to a system that once again creates more energy than it uses.


Brian Rozmahel

Brian Rozmahel, BA, is an Augustana Alumni who farms with his wife Dodi just north of Viking, Alberta. Brian’s time at Augustana was a watershed moment for him as he continued to learn about the interconnectedness of all things and that any action has consequences that sometimes go far beyond what one can see. Over the past 12 years Brian and his wife have moved away from an industrial form of commodity production to a more holistic approach to agriculture. These new approaches include organic status, orchards, vegetable production, grass finished beef, CSA’s, greenhouses and high tunnels. Their latest endeavours include the production of organic hemp and a passive solar greenhouse.

Tim HOferTim Hofer

Tim Hofer and the Pine Haven Hutterite Colony take pride in promoting relationships within the food system that include producers, consumers, plants and animals.  As consumers, we need to make educated choices based on our knowledge of where our food comes from, who produces it and how it is produced.  Connecting with our food gives us a chance to be involved in the decision making process about the life cycle of agricultural production.  By making a choice to select food produced by family farms under a sustainable mandate, you are strengthening the work being done to create a better food system.  This also encourages the next generation to carry on the practices.

Keeping it Here – Attending to the local economy

keneshpeterKen Eshpeter

Ken has been worried about the long term sustainability of real rural communities for many years. He believes that we urgently need to reawaken within rural residents an appreciation of the incredible resources and landscape right at their fingertips. The rural area is not the city and that is what makes it so special. We need to begin with vigor, telling the story of the potentiality of the rural area so that we can begin to create a population with a large enough critical mass that the rural area can become self-sustaining.
He stays busy with 4 projects: 1. Retiring from a productive farming career. 2. Helping run the Battle River Railway. 3. Establishing a tourism excursion service through the Friends of the Battle River Railway and 4. Helping operate the Daysland and District Cultural Arts Program at the Daysland Palace Theater.

KonradKonrad Schellenberg

Green Gear has been fixing and selling bikes & skiis in Camrose for 5 years now. I started the company with the intent of selling all things that were eco-friendly or ‘Green’ I recommend you read more about the green movement in bicycles. I had envisioned having wind & solar power, water saving devices, yard & garden products, composting supplies, as well as cycling. A sort   of mash up between Lee Valley & Mountain Equipment Co-Op (two of my favorites). The original store concept has evolved into mainly cycling with cross country ski equipment available in the winter months.

I have a Mechanical Engineering Technologist diploma from NAIT where I graduated in 1997 at the top of my class. I have worked in the machinery manufacturing and composites manufacturing sector before starting my own green business. Since I can design your next bike, I am sure I can fix your current one.

I grew up in Manitoba where much of my family is still located.   I have lived in a number of places including Thompson, Winnipeg, Portage La Prairie, Vermilion, Edmonton, Salmon Arm, and Corpus Christi, Texas. Camrose has been my home for over seven years (a personal record) and I am very happy here (politics aside).

Tread lightly.

imagePat Branson

Pat has been a staple of many people’s day since she took over Fiona’s Coffee and Tea Shop in 2012.  The role of the local coffee shop as a hub for community members to share ideas and presence is part of the reason Pat loves her work.  Pat recognizes the integral role of small business in challenging standards of service and sustainability.  She is constantly striving to provide quality service while bolstering her business’ environmental record.

Creating Healthy, Liveable Communities


Janet Hatch

Janet has long held a keen interest in issues surrounding food production sustainability and health. As a graduate in Urban and Regional Planning and in her current role as the Camrose Historic Main Street Society Coordinator, Janet is well-aware of the importance of fostering a ‘buy local’ mentality in communities across Canada; not only for the environmental & health benefits, but also to build upon the sense of community and economic self-reliance of local producers. She is also actively involved in promoting the City of Camrose’s efforts in creating a “walkable” city by liaising with various stakeholders in the area, recognizing the importance of building active, healthy communities.

Lucy Ernst 2013

Lucy Ernst

Lucy Ernst is a Health Promotion Facilitator with Alberta Health Services and has worked in the area of health promotion/prevention in Camrose for 12 years. She is a graduate of the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation and is most passionate about working with community partners to create environments that promote health. When not at work, she can often be found on the City’s picturesque trails with her husband and two kids.


Pat Mader Mundel

Pat Mader Mundel is a retired educator who worked (both inside and outside the classroom) with at-risk students, community groups, and international development agencies. She is presently the president of the Augustana Neighbourhood Association (ANA), the first organization of its kind in Camrose, Alberta.

The ANA–in partnership with various local agencies–seeks to foster a vibrant, welcoming, safe, and walkable neighbourhood that surrounds the Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta–in contrast to the anything-goes-zones, many near-campus areas in North America end up becoming.  Pat believes that building a sense of belonging and community-mindedness is the best way to create healthy neighbourhoods where people want to live, walk, and stay–whatever age or stage in their lives.

She also currently serves on the board of Camrose’s Historic Main Street Society; the Subdivision and Development Appeal board; the Walkable Committee; and the Working Advisory group that is contributing to the rewrite of Camrose’s Land Use Bylaw.

The Wealth of Being

Rajan photo

Rajan Rathnavalu

Rajan is a recent Augustana graduate in Philosophy and Religion and has now begun research into contemplative education in a Masters program at the University of Calgary.  As his major indicates, he’s had a longstanding interest in trying to understand the deeper reasons for why we do things, and how to share that investigation with others. His research arises from his concern for how we treat each other and the world around us and his belief that, if a community works together, anything can be accomplished.  His passion lies in bringing deeper, compassionate perspectives to education and community life.

photoCarmelle Mohr

Carmelle J Mohr strives to deepen kinships between human-communities and the Natural World in response to global crises. Her experiences of resilient community – having been raised near Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside as well as on land in Central Alberta – led to her study Globalization & Development at the Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta. She has worked in and founded various ecological and community efforts in BC, Alberta and Peru including Responsibility for the Land, Christmas Presence, Score Community Market Place, Spirit of the Land, and Caring for All Creation on Unceded Coast Salish Territory. Having lived and worked abroad, Carmelle holds an understanding of Canadian extractivist culture as undercurrent to global injustice, about which she now writes and presents across Western Canada. Currently, she is completing further studies in Agroecology at UBC Farm and serves as a Junior Fellow of the Chester Ronning Centre. She an avid dawn-catcher, aspiring farmer and professor, and potluck profess-er. Most of all, she believes and consistently experiences that within our diversities is a commonality that binds us all: our great, commonplace.

photoLinda Gervais

Why Is It so Difficult to Transform our Lives?

When I first visited Camrose three years ago I was struck by the hospitality of the people, the beauty of the parks and trails, the vitality and inclusiveness of the Augustana campus and the friendliness of the downtown. It seemed like a good place to invest my life.  Now I have been in Camrose for two years, and I have come to understand the richness of resources and relationships generated by an awakening awareness of a wealth of Being present in this place. This wealth holds love at the heart of human exchange and fosters a prosperous community.

It is clear that our trusted institutions are now on a palliative journey, having proved powerless in being a means to control the greed of the few and to care for the old, the sick and the unfortunate. Individuals, communities and the natural world require wisdom and compassion in this threshold time as we grow towards a social equality that does not destroy the individual freedom of exchange. It feels chaotic as we make our way into new life, new relationships and a new economy.

To transform our economy, our symbolic form of relationship, we must first transform ourselves. Given our wealth of Being why is it so hard for us to transform in our daily lives? This session will explore means for change. We will experience ways to mature our awareness and reactivity, to develop the skills and to nurture the resilience that is necessary to surrender to transformation.

Entertaining Ourselves to Life

DSC06628Leslie Lindballe

Leslie has been cultivating a musical life since she began her online Masters program through Athabasca University.  She became fascinated by the modes to share art in the digital realm and the confidence people express when they make videos, record podcasts, and broadcast live.

Traveling around the globe during her program gave her the opportunity to host participatory music shows where audiences young and old picked up small instruments and sang along – even in foreign languages!  Recently, she and her partner, Jordan Leden, started Songbook Sunday at the Bailey Theater to foster confidence in entertaining ourselves.

Join us…

“Next Generation Thinking” conference begins Friday, November 3.

Everyone is welcome!