Our Story

In February 2017 we started out as the Permaculture Farm Festival Club with one goal: start a new festival in the Hazeltons that celebrates sustainable living, live music, and great local food and drink.

Two festivals, one farm school, 18 house concerts, and so many great memories later, we’ve evolved into M.A.S.H. The acronymn is a tribute to the wit and irony of the hit TV show, that showcases how people with the right skills and attitude can find a way to have fun for a few hours even when the backdrop is pretty bleak. Originally we thought Music and Agritourism in the Hazeltons made great use of these letters, and now with the cancellation of so many events, we decided that Making Agriculture Sustainable in the Hazeltons is a also a great use for these letters. We’re just having fun and doing good things in the community. 

We also incubated a start-up non-profit NWBC Food Action Network (FAN) for three years starting in 2017. FAN’s main purpose was to deliver an annual food security conference and you’ll find proceedings and photos from those events on this website too.

The organization was co-founded by Laurie and Bill of Bulkley Canyon Ranch and Hazelton Hops. Their off-grid solar powered farm has served as the venue for most of MASH’s events and has also hosted plant medicine retreats. Meet the other Directors for MASH below.

Board of Directors

Laurie Gallant migrated to the Bulkley Valley in 1998 to Smithers via Kelowna/Vancouver/Toronto,  then relocated to Bulkley Canyon/New Hazelton with Bill in 2010. She’s passionate about healthy communities and founded MASH to provide a framework for projects that respond to community needs. With Bill, Laurie has been off-grid farming for 10 years now and is committed to building a sustainable food system in the region. With a background in environmental planning and a mad streak of entrepreneurship, she loves a challenge and may be guilty of forgetting there are only 24 hours in a day.

bill crosson

A true-blue northerner, Bill Crosson grew up on the family homestead and hobby farm in Quick. Unable to resist Laurie’s charms, he is continuing to grow up on the new family homestead and farm in New Hazelton. It is in fact the mountains of the Hazeltons that Bill cannot resist and you will find him skiing all year long in his backyard. Bill’s an awesome MASH Director as he’s a get ‘er done kind of guy and brings a pile of practical knowledge and experience to our event planning and delivery. A surprise to none that went to school with him, Bill has a Bachelor of Science degree in math from Thompson Rivers University. While there, he served on the campus community radio’s board and was president of the TRU Wine Geek Club. Bill does end up counting a lot of sheep so that Math degree is coming in handy (not). 

Simon Stockner was born and raised in the Hazeltons (Kispiox Valley) and really loves to play on  rivers. A director than knows how to play is an important asset for a volunteer organization. He is also a fantastic drummer and delivered some pretty tight percussion for a popular local band, The Racket. As the booking agent for his band, including a 40 show tour spread over 4 months for their “Petty Crimes Summer Tour 2017”, Simon is now keen to help book performers for MASH events. Simon is a self-congratulatory festival baby. He was born a few months before the very first Kispiox Valley Music Festival and grew up three minutes down the road from the festival, never missing a year. With this beautiful hometown festival practically in his blood, and having years of experience writing and performing music, his love for creating and sharing good energy through music and community is sincere and again, a great asset for MASH.

laurie paulin

Laurie Paulin is Haisla and Haida and grew up in Kitwanga and Terrace. In 1997, Laurie received her
Bachelor of Business Administration Degree. A Human Resources Post Diploma was obtained
in 1999. She enjoyed a 15-year career a Human Resources Professional before moving on to
try other careers. Laurie became a Certified BodyTalk Practitioner in 2011 and has worked as
an energy worker, trauma therapist and traditional healer in remote First Nations communities.
Laurie and her son love spending time at the rivers, lakes, and trails in this area. She grew up
off the grid until the age of 8 and has a goal to live on a property that meets her needs for self
sufficiency. Laurie is currently in her first year of law school at TRU. She decided to become a
lawyer after working at the local law centre in Hazelton, BC as the Poverty Law Advocate for
two years.

limwel ramada

Limwel Ramada and his wife Alta with daughter Yvan Pearl pioneered SULADs Fairhaven Farm project in October 2010 in Kitwanga. British Columbia. He graduated from Mountain View College, Philippines with a  BS Agriculture and is the Vice president of SULADS Canada and also Project/Field Director. 

Yoenne Ewald was raised in the Valley and has begun the transition to move back to the area for spring 2021. She has been farming in Manitoba for the past 14 years – a diversified pasture-based production of a wide range of food items (beef, pork, chicken, turkey, eggs, garlic, vegetables) with the mandate of ever-improving sustainable, regenerative practices; supplying her customers with healthy local food options; and inspiring others to pursue the same work. Her new farm is near South Hazelton and, while it will be under development for years to come, it will be a continuation of the same vision. Yoenne enjoys the companionship of her cattle and many dogs. She works at a humane, respectful husbandry approach that takes every reasonable measure to avoid stressful situations for all of her animals from start to finish. Yoenne has a B.A. in Community Planning, a Horticultural Certificate and is committed to lifelong learning.

My name is Charlene White and I arrived here a year ago from Fernie BC. I currently teach as a K/1 teacher. I love being able to buy locally from the Farmer’s Market! I am amazed by the all the entrepreneurs in this area that are leading sustainable lives in a variety of ways! I am excited to be part of MASH and spread the message of food sustainability and enhance my own knowledge of incorporating it more into my life.

 

Silvana Ivandic-Quigley

Silvana was born in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world in Argentina. Raised in Northern Patagonia in the first hippie town of the country, she has called Canada home for the last 20 years. After moving to Hazelton in June 2020 she crossed paths with the food preserving classes by Laurie and Preserve Safe. From there, a new interest in food preservation and security was born, and she became a Preserve Safe trainer and connected with MASH. She is planning to try her hand at growing a garden and to keep learning and teaching food preservation in all forms and putting to good use her background in community engagement. She also enjoys learning and practising herbal medicine, aromatherapy and all holistic healing forms. Silvana and husband Steve feel the Hazeltons are a perfect match for their interests and life style and are enjoying getting to know the area and settling in their home with innumerable books, plants and their two dog friends.