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Meet The Team

Wayne Caldwell,



Wayne Caldwell is Interim Associate Vice-President Research- Strategic Partnerships at the University of Guelph and a professor in Rural Planning. He previously served as Interim Dean of the Ontario Agricultural College and as Director of the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development (from 2011- 2016). His interests include planning for agriculture and community-based approaches to economic and environmental issues.  Dr. Caldwell also has a career long affiliation with the County of Huron.  He is also familiar with northern Ontario network research given his previous work related to the North-East Community Network. 

Sara Epp


Sara Epp is a PhD Candidate in the Rural Studies program at the University of Guelph. Sara hails from the Niagara Region, where she completed her undergraduate and master’s degrees in Geography at Brock University. Growing up on a family farm in Niagara-on-the-Lake impacted Sara’s research focus and academic pursuits. Her current research interests include rural land use planning and their impacts on farm viability, agricultural diversification and farm resilience. Her dissertation will explore the expansion of agriculture in northern Ontario, focusing on the impacts of policy on farmer resilience and community economic development.

James Newlands


James recently completed his MSc. degree in Rural Planning & Development from the University of Guelph. James previously completed a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) degree from Lakehead University. James grew up on a small beef farm east of Orillia, Ontario and has always been passionate about local food initiatives and small-scale farmers abilities to promote local food. For this project, his work was integral to understanding the challenges and opportunities the Anabaptist community faces in Northern Ontario. 

Katherine Howes


Katherine is a MSc. Candidate in the Rural Planning & Development program at the University of Guelph. She previously completed a Bachelor of Environmental Studies (Hons) degree from the University of Waterloo. Katherine grew up on a small dairy farm in eastern Ontario and is passionate about local food and supporting rural communities. Katherine's current research interests include the development of local food hubs and their rural economic development implications. Katherine has been involved with mapping Northern farm services and will be aiding in the facilitation of a survey and focus groups of new farmers occurring this summer. 

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