Keynote Speaker
Donna Balzer is the no guff gardener.
She co-hosted award winning, internationally broadcast, Bugs & Blooms on HGTV, answers garden questions on CBC radio and is a regular columnist for the Calgary Herald. Her most  recent book with co-author Steven Biggs,No Guff Vegetable Gardening, is a Canadian best seller.
Change Your World:
One Cabbage at a time
Donna Balzer brings garden stories to the stage and helps everyone understand why it is so important to grow your own garden. Grow for your health, for your budget, for your life! Join Donna as she shares the three essential No Guff strategies to a great vegetable garden: Soil, Shelter and Schedule.
2019 Speakers Announced Soon
The steering committee of the
is very pleased to introduce our speakers for 2016
who will address the theme "Adapting to Change".


“What has changed in our food supply? How can we adapt and stop being victims? 

We are what we eat. Eating well does not guarantee wellness. But NOT eating well does jeopardize our ability to live to our individual potential. In the past few decades, there have been serious changes to the nutritional quality, safety and supply of our food, in parallel with escalating epidemics of chronic disease and disability.



Caring for spirit in dementia
Spirit Well is a program that connects with the spirit of a person with dementia; the core of the individual which is still whole and responsive. Volunteers work one to one for sustained periods using spiritual practices to open the way for a deep joining together and often unforeseen interaction. Care-partners are supported and cared for while receiving tools that when used, can shift the focus of care, transforming frustration and grief of losses to moments of joy. Take the time to ‘walk each other home’. The overall health of our society depends on our interdependent relationships and support of each other. Person centered care is essential, as together we meet the needs of this growing segment of our population with compassion and understanding. Spirit Well teaches and reached the heart and soul of every person.
Come away with:
 • tools for nurturing spirit
 • communication tips
  • basic dementia information
 • affirmation of your humanity
Hilde Seal is the Director of the new and innovative ministry called Spirit Well. A spiritual director and compassionate listener, Hilde recognizes the yearning of each person’s spirit to be nurtured and encouraged; even those who live with dementia. She remembers the deep and delightful spiritual encounters with her own mother who died with Alzheimer’s almost 20 years ago; affirming, “My Mom’s spirit did not have dementia.” Hilde’s intentional way of seeing ones wholeness, brokenness and sacredness, inspires a new confidence in our journey of deep spiritual connection with persons with dementia.


Gil Sampson, Food Security and Sustainability lead with Qualicum Community Education and Wellness, will review what, why, how and who has compromised your food.

Melanie Brown Preston, a registered holistic nutritionist, passionately committed to reconnecting people with real food, will provide dozens of recommendations to help you stop harming yourself when you "pick up a fork.”



Drought Landscaping And Gardening
By July 15, 2015, British Columbia's Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast, and the Fraser Valley were all under a Level 4 drought rating. This is the highest category of drought rating, the next step being the collapse of water supply. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts a 90% chance that the El Niño we are currently experiencing will continue in the Northern Hemisphere into spring 2016, and perhaps beyond. Although we have often had dry summers before, this dry weather seems to be extending into the winter and the spring seasons. Droughts can have profound effects on both our vegetable and our ornamental gardens, and Connie will be speaking about how to cope with this potentially new normal in our gardens, and planning for drought events through soil building and plant selection.

Carla is a Registered Respiratory Therapist and Educator. Trained as well as taught Respiratory Therapy at the Mitchner Institute in Toronto. I have worked in intensive care units, hyperbaric chambers, spirometry labs, cardiac operating rooms, home care for ventilated quadriplegics, sleep apnea and home oxygen. I offer classes for those with lung Disease, smoking cessation and Insomnia. My current role is as a community respiratory educator using lung function assessments to help those with respiratory problems understand their condition and how to make the very best of it!

"Live Well with Lung Dis-Ease"

Carla will help you to understand lung dis-ease and the treatments used to manage it.  Understanding how the lungs work, developing some simple strategies and skills will allow you to do more activities, and live well with your lung dis-ease . Learn what your respiratory medications do and how to use them as prescribed. Recognize a lung flare up and how to deal with it. Learn proper breathing techniques to manage shortness of breath and anxiety when you are active.


Connie Kuramoto has been teaching and working in Horticulture for
over forty years. She has been gardening since she was a child, and has been an avid gardener ever since. Connie has managed farms, market gardens and greenhouses, and still grows most of her own vegetables. She taught Horticulture for Vancouver Island University, and served as their Horticultural Technician for twenty years, and has also taught the Horticulture Apprentice Program at North Island College, and the Organic Land Care Diploma Program for Gaia College. Connie offers workshops and classes throughout Vancouver Island.

Lynne Brookes is presently teaching courses for VIU Elder College (Garden Wild!, 2016 and Wildflowers, Wildlife and Local Plant Communities, 2015 2014), president of the Arrowsmith Naturalists, and a volunteer at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre (

"Nature and gardening: natural-paths to happiness."

Lynne Brooks believes that the exercise, exposure to sunlight and feeling of well-being that comes about when people are out in nature on a walk, exploring the seashore, or caring for plants (or animals). She will explore how low- or no-cost activities can be beneficial for most people, individually or shared with others.


IAN SMITH is a chiropractor with 38 years of active practice and a passion for diet and its effect on health.

"Cholesterol - What's it all About

Join Ian Smith in taking a in-depth look at cholesterol: its history, uses and the current thinking about it.


Geraldine Matus is a Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner Educator, Psycho-physiological therapist and a Justisse College Dean.


"Thyroid Health: Identify the Puzzle Pieces"

What pieces of the puzzle create thyroid health? How do we know pieces are missing?  What natural medicine approaches fill in the picture? Find out the role of nutrition and adrenal gland health for thyroid function. Learn how you can support your thyroid  health even if you take thyroid medication.

Elaine De Rooy

Elaine De Rooy started Belly Laughs Navel Academy in 2012. She did this
because she saw too many women try belly dancing once and give up, because
they felt too self conscious and intimidated. 
Her approach is unique in the industry. She brings laughter and a bit of silliness, to an otherwise serious dance genre, through her musical choices. Come and watch or participate in a “belly dance class sampler” and learn about the many health benefits associated with the dance.

Belly Laughs Navel Academy