A Healthy Community in Ecological Balance with a Thriving Environment


Our Mission has 3 streams:
  1. Habitat: Regenerate and conserve bio-diverse ecosystems
  2. Food: Produce healthy food sustainably for humans and wildlife
  3. Education: Connect students of all ages with a thriving natural landscape

Strategic Directions for each Mission stream

Habitat: Regenerate and conserve bio-diverse ecosystems

  • Conserve water by applying permaculture principles to landscape design
  • Regenerate bio-diverse forest, pond, wetland and prairie ecosystems, emphasizing local flora and fauna
  • Apply eco-forestry to sustain existing rare Assiniboine oak-ash-maple river bottom forest

Food: Produce healthy food sustainably for humans and wildlife

  • Cultivate bio-diverse, self-sustaining ecosystems that feed the widest possible variety of living organisms, including humans,incorporating diverse nut-, fruit-, berry- and seed-producing plants.
  • Create minimal-maintenance perennial and annual garden beds for all Brandon residents to enjoy and harvest.
  • Respect ecological principles by using organic and holistic agriculture techniques.

Education: Connect students of all ages with a thriving natural landscape

  • Provide opportunities for self-propelled, minimal-trace recreation, including wildlife viewing, picnicking, biking, skiing and more.
  • Partner with university, college, public schools and others to conduct and apply research in biology, ecology and permaculture.
  • Host workshops and cultural events on diverse artistic and scientific themes, including gardening, permaculture, ecology, wildlife biology, music, heritage, health, and more

Meet Our Board Members

Dave Barnes

Dave Barnes

Chair and Founding Member

I have been passionate about nature and the outdoors all my life.  I fell in love with these woods in 1997 when I came here to plant a tree with the Neelin Environment Club on adjacent private property.  Today, I am the owner of that adjacent property, and the priceless ancient oak forest is forever protected by legal caveat. My interests include music and maple syrup.


Paul Madryga

Secretary and Founding Member

Paul spends his working day as classical guitar instructor at both Brandon University and the Eckhardt-Gramatté Conservatory of Music. He enjoys living in Brandon (where a sessional guitar prof can not only afford a mortgage, but can also be on a first-name basis with the people who grow his food), and is very pleased to be able to offer his services to AFFI as Secretary to the Board.


Marcia Wiebe

Founding Member

I am a mother and lifelong gardener. I believe in food security and food justice, and my endeavors reflect those beliefs. I am certified as a Master Gardener in Manitoba, and I have worked with the Food Bank and Community Gardens since 2000. I am also a Fruit Share volunteer and board member, a Brandon community garden network volunteer, and board member.


Mo Twaha

Founding Member

I came to this part of the world to learn the art of business and focus on raising small organizations with new ideas. During the 2011 flood, I realized that a supply-chain of food can break down at any moment from human errors and natural calamities. In 2012 I became a student of Assiniboine Food Forest.  I am the AFFI past interim vice-chair.

Keay pic (1)

Keay Dobson-Golletz

Retired Founding Member

I am a Brandonite and former high school French Immersion teacher, currently subbing in the Brandon School Division, and volunteering with a variety of groups.  I have had the privilege of travelling to many world destinations where I have seen firsthand the need for environmental action, the importance of food planning for the future, the urgency of returning to healthy living practices – and sometimes I have seen the solutions to these issues.  I care deeply about the little Canadian city that welcomed and provided for my post-war parents, and I am inspired to contribute my time and energy today for a better Brandon tomorrow, just as they did.  I believe that the vision and extensive knowledge base of the AFFI team’s current work will benefit Brandon’s future citizens in incredible ways.


2018 Board of Directors

Dave Barnes – Chair
Marcel Roberge – Vice-Chair
Paul Madryga – Secretary
Vickie Hanwell-McLean – Treasurer
Devan Hahkala
Mo Twaha
Marcia Wiebe
Blake Hamilton
Naomi Leadbeater
Sherry Punak-Murphy
Katy Powell
Mireille Desilets