Carolyn Van Den Heuvel, Executive Director

Carolyn Van Den Heuvel grew up on a beef farm in Antigonish, and currently resides in Truro Heights. She graduated from the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. Following graduation, she worked on a number of dairy farms before starting her career with the Federation in 2012. Carolyn officially started with the NSFA in 2013; however, she began working in the office in 2012 on a joint project with NSFA and the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association.

Good, bad or indifferent, Carolyn has never left the agriculture industry. Growing up on a farm, she always had a passion for agriculture. While studying at the NSAC she knew one thing – she wanted to work in the agriculture industry, at the producer level, in a capacity that helped the industry progress. Carolyn feels that her work at the NSFA does just that and fulfills her desire to support industry in an ever-changing environment. Her favourite part of the job is getting to know our members and gaining a better understanding and appreciation for the agriculture industry as a whole!

Carolyn like to spend her time outdoors. Although she is not directly involved in farming anymore, that is where her heart lies. She’s quite sure she could be convinced to join anyone during the busy months for a bit of “tractor therapy”.

First purchase if Carolyn wins the lottery: Carolyn would want to give back to the community – a few investments close to her heart would be mental health programming in rural communities, investing in programming to support those that are food insecure and providing extra-curricular programming to underprivileged youth. She might throw a hot tub in there too!

Shelly MacKenzie, Administrative Services Coordinator

Shelly MacKenzie lives in Bible Hill with her husband and is a lifelong resident of the Truro area. She has two kids, two beagles and one cat. Shelly attended Success Business College in Truro and graduated as a Legal Secretary. Shelly has been with the NSFA for 11 years after spending 25 years with Pork Nova Scotia. At the Federation, Shelly is responsible for Annual Meeting planning and prep, and overall meeting booking and organization for NSFA. Her favourite thing about her job is the friendly work environment at the Federation!

Shelly’s favourite activity is travelling, though COVID-19 has been putting a damper on that recently!

Favourite movie: The Notebook

Tracey Otterson, Financial Services Coordinator

Tracey Otterson resides in Truro with her husband, and has a grown son and daughter. Tracey found her love for numbers while getting a certificate for another course and has now been with the NSFA team since November of 2019. Tracey is well-suited to this field of work as she is an organizer at heart and likes working with numbers! Her favourite part of her job is reconciliations.

Favourite book: Anne of Green Gables

First purchase if Tracey wins the lottery: she would open an all year-round Christmas shop!

Maxine MacLean, Policy Analyst

Maxine lives in Island East River which is part of the East River Valley in Pictou County. Maxine lives with her daughter and grey tuxedo cat, Sophie.

Having grown up in rural Nova Scotia and spending her summers in the blueberry fields, Maxine decided NSAC was the best option for her for Post-Secondary. Maxine always had an interest in the Environment, so a B.Sc. (Agr) in Environmental Sciences was a natural fit. While at the AC, Maxine discovered policy courses which built on her interests in politics and governments and she found an interest in protecting land from urban development. She set those interests and passions on the shelf for a couple of years after graduation, but was more than delighted to revisit them in 2014 when she joined the Federation as the Communications and Research Coordinator.

Maxine loves to learn, thrives on knowing she is helping others and is an advocate for any cause she believes in. These are likely the reasons she is drawn to her work in Policy. Protecting Agricultural Land, crafting responses to government consultations, working with government to create resources (in plain language!) for farmers and working with members to identify solutions to issues are all areas that Maxine’s role touches. Maxine’s role also encompasses Government Relations – arranging for meetings with caucuses, Ministers and critics, as well as coming up with ways to convey industry issues to decision makers.

Outside of work, Maxine is a member of the YMCA of Pictou County, she is a Certified Hike Leader with the Outdoor Council of Canada and can often be found on a yoga mat. Maxine enjoys a good British period drama on television and classic literature – Anna Karenina and anything by Jane Austin gets re-read! She also enjoys making music playlists and attending concerts.

First purchase if Maxine wins the lottery: she wouldn’t tell anybody but she would make anonymous donations to multiple charities.

Nick Cunningham, LMI Policy Analyst

Nick originally grew up in New Brunswick and now lives in Halifax. He attended Saint Mary’s University where he completed his Masters of Applied Economics degree following the completion of his Bachelor of Commerce degree with honors in Economics. His primary research focused on Health and Labour Economics in Nova Scotia.

Since graduating, Nick has been working closely with government and small businesses on various policy and legislative projects to help strengthen and grow the SME economy throughout Nova Scotia. He is passionate about transforming raw data into information, and information into insight.

In his spare time, Nick can regularly be found surfing in Lawrencetown, Cow Bay or Martinique. Nick also enjoys soccer, golfing, camping, hunting, fishing or any other activity that gets him outdoors.

Favourite Book: One Man’s Wilderness

Favourite Movie: Rush Hour 2

Katherine Tuttle, Communications Coordinator

Katherine grew up in the small village of Tatamagouche, on the beautiful North Shore. Rural Nova Scotia has always held a special place in her heart, and she now resides in Wentworth with her husband, Tim. In her spare time she helps out on her in-laws beef farm, and spends a lot of time hanging out in the calf pens.

Katherine graduated from Mount Saint Vincent University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Public Relations and joined the NSFA team in March of 2018. It wasn’t until she met Tim that she got involved in agriculture. One of her work placements through her degree was with Dalhousie’s Faculty of Agriculture, and it was there that Katherine’s passion for agriculture grew its roots. After finishing school, she was determined to land a career in the agriculture industry because she wanted to play a part in supporting such a vital sector.

Katherine wears many hats at the NSFA office, she is responsible for social media management, media relations, newsletters, websites, just to name a few! Some of the projects she has been working on lately include the NSFA re-brand, the website redevelopment project, campaign development, and communication planning.

Favourite movie: Shawshank Redemption

First purchase if Katherine wins the lottery: she would build an inground pool!

Janette McDonald, Public Trust Coordinator

Janette MacDonald lives on a dairy farm in Milford with her husband and three daughters. She graduated from NSAC in 2008 with a degree in Agricultural Business, and has been working in agriculture her entire career. Growing up on a dairy farm, Janette was an active 4-H member and leader. Janette has been with the Federation in her current position since November of 2019, and had previously worked as an EFP Coordinator in 2012. You will now find her working on developing a public trust strategy for food and farming in Nova Scotia and organizing events like Open Farm Day and Meet Your Farmer. Janette enjoys learning about and sharing the stories of farmers from across Nova Scotia and getting out to talk with farmers.

Janette has four brothers who all farm, and family events always involve talking cows!

Favourite books: The Alice Network, Anne of Green Gables, Big Magic

Favourite movies: The DaVinci Code series, anything Disney with the kids, and watching It’s a Beautiful Life on Christmas Eve.

First purchase if Janette wins the lottery: she would build a horse barn!

Emma MacKenzie, Public Trust Assistant

Emma MacKenzie lives in Truro and is heading into her second year of Psychology at the University of Prince Edward Island! She was drawn to psychology because she enjoys being able to help others. Ultimately, she would like to help folks be happier members of their communities. During her time with us here at NSFA this summer, she is looking forward to working alongside Janette in creating content, helping plan events, and learning all sorts of new information and skills!

Favourite book: One of us is Lying series – Karen McManus

If she won the lottery, the first thing she would do is: Go on a trip through Italty, Malta and Greece!

Carolyn Marshall, Environment & Climate Change Manager

Carolyn grew up in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, and now lives in Bible Hill with her husband and two boys. Before she joined the NSFA team, she worked as a researcher at Dalhousie University for over a decade. Carolyn studied ecology and botany at Acadia University and the University of British Columbia, and then Dalhousie University where she moved into agriculture.


Carolyn has always been engaged in environmental issues, even since she was a kid. As she got older and learned more about climate change, she realized how important agriculture is to that and other big societal issues like economy and health. Carolyn saw the huge potential that there is in agriculture to make a big impact on climate change. She sees the soil as a big connector to all of these issues and agriculture – she is very passionate about all thing soil!


“I’m looking forward to addressing big problems with practical solutions. Adapting to and mitigating climate change doesn’t necessarily require complicated technical solutions.”


Favourite book:

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell


First thing she would do if she won the lottery:

Carolyn would travel to South America!

Trevor Davison, Environmental Farm Plan Coordinator

Trevor Davison grew up on a mixed commercial farm in Falmouth, N.S. where his family continues to have beef cattle, orchard and field crops. After graduating from the NSAC with a B.Sc. (Agr.) Pest Management, Trevor worked for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Kentville and an agricultural research company before joining the Nova Scotia Environmental Farm Plan Program in 2004. He enjoys being able to talk to farmers across the province and see how they do things on their operations. Though the EFP Program is an educational one, Trevor often feels he learns as much from the farmers as they from him, which he feels makes him a better coordinator. Having grown up on a farm, it becomes a part of who you are, and Trevor wanted to find a way to contribute to the industry.

The bulk of Trevor’s time is dedicated to farm visits and reports, but the EFP Program is also working on a Species at Risk project (through Canadian Wildlife Service) and working with the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association on a habitat and biodiversity project.

Trevor currently resides in Truro, N.S., with his wife Janet and two children Nate & Julia.

Favourite book: Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.

First purchase if Trevor wins the lottery: A truck or a piece of property in Cape Breton!

Cory Roberts, Environmental Farm Plan Coordinator

Cory Roberts resides in Colchester County with his four children and his dogs Murphy and Miles. In university, Cory studied Environmental Science and now works as a coordinator for the Environmental Farm Plan program. He was drawn to agriculture by his desire to support farmers in growing nutritious food while minimizing environmental impacts. Cory has worked with the Federation for six years and enjoys interacting with farmers, viewing farms as complex biophysical systems, and using data to help improve systems and find efficiencies. Cory is currently working on updating and implementing changes within the EFP Program!

Favourite movie: Rear Window

Caitlyn Clements, Farm & Workforce Development Manager

Caitlyn Clements grew up in Bass River, NS, and attended Dalhousie University in Halifax for a B.A., double majoring in Economics and International Development Studies. After her studies, Caitlyn stayed in the city for a couple of years before spending a 14 month stint in Labrador and then 5 years in northern Saskatchewan. She has an 12 year old rescue beagle that has been by her side through all the moves.

Caitlyn has always had a community focus in both her work and volunteer life. She has been an active member of Search and Rescue for many years, a board member for the local housing authority and a participant in MMIWG and Every Child Matters fundraising/events. She is passionate about people and wants to see everyone be given the opportunity to lead a fulfilling and safe life.


Favourite Book – The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood

Favourite Movie – Dirty Dancing

First purchase if Caitlyn wins the lottery: the first thing she would do is build a cottage on the Bay large enough to hold all of her family!

Margaret Ells, Training & Awareness Coordinator

Margaret grew up in the beautiful Annapolis Valley on a mixed farm, after highschool she attended the Nova Scotia Agricultural College where she received her B. Sc. Agr. with a major in plant protection.

For 30+ years, Margaret lived in Great Village, and was self employed as a caterer while raising her four amazing children. She now resides in Truro with her dog Fundy. For the past six and a half years, she was the Manager of the Truro Farmers’ Market.

Agriculture was always the main topic of conversation around her dinner table, and still is today. She is excited to be able to work with the team at NSFA, to support our producers and all those in our sector.

Favourite book: So many books….so little reading time! My favourites change constantly

Favourite movie: I like old classic movies…think Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart in African Queen.

First purchase if Margaret wins the lottery: I would love to somehow support local producers and artisans. And pay off my kids debts to set them up in careers they love!