Click on the drop down feature for information on each Advisory Group Member.

Gregory Heming

DanFroese-1341Gregory Heming, Senior Advisor – Gregory is a Municipal Councillor in Annapolis County, NS. He holds a PhD in Ecology with post graduate studies in religion and philosophy, and has spoken, written and published extensively on economics, environment, and public policy.

Over the course of the last 30 years Gregory has devoted much of his time to participating in processes and procedures that promote a dialogue on the inter-connectedness of environment, economics, rural community development and politics. He has done so as a journalist, academic, published author, community activist, businessman and elected representative. Gregory has written, lectured and published over 250 essays, papers, presentations, and journalistic columns most of which have dealt directly with the notion that ‘economy and ecology are integral partners in civic life’ and they are best understood and delivered through what he calls place-based education.

He has served as President, Environmental Education Association of Yukon, and as Regional Editor, Northern Affairs, Environmental Education and Communication Newsletter.

Gregory currently serves as chair of the Annapolis County Economic Development Committee. He is a member of the Club of Rome, serves on Fundy Energy Research Network socio-economic committee, and is on the board of directors of the National Farmers Union-New Brunswick. He has been a strong and consistent voice for a new economic model based on steady-state economics and a more enlightened and restorative approach to business. In November of this year he will facilitate the first real discussion on “prosperity without growth” at Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities fall conference in Halifax.

Len Barron

120393347_t670Len Barron, Educator, writer, playwright, director, performer and dancer – Len Barron began college when he was thirty years old after years of hauling scrap iron, selling magazines, and driving a taxi.  Since graduating from the University of Colorado in 1967 and Antioch-Putney Graduate School in 1970, he founded and directed Spring, an alternative high school, and taught Sociology at the University of Colorado, San Diego State University, Prescott College in Arizona and Dull Knife Memorial College on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana. For ten years he was an interviewer on KGNU, community radio in Boulder, Colorado.

Since 1989 he has presented his one-person theatre pieces, “Walking Lightly…A Portrait of Einstein,” and “Einstein and Niels Bohr… A Fairy Tale” for audiences ranging from middle school students to a conference of Plasma Physicists. In 2012, instead of his usual solo presentation, he directed the Einstein/Bohr Fairy Tale with a cast of eight grandmothers. In October of 2015 a documentary of the making of that production was awarded the Best International Film Prize at the Sunrise International Film Festival in Pugwash, Nova Scotia.

Karen Foster

Dr. Karen Foster is Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Rural Futures for Atlantic Canada. She is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Dalhousie University, where she teaches about work, economy and gender. Her research spans economic sociology, the sociology of work, and the history of economic thought. 

Karen is the Principal Investigator on a study that is underway in the Atlantic region on the economic value of import replacement, sponsored by the Centre for Local Prosperity and ACOA. 

Her newly published book, Productivity and Prosperity (University of Toronto Press, 2016), examines the meaning and measurement of “productivity” in Canada.  She is a founding member of Basic Income Nova Scotia, an avid cyclist, partner to Brian Foster and mother to two wonderful girls.

Susan Witt

C5VT0188Susan Witt is the Executive Director of the Schumacher Center for a New Economics (, heir to the legacy programs of the E.F.Schumacher Society.  She led the development of the Schumacher Center’s highly regarded lecture, publication, conference, seminar, and library programs. These programs established the Schumacher Center as a pioneering voice for a new economy shaped by social and ecological principles.  Over the past 35 years, Susan has maintained a deep commitment to implementing projects for the commons, such as land trusts, micro-lending and local currency initiatives.

While deeply engaged with the history and theory of a new economy and its implications for the transformation of our relationship to land, labor, and capital, Susan Witt has simultaneously worked to place theory into practice in her home region of the Berkshires, with projects such as community land trusts, local currencies and community supported industry.

James Hunter

James Hunter, Emeritus Professor of History at the University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland, was the first Director of the Centre for History between 2005-2010. In the mid-1980s, he became the first director of the Scottish Crofters Union, now the Scottish Crofting Federation. Between 1998-2004 he was chairman of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the north of Scotland’s development agency. Jim is the author of 13 books about the Highlands and Islands and about the region’s worldwide diaspora. His latest book, Set Adrift Upon the World: The Sutherland Clearances, published by Birlinn, won a Saltire Society award as Best History Book 2016. ‘Rarely have the clearances been written about so evocatively,’ the Saltire panel commented. ‘Hunter’s empathy with those involved speaks to us with elegant restraint in an account that sweeps from the Sutherland straths to the struggles of those forced to seek new lives in North America.’

Jim Hunter’s first book, The Making of the Crofting Community, described by a contributor to Scottish Historical Review as ‘one of the most significant books of its generation’, has been in print for more than 40 years. His other books include A Dance Called America: The Scottish Highlands, the United States and Canada (1994), Last of the Free: A History of the Highlands and Islands (1999), Scottish Exodus: Travels Among a Worldwide Clan (2005) and, From the Low Tide of the Sea to the Highest Mountain Tops (2012), an account of the development of community ownership in the Highlands and Island. Professor Hunter was made a CBE in 2001. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2007.

Will Martin

WillMartin2Will Martin is an entrepreneur with a passion for innovation in the dynamics between rural communities and the natural resources they depend on.

He is a co-founder of a forestry technology startup (, Chairman of the Medway Community Forest Co-op (, and President of the Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association ( His experience also includes developing the Windhorse Education Foundation (, being a lead auditor for FSC certification through the Rainforest Alliance (, and as the manager of a small wood products business.

Jeffrey Keith

Jeffrey Keith has been a working artist for over fifty years, and has a deep knowledge of what it takes to create art and the benefits of practicing a craft for a long time. As a practical business person, he is also a maker and producer who knows that creativity is not the purview of artists alone. As a curator, he brings people and ideas together through art.

An educator and consultant, Jeffrey has particular expertise in practical colour usage, colour theory and the history of colour in culture. For over twenty-five years, he has developed curricula and taught Creativity and Foundations at the University of Denver School of Art & Art History.   He has created and curated original exhibitions Learning to See Color, The Wall/La Pared: Immigration and Identity, and most recently, Storm Warning/Artists on Climate Change and the Environment.

Jeffrey studied at Cal Arts, The San Francisco Art Institute and The Zhejiang Academy of Fine Art, Hangzhou, China, and his work is held in many private, public and corporate collections. He spent much of his early years on Cape Cod and in California before moving to Denver, Colorado, in 1981. 

David Holt

David Holt is a writer, speaker, strategist and entrepreneur based in Nova Scotia. He is the principal of Context, a strategy consultancy; a co-founder of Digital Cinema Labs, which is making an IMAX documentary on the life and inventions of Alexander Graham Bell; and the editor and co-founder of OptiMYz, a Canadian health and fitness magazine. He was founding Editor of Progress, an Atlantic Canadian Business magazine, and has helped to found companies in the data centre and wind energy sectors.

Early in his career he worked at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, experiencing the planet from the water side and taking part in the transition from analog to digital data. In college he worked for the Canadian Forestry Service on a land mapping and multi-use plan for the forests of southwestern Nova Scotia.

His father and paternal grandfather worked in the forest industry in Russia, Norway and Canada. His maternal grandfather was a founder of Markland, a self-contained community created in rural Newfoundland during the Depression.  Holt sides with thinkers such as Buckminster Fuller who present life more as a creative endeavour than a problem-solving exercise. He is passionate about the outdoors, the environment and creativity in all its forms. He lives with his wife Donna in Waverley, Nova Scotia. He was educated in the United States and France.

Cliff Drysdale

DrysdaleCliff Drysdale has professional experience as an ecologist and science programme manager. In a voluntary capacity he has served as a rural community project coordinator in the fields of health care, rural economic development, education, and heritage presentation.

During his career with Parks Canada Cliff worked as a scientist at Point Pelee National Park (5 Years) and Kejimkujk National Park and National Historic Site (30 years). For over a decade he also presented training on behalf of the Smithsonian Institution to international course participants on biodiversity assessment, adaptive management, problem solving and research centre planning at the Conservation Research Centre in Front Royal Virginia and in several countries around the world.

Cliff has published peer reviewed scientific papers on the impact of long range transport of air pollutants, climate change mitigation, biodiversity assessment, scientific information management and community based sustainable resource management. He currently is serving as the Chairman for the UNESCO Southwest Nova Biosphere Region.