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B.A., M.A, Ph.D


    Sara Epp is an Assistant Professor of Rural Planning and Development at the University of Guelph. She received her BA and MA in Geography from Brock University and completed her PhD in Rural Studies at the University of Guelph. 


     Sara’s research interests are related to social and agricultural planning in northern and southern Ontario, examining issues related to farmland loss, agricultural viability, land use conflicts and social aspects of rural life. Sara has a diverse background in agricultural planning, including measuring farmland loss in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, exploring the value of Agricultural Advisory Committees within southern Ontario and planning for agricultural expansion and local food development in northern Ontario.


     More recently, Sara has examined rural migration and social transformation within rural communities. This research included Old Order Mennonite communities in northern Ontario, exploring their migration to the north, impacts on local communities and opportunities/challenges associated with economic development and land use planning. Future research endeavours include an examination of land use planning related to cannabis production in southern Ontario and overcoming barriers to agricultural development in northern Ontario.

     Wayne Caldwell is a Professor in Rural Planning and Development and member of the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs Greenbelt Council.  He also has a career long affiliation with the County of Huron Department of Planning and Development.

      Dr. Caldwell has lectured across Canada on the future of rural communities and has published extensively in the areas of planning, community development, agricultural land preservation, siting livestock facilities, rural land use, and the environment. He is an experienced facilitator with a primary focus on issues of change in rural and agricultural communities.

     He is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners and Past President of the Ontario Professional Planners Institute.  He has also served on Council for the Canadian Institute of Planners and Past President of the Association of Canadian University Planning Programs. He is a founding member and Past Chair of the Ontario Rural Council and a founding member of the Huron Stewardship Council, and the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation.  He was appointed by the Ontario government as Chair of the Provincial Nutrient Management Advisory Committee.  He holds a Ph.D. in Regional Planning and Resources Development from the University of Waterloo, and is an active member in the planning profession.


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     Vanessa is a prospective MSc. candidate in the Rural Planning and Development program at the University of Guelph. She previously completed a Bachelor's Degree in Geography and GIS at the University of Guelph as well. While growing up in an environment surrounded by agriculture, Vanessa has had the opportunity to live in rural communities all throughout Ontario, namely Durham, Shelburne, New Liskeard, and Tiny Township, as well as some provinces in Canada - Nova Scotia, Alberta, and British Columbia specifically. Living in various rural spaces has sparked a love for everything rural, agricultural, and community-focused.


     James now works as a Planner at MHBC.

     Katherine now works as a Planner at MHBC.

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