First Nations Success in Agriculture A Key to Economic Development and Food Security

The panel will feature Indigenous leaders from across Canada who have demonstrated success in the field of agriculture and agri-foods resulting in job creation, revenue generation, and food security for their communities. Each panelist will provide an overview of their agricultural or agri-food initiative and its economic, social and environmental impacts. The goal of this panel is to facilitate the sharing of sector experience, best practices and knowledge to help indigenous Communities achieve a greater market share in agriculture and agri-foods.


Presented by:

  • Lance Tailfeathers, Blood Tribe Agricultural Project 
  • Leonard Sawatsky, Green Certification Trainer & Consultant
  • Paul Biglin, White Buffalo Group of Companies
  • Chief Lee Crowchild, Tsuut'ina Nation

Leonard Sawatsky

Leonard Sawatsky brings a diverse array of professional and hands-on experience in a variety of roles: researcher, analyst, planner, advocate, instructor and manager.  He has worked as a probation officer, reporter/editor, publisher, researcher, consultant, university lecturer, program manager, curriculum developer, and administrator.  Leonard possesses both a B.A. and M.A. in social science and religious fields of study and has taught university courses in the following disciplines: Native Studies, Criminology, Sociology and Religious Studies.  Volunteer experience includes senior Board positions with the John Howard Society, activism in the environmental, peace and anti-nuclear movements, coaching soccer, choral singing and being active in the Canadian electoral process.  His hobbies include reading novels, writing, cooking/baking and organic gardening.

Although conversant in a variety of subject areas, Leonard has focused his skills and abilities over the past 35 years on Aboriginal issues, particularly in justice, social, health, cultural, governance, and more recently, on indigenous food sovereignty.  Having published in some of these areas, he possesses a strong commitment to assist in the development of indigenous initiatives based upon the inherent right to self-determination and traditional Aboriginal world views.  Leonard was born and raised in BC, has resided in 4 different provinces and currently resides on 25 acres in the RM of Meadow Lake, SK with his Cree Metis spouse, Bernice Daigneault (MBA). He has been working with Flying Dust First Nation for the last 10 years, first seasonally as instructor/trainer in organic gardening and then as General Manager of the Riverside Market Garden until February, 2018.  Despite being of retirement age, Leonard intends to continue working, being an active advocate on indigenous issues and returning to his roots in BC. 

Paul Biglin

Paul has over 30 years of experience in Food & Beverage and Marketing Communications with both, retail and direct sales. He also comes with 6 years of public relations experience with an OTC public company. Paul also is the co-founder of Spirit Bear Coffee Company and 1Nation Distribution. Paul began his working career on the farm preparing fruits, veggies and honey for farmers markets. His love of foods led him in to the kitchens of Europe where he returned to Canada as a “City In Guilds” certified Chef. Paul spent the last 13 years of his cooking career owning his own catering firm specializing in events from 100 to 5000. The last 5 of the 13 years working with Culinary Team Canada.  Paul is responsible for providing executive leadership and management of the Company’s marketing organization and in- bound and out-bound marketing activities worldwide, which include: Corporate marketing, partner/channel marketing, product marketing, and product management. His goal is to position their companies in the various niche markets and as a visionary leader to achieve its revenue goals aka “indigen-omics”, thus sharing the philosophy to our First Nations communities. In 2012 Along with Partner Sean Haring they began the journey in to “Traditional Medicines”, spending countless hours speaking to elders regarding the plants etc. that used to be used in the indigenous culture. They began the development of hemp and cannabis company called “White Buffalo Traditional Medicine”.

Since the beginning of 2006 they have started up and have been operating:

  • Great Bear Coffee & Tea Company (Parent co. of)
    • Spirit Bear Coffee Company – Canada’s 1st National Indigenous Coffee Company
    • Spirit Bear Coffee USA Inc
  • 1Nation Distribution
  • KPS Systems
    • New…Spirit Bear Convenience & Coffee and White Buffalo Travel Centres (Convenience Centres to First Nations Communities)
  • Nation Signs & Marketing
  • White Buffalo Group of Companies
    • White Buffalo Botanicals
    • White Buffalo Traditional
    • White Buffalo Coffee Company
    • White Buffalo Energy