The 2019 FHF Team

In the months ahead, we’re going to introduce you to our 2019 team.

Read more about the group below.

January 30, 2019 

Let’s meet the vet students who are in Kenya right now, working with Dr. John VanLeeuwen from the Atlantic Veterinary College.

Katie Gottleib

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Jambo! My name is Katie, I am finishing up my fourth year of veterinary school which marks 20 years of working towards this dream.  I come “from away”:  Newtown, Connecticut to be exact, where I grew up working with horses.  My whole life I have been drawn to animals and it is a gift to be able to dedicate my life to the creatures that have given and taught me so much.  As an avid reader and lover of knowledge, I have long been enchanted by the multitude of cultures that make Earth so beautiful, and having been disenchanted by my own American culture, have set out to visit and live in many different countries in search of a way to bring peace to my own life and be able to share it with others.

Throughout my childhood and young adult life, my godparents set the example of kindness, compassion, and infinite generosity.  They patiently taught me the ways my privileged life could hinder me and how I could use it for the benefit of others, just as they have done in their lifetime.  Every Christmas they would give us a gift from the Heifer Project, a goat or a cow in our name, that was also a gift to someone much less fortunate.  Although this gift never directly benefited myself or my family in a physical way, there is nothing I could be more grateful for.  It taught me that true generosity gives more than just ephemeral pleasure to a single person, but grants a shift in many lives and, as it did with me, a shift of heart.  Those Heifer Project gifts inspired me to one day use my love of animals in a way that makes shifts in the world and in my heart.

Being able to share in the journey that Farmers Helping Farmers has been making in Kenya fills me with gratitude.  I look forward to the ways I will be challenged and the things I will learn about the world so that I can better understand my place in it.  I am so happy to share the things that I know about veterinary medicine and dairy herd management, grateful that I finally have something to offer!

Jolene Vermeulen

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My name is Jolene Vermeulen. I grew up in Bridgewater Nova Scotia and now live in Princeport Nova Scotia with my husband Alphonse. I have a small family. My mom and dad still live in Bridgewater and my identical twin sister Jessica lives in Truro. Cows are my passion but I have a golden retriever named Molly who I love to pieces and two cats (Wallace and Henry) who fill my heart with love every day!

My husband and I run a 60-cow tie stall facility. He is a third-generation farmer and together we are embracing the ability to innovate within the dairy industry! We have a mixture of Holsteins and Jerseys. We raise our own replacement heifers and do all our own breeding.

I did my undergraduate degree in animal science at an agricultural college in Truro, NS and my masters in bovine mastitis at the University of Guelph. I will graduate from the Atlantic Veterinary College this May and I can’t wait to begin my career as a large animal veterinarian.

I want to go to Kenya to better understand their industry and how I can help in the future. I am looking forward to learning and collaborating with the farmers there and immersing myself in the culture and everything Kenya has to offer!

Samantha Pomroy

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I am a senior veterinary student at the Atlantic Veterinary College of the University of Prince Edward Island and am just finishing up the last few months of my clinical rotations.

I am originally from a rural community in Newfoundland and Labrador, and have always had a love for, or more accurately obsession with, animals. I decided I wanted to become a veterinarian at too young of an age to fully comprehend what that decision meant. By the time I became fully aware of the enormous diversity a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree could offer, I was already in love with the profession.

Upon graduation I would like to pursue a career in large animal medicine with a focus on cattle. I love working with cows and enjoy helping farmers improve their production by improving the overall well-being of their animals. This is one of the many reasons I was so excited to participate in the Farmers Helping Farmers dairy projects in Kenya.

Travel and experiencing as much of the world as possible is another goal I’ve had since I was young, and Africa has always been at the top of my list of desired destinations. I’m fascinated with the incredibly diverse culture and animal populations throughout the continent and can’t wait to experience those that call Kenya home. Seeing how others live and view the world is fascinating to me and I believe there is so much we can learn through cultures outside of our own. I am so excited to take part in such a wonderful project and to share this experience with my amazing classmates and colleagues.

January 24, 2019

Peter and Lynn Townshend – Rollo Bay, P.E.I.
Travelling to Kenya on January 24, 2019 for 3 weeks
This is Lynn’s second trip to Kenya. She was also there in 2016.


Peter and Lynn Townshend started farming in 1974 the same year in which they married.  The first harvest was of 18 acres and done using a bagger digger. Every year the farm grew and the family grew.


In 2015 their daughter Becky became a partner in Townshend Potato Company Ltd and today is running equipment and making critical decisions alongside her father.

Over the years the family has expanded to three children and six grandchildren and to growing 750 acres of potatoes, rotation crops such as wheat, barley and hay, wild blueberries and haskaps.


In their off time Peter enjoys his 1931 Model A ford and Lynn quilts.

Lynn has been a member of the Rotary Club of Montague for five years. She has served for two years as Secretary and is currently serving her second year as Treasurer.
In the upcoming Rotary year, beginning on July 1st, she will become the Director of Global Grants and Foundation Work.
Lynn says: “We have a very active club and I enjoy my work with our Gold Mine Draw
and on the small donation committee.”
Asante, Lynn and Peter!


January 2, 2019

Welcome – karibu – to the blog for the Farmers Helping Farmers volunteers travelling to Kenya in 2019.

The volunteers had two orientation sessions at in preparation for their upcoming trips to Kenya. The first delegation leaves in mid-January, while others will travel in mid-February and May.

It’s always exciting to meet the new and returning travellers as they talk about the great adventures that lie ahead, as well as some very important work on behalf of Farmers Helping Farmers.

Here is the 2019 Farmers Helping Farmers team!


Dr. John VanLeeuwen and students from the Atlantic Veterinary College will be travelling to Kenya to work with dairy farmers.  They will be in Kenya from mid-January into February.  The students pictured here are Samantha Pomroy and Jolene Vermeulen. Katie Gottlieb took part by videoconference.


Students from the Atlantic Veterinary College and nutrition programs will work with Farmers Helping Farmers on a variety of projects, along with Kenyan partners in schools, dairies and women’s groups.  They will go to Kenya in May 2019.

The two vet students to the right of John are Hanna Hone and Chantel Doyle. To the left of Jennifer Taylor are nutrition students Haley Mackenzie (beside her) and Julia Heckbert as well as supervisor Colleen Walton, who’s also the current president of Farmers Helping Farmers.


Six students from the UPEI Bachelor of Education will spend six weeks doing preservice teaching at schools in Kenya. The schools are all twinned through Farmers Helping Farmers. The students seen here are Brett Roche, Erica MacLean, Maude Bertrand, Hailey Hennessey and Brent Woodside. They are seen here with supervisor, Carolyn Francis.

Krystal Woodside will also travel to Kenya with the group.


Carolyn Francis will be travelling to Kenya in March as part of the Safe Inclusive Schools project, or SIS, along with Carolyn Thorne and Liz Townsend. They are seen here with Valerie Beer who travelled to Kenya in 2018 and is a member of the FHF Education Committee.

You can read more about the Safe Inclusive Schools project on our FHF website.

The final group of travellers includes Ken and Teresa Mellish who first travelled to Kenya in 1980, among the founders of Farmers Helping Farmers.

They will be joined by Lynn Townsend, who travelled to Kenya in 2016, and her husband, Peter. They are potato farmers from Rollo Bay, P.E.I.  Paulette Jones and Heather Jones are travelling to Kenya for the first time.


The orientation session included an introduction to Kenyan culture and language, as well as practical details on how to make the most of their experience.

We wish everyone safe travels and much joy in the weeks and months ahead as they continue the work of Farmers Helping Farmers in partnership with our staff, colleagues and friends in Kenya!

The 2018 FHF Team

Meet the Queen Elizabeth Scholars spending the summer of 2018 with Farmers Helping Farmers in Kenya!



Hello everybody! My name is Hannah Creaser, or “Anna” here in Kenya. I am a fourth year food and nutrition student and dietetic intern at the University of Prince Edward Island. I am originally from Upper Kingsclear, which is a small community outside of Fredericton, New Brunswick. This is my second time abroad but my first time on the continent of Africa!

The first thing I noticed upon coming to Kenya, is the amazing work ethic of the local people, especially the women. One example of the incredible work ethic of women here is that on top of spending their days keeping their shamba (garden) and caring for their families, some also create gravel as a means of income.  This is done by taking a hammer and breaking a rock into smaller pieces. As you can imagine this is incredibly time consuming, tedious and strenuous work. This is only one of numerous examples of the amazing work ethic here to make enough money to survive. I look forward to seeing more examples. I am very excited to start my work here with local schools and women.




My name is Madison Brauer and I will be going into my fourth year of foods and nutrition at the university of Prince Edward Island this fall. I am from a very small town in northern Alberta where my parents and two younger siblings reside on our acreage. This summer I am working towards becoming a dietitian by doing my population and public health internship placement in the Naari region of Kenya.

The thing that has stood out to me the most about Kenya so far is the beauty of the landscape. The various types of trees, shrubs and flowers are unlike anything I have ever seen before. Because of the heavy rains the region has received in the past two months, everything is extremely lush and green. The dirt here is red, it may even be more copper in colour than the famous PEI dirt! The contrast between the bright green plant growth and the red dirt is exquisite and is making for some wonderful photographs. Each day I wake up and look outside I admire the beauty of our yard! I am looking forward to seeing and capturing images of more Kenyan landscapes.



My name is Lee Wesselius and I will be entering my third year of veterinary medicine at the Atlantic Veterinary College. I am from River Glade, New Brunswick where I grew up on dairy farm. I am looking forward to spending the summer providing help to Kenya farmers and getting the opportunity learn about Kenyan farming and culture, and to run all summer in the country that dominates the global running scene.

One thing I’ve noticed so far in Kenya is how friendly and helpful the Kenyans are. Most of the Kenyans will come up and introduce themselves or wave to you when walking or driving by. Also, they are very grateful when provided advice and will sometimes offer food or tea as a way of thanks. One of the first days here, a vehicle got stuck and everyone that was nearby, including myself, stopped to help push it out. I am looking forward to getting the opportunity to work with these wonderful individuals all summer.



Hey, everyone! My name is Ashley Kroyer and I am from Centreville, Newfoundland. I am entering my third year of veterinary medicine at the Atlantic Veterinary College. This summer, I am interning with UPEI and Farmers Helping Farmers under the supervision of Dr. John VanLeeuwen here in Kenya, Africa! I am most excited for such a unique opportunity to learn cow management and medicine and to be immersed into this new culture and way of life.

Africa is embracing us, and I personally feel my transition to Kenya so far is going very well. I’ve come eager to observe and interact as much as possible with everything new – people, food, markets, language! I am happy to have already made some dear Kenyan friends in only the first few days being here. We were and continue to be so welcomed by everyone we meet – hearing “Karibuni” (welcome to all) every day! And the food!? As fabulous as the people. Finally, I am pleased to discover our Kenyan friends are most willing (and wonderfully patient!) to help me learn Swahili (Kiswahili – one official language in Kenya) and Kimeru (spoken locally in Meru where we are living). All in all, I am having a lot of fun! I made my first ever farm visits today with our team and am so encouraged and motivated for the adventures coming up! Stay tuned to our stories, they’re sure to be great.

Welcome – karibu – to the blog for the Farmers Helping Farmers volunteers travelling to Kenya in 2018.

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Ellen and Barry Cudmore, Ken Mellish, Maxine Delaney, Teresa Mellish, Gerry McQuaid and Guy Cudmore (back row, left to right) and Valerie Beer and Winston Johnston (front row) are preparing for their trip to Kenya.

A group of 15 volunteers spent the day at UPEI preparing for their upcoming trips to Kenya. The first delegation leaves two weeks from now, while others will travel in mid-February and May.

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Dr. John VanLeeuwen and students from the Atlantic Veterinary College will be travelling to Kenya to work with dairy farmers. The students are Ashley Kroyer, Jaimee Gillis, Stephanie Hatayama and Lee Wesselius.

Students from the Atlantic Veterinary College and the UPEI education and nutrition programs will work with Farmers Helping Farmers on a variety of projects, along with Kenyan partners in schools, dairies and women’s groups.

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Dr. Jennifer Taylor and Dr. Colleen Walton are pictured with nutrition students from 2017 and 2018 trips to Kenya.


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There are two students from the Education program at UPEI who will spend six weeks in Kenya as part of their practice teaching.

The orientation session included an introduction to Kenyan culture and language, as well as practical details on how to make the most of their experience.

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The delegation will be bringing along two large hockey bags of female hygiene kits to be distributed at schools in Kenya. They were produced by a group of volunteers called the Empower Sewing Group in Guelph, Ontario.


Some of the team from 2017 were also part of the orientation, sharing their experiences in Kenya.

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The groups also reviewed their very busy itineraries for their time in Kenya.

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Stay tuned to this blog for stories and photos from Kenya very soon.