Meet the Team

Staff Members

rick havlak

Founder Rick Havlak first came to Vancouver in 2006 to study at UBC. He got the inspiration for Homesteader’s Emporium two years ago from his own experience trying various food projects. When setting out to make cheese, jam, and roast coffee he wasn’t sure where to begin. Finally, after searching all over town and ordering supplies online, he jumped right in – and on the first try wound up with sour milk, fruit syrup, and burned beans. This store is designed for people in the same boat; whether you’re motivated by curiosity, love of learning, nostalgia, local self-sufficency, or the environment, we think learning to make your own food and household supplies should be fun and easy, not frustrating.



Hi! I'm Kelsey. I'm from North Carolina (yes, that makes me American). I moved to Vancouver 7 years ago with my partner of 11 years. We have two children, ages 1 and 6, and four hens. I was raised in a city, but often got to visit my grandmother, who lived in a small town and always had a large backyard garden where she grew bushels and bushels of green beans, tomatoes, corn, and okra, all of which she canned or froze to last the whole year through. She would take my brother and I to our uncle's farm to feed his cows, goats, and chickens, and to pick fresh fruit from his orchard. My university interests ran the gamut from architecture to sociology and philosophy. I've always had a hobby-interest in nature, gardening, and fishkeeping. Then, five years ago, I came across the word 'Permaculture' and had one of those a-ha moments! It was the synthesis of all my interests. I have since completed a Permaculture Design Certificate course, and am nearly through a two-year advanced diploma course. Working at Homesteader's Emporium is a great way for me to share my interests with others!



Hi! My name is Kate. I was born and raised on the West Coast, and have bounced around in this region before finally settling in Vancouver. I was introduced to the fantastic world of urban homesteading by friends who invited me to house-sit for them - which meant looking after their chickens, beehive, vegetable garden, and sourdough starter! Since then I've fallen in love with the whole concept, including knitting, baking, canning, and a host of other new skills. I'm a Registered Veterinary Technician, and I love applying that science background to the new things I'm learning in homesteading - I actually enjoy memorizing the scientific names of wild mushrooms! I love chatting about weird baking techniques and tricky knitting problems, so feel free to ask me questions!


 Kelsey C

Kelsey Cham Corbett is a community organizer, plant nerd, and mushroom enthusiast living in East Van, unceded Coast Salish Territories. Co-founder of FARMcamp and the Surrey Youth Space, and former coordinator of the Purple Thistle Guerrilla Gardeners, Kelsey is committed to creating spaces where young folks and folks from marginalized communities can access experiential land-based education founded on social justice. When there is time to chill out and relax, Kelsey enjoys hanging out with plants and kids, making medicine, and training their oyster mushrooms to eat cigarette butts. Oh, Kelsey is also a black belt in karate!

Blog Contributors & Volunteers


Melissa Waddell is a lifelong Vancouverite, a painter, reader, blogger and balcony gardener. She is new to the world of urban homesteading, but enjoys the learning and trying out of new things. Her first project (building a vertical pallet planter full of greens) is growing upwards and outwards, promising a summer filled with fresh salads.