Speakers are listed in alphabetical order (A to Z)
Amara Possian- SKILL BUILDING CAFE FACILITATOR
I'm a campaigner and consultant who works with a bunch of orgs to build purpose-driven, engaged, and resilient teams focused on action.
My roots are in the youth climate movement, where I organized lots of creative actions focused capturing the media's attention. More recently, I ran Vote Together, Leadnow's 2015 election campaign. Part of my role included appearing in 200+ TV, radio, and print interviews as the spokesperson.
I also chair the board of the Centre for Story-based Strategy, where we focus on harnessing the power of stories for social change. I'm thrilled to be at this year's summit sharing a few things I've learned about how to use media to win your campaigns!
Carly Welham - Cross-Cultural Dialogue Workshop Facilitator and SKILL BUILDING CAFE FACILITATOR
Carly is passionate about exploring how environmental racism impacts food security and reproductive health through her Indigenous Public Health studies at the University of Victoria. She is excited to be joining the Meal Exchange staff for the summer as the Lead on Health and Sustainable Seafood. She also works as a sexual health educator, birth doula, and chair of Meal Exchange's Decolonizing the Food System book club. Originally from Cree territory in rural Manitoba, she completed her undergraduate degree as a Loran Scholar at UBC studying First Nations Studies and Gender, Race, Sexuality & Social Justice Studies. Carly was recently recognized by Starfish Canada as one of Canada's Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 for her work as an environmental educator. She loves to get nerdy about crafting, science fiction, and urban agriculture. She is grateful and enthusiastic for the opportunity to learn with and from you this weekend!
Cassie wever - edible plant walk
Cassie Wever has a BSc. (Hons) in Biological Sciences from the University of Guelph and a Masters in Environmental Studies from York University with a focus on food and environmental and sustainability education. She has spent over a decade working with native plants, and has worked as a researcher, tree planter, landscaper, and environmental educator. In her current role at the University of Guelph she coordinates social justice experiential education programs and civic engagement programming. Cassie is passionate about food, social justice, ecological farming, and wild edibles!
Chantelle ramsundar - Panel facilitator
Chantelle is currently completing her Master’s of Public Issues Anthropology at the University of Guelph. Her current focus is tying in the disciplines of medical anthropology, nutrition, and public health to better understand the experiences of those with type II diabetes in South Trinidad. Previously, she completed her undergraduate degree in International Development with an area of emphasis in gender and development and concentration in economics. Chantelle has worked for various departments at the University of Guelph, including Student Housing Services and Student Accessibility Services. It was her time in these departments that helped foster an interest in student advocacy, policy change, and sustainability. She is currently working on a SSHRC funded project looking at the use of sustainable seafood labeling/labeling programs. When not working on her thesis, Chantelle can be found volunteering within the Guelph community (Canada’s volunteer capital!), hula hooping, or baking biscotti.
drew stirling -
Drew is a commerce student at the University of Ottawa who understands that business can be used as a tool to improve our world – not just strip it bare of resources. Alongside his peers at The Growcer, Drew has worked with the University of Ottawa’s Food Services Team to implement a plan that will see the University operating 2 hydroponic farms, year-round on their campus. These farms will be housed in 40’ shipping containers, and will provide the cafeteria with a variety of fresh produce that will be grown right on campus – that’s right, 0 food miles. Drew knows that this solution is a viable option for campuses across our country, and hopes to connect with students from other colleges and universities to try and improve the sourcing of fresh fruits and veggies for campuses across Canada. He will be presenting the project, as well as educating a group of students on how the systems work and how to plant seeds in the system’s hydroponic germination trays!
Elizabeth Wilkes - REAL FOOD CHALLENGE TRAINING DAY FACILITATOR
Elizabeth is a student of geography and ecology at the University of Georgia. She is devoted to organizing for food justice on campus while serving on the steering committee for Real Food Challenge. She has interned for Food & Water Watch in Washington, D.C. and for Food Tank: the Food Think Tank. Her forays into academic research have included fracking governance and resistance, food waste, and food policy frameworks. Beyond school and work, Elizabeth engages with progressive, environmental, and faith communities in Athens, enjoys brisk bike rides, and might be considered a compost enthusiast.
Gabriel allahdua - Unlocking the campus panel
Gabriel a former Migrant Farm Worker from St Lucia and now an organizer with Justice for Migrant Workers
Hannah Weinronk- skill building cafe facilitator
Hannah first heard the words “food” and “justice” in the same sentence as a high school student, working on a campaign for fair trade and human rights in the cocoa industry. She began to see food as a powerful way to address the challenges facing our world. As a student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Hannah broadened her understanding of food justice working with community-based organizations focused on urban agriculture and food access. She first encountered the Real Food Challenge in the fall of 2012, diving into a campaign for the largest campus dining operation in the country to commit to 20% real food. After an exciting win, Hannah joined RFC’s national steering committee, developing her vision for the food movement and the role of youth and universities within it. After graduating with her B.S. in Public Health, she remained at the university for a fifth year to complete her M.P.H. in Community Health Education. She explored the impact of our current food system on people and communities across the supply chain while deepening her skills in research, program planning, evaluation, and organizing. Now, as a staff person with RFC, Hannah supports the Real Food Calculator as a tool for researching real food, and works with campuses across the country who are turning commitments to real food into reality.
Hilda Nouri - Skill Building cafe facilitator
Hilda Nouri is the Communications Lead on the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council and a Community Garden and Kitchen Coordinator at the Centre for Immigrant and Community Services in Scarborough. She believes that uncovering and acknowledging race and class inequities in the food system is vital for creating more sustainable and ethical ties with the food we eat. Hilda also holds an MA in Immigration and Settlement Studies as well as a BAS from the University of Guelph in Agricultural Sciences and International Development. She is particularly interested in the complex relationships that migrant workers, immigrants and diasporic communities hold with food and has experience working on organic farms in Guelph and Guatemala and with urban agriculture in Montreal.
Jae Doncillo - Real Food Challenge Training Day Speaker
Jae works with Dana’s Management Team at St. Jerome’s University promoting the value and benefits of eating local and supporting farms. Through the use of Social Media, he ensures that student feedback is heard in real time, and works with the Director of Food Services and Head Chef to develop creative and immediate solutions. Prior to working in Food Services, Jae has worked in a variety of communications roles in academic, insurance-related and legal industries. He is a foodie at heart and believes in giving customers as much information as possible in order to enable them to make solid dietary decisions.
Jaida Regan - Panel Facilitator
Jaida Regan is completing her Masters in Geography at the University of Guelph. Her current research focus is on the dynamics of food waste on Canadian university campuses. Previously, she completed a Combined Honours in Environment, Sustainability, and Society and Political Science with a minor in German at Dalhousie University. Working with the Dalhousie Student Union and Meal Exchange really made Jaida realize how passionate she is about food systems. Jaida is usually spending her time on projects related to education, food politics, and social justice. She is interested in the state of Canada's food system and is eager to be a part of an innovative solution.
Julian Napoleon - Cross-Cultural Dialogue Keynote Speaker and Unlocking the Campus Panel
Julian Napoleon is Dane-zaa and Cree from northeastern so-called British Columbia. Napoleon grew up immersed in the subsistence practices of his family and community, hunting, fishing, foraging, and learning cultural protocols. Currently finishing a biology degree in Food & Environment from the University of British Columbia, Napoleon has spent many years studying and practicing small-scale organic agriculture. Last summer Napoleon was up in his territory working with organic pasture-raised bison. As a member of the Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty, Napoleon is dedicated to raising awareness around Indigenous issues related to land, water, food, and community as well as, challenging the misconceptions surrounding the dominant western capitalist ideology. Napoleon is particularly dedicated to stopping the ongoing devastation of massive hydroelectric and liquefied natural gas industries in his territory and has spoken at countless events across so-called-Canada.
Kevin McKay - REAL FOOD CHALLENGE TRAINING DAY SPEAKER
Kevin has a 30 + year history of Food Services ranging from Kosher Hotels in the Catskills of New York to the Fountain Bleu in Miami Beach. As a manager in Restaurants, Hotels in Niagara Falls and Director of Higher Education Food Service Facilities – a wealth of food service experience follows her to St.Jerome’s University with Dana Hospitality.
Lorna Willis - unlocking the campus panel
Currently Vice President of Operations with Dana Hospitality LLP, Lorna Willis has over 35 years of campus dining experience. Lorna grew up in the restaurant business in Halifax and has held progressively more responsible positions with several of the major food service companies in Canada, including Sodexo, Chartwells, Cara, and Dana Hospitality. Headquartered in Oakville, Dana Hospitality’s mission is to Transform the Food Service Experience – Every Day. Dana’s values are rooted in a culture of culinary freedom with chefs empowered to provide the freshest, healthiest food with a focus on scratch cooking and promoting local growers and producers. Lorna is an experienced mentor and is committed to supporting students who are working to change campus food systems.
Meredith Bessey - Student research Panel
Originally from Riverview, NB, Meredith has been living and working in Halifax, NS since 2008. After completing a psychology degree at Dalhousie in 2012, Meredith decided that a career related to food was a better fit for her. She recently graduated from Mount Saint Vincent University with her BSc in Applied Human Nutrition (Dietetics), Honours. Meredith's honours thesis research involved talking to students in Nova Scotia about their experiences of food insecurity while attending university - she intends to build on this research during her Masters, starting in Fall 2017. Meredith works at FoodARC, a research centre located at MSVU, and volunteers with the Ecology Action Centre, an environmental organization in Halifax. She is committed to working towards a healthier, more just, and more sustainable food system for all. In her spare time, Meredith enjoys teaching and practicing yoga, reading everything she can get her hands on, cuddling with her cats, and enjoying time outdoors.
Nick Saul- Lunch and Learn
Nick Saul is co-founder and President and CEO of Community Food Centres Canada, a national organization that builds and supports vibrant, food-focused community centres in low-income neighbourhoods. These centres are based on the idea that good food is a powerful force for greater health, equity and social change. Nick is a recipient of the prestigious Jane Jacobs Prize, as well as the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and has an honorary doctorate from Ryerson University. Born in Tanzania and raised in Canada, Nick studied at University of Toronto and Warwick University in the UK as a Commonwealth Scholar. His bestselling book, The Stop: How the Fight for Good Food Transformed a Community and Inspired a Movement, written with his wife, Andrea Curtis, was nominated for the Toronto Book Award and won several other awards. It is published in Canada, the US and U.K. Nick lives in Toronto and is the proud father of two boys.
Nour Alideeb - Unlocking the Campus Panel
Nour Alideeb is the Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students Ontario, representing over 300,000 students across the province. Nour is the official spokesperson of the organization and helps with the development and implementation of a wide variety of campaigns and services. Prior to taking on this role, she served two terms at Local 109 - the University of Toronto Mississauga Students' Union (UTMSU) as the Vice-President University Affairs & Academics, then as President. Nour was involved in maintaining and supporting the UTMSU Food Centre and worked to improve the on campus food services available for students. She is passionate about creating spaces on and off campus to talk about the roots of food insecurity and how to combat student poverty. Nour is a student at the University of Toronto Mississauga, completing a major in Economics and a double minor in Biology, and Women and Gender Studies.
Phoenix McDougall - CROSS-CULTURAL DIALOGUE WORKSHOP FACILITATOR
Tehalule Ni:yukya'ts ony^ta:aka Niwakuhutsyo':t^.
I'm Phoenix from Oneida nation, 18 years old and I've grown up with a very traditional background for most of my life and a leader for my family's hunt camp.
Rachel Young - real food challenge training day facilitator
Rachel is a third-year Ecology major enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences co-op program at the University of Guelph. She completed her first co-op position with the Sustainability Office at Mohawk College as a Sustainable Food Systems Research Assistant. During her time at Mohawk College, she assisted on the "Increasing Local Food Procurement at Ontario Colleges" project where she completed an extensive food origin audit and learned about the value of sustainable and local food systems. Previously, Rachel worked as a program counsellor, animal caretaker, and public educator at Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo and Nature Centre which fed her passion for animals, ecology, and conservation.
Rebecca Tan - SKILL BUILDING CAFE FACILITATOR
Rebecca Tan is a policy nerd and appreciative inquirer, originally trained as a health and social services community planner. She is passionate about building community resilience, exploring how individuals are cultured, shaped and affected by their environments, and understanding how urban form can influence neighbourhood outcomes.
Tara Hattangadi - Student REsearch panel
Tara Hattangadi is a graduate student completing her Masters in Community Health at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). Her research focuses on the association between food insecurity and psychological distress among undergraduate university students at UOIT. In addition to the epidemiological component, her research includes a descriptive study of the lived-experiences of students who experience food insecurity, to illuminate student needs, attitudes and beliefs, and explicate the linkages with mental health. Tara is conducting her research in collaboration with the UOIT Mental Health and Wellness Study (in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association – Durham). Tara graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 2014 with Honours in Health Sciences. Following graduation, she worked on several environmental initiatives in New Zealand, focusing on sustainability and marine-life conservation. She is extremely passionate about nutrition and mental health and hopes to enact positive change with her research and advocacy. Tara has a deep love for the ocean and water sports, and enjoys hiking and camping.
Torrye Mckenzie - Skill Building Café facilitator
Torrye lives on Vancouver Island and works for the Canadian Fair Trade Network as their National Fair Trade Programs Coordinator. She joined the social justice food movement in 2012 as a CFSG coordinator at the University of Northern British Columbia. With the support of Meal Exchange, throughout her undergraduate degree, she was able to lead various projects, from community kitchens and waste recovery programs, to integrating more local food vendors into dining RFP’s and ethical purchasing policy development. She likes the outdoors and spaghetti squash, is happiest while eating or laughing with friends, and if she could high five anyone it would be Rosalind Franklin.