Nadine Castonguay, EnviroWestern Garden Executive at Western University, was selected as a Food System Champion in 2021.
Recently, Nadine led the development of the community garden located at Western University. She worked with various stakeholders across campus to organize a new and more visible location for the EnviroWestern Garden and took care of the land from watering and weeding to managing student volunteers throughout the summer. You can learn more about her positive impact on the local food system at mlfpc.ca/foodchampions.
Q: What drew you into doing work in the food system?
A: My passions for food and the environment collide. I wanted to create a system on campus to facilitate knowledge generation and dissemination where the community could come to understand the complex dynamics of our food including the links between the economic, social, and environmental elements of how food is sourced.
Q: What do you like most about your food system work?
A: My favourite part about food system work is the actual production of something that provides us with what we need to sustain human life. It’s crazy that we can produce outputs that contain nutrients that allow us to thrive. I appreciate that without the food system, we would not survive.
Q: What works well in Middlesex London to support your work?
A: I appreciate that there is a growing community of individuals who want to see more organic and locally sourced food available. There is a market of opportunity for new businesses to venture into sustainable agriculture.
Q: Are there local challenges that make your job more difficult?
A: There are significant barriers for new farmers such as increased land prices, the lack of knowledge around the definition of sustainable food production, and what it looks like to have a sustainable food production operation.
Q: What would you like to see in our local community to strengthen our food system?
A: I would like to see a greater emphasis on allowing individuals to grow and produce their own food in the city. For example, having more rooftop gardens, increasing the number of community gardens, and developing agricultural opportunities in neighbourhoods within London.