Member Profiles

OUR TEAM

Meet the dedicated personnel who make up the Middlesex-London Food Policy Council. The Middlesex London Food Policy Council has a maximum of 20 members who represent both the county, city and partnering Indigenous Nations. Members must live or work in London or Middlesex County. Membership reflects diverse interests from across the entire food system, ideally with representation from each of the key sectors in the food system.

THE EXECUTIVES

Benjamin Hill

chair

Research

Benjamin is a member of the Rotman Institute of Philosophy, which is dedicated to interdisciplinary explorations of the boundaries between science and philosophy. The issues facing our industrialized food system sprawl across that border and are best conceptualized and addressed from that interdisciplinary perspective.

In addition to the typical experiences and skills associated with an academic research and philosophical background, Benjamin bring skills in grant writing and editing.


“Middlesex-London is my home and the home of my children. I am concerned about the future of communities and the people who compose them, Middlesex-London most of all. A robust and flourishing local food system is a pillar of a vibrant community.”

Paul Seale

Vice-Chair

Food Service

Paul has been an archivist, an academic, a restaurateur, and a communications professional, but is probably best-known in London for his years of grassroots community development. Having worked in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, he is convinced that the people who drive these pursuits are more similar than different and sees our common dreams as opportunities for collaboration.

With years of work in the restaurant industry and, then, managing a social enterprise grocer, Paul brings experience in issues that affect food service and retail and has a special interest in local, sustainable, equitable, and environmentally responsible behaviors throughout the food system, including supply, retailing, preparation, food access, and food recovery.

A community-builder by vocation — he now works in membership engagement at Pillar Nonprofit Network — Paul seeks to bring better democratic systems and citizen engagement to our food system.

“I feel it’s urgent to repair our food system to ensure access to good food for all”, Paul says, “and the MLFPC is the perfect place to contribute to the work”.

Thomas Sumpter

Treasury

Economic Development

Thomas Sumpter is a Commercial & Agricultural Account Manager with Libro Credit Union. Thomas began working at Libro Credit Union after graduating from Kings University College in 2018, with a degree in Business Management and Organization Studies  specialization in Global Commerce, and a Minor is Psychology. Thomas is a driven individual who is passionate about growing prosperity in South Western Ontario.  

Growing up in a rural town outside of London, Thomas developed an early understanding that building relationships is a key component to interacting with the local community. In his professional career, building relationships is the cornerstone of creating mutually beneficial business solutions. Thomas is looking forward to working on the MLFPC to build relationships, achieve sustainability, and encourage communication around food policies in regard to rural and urban agriculture.    

Lella Blumer

secretary

Urban Agriculture

Born and raised in London, I was draw to the prairies after university and Edmonton became home for my family for 26 years before I returned to London in 2015. In my professional and volunteer lives I’ve been an advocate, facilitator, reseacher, writer, and lifelong learner. I’m happiest when I’m outside, preferably with my hands in the dirt, and everything I know about sustainable backyard farming comes from my parents, who brought that knowledge with them to Canada. I believe that access to nutritious food and clean water is the primary issue facing humanity, and that we need to find common ground (so to speak) as we meet that challenge. 

MEMBERS

Gregg Barrett

City of London

City Planning was responsible for the development and adoption of the City’s Urban Agriculture Strategy, and provides on-going Staff support to the Urban Agriculture Steering Committee.

More than 1/3 of the City of London’s land area is designated as Farmland in the City’s Official Plan. Policies of the Plan support the on-going use of these lands for agricultural uses, and direct urban growth to areas within the Urban Growth Boundary as a means of preserving agricultural lands.

“I am the Manager, Long Range Planning and Sustainability for the City of London. In my role, I direct professional planning staff on matters related to planning policy, including the development and maintenance of the City’s Official Plan, and planning studies to address emerging local and provincial planning matters.  As a result of a recent restructuring, our Service Area will also be responsible for the development and implementation of sustainability and resiliency policies and initiatives for the City.”

Colleen Crunican

Community Member- Rural

Colleen is currently working as a Research Associate at BASF Canada and will be attending Western University in the fall for Teacher’s College. She previously attended the University of Guelph, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. Colleen has been surrounded by agriculture her whole life, having grown up on her family’s apple orchard and working at neighbouring farms. She has travelled to countries such as Kenya and Costa Rica on mission trips and field courses learning about global food production and food security issues. Colleen is excited to work with the MLFPC and to be more involved in her local food system. She hopes to work towards increasing the communication between community members and farmers to enhance the overall food literacy in this region 

Dianne McComb

Agriculture Assocition

Mother of son and two daughters plus one grandchild has opened my eyes to endless possibilities. Journey of life had me growing up on a farm near Lucan, Ontario where we finished beef cattle, grew crops and cared for laying hens. The beef cattle were later dropped in favour of laying hens.

Educated at Fanshawe College. Worked 12 years as a law clerk in both Ottawa and London. After children were born, returned to help on the family farm. In 2010 my brother and I purchased the farm from our parents. The farm continues with a new generation. 

Home and School, School Council, Ontario Federation of Agriculture and Farm & Food Care Ontario were groups I was active in as a member and chair.

Elected Director Egg Farmers of Ontario board for 8 years as representative for Middlesex. While on board chaired Public Affairs, also member of Finance and Production Management Committees. 

Ramona Dunn

Indigenous

Ramona Dunn is an Anishnawbe Kwe who is a member of the Beaver Lake Cree First Nation. Having been born and raised in Toronto by a mother who was a residential school survivor, Ramona lived first hand through the challenges facing Indigenous people. In the face of these challenges, Ramona worked her way through Nursing school in the late 1970’s and returned to school years later to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree with Honors in Nursing from Ryerson University in 2004.

Ramona’s specialty is diabetes education and she is a Certified Diabetes Educator. She brings all of her Traditional Indigenous knowledge and the knowledge acquired through western medicine back to the Indigenous community through her role as a Diabetes Nurse Educator at an Indigenous Community Health Center in London. Her unique experiences have made Ramona an advocate for food sovereignty within the Urban Indigenous community and she promotes urban food sovereignty through a garden group that she has been running for the past two years. She also assists in the distribution of food through the Food Hub in London.

In her spare time, Ramona is self-professed “Foodie” and is a committed organic backyard gardener. She enjoys growing, preparing and consuming food that does not leave a high carbon footprint. 

Jose Medina

Food Processing

Jose is the Sr.Director of Quality for Dessert Holding, with facilities in Atlanta, Houston, Vancouver and London. Dessert Holding is North America’s premium dessert company, recognized for providing the customers with chef-inspired innovative desserts made with real ingredients, a flexible and low-cost supply chain, and best-in-class service. Jose has worked in the food industry for over 25 years in different departments (QA, Maintenance, Production, Continuous improvement). Prior to coming to Canada, Jose worked for Adams in the confectionary division. He has a food science degree, a Master’s in Science in Manufacturing from the University of Liverpool in England, and an MBA from Universidad de las Americas in Puebla Mexico. Jose has a passion for his family, sports, food, and working for and with society to help the community. 

Nancy Kerr

Food Access

Nancy Kerr has served as the Program Services Manager for The Salvation Army Community and Family Services in London Ontario since 2014. Nancy has over 30 years’ experience in the non-profit sector and joined The Salvation Army Centre of Hope team in 2004, eventually serving as the Human Resources Director prior to commencing her current position. Nancy oversees a multi-service program that includes an emergency “choice model” food bank, recreational programs and healthy living/cooking workshops for low income Londoners. A large part of her role is assessing the changing needs of our community and developing holistic programs to meet those needs and engage the participants in unique and empowering ways. 

Nancy’s most recent accomplishments include the development of a Community Teaching Garden that opened in 2016 and working collaboratively with the London Food Coalition to establish the fresh food hub at the Centre of Hope in October 2017.

Anal Dave

Food Processing

Anal Dave – Food Processing

Amy Donaldson

Community Member - Urban

Amy Donaldson has served as the Ontario Student Nutrition Program (OSNP) Coordinator since 2017 with VON Canada. Amy has over 15 years’ experience working in the food industry, previously working as a professor of nutrition at the Stratford chef college, as well as working over 8 years in the kitchen of a long term care facility. She worked with VON and other agencies supervising the Meals on Wheels programs, community dining and other food related initiatives.

In her current role as OSNP coordinator Amy oversees 86 breakfast / school food programs in London and Middlesex county, providing supports and ensuring they are meeting nutrition guidelines. She also works diligently on the children’s nutrition network,  a framework of individuals from the local community who work to fundraise and support school food programming. Amy also Co-chairs the Basic Need Committee with the Child and Youth network and sits on many boards such as HEHPA and Poverty priorities in the city. 

Jaime Patton

Food Distribution

Jaime Patton is the director of Food and Beverage at the Four Points by Sheraton London Hotel and Suites. Jaime has worked in the food service and hospitality industry for over 15 years. In that time, she has been an owner of a small company all the way up to an employee at a large corporation. Having worked in the ever-changing food industry for a long time, Jaime hopes to provide a unique corporate view of the ever-changing world of the food industry and wants to create awareness on some of the important issues in the food industry. Jaime hopes that her experience will help the MLFPC make a positive impact in the community.  

Peggy O'Neil

Education

“I am a Lecturer and Adjunct Research Professor in Human Ecology at Brescia University College, Canada’s only women’s university. I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in food management and leadership.” “I was raised on a family farm in rural Ontario and have worked in the field of nutrition and foods for over thirty years. My position at the university enables me to compare my lived experience to historical and current research from across the world. My research skills, scholarly network and broad experience will benefit my work with the MLFPC.” “I am a Professional Home Economist, registered in the province of Ontario as well as a member of the International Federation of Home Economists (IFHE). Both groups are involved in government initiatives, advocacy programs and professional activities to solve issues relating to food and hunger. IFHE corresponds with the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization to improve conditions across the globe and to realize socially and environmentally sustainable practices in food. My local and global perspectives, combined with my experience in policy, will contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness of MLFPC’s collaborative projects.”

Jessica Cordes

Youth

Jessica is a community-centered professional who is passionate about local food systems and resilient cities. With a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, a Masters in Environment and Sustainability, and five years of internationally focused work, Jessica brings an interdisciplinary lens to the food system. To strengthen the local food system, Jessica is excited to support programs and initiatives that engage diverse populations, improve community-wide access to affordable and nutritious foods, enhance food literacy, and enable better networks amongst the local food system.  
Jessica believes that a sustainable food system works with the environment, builds the economy, and grows equity and community. She has grown her own little community around her home garden by sharing the harvest and sparking conversations, and she is excited to help build a more resilient community around local food in London and Middlesex. 

Jay Stanford

Energy, Waste, Environment, Water

Jay Stanford has been the Director of Environment, Fleet & Solid Waste at the City of London since 2012 and has responsibilities for Solid Waste Services, Fleet & Operational Services and Environmental Programs (including energy conservation, climate change).

Jay joined the City of London in 1995 and has held number of Director and senior management positions in the Environmental & Engineering Services Area. Prior to joining London, he worked for 8 years for an environmental and engineering consulting firm in Toronto. He has been involved in waste management and resource recovery for about 35 years.

Academically, Jay has a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Western Ontario; a Bachelor and Masters of Arts in Geography from McGill University and an Associate of Arts (Journalism) from Onondaga Community College.

As a Member of the MLFPC, Jay will be a resource in the environment, energy and food (avoidance, rescue and recovery) portfolio. Food waste has become a pressing issue locally, nationally and internationally.

Stephanie Redmond

Agriculture Rural

My passion for food began at the University of Guelph. As a student of the Hotel and Food Administration Co-op (2014) program, I served as the President of the slow Food Student Chapter and Program Coordinator for the Garden-2-Table Program. Though these programs I discovered my love of local food and began to understand the importance of food education and community engagement.

For the pas 9 years I have worked as a hospitality professional in Canada and Australia, specializing in fine dining, hotels, event management, and wineries. Wherever’I was, I enjoyed providing engaging service and creating meaningful connections between consumers and local food producers.

In September 2019,  I decided to take a break from the restaurant industry ad joined an agricultural consulting company called Hometown Ag.  Every day I learn something new about Canadian Agriculture and I am constantly looking for ways to enhance our relationships with food, farmers and each other. At Hometown Ag, we help growers “farm with confidence”. We believe soil health is the building block of farm profitability, sustainability, and healthy farm networks.

There is a connection between the health of our soils, food, farmers and communities. However, there is still a gap between agriculture and consumers. I am excited to be on the 2020 MLFPC. I hope to help create awareness, curiosity in the community and share so we can support a sustainable food system.

NON VOTING MEMBERS'

Ellen Lakusiak

Coordinator

Ellen Lakusiak is a Registered Dietitian (RD), currently working at the Middlesex London Health Unit (MLHU) where her portfolio is Food Systems.

Ellen has worked as a Public Health Dietitian at the Lambton Health Unit and most recently at Ottawa Public Health. She has also worked for Mead Johnson Canada, Health Canada and the National Institute of Nutrition. Most of her career in Dietetics has been in the area of prenatal and early year’s nutrition. She published her first book entitled, Eating Well When You’re Pregnant in 1997.

Her role as coordinator is to act as a consistent point of contact for MLFPC members and action groups to facilitate collaboration and dialogue.

Her hope is to contribute to a more sustainable and healthier local food system by connecting best evidence with key food system stakeholders and to improve the understanding of Middlesex London residents of where their food comes from.

Jane Roy

Trustee

Jane has been working for the London Food Bank for over 30 years. She currently works as Co-Executive Director.  Jane has been involved in numerous hunger, anti-poverty and volunteerism initiatives over the years. 

Jane Roy is currently the Co-Executive Director of the London Food Bank. She has been involved at the Food Bank for over 30 years – first as a student volunteer in 1986 to her current role in leadership. 

Jane has been involved in many food, hunger, poverty and social action committees over that time,  including the Mayor’s Anti-Poverty Action Group and as Chairperson of the Ontario Association of Food Banks.  She has presented briefs on hunger and poverty to all levels of government  and speaks to many local groups about involving citizens in community action.

Jane is a long time London resident, is married with 3 children and is also well known for her work in overseas development.

VOLUNTEERS

Susan Smith

Volunteer

Susan is a volunteer at the MLFPC with long-standing expertise in nutrition. She graduated from UWO, Brescia University College in 1995 and has been a clinical dietitian at the London Health Science Center for almost 25 years.

She has a keen interest in sustainable food systems that create a harmonious urban-rural relationship with a focus on community health and a minimal carbon footprint.

 

Jessica Lindsay

Volunteer

Jessica is in her third year at Brescia University College, studying Nutrition and Dietetics. She is passionate about international food security issues, food from different cultures, and the many important roles that food plays in our lives. In her free time she enjoys travelling, gardening, and creating new dishes. 

She has been a volunteer with Middlesex London Food Policy Council since February 2020, and takes pride in showcasing food policy topics and encouraging communication within the community via social media.