Meet the dedicated personnel who make up the London-Middlesex 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.
Community Member- Urban
Paul has been a member of the London urban community since September 2013. Paul is a “Red Seal” chef, has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Applied Ethics, with a focus on social change and social justice, from the University of Victoria, and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Western Ontario. Prior to re-locating to London, Paul worked as a chef in BC for over 10 years. Through his work as a chef he was involved in several community initiatives supporting local and sustainable food production. Paul is now a lawyer and helps to organize the London Lawyers Feed the Hungry meal each month.
Paul has brought his passion for food and local and sustainable food systems to London and is pleased to contribute his experience and energy to the MLFPC, with a particular focus on developing connections, relationships and community engagement around local food issues.
Jean is recently retired and focusing on family and volunteer work with the MLFPC! She had the great pleasure of managing the Maple Leaf Community Fund for over 10 years as an employee. The fund was originally started by Harvey Beaty, Cold Springs Farm founder as a permanent endowment that benefits London, Middlesex and Oxford residents. She has come to understand the great need within our communities and how to align funds with organizations to make positive changes possible.
“My work experience in the food processing business as a procurement analyst and Executive Assistant followed my work in the retail world of a large real estate company as a marketing director. These opportunities have allowed me to focus on customer service, team building, strategic planning and goal setting. “
Laura Husser is a Branch Manager and Coach for her team at Libro Credit Union where she has had the pleasure of working in multiple positions throughout the Credit Union for over 17 years. Laura is proud to work for a financial institution that invests 100%of its profits in Southwestern Ontario. Laura is dedicated to growing prosperity locally in people, communities and enterprises in which her and her family lives.
Laura enjoys organizing and facilitating volunteer activities with community organizations and is passionate about collaborating with the MLFPC team that is focused on building a strong and vibrant community in the City of London and Middlesex County. She believes that teaching life skills and passing them on to our future generations is essential to ensure they understand where our food comes from and the health and economic benefits of buying local.
Community Member- Rural
Currently works as a blueberry grower, agri-tourism owner, environmental consultant.
“I have knowledge of small rural farm business operations, and have contacts in the grower/ag industry.I provide environmental consulting regarding site clean-up and land stewardship. I have both project and corporate management experience.I believe we have deep agricultural resources available in this region that can be used to develop an ecologically sound, healthy and independent food system. We should be able to resolve many of our food security challenges through improved awareness and coordination of resources. This may take some time, but it is a goal I believe worth striving for in order to benefit our local economy.”
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.
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.”
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.”
“My name is Shauna Kechego-Nichols, I am Ojibwe from Chippewas of the Thames First Nation. I grew up in Toronto and moved to Chippewa of the Thames in my early teens to be with the Indigenous people of this area. Here is where I encountered culture, belonging, and survival among a group of people who are both resilient and empowering. Their strength and endurance makes me proud to be Anishinabe Kwe.
Close to my heart is the love for education. I believe that life-long learning is essential to thriving in this ever-evolving world. Currently, I have diplomas and a degree in the following:
Broadcasting Television (2005), Advanced Filmmaking (2007), Social Service Worker (2010), Indigenous Healing Practices (2010), and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociocultural Anthropology (2018) from Western University.”
“I own a small business called Beautiful Edibles. We work locally, at ground-level serving and mentoring urban community members wishing to build knowledge about growing our own food anywhere, from home to small big and institutions using Urban Agriculture to grow the passion for personal and environmental resilience by working with people. Much of what we do is social enterprise. We focus on urban-based grass roots food prosperity and its literacy.”
“As a health researcher, my behaviour defaults to systematic enquiry, and critical thinking to assure we do and speak from an evidence informed perspective whether it be policy recommendations, or pragmatic outcome evaluations such as our community’s quality of life. I joined MLFPC to contribute to an effective functional change toward a healthier, more integrated community based, local food system across Middlesex London”
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.
“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.”
“As a manager of the Old East Village Grocer I work on the front lines of food retailing, preparation, supply, access, and recovery.”
“A community-builder by vocation and a Masters of Communication, I have excellent oral, written, and social media skills that I have put to use for a number of organizations and causes including the OEVG, the New School of Colour, and the Old East Village Community Association.”
“I feel it is urgent to repair our food system to enable good access to good food for all. The MLFPC has such a mandate and, with the support of my employers, I also believe that I can help to pilot or model sustainable programs to improve food access.”
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.
This position is currently vacant!
NON VOTING MEMBERS
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 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.