Join Peggy O’Neil for Engaging Discussions on Food Policy in Upcoming Episodes of “Food for the Future”

Food For the Future with Peggy O'NeilPeggy O’Neil, a passionate home economist and former MLFPC Board Member, is releasing more episodes in Season 3 of her “Food for the Future” podcast! This podcast is your gateway to a world of inspiring stories, insightful conversations, and thought-provoking discussions about the future of food. Get ready to embark on a journey that celebrates local contributions for global encouragement.

Listen to these next episodes to hear from experts like Alicia Martin discussing mandatory food system literacy in education, and Carolyn Webb addressing waste reduction in school lunches and the push for a universal school food program. Explore local farm activities with Susan Lester-Ryan, Co-Owner of Lester’s Farm Market, and gain global insights on World Food Day with Jocelyn Brown Hall from the UN Food & Agriculture Organization. Don’t miss these engaging discussions on food, education, and sustainability!

Listen to the podcast at

  1. Saturday September 23, 2023

Series: Food for Thought

Hear about innovative research on mandatory food system literacy in public education for Grades 1-12 from Alicia Martin, PhD Candidate, University of Guelph.

Learn more about Alicia Martin here:

  1. Saturday September 30, 2023

Series: Waste Not

Discover ways to avoid waste in school lunches, and what is being done across Canada in support of a universal school food program with guest Carolyn Webb the Coordinator of the Coalition for Healthy School Food (Ontario Chapter).

Learn more about the Coalition for Healthy School here:


  1. Saturday October 7, 2023

Series: Back to the Future

Find out what is happening for Fall on local, family-run farms, including apple-picking, visits to the pumpkin patch, and farmgate markets from Susan Lester-Ryan who is the Co-Owner of Lester’s Farm Market.

Learn more about Lester’s Farm Market here:


  1. Saturday October 14, 2023

Series: Our World

Learn what is happening across the globe on World Food Day (October 16th ), and see how small changes at home can make a big difference. Jocelyn Brown Hall, Executive Director, UN Food & Agriculture Organization (North America)

Learn more about World Food Day here:

Green Thumbs in the City: Meet Our Food System Champions, Yvonne and Chris Padadakos!

MLFPC's Food System Champion, Chris and Yvonne PapadakosIn the heart of downtown London, there exists an urban garden that has thrived for over three decades, thanks to the dedication of Yvonne and Chris Padadakos. These two gardeners have pursued their love for growing fresh fruits and vegetables as well as flowers and their garden shows how much they believe in growing your own food in a sustainable way. Though gardening in the city comes with its fair share of challenges—limited space and sunlight, and issues with animal/pest damage – they’ve come up with smart ways to protect their plants, and make the most of the space they have.

Chris and Yvonne Papadakos Veggies

Their garden is a community hub. Over the years, they’ve generously shared their harvests with neighbours and family, and they’ve donated seedlings and seeds to various non-profit organizations. This way, they’re not only sharing their love for gardening but also helping their community in different ways. Yvonne and Chris plan to keep gardening, taking care of their home, and most importantly, teaching their grandchildren what they know about gardening.

Chris and Yvonne Papadakos' garden
Chris and Yvonne Papadakos


Nourishing Our Community: Meet Our Food System Champion, Rick Ford & the Kitchen team at Ark Aid Street Mission!

MLFPC's Food System Chamion, Rick Ford & the Kitchen team at Ark Aid Street MissionArk Aid Street Mission and its dedicated team, including kitchen manager Rick Ford, are committed to providing healthy and nutritious food to the community through innovative initiatives like the Encampment Strategy Project. This initiative provides nutrient-rich meals tailored to address the specific health needs, such as IBS, colitis, gum disease, and malnutrition, that affect 80% of community members.

Supported 90% by volunteers and community donations, the Ark emphasizes empathy, specialized diets, hiring individuals with lived experience, and fostering dignity and trust to address the root causes of community challenges. Local businesses, nonprofits, and efforts to minimize waste by composting contribute to the Ark’s success.

Donations are received from a range of corporations and nonprofit organizations like 519Pursuit. They are 98% waste free, with all efforts being made to compost their food leftovers, including eggshells from eggs donated by Burnbrae Farms. Staff and volunteers are invited to take home compost and compost is also given to the Wormery.

The Ark also provides services like counseling, hepatitis clinics, and recovery groups, and collaborates with organizations like CMHA and local hairdressers for specialized support.

Kim and Jacki Representing Ark Aid Street Mission
Kim and Jacki Representing Ark Aid Street Mission

Addressing mental health and personal care needs is crucial for boosting self-esteem and confidence. However, attracting and retaining qualified staff who understand the daily trauma faced by the community remains a challenge, highlighting the need for ongoing awareness, education, and support.

The Ark’s commitment is about compassion in every action. Their dedication to making a difference for the homeless population in London, one person at a time, is inspiring and showcases the potential for positive change within communities.

Supporting The Ark’s mission through donations, volunteering, or sharing their needs is a powerful way to contribute to the well-being of the community. Visit their website learn more about how to get involved with their mission to care for and support our community.

Supporting, Connecting, & Empowering Lives: Meet Our Food System Champion, Northwest London Resource Centre!

MLFPC's Food System Champion, NWLRCThe Northwest London Resource Centre (NWLRC) is a community support leader that prioritizes food literacy and accessibility education for Northwest London’s residents, having reached out to 5,887 unique residents in 2021 alone. They operate an Emergency Food Cupboard in partnership with the London Food Bank’s Mobile Food Bank, have created a multilingual food item checklist, and adopted a needs-based approach to ensure fair distribution.

London Food Bank's Mobile Food Bank TruckThey also run several initiatives like the Cereal Box Challenge, Northwest Eats, and the Community Pop-Up Market to combat different facets of food insecurity. They source locally, partner with organizations, and involve the community, as seen in the Northwest Eats program, which involves youth volunteers preparing meals for distribution to families in need. Their Community Pop-Up Market, in partnership with Urban Roots, provides free, freshly-picked produce, distributed at their Sherwood Mall location.

NWLRC Emergency Food Cupboard

They offer various youth and family programs designed to support skill & leadership development, including the Cereal Box Challenge, Northwest Eats, Community Pop-up Market, SmartStart, YouChef, and YEP & JEP. The latter is a partnership with Type Diabeat-it to introduce healthy African cuisine to combat health risks like diabetes, while supporting awareness of racialized people’s experiences.

The NWLRC is always looking to expand and improve its services, its food programs, and collaborate with other organizations in a new space under construction. NWLRC Community ConnectionsThey are committed to addressing food insecurity in a sustainable, impactful way by combining education, community involvement, and local organization collaboration. This journey has been rewarding and challenging, and they believe that, together with the community, they can create a more sustainable and supportive food system for all.


Sowing Seeds of Change: Meet Our Food System Champion, the PATCH!

The PATCH, MLFPC's Food System ChampionThe idea for a community-driven urban farm was born during the pandemic when Joe Gansevles recognized the need for accessible food in the London area. From bylaws, to being on a floodplain, to a lack of funding, challenges seemed to pop up at every corner. However, with the help of community members they were able to overcome these obstacles and form the PATCH!

The PATCH is an urban agricultural initiative that does more than just grow food at their three London locations; they also host events & workshops,The PATCH Cavendish community food hub location Sign provide employment training, and cultivate a safe space for volunteers and community members to garden and meet new people. Their stunning Cavendish Community Food Hub location is equipped with wheelchair-accessible gardens, follows eco-conscious practices, and has generated thousands of pounds of fresh produce this year!

The PATCH is committed to sustainability, inclusivity, and resourcefulness, with inclusivity being reflected in their garden layout that features wheelchair-Wheelchair accessible plots for gardeningaccessible pots, raised garden beds, and roomy pathways to ensure participation from individuals of all abilities. Their Cavendish location exemplifies resourceful practices by repurposing donated wooden pallets as materials for garden beds, and redirecting waste as soil-enriching compost that is donated by The Wormery at the Western Fair District (thanks, Dan!). Committed to sustainability, they primarily deliver their produce to organizations by bicycle, clocking over 750k miles. Among their partnerships, they generously contribute their harvest to organizations such as the London Food Bank, Ark Aid Mission, and Indwell . It is truly a community effort!

The PATCH’s dedication is evident: they’ve generously donated 3,000 lbs of food this year, and are aiming for 5,000 lbs this year. Their vision includes expanding their planters and introducing an inclusive tactile gardenCavendish Community Hub location of the PATCH designed for all to enjoy, regardless of sensory limitations. Additionally, they have plans for a streamlined irrigation system. 

As for the future, they envision a city where the overlooked corners and plots can become repurposed as food hubs. They encourage communities, universities, and employers to replicate this model, ensuring economical access to healthy food for all communities. When talking about the PATCH’s long term plams Joe Gansevles says,

“I would think that if we had a long-term plan for this space is that it could be a template for urban agriculture in the city. To look at spaces that you maybe you wouldn’t look at it with first glance and think, “Oh, you could grow a significant amount of food there” So, I would hope that this is something that co-The PATCH's team at the Cavendish Community Huboperative housing complexes could have, that a university could have, that large-scale employers that have land that they could re-purpose and utilise for their workforce. Our long term plan would be that we can live in a city where there’s easy economical access to food for people, and this is an open-patent design. People can come and they can liberate what we’ve done and they can do it in their neighbourhoods, schools, and workforce. 

So, I think our long term plan is there’s a whole bunch of these, and people having access to healthy foods. They don’t have to decide whether they are going to pay their bills or get healthy food”.

It’s clear to see that the PATCH’s growth and success is the result of the hardwork and  dedication from its employees, volunteers, and community supporters. It stands as an amazing model for what can be achieved in a short amount of time through community cooperation. We can’t wait to see what is next in store for the PATCH and how it will continue to evolve!


Nourishing Change, Empowering Lives: Meet Our Food System Champion, LIFE*SPIN!

In the early days of the pandemic, Jacqueline Thompson, the Executive Director of LIFE*SPIN noticed a need in the community for healthy, organic, and accessible food. She partnered with Jeff Pastorius, the founder of On The Move Organics, to unite their efforts & create an initiative called the Community Food Box Project. Together, they recognized the need to address food insecurity that was amplified by the pandemic. The Community Food Box Project emerged as a lifeline, connecting local sustainable agriculture to the homes of families facing barriers to reliable food access.

From 2020-2022, the Community Food Box Project showcased remarkable dedication & generosity, delivering over 68,825 meals which were free, locally-sourced, & organic produce. Additionally, the project was able to reduce its environmental impact significantly by minimising its use of plastic. The program extended its reach to benefit 1,862 children, showing its huge impact & reach within the community. The partnership between LIFE*SPIN & On The Move Organics continues to this day, ensuring that there is ongoing support to the community through these food boxes.

In addition to alleviating hunger in the community through food distribution, LIFE*SPIN offers a variety of programming & resources via their “Food Security Education” initiatives. They teach their audience members about the importance, ease, & accessibility of gardening & gardening practices that can lead to adopting sustainable habits. Take “Pocket-Sized Farms” as an example—a children’s day camp program educating the London youth about environmental stewardship, gardening & agricultural literacy, food systems, & community building.

LIFE*SPIN stands for “Low-Income Family Empowerment * Sole Support Parent Information Network”

They remain strong advocates for families, continuing to partner with others in the community to create positive, uplifting change.

Learn more about LIFE*SPIN’s mission and services on their website:

Introducing the New “Food for the Future” Podcast Episodes: Hosted by Peggy O’Neil!

Food For the Future with Peggy O'NeilWe’re thrilled to announce that Peggy O’Neil, a passionate home economist and former MLFPC Board Member, is releasing new episodes in her “Food for the Future” podcast! This podcast is your gateway to a world of inspiring stories, insightful conversations, and thought-provoking discussions about the future of food. Get ready to embark on a journey that celebrates local contributions for global encouragement.

Listen to the podcast at

Release Schedule:

  1. Saturday August 26, 2023 – Released! Listen NOW!

Series: Food for Thought

Discover through speaker Program Director Leslie Noble of 4H Canada, on how youth across Canada learn leadership skills and make a difference in their communities in agri-food.

Learn more about 4-H here:


  1. Saturday September 2, 2023

Series: Waste Not

Learn from Ecological Farmer Kim Barker of Mulberry Moon Farm on how community supported agriculture works, and the ways farmers and consumers collaborate to reduce food loss and waste.

Learn more about Mulberry Moon Farm here:


  1. Saturday September 9, 2023

 Series: Back to the Future

Find out from Executive Director Kristin Enns-Kavanagh of Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society, on how folklore imparts knowledge about life in agri-food from days gone by, and how it helps inform our world today.

Learn more about the Saskatchewan History & Folklore Society:


  1. Saturday September 16, 2023

Series: Our World

Hear from President Max Hansgen of the National Farmers Union how farmers stand together across Canada to participate in the United Nations’ decade of Family Farmers (2019-2028)

Learn more about The National Farmers Union:

Learn more about the UN Decade of Family Farming:

Animal & Community Ally: Meet our Food System Champion, Zhawanoogbiik Danielle Riley of Riley Ranch of Three Fires!

Danielle Riley is MLFPC's Food System ChampionSixteen-year-old Zhawanoogbiik Danielle Riley embodies the spirit of compassion and community care. She has demonstrated great initiative as a Food System Champion by helping connect others with the resources they need to care for their animals.

From Chippewas of the Thames, an Anishinaabe First Nations band government, her childhood dream was to be able to care for animals in her own business. During the pandemic, it became apparent to Danielle that there was great need for pet supplies, including pet food, from pet owners who were struggling due to the economic downturn.

In response to the fast-growing need, she was able to raise donations to supply those who were facing challenges in accessing the things they needed for their animals and started her initiative, an animal food bank.

The shelves of her food bank tell a powerful story, reflecting the growing demand for support. In July 2022, 120 bags of dog food were distributed. Dani’s commitment shines, whether connecting people with resources, envisioning warmer shelters for outdoor pets, or exploring paths toward healing through her love for animals. She hopes that she can continue to connect others with the resources and care that they need.

Pollination Heroes: Meet our Buzzworthy Food System Champion, the Middlesex Centre Pollinator Team!

Food System Champions Middlesex Centre Pollinator TeamThe Middlesex Centre Pollinator Team has truly shined in supporting our local food system.

Their journey began in 2019, driven by the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge, a pledge made to show Middlesex Centre’s commitment to champion the care of our native pollinators. Through their dedicated work, they have created a positive impact in the London-Middlesex community, centred around education and the nurturing of natural pollinator habitats.

They’ve set out to achieve three overarching goals.
1. To grow and share native plants from seed that support pollinators.
2. To promote the wellbeing and flourishing of pollinators.
3. To educate the community about the web of interdependence within our ecosystem between us, native plants, and native pollinators, emphasising how our support can pave the way for a better environment now and in the future.

To achieve these goals and engage the community in their mission, they have established many different programs such as selling pollinator plants at the Komoka Community Market in the summer and having annual compost sales. They also partner with many community organizations to host educational events on a variety of different topics. Visit their website to find a variety of resources, including where you can buy native plants near you and how you can create a pollinator garden of your own! There you will also find a list of upcoming events to join.

The Middlesex Centre Pollinator team has been doing an amazing job of not only creating a healthier food system for now, but one that is strong and sustainable for the future. We are excited to see what else they have in store!

Championing Sustainable Food: Meet Our Food System Champion, On The Move Organics!

On the Move Organics Food System Champion of MLFPCOn The Move Organics, founded in 2008 by Jeff Pastorius, is on a mission to rebuild Ontario’s local food system by connecting with local farmers. Starting with bike deliveries in the Old East Village, the company expanded to offer groceries and delivery vehicles as demand grew.

What sets them apart is their strong commitment to sustainability. Through their Zero Waste Club, they save over 23,000 single-use plastic containers annually. Serving southwestern Ontario, they source from 125+ local farmers, producers, suppliers, and artisans.

On the move organics food box

During COVID-19, On The Move Organics partnered with LIFE*SPIN to launch “The Community Food Box Program”, delivering fresh produce and groceries to families facing financial struggles. The program, funded by customer donations and their own 1% “For The Community” initiative, has provided over 60,000 meals to date. Their business practices prioritize sourcing locally and reducing food waste by collaborating with restaurants and featuring rotating menus showcasing locally-grown crops. Community involvement is central to their ethos, and they host events and workshops while supporting local businesses.

Looking ahead, they plan to add a pollinator garden near LOLA Bees, exploreOn the Move Organics Team with food boxes non-carbon delivery options like bike deliveries and electric alternatives, and improve efficiency in their warehouse to reduce food waste and environmental impact. With a dedicated focus on locality and community outreach, On The Move Organics aims to make positive strides in the food system for years to come.  Check out On The Move Organics’ website for more information: On The Move Organics.