What is TFPC?
Toronto is a municipal food policy leader, with a long history working to ensure access to healthy, affordable, sustainable and culturally acceptable food. The Toronto Food Policy Council (TFPC) was established in 1991 as a subcommittee of the Board of Health to advise the City of Toronto on food policy issues. The TFPC connects diverse people from the food, farming and community sector to develop innovative policies and projects that support a health-focused food system, and provides a forum for action across the food system. TFPC members identify emerging food issues that will impact Torontonians, promote food system innovation, and facilitate food policy development. The TFPC’s Terms of Reference can be found on our City of Toronto webpage.
Over the past two decades the TFPC has made significant contributions to a broad range of food policy initiatives.
Today, the Toronto Food Policy Council’s views, experiences and publications are followed internationally.
Adeline Cohen is an Intermediate Consultant at Eco-Ethonomics Inc., a firm that leverages cross-sector expertise to provide a suite of management consulting services that foster sustainability and social responsibility; specializing in social enterprise, governance & policy and organizational development. Before joining Eco-Ethonomics, Adeline worked in various positions in the for-profit and non-profit food sector and developed expertise in qualitative/quantitative research, marketing, and knowledge translation. As a Senior Fellow at UHN OpenLab, she leads collaborative research projects that aim to increase the awareness and discussion around local food in hospitals. Adeline earned her Master’s Degree in Agricultural Engineering from Montpellier SupAgro (France) in 2003.
Alex Dow is the Director of Neighbourhood Initiatives at United Way Toronto & York Region overseeing United Way’s community hubs, Action for Neighbourhood Change and tower renewal activities. Alex was the former Program Director at Malvern Family Resource Centre in north-east Scarborough. Since 2009 he has worked on community food security initiatives and has used food as an effective local catalyst for community development. His work included improving local conditions and resident leadership to support urban farms, community market spaces, student nutrition programs, local food procurement, and documenting food histories among other things. Central to this work has been a philosophy of working collaboratively with residents to create local spaces for food advocacy and action. Alex is committed to bridging the work of the Toronto Food Policy Council with neighbourhoods across Toronto and ensuring that local residents are engaged in solving Toronto’s food challenges.
Andrea Boucaud who is known to many as “PEACHTREE” is an advocate for and supporter within the grassroots organizing and community development spaces. She has worked within the community development and the arts for over 15 years in many rolls including small business creation, advocacy and social justice all while maintaining her passion for fashion. She is a mother, daughter, social justice advocate, an ancient soul and an African woman in the diaspora re-learning how to grow good food everyday.
Arsema Berhane is the Manager of Revitalization and Renewal Communities at Toronto Community Housing, where she develops, implements and monitors community development initiatives, systems, policies, and procedures in a project management capacity as a key support to revitalize communities. Arsema strives to advance a vision of community building through resident engagement, civic action and community economic development. Arsema has a BHSC in Health Science and Community Development and has been working in the social service sector for the past 17 years. With a firm belief in Anti-Oppression and Social Justice work, Arsema devotes her time advocating for systemic transformation and creating inter-sectorial linkages to better serve multi-barriered communities across the GTA. She is, a founding member of the Eritrean Youth Collective, the Board Chair of FoodShare Toronto, and an alumni of the Creative Institute for Toronto’s Young (CITY) Leaders. Arsema has also served as Co-Chair of the Ontario Youth Matter! Campaign, lobbying all levels of government to develop a coordinated youth policy framework for the province of Ontario.
Barry Martin is the Founder and Principal of Hypenotic, a full service communications and design firm. Over the past 14 years, Barry has worked with a number of food and farm organizations in Ontario, including Sustain Ontario – The Alliance for Healthy Food and Farming, the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance, Fiesta Farms, The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, Southbrook Winery, Fifth Town Cheese, Local Food Plus and others. Barry sits on the Slow Food Toronto steering Committee.
Daniel Bender is the Canada Research Chair in Global Culture, a professor of history and food studies, and the director of the Culinaria Research Centre at the University of Toronto. The author and editor of three books, his research focuses on histories of food, empire, and tourism. He is also a co-convenor of the international partnership “City Food: Lessons from People on the Move,” an academic-public partnership that examines the culinary infrastructure of diverse cities. It includes partners in New York, Sydney, Delhi, Tokyo, Shanghai, Turin, and Singapore.
Hala Chaoui After a PhD in agricultural engineering, Hala worked as an academic researcher (2 Post Docs) and at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. She published her research related to plant and soil health including papers on using earthworms and electricity to turn waste into fertilizer in peer reviewed journals (cited 230 times). She also authored government factsheets on processing organic waste through earthworms. More recently, she created excel programs as a technical manager, to make data more accessible to the community of agronomic crop growers. She has also developed products for urban farming, including the Suspended Garden and Earthworm Crate. The goal of these products is to turn kitchens into micro farms, where waste is processed and used to fertilize indoor vertical gardens.
Harriet Friedmann (Honorary member), is a University of Toronto sociology professor who has gained an international reputation for her work on the health and agricultural impacts of globalization. She has also worked on crucial academic committees developing United Nations expert consensus reports on environment, climate and food subjects. Friedmann was one of the earliest members of the TFPC during the 1990s and served as TFPC co-chair for one term. She has played a key role in finding university funding for several recent TFPC projects, including the e-mail service called “foodforethought” and the earliest policy development work on local and sustainable food. She will help the TFPC keep abreast of emerging trends among leading food system thinkers around the world.
Hélène St. Jacques (Honorary member) is an expert consumer and market researcher with a history that spans many categories within the sustainability and resilience front including the renewal of local and healthy food systems, solid waste diversion and food waste reduction, water conservation, energy conservation and renewable energy.
Janet Horner is the Executive Director for the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance and the Greater Toronto Area Agricultural Action Committee. The Alliance oversees the implementation of the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Action Plan by working with farmers, rural and urban municipalities, the province and industry to ensure that the Food and Farming Cluster in the Golden Horseshoe is growing and vibrant. Janet’s skills lie in group facilitation and consensus building as she has trained adults and youth in small business start-ups and encourages dialogue between urban and rural residents on land use and food issues. Janet is a partner in the family business, Whitfield Farms Ltd., a cash crop operation in Dufferin County, and for 30 years, operated Whitfield Farms Catering. Janet volunteers her time as a Steering Committee member of Sustain Ontario. She is also Chair of the board of the Rural Ontario Institute, an organization that develops leaders, initiates dialogue, supports collaboration and promotes action on issues and opportunities facing rural Ontario.
Jenelle Regnier-Davies has over fifteen years of diverse experience in the food sector. In her search for more meaningful engagement with food, Jenelle moved from a career as a chef, to completing a BA in Environmental Studies and an MA in Geography, studying international household food security. Though she is interested in a wide spectrum of food issues, Jenelle is most passionate about food justice, food education and building a more sustainable, environmentally resilient food system. Today, Jenelle works with Second Harvest to deliver food education and training programs across communities in the GTA.
Councillor Joe Mihevc
Councillor Joe Mihevc is Chair of the Board of Health and has served the midtown area as City Councillor for the former City of York and the new City of Toronto. His deep concern for social issues has led him to be an advocate for strong neighbourhoods, healthy communities, a clean environment and safe streets. Joe has a M.A. and Ph.D. in Theology and Social Ethics. He has served in a variety of capacities that have allowed him to demonstrate his concerns for democratic, accessible and responsible government. Joe was elected Chair of the Board of Health in February 2013. As Vice Chair of the Board from 2010 to 2012, his accomplishments include championing the city’s Student Nutrition Program.
Joe Nasr is a as a part-time lecturer and associate of the Centre for Studies in Food Security at Ryerson University and co-founder of the Toronto Urban Growers. His main focus is on urban agriculture, as well as the relation between design and planning and food system issues. Joe has worked on numerous projects globally that highlight the place of food in cities. He has been involved in urban agriculture issues since the early 1990s. In Toronto, he has been part of creating the Toronto Urban Growers, was co-author of a scaling up urban agriculture report, and supported the preparation of the GrowTO Urban Agriculture Action Plan. His primary teaching areas are urban food and agriculture systems; the city and sustainability; history of urban planning theories and practice; urban form and its formation; planning, urban and regional theory; urban development; disasters and the city.
Joshna Maharaj Her strong social justice and sustainability ethics are rooted in her time at The Stop, a community food centre where she built innovative and delicious community food programs. Joshna has been working with institutions in Toronto building new models for institutional food service, proving the institution a viable tool for social change. Joshna has been an expert panelist on TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin, makes regular appearances on CBC radio and is a two-time TEDx speaker.
Juneeja Varghese works with United Way Toronto & York Region as the Manager, Neighbourhoods, supporting local residents and stakeholders in collectively building strong neighbourhoods, with many groups focusing on community revitalization and local food security initiatives. Juneeja is also the Co-Chair of Food Secure Canada Youth Caucus, advancing a food policy dialogue with youth across the country. She has her Masters in Science and Technology Policy from University of Edinburgh where her research focused on the dialogue around genetically modified food.
Katie German is the Director of Programs at FoodShare Toronto where she oversees food literacy, student nutrition, urban agriculture, and community food animation programs — ensuring all programs are working towards the goals of food justice. Katie is a community organizer with a background in teaching, farming, fundraising, and program development.
Kiera Toffelmire is the Community Relations Manager at Second Harvest, the largest food rescue organization in Canada. She oversees partnerships with over 230 member agencies across the city to support and help strengthen food programs. Kiera is an active community member, co-leading a seniors storytelling project, volunteering for youth empowerment organizations and chairing the TFPC’s food waste sub-committee.
Kimberly Montgomery Rawlings is a small business owner, who recently opened a Canadian Food focused restaurant with her husband & Chef, Guy Rawlings. Her background is in Public Relations, Promotions, Sponsorship & Event Logistics. She’s worked for such Toronto institutions as: Citytv & CP24, Pride Toronto, CMWs, to name a few. Kim has cultivated a broad network through her varied experiences hosting cultural, corporate, media, fundraising & private events at venues and festivals throughout the city. Kim aims to bring her enthusiasm for community engagement and sincere respect for food activism to the TFPC.
Leticia Boahen is a long-time resident of Jane-Finch Community and mother of two children who has been a leading social activist in Jane-Finch area of Toronto and across the City of Toronto for the past 10 years. As a community resident and organizer, Leticia has been absolutely instrumental in development and formation of a number of prominent community groups and initiatives including Jane Finch On The Move, Jane Finch Action Against Poverty, Jane Finch Political Conversation Café, Black Creek Food Justice Network, Mothers-In-Motion and so on and so forth. Leticia also worked as a Community Development Worker with Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre for many years.
In her capacity as a program worker, then a program manager and now the director of the Black Creek Community Farm, Leticia has shown excellent capabilities to engage residents, allies and other stake holders in struggles for community improvement and social and economic justice including the realization of Food security and food Justice in Jane-Finch. She has helped facilitating the formation of Black Creek Community Farm Resident Council, Black Creek Food Justice Network and has managed to bring together a wide range of allies and supporters together to work for the enhancement of the community farm and the non-profit urban food development in one of Toronto’s most excluded and disadvantaged communities.
Leticia is a member of the Toronto Food Policy Council. She is a new board member to USC Canada and is currently pursuing her Masters in Environmental Studies at York University.
Lisa Slater has a career with food that spans in-depth experience in wholesale and retail; start-ups and established businesses; and public and private enterprises. She is a hands-on leader whose passion for providing healthy food is exceeded only by her desire to make it accessible and affordable to all. She is a published cookbook author; co-founder of the all-women’s chef event Eat to the Beat on behalf of Willow Breast Cancer and Support Service; a former board member of the Whole Kids Foundation and an award-winning Store Team Leader during her 14 year career at Whole Foods Market, Ontario.
Marina Queirolo Senior Manager of Public Engagement and Food, joined Evergreen in 2010 and has since developed the Food and Public Market Action plan for Evergreen Brick Works. She created a portfolio of programs that promote food literacy, community development, local entrepreneurship and placemaking. Her passion around food and Public Markets motivates her to engage the community & industry to collaborate and work together towards a common goal: A strong local food economy and healthier city for all.
Councillor Mary Fragedakis is a Toronto City Councillor, first elected in 2010. She is the City of Toronto’s representative to the Golden Horseshoe Food and Family Alliance and serves on that agency’s Executive.
Prior to her election, Mary served as Vice President of a business-to-business conference company that won a City of Toronto business award for green advocacy efforts.
As a City Councillor, her food advocacy efforts include successfully championing the City of Toronto signing the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, and fostering a community garden in her ward with linkages to a local school, local food bank, local recreation centre and local sustainability groups.
Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon is an activist, a realist, and a champion of community and collectivism. A catalyst of change, she is a natural connector and fights hard for what she believes in. Councillor McMahon is committed to nurturing the integrity of Ward 32 and this vibrant city through a sustainable partnership between community and councillors. She believes in uniting the city to face challenges together, where good things come from combined engagement and efforts. She’s loyal to citizens, good ideas and effective execution. Councillor McMahon is committed to working hard on all her campaign promises, not only for the common good of all Ward 32 constituents, but for all residents of Toronto.
Melana Roberts is Chair of the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council, an arm of the TFPC recognized as representing the youth voice in food policy in Toronto. She also supports constituency issues and policy development with the office of City Councillor Joe Mihevc. Formerly Coordinator of Malvern’s Action for Neighourhood Change Initiative, she project managed a number of food security initiatives, including Scarborough’s first 2-acre urban farm. With an interest in improving access and equity in Toronto, Melana strives to advance civic engagement through developing tools and resources that empower youth communities and underrepresented groups to drive their own development. In her spare time, Melana supports project coordination for the TFPC’s Food By Ward: Food Assets and Opportunities, a ward by ward mapping tool; and their ongoing Food Champions initiative. She also sits as a Board member for FoodShare, a Community Advisor for Meal Exchange and is part of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s National Youth Advisory Council. Melana holds an MA in International Development Studies from York University, with specializations in rural agriculture, community development and community health systems.
Paul Nagpal is a co-founder and managing partner of Strateva Partners, a boutique advisory firm working with small and mid-sized organizations. His main focus revolves around providing strategic advisory and interim management services, particularly within the technology, food, retail, and non-profit sectors. He has worked with many companies to help them achieve sustainable sales growth and develop more efficient processes and operations. Paul worked at Deloitte Consulting, working with Fortune 1000 companies and non-profit organizations focusing on business transformation, product assessments, and resource strategies. Later, he worked with AT Kearney, focusing on market entry strategies, operational efficiencies, and strategic assessments. At Strateva, he has worked with many organizations, focusing on growth, turnaround situations, and sustainability. Paul also sits on a number of non-profit boards and is an advisor/mentor to many start-up companies.
Rachel Gray is Executive Director of The Stop Community Food Centre. Prior to joining The Stop in 2012, Rachel worked nationally and locally with homeless youth, first developing and managing Eva’s Phoenix, and then as Director of Eva’s National Program, facilitating national knowledge sharing initiatives and research projects, and supporting the establishment of a national, partnership based response to youth homelessness. She worked for the Ontario Government as a special assistant to the Minister of Health. Rachel is the Chair of the Toronto Food Policy Council and a member of the Board of Directors for Dancing with Parkinson’s.
Richard Matern is Director, Research and Communications at Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto, responsible for the development and implementation of a research program to support its government relations strategy. Richard and his colleagues at Daily Bread have produced a number of reports on poverty and hunger in the GTA, including the annual Who’s Hungry report. Richard was also part of the research team that developed the Ontario Deprivation Index, the first poverty measure of its kind in Canada.
Ryan Noble has been Executive Director of North York Harvest Food Bank since February 2015. Prior to that, Ryan was the Vice-Chair of North York Harvest’s Board of Directors and worked extensively in change management and process improvement in the aerospace sector. When he’s not at work, Ryan enjoys cooking, travelling and spending time with his long-time partner Jessica.
Sabina Ali is the Chair and founding member of Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee – created by residents to advance a transformative vision for Thorncliffe Park and the surrounding community. Under Ali’s leadership, the Women’s Committee revitalized the local park and created a healthy, engaged and inclusive community.
Sabina has worked to build the capacity and economic opportunities of residents and manages a wide variety of food, art, fitness, markets and garden programs.
Sabina is the recipient of the Elizabeth Coke award for excellence in leadership in 2011, the 2014 Jane Jacobs Prize, and the 2014 Phenomenal Woman Award. She was selected as one of the Top Ten Torontonians to get the things done by Globe and Mail.
Shirin Mandani has over 20 years of leadership experience in the Canadian and International not-for-profit organizations focussing on Social Enterprise. Shirin is the Executive Director, of The Canadian Maple Tree Foundation and has Master’s in Public Policy Administration and Law from York University, Master’s in Educational leadership from Mumbai University in India and a Post degree diploma in Not-for-Profit Management from University of Western Ontario.
She served two terms as a national board of director for Aga Khan Education Services, in India, playing an active role in enhancement of primary education programs funded by European Union. She sits on the board of Arab Community Centre of Toronto and CASSA. She was instrumental to setting up food security for seniors and economic empowerment programs through food catering by immigrant women at Reh’ma Community Service.
Sonia Dhir is a Project Manager for the Humber River Watershed at the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). Sonia has a Masters degree in Environmental Planning and Management from York University and a Life Sciences degree from the University of Toronto. Her primary responsibilities involve establishing partnerships, engaging the community in watershed management, environmental advocacy, implementing environmental projects, facilitating near urban agriculture on public land, and communicating watershed health through the media, presentations and special events. At TRCA, Sonia has led and worked on various environmental monitoring and reporting initiatives. She has developed leading edge agricultural policies for thousands of acres of conservation lands and manages TRCA’s urban agriculture portfolio. Sonia is involved with various other local food systems and sustainable agriculture initiatives in the Toronto Region. Sonia is also a full member of the Canadian Institute of Planners and a Registered Professional Planner.
Sunday Harrison is the founder and ED at Green Thumbs, whose mission is to empower children, youth and families to grow and prepare fresh garden food cultivated in an environmentally sustainable manner, in hands-on programs. Our work takes place on school grounds and in public parks/greenhouses in the downtown East core of Toronto.
Tania Fernandes is the Manager of the Healthy Kids Community Challenge at the Rexdale Community Health Centre. In this role, she works with local partners to design programs, policies and environmental supports to create a healthier Rexdale for children and their families. Tania is also the co-founder of Rexdale’s annual Foodie Festival, which connects community members to local caterers, food programs and advocacy initiatives. She has previously worked as a Health Promoter and is a graduate the Master of Public Health program at the University of Waterloo.
Tinashe Kanengoni manages the development of food buying clubs in social housing. An organic urban farmer at the Black Creek Community Farm with the Afri-Can FoodBasket. He is an organic master gardener and has a Masters in Environmental Studies from York University.
Lynn Roche is the administrative support for Lori Stahlbrand and the Toronto Food Policy Council.