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Does Your Meal Plan Cover Climate Change?


The Event Summary: 

Does your Meal Plan Cover Climate Change? : A Food Security and Climate Change Summit 

Exploring the nexus of knowledge between food security and climate change. 

A week-long event that included an educational speaker panel discussion with notable speakers from the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area at the beginning, with a networking event after to allow participants to ask questions and find ways to get involved. Followed by Workshops hosted by experts. At the end participants received a list of resources to make their own change as well as a certificate to congratulate their involvement, which can be a great addition to any resume. Finally,  all of this information and research will be put on an accessible website to share with the community and future generations to come. 

Special thanks to YCI for bringing this team together as well as providing the resources both monetary and knowledge wise. Another thanks to DIG and DFPC for extending their knowledge and resources, as well as providing countless speakers.


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Ryan Cullen is the Field Supervisor for the Urban Farm at the W. Galen Weston Centre for Food at Durham College in Whitby, Ontario. Ryan manages a team of Horticulture students to operate a 3/4 market garden, greenhouses, a vertical hydroponic freight farm, aquaponics systems, apple orchard, food forest, arboretum and perennial gardens. The Urban Farm runs a yearly CSA, a seasonal farmers market and supplies food year round for the culinary program and Bistro 67 – an on campus field to fork restaurant. Ryan is also developing his own regenerative farm and homestead in Bowmanville on a 10 acre parcel of land. The farm – City of Greens - currently specializes in premium salad mixes and market garden vegetables with plans to grow into a multi-enterprise farm. Ryan has worked with Jean Martin Fortier – The Market Gardener in Quebec and has spent time working on Permaculture projects in Thailand and Canada. He is passionate about teaching and training the next generation of small scale growers and developing regenerative and resilient paradigms in horticulture, food and farming.

Mary Drummond is the present Chair of the Durham Food Policy Council and President of Durham Integrated Growers for a Sustainable Community. She was a founder of the Whitby Ajax Garden Project of which she was President and Project Coordinator for 15 years. Mary’s recognition of the importance of policy development led to roles as Chair of the Food Charter Visioning Day Committee and subsequent Chair of the Food Charter Revision Committee. She has served on regional, provincial and national committees. Mary promotes and supports development of for profit and non-profit urban agriculture projects and food security. She remains committed to promoting food system research and policy development toward creating an environment in which citizens can be active, valued, partners in strengthening the Durham food system for future generations. 

Ben Earle is an accomplished nonprofit executive, community developer, and applied policy researcher, with extensive experience working in community organizations in Ontario. With a BA in Applied Anthropology from McMaster University and an MA in Critical Criminology from Ontario Tech University, Ben has combined a strong academic grounding with extensive community experience to support research and community development activities in Durham region, working to find innovative solutions to community concerns and challenges. Recent work in the community includes being 

co-chair of the Mayor of Oshawa’s Spirit of Service initiative to address homelessness. and as the community service representative on the Region of Durham’s COVID Recovery Task Force. For the past five years, Ben has led Feed the Need in Durham as the organizations Executive Director. In this role he has supported and expanded the organization's mandate to collect and distribute fresh and non-perishable food to organizations serving those in need across the community. In addition to his work with Feed the Need in Durham, Ben works with both the Basic Income Canada Network and UBI Works, where he helps to coordinate national research and education initiatives on this important subject. He has also worked closely with local labour market planning organizations, supporting planning and development work to build a more inclusive labour market and economy in Ontario. A lifelong resident of Bowmanville, Ben lives in Bowmanville with his wife, 6 year old daughter, 4 year old son, and big dog named Sam!


Rebecca Jeschke works in Brock Township at The Nourish and Develop Foundation. As the Community Development Manager, Rebecca collaborates with colleagues, residents and partnering organizations. Together they complete research and advocate for income security measures that can alleviate poverty and correspondingly, food insecurity. As part of a team, she develops community-based programs (seed library, food bank, community kitchen) while also creating opportunities for policy action. These opportunities include her role on the Durham Food Policy Council and the Brock Economic Advisory Committee.

Trystan Lackner is a recent Graduate from the University of Toronto where he did a Specialist Degree in International Development Studies. Trystan has always been passionate about youth being involved in making decisions and leading change in our communities and abroad. I joined YCI so that I could be a catalyst for this change and collaborate with other like minded youth and individuals. I hope that this Summit of ours will inspire you to be leaders and give you the knowledge and resources to go out there and make your own change!

Rossen Lee (she/her) is a recent grad with a degree in Nutrition and Food, certificate in Food Security Studies, and a passion for all things local. Born and raised in Hamilton, she is a city girl through and through, which inspires her work for urban food security. Rossen believes in the power of love, friendship, and social capital can rise above all. When she’s not out riding a bike and listening to pop music, you can find her volunteering across the city, or in her role as a Food Security Worker at a Scarborough community center.

Mary Anne Martin is a Trent University postdoctoral fellow currently studying the effects of the global pandemic on local food systems as well as initiatives that link food production and food consumption to build short-term relief and long-term transformation. Her research interests include household food insecurity, the impact of community-based food initiatives, and urban agriculture. Mary Anne is a board member with DIG (Durham Integrated Growers for a Sustainable Community) and a stewardship committee member of the Durham Food Policy Council.

Ian McVey is the Manager of Sustainability with Durham Region where he is responsible for championing climate action across the Region, working with internal departments, local area municipalities, conservation authorities, and other key stakeholders to design collaborative programs, and secure resources and capacity needed to enable collective implementation. Ian holds a Master’s in Environmental Studies from York University, and a Bachelor of Commerce from Concordia University.

Jade Schofield is the Project Manager for Sustainability and Climate Change for the Town of Whitby. Her work integrates a variety of focus areas as it pertains to sustainability advancement within the community and ensures we meet the global goals for reducing the impacts of climate change. Her work includes policy & program development, advocacy for environmental protection, and ensuring that the community has a good understanding of environmental systems to make the best decisions.She holds a Bachelor of Science in Environment Science from the University of Plymouth, UK, and Trent University, ON, as well as, a Masters in Environmental Applied Science from Ryerson University, ON.

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