Sustain Ontario would like to welcome all of the new staff and interns that joined our team this fall
Our Wednesday Team
Top row from left to right: Jon, Josie, Luyi, Jenn, Karen
Bottom row: Hillary, Avalon, Kendal and Ravenna
Avalon Jennings | Farm to School Challenge Coordinator
Avalon is a Master’s candidate at the Glendon School of Public and International Affairs where she passionately researches food policy issues and advocacy for a healthier food system. She has worked at Sustain Ontario since May 2012 where she is currently doing communications and outreach for the Ontario Farm to School Challenge. When she is not working at Sustain Ontario or studying, she enjoys running and practicing capoeira.
Christine Patton | Bring Food Home
Christine’s love of food developed while managing her local farmers market where she was able to work very closely with the local growers and producers of the region. Making people aware of all the great food that is grown or produced right in their backyard is a passion and focus of Christine’s.
Derek Bondt | Francophone Outreach
Derek is originally from rural Prince Edward Island where he grew up on a family farm. Sustainable agricultural practices have long been a passion of his and he looks forward to being able to promote new ideas and initiatives for Sustain Ontario in both official languages.
Elena Hall | Network Facilitator
Elena is a clinical researcher and local food advocate who brings experience working within food systems and cultivating community development. Elena has created and continues to develop a sustainable hospital garden program at the University Health Network. She was recently recognized for her work with Food Forward; as an advocate for institutional local food procurement she researches healthcare sector food systems to help establish networks and identify opportunities for collaboration and innovation.
Geralidine Dempsey | Chicken Campaign and Innovative Finance
Geraldine is completing her Masters in Environmental Studies at York this year. Between her studies, two children, and volunteering for Sustain Ontario and the Ontario Farmland Trust, she has little free time but enjoys the time she does have cooking, gardening or hanging from aerial silks.
Hillary Barter | Meat and Abattoirs
Hillary is an aspiring farmer and geographer, currently putting her research skills rather than her harvesting hands to work. She likes dinners at big tables, especially when anything containing eggplant is being served!
Jennifer Kucharczyk | Member Relations and Food Laws
Jenn is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto where she studied geography, which allowed her to enhance her interest in food culture by learning about more facets of the global food system. She is inspired by the innovation and optimism contributing to the growth of social enterprises, community kitchens, and urban agriculture projects that are rebuilding linkages to support healthy and knowledgeable relationships with food.
Jon Gowing | Growing Good Food Ideas Videos
Jon is a graduate of Queen’s University and an aspiring farmer dedicated to creating a more accessible and sustainable food system in Ontario. In his free time Jon serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Hamilton Victory Gardens, an organization that connects urban revitalization with food security in Hamilton’s downtown core.
Josie Di Felice | Media and Communications
Josie is a passionate media studies and public relations graduate from the University of Guelph-Humber, who has become increasingly interested in the notion of media literacy, as well as food literacy. She is a strong believer in treating food and nutrition as the best medicine. Last year, Josie worked vigorously with United Way and their communications team.
Karen Nguyen | Evaluation
Karen is an unabashed foodie who loves to travel and nerd-out on all things related to public health. While she works towards uniting her first two passions (flying around the world in search of every city’s local delicacies), Karen hopes to use her recent Master of Public Health degree to decrease food insecurity and other health inequities locally and across the country.
Kendal Donahue | Metcalf Intern
Kendal began working with Sustain Ontario last year while doing her Masters in Environmental Studies at York University. She loved the experience so much that she’s back this year as our Metcalf Intern.
Laurie Michael | Research
Laurie is originally from Prince Edward Island and currently works as a Registered Dietitian in several rural Ontario communities. Her passion and interest for food lies in food security, sustainability and working to improve the current food system to positively affect all Canadians, but specifically those most vulnerable.
Luyi Yang | Social Enterprise (webinars)
Luyi is a fourth year Environmental Studies student at the University of Toronto. Her interests are agri-food policy and green energy, and she hopes everything will shift towards true sustainability in the near future.
Mikahelia Harris-Saunders | Children and Youth Food Network
Mikahelia is a fourth year student enrolled in Ryerson Universities School of Food and Nutrition. She loves going to restaurants, trying new foods and then attempting to make them at home.
Myriam Beaulne | Francophone Outreach
An environmental health scientist, Myriam has worked for non-profits for 15 years and lends her unique blend of energy, maturity, resourcefulness, and creativity to build a sustainable, healthy, and vibrant community. Myriam is excited to channel her love of food and her bilingual background into a new Sustain project.
Nicole Norris | Ontario Food and Nutrition Strategy
Nicole is a student of food and nutrition and an active member in her community, who has a passion for doing what she can to affect a positive change in the world. Since food plays such a major role in our lives, Nicole would like to be a part of changing food systems so that they are equitable, healthy and viable for future generations.
Sahar Ghafouri-Bakhsh | Financial Sustainability
Sahar loves food, the earth, people and community. She also loves Sustain Ontario.
Sarah Chu | Government Relations
Sarah is in her last year at the University of Toronto majoring in Urban Studies and Environmental Studies. She is working with Sustain Ontario’s Children and Youth Food Network and Government Relations working groups, focusing on food policy in Ontario.