We strengthen the healthy food and farming sector

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Sustain Ontario is the outcome of a two year process led by the Metcalf Foundation bringing together groups working on food and agriculture issues in Southern Ontario. Participants in the discussion led by the Metcalf Foundation identified a need for collaborative policy and advocacy work at the provincial level. In 2009, Sustain Ontario hired its first director and has since been served as the unifying voice for food and farming interests across the province. In 2015, after a period of strategic visioning, Sustain Ontario becoming an incorporated not-for-profit organization. As a not-for-profit, Sustain Ontario has the freedom to take action as an independent organization, with the ability to provide additional member benefits such as advocacy, that we wouldn’t have been able to do as a full charity.

History Highlights

  • In 2019, Sustain Ontario brought an exciting new format to Bring Food Home, partnering with various groups to host multiple regional conferences that covered diverse topics, with two of the events led by Indigenous regional groups. Read more about the four events on the Bring Food Home website and check out our YouTube channel for videos.
  • In 2018 and 2019 the Sustain Ontario board has been working on strategic planning and a redistributed leadership model for the organization. We remain focused on supporting networking, capacity building and advocating for healthy food and farming in Ontario.
  • In 2018 and 2019 Sustain Ontario continued to partner with Farm to Cafeteria Canada to deliver and support an additional 11 Farm to School grants across Ontario as a partner in the Farm to School: Canada Digs In! initiative.
  • In 2017 Sustain Ontario put on a successful Bring Food Home Event. You can read the final report, “Good Food and Farming Ideas for Ontario”.  This report summarizes the policy papers prepared by each of Sustain Ontario’s networks.
  • In December 2016 Sustain Ontario’s Networks identified initiatives they wanted to focus on. The networks cooperated with student researchers throughout 2017 to create policy position papers, in order to identify gaps, set direction and strength the Ontario food system.
  • In 2016 Sustain Ontario began a partnership with Farm to Cafeteria Canada to deliver and support 21 three-year Farm to School grants across Ontario as a part of the Farm to School Canada Grants program (which later became a part of the Farm to School: Canada Digs In! initiative).
  • In 2016 Sustain Ontario became a partner on George Brown College’s 4-year Generating Success for Farm to School Programs initiative to determine and share best practices for Farm to School programs.
  • In 2016, we hosted a networking event called Cultivating Our Capacity a day that brought together community leaders and municipal staff from across the province to engage in generating initiatives to help strengthen local food policy and systems. The event lead to the launch of two new networks the Sustainable Food Enterprise Network and the Food Justice Network.
  • In 2016 Sustain Ontario launched the Food Initiatives Greenhouse, an online resource sharing library.
  • In 2015 Sustain Ontario officially became an independent not-for-profit
  • In 2014 Sustain Ontario was a founding member of the Coalition for School Food (a network of Food Secure Canada). Since that time Sustain Ontario has continued to support the efforts of the Coalition to achieve a National, Universal School Food Program.
  • In 2013, Sustain Ontario launched the Ontario Edible Education Network, bringing together students, educators, community groups, parents, farmers, food businesses, and administrators to facilitate efforts to get Ontario’s children eating, cooking, growing, and learning about local, healthy sustainable food.
  • 2012-13 Growing Good Food Ideas Videos launch at Queen’s Park in 2013 with the Premier of Ontario
  • Recommendations are developed for the Local Food Act in 2012
  • Development and advancement of the Ontario Food and Nutrition Strategy (OFNS) in 2012
  • In 2011, Sustain Ontario was a founding member of Farm to Cafeteria Canada. Sustain Ontario proceeded to participate on F2CC’s Advisory Committee and acted as the point person advancing farm to school in Ontario.
  • Sustain Ontario launches Vote ON Food campaign in 2011 that urges policymakers in Ontario to support local food legislation
  • Publication of Menu 2020: Ten Good Food Ideas for Ontario in 2010
  • 2010 marks the first Bring Food Home Conference : Connecting Ontario Farm and Food Networks
  • In 2009 Sustain Ontario hires its first Director and expands its mandate from Southern Ontario to province-wide
  • Sustain Ontario is formally incorporated in 2008
  • In 2007 working meetings were convened by the Metcalf Foundation to explore the possibility of a cooperative, integrated network with the goal of transforming food and agriculture at a system-wide level

Annual Reports

Governance Documents 

SO Governance

MEMBERS of Sustain Ontario come from diverse parts of the food and farming sectors and have a common aim of working towards food systems in Ontario as part of Sustain Ontario’s mission. Members drive the work of Sustain Ontario by sharing their ideas, perspectives, and energy to advance Sustain Ontario’s mission. Members also elect the Board of Directors.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS is a group of individuals from food and farming sectors across Ontario. It serves to provide for legal and financial governance, to set strategic direction and program priorities, and to guide and support the Executive Director and staff of the organization.

NETWORKS are self-organizing groups that coalesce around interest in common area of food and farming. The networks serve primarily as hubs for information sharing. Collaboration within any given network can result in formation of a Working Group for more focused action on a given topic.

WORKING GROUPS are self-organizing teams led by interested and engaged leaders. Working Groups are made up of Members, Supporters and other stakeholders who come together to collaborate around a particular topic relevant to Sustain Ontario’s mission. Sustain Ontario’s STAFF implement the strategic directions informed by the Membership and set by the Board of Directors.

Team

Carolyn Webb

Ontario Edible Education Network Coordinator

Carolyn has coordinated the Ontario Edible Education Network, a community of practice that is working to connect children and youth with healthy food systems, since 2013. In this role she brings together individuals and groups to share resources, ideas, and experience; coordinates joint projects; and supports efforts across the province to get children and youth eating, growing, cooking, celebrating, and learning about healthy, local and sustainably produced food. As Farm to Cafeteria Canada’s Regional Lead for Farm to School in Ontario, Carolyn supports students and school communities to make informed food choices while contributing to vibrant, sustainable, economically viable regional food systems that support the health of people, place and planet.

Carolyn studied Environmental Science at the University of Guelph and received her Masters degree in Adult Education and Community Development from OISE, University of Toronto. She currently spends her free time keeping up with 2 young boys and helping them develop a love for good food.

Board

Bridget King

Bridget is a Registered Dietitian at Public Health Sudbury & Districts. Bridget developed an interest in healthy sustainable food systems while completing a BSc in Environmental Science. Bridget has been working in public health for over 10 years and focuses on creating healthy food and nutrition environments. This provides her with the opportunity to work with several community-based food initiatives and to co-chair the Ontario Dietitians in Public Health Food Systems Work Group. Bridget loves spending time with her family and enjoying the beautiful outdoors of Northern Ontario.