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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 2015 Sustain Ontario officially becomes an independent not-for-profit
  • 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
  • Sustain Ontario launches Vote ON Food campaign in 2011 that urgespolicymakers 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 convened by the Metcalf Foundation to explore the possibility of a cooperative, integrated network with the goal of transforming food and agriculture and a system-wide level

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.


Philip Groff, Ph.D


Phil joined Sustain Ontario in June of 2015, to lead the project of Tides Canada to incorporation as an independent not-for-profit organization. Since then he has assisted the new organization through its growing pains of recruiting a new board or directors, developing governance structures and organizational policies, procurement of necessary administrative, financial and legal supports, and provided supervision for all projects and programs at Sustain. Phil comes to Sustain with nearly fifteen years senior leadership experience in the not-for-profit sector. He has a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Toronto with a specialty in Human Problem Solving, Neuropsychology and Cognition and is also a credentialed evaluator with the Canadian Evaluation Society.

Carolyn Webb

Ontario Edible Education Network Coordinator

Carolyn has acted as the Ontario Edible Education Network Coordinator since 2013, when the Network received its first grant to support a paid coordinator. Prior to this, Carolyn worked as Programmes Manager for the Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy (CIELAP), where her roles included project management, fundraising, volunteer and intern coordination, communications, and strategic and operational planning. 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.

Shawna Moore

Network and Program Coordinator

Shawna joined Sustain Ontario in October 2016 as the Communication and Events Intern and transitioned in March 2017 to the Network and Program Coordinator.  She has a BA in Environmental Studies and a Post-Graduate degree in International Development. She worked with Building Roots in January 2016 to develop a proposal for the Ashbridge Estate: Community Learning Hub a space for ecological and agricultural learning. Shawna has also worked as an intern with Global Youth Volunteer Network (GYVN). During her time at GYVN she traveled to Brazil and El Salvador to grow and foster global partnerships. Shawna also volunteered with Oxfam Canada for several years, learning about fair trade campaigns, global food insecurity and gender equality.

Hayley Green

Events and Communication Coordinator

Hayley joined Sustain Ontario in May 2017 as the Communication and Events Intern. She has a BA in Psychology from the University of Windsor and a Post-graduate degree in International Development from Humber College. Hayley has extensive travel and work experience in Australia, the Philippines, South Korea and Tanzania.  She has over four years of experience working with youth in a leadership or mentorship role.  She was as an ESL teacher in South Korea, a Residential youth worker at New Beginnings and a Youth Mentor and Program Advisor at EQWIP Hubs in Tanzania. Each position held a heavy focus on planning events for youth either in the workplace or within their communities. In Tanzania, she launched a weekly Women’s club and English club for all participants of the employment and entrepreneurship program and planned weekly interactive focus groups, activities and events.  Hayley worked with Greenest City as a Market Coordinator for the Good Food Market in the summer of 2016, where she ran the weekly Good Food Market in Parkdale.


Janet Horner

Janet is Executive Director of the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance. The Alliance is charged with the implementation of the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Action Plan, a 10 year strategic plan for enhancing and growing the food and farming cluster of the Golden Horseshoe. A member of the Steering Committee for the last 2 years, Janet has served as the first Chair of the new Sustain Ontario Board of Directors. Janet and her husband Brian farm in Dufferin County where Janet is a municipal Councillor and Commissioner of the Niagara Escarpment Commission.