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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.

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. 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

Erin Beagle

Erin is the Executive Director for ‘Roots to Harvest’, a youth and food focused not-for-profit organization. A transplant to Thunder Bay, Erin grew up in Prince George, B.C. and for many years spent the warmer seasons in 100 Mile House, BC as Executive Director of a small (and wonderful!) outdoor school. After completing a B.Sc at the University of Victoria, Erin moved to Thunder Bay to complete her B.Ed, and in 2006 she moved to Thunder Bay permanently. Erin has been involved with provincial conversations and advocacy around food literacy, youth employment, food access, urban agriculture and municipal food strategies for the past 6 years. She has an active young family and can usually be found with dirt under her fingernails and wearing rubber boots under the boardroom table.