October 2013 Community Meeting Minutes

Thank you to all who attended the October 2013 Toronto Youth Food Policy Community Meeting! We are looking forward to seeing old and newcomers back out at the next one in early December.

Attached are the minutes and summaries of the presentations.

If you have any comments or questions, please email us at info@tyfpc.ca.

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TYFPC Community Meeting Minutes

Monday, October 07, 2013 18:00-20:00
Metro City Hall, Toronto

Preamble: Thank you to all who attended the October 2013 Toronto Youth Food Policy Community Meeting! We are looking forward to seeing old and newcomers back out at the next one in early December. If you have any comments or questions regarding the meeting, please email us at info@tyfpc.ca.

Workshop with Ross Curtner

Ross is currently the Knowledge Exchange Coordinator at Community Food Centres Canada. Ross’s passion for sustainable and equitable food systems started with his work on The McGill Food Systems Project, where he helped to maximize the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the university food system.

  • Consider actors that all have an important role to play in shaping the GTA food system in a positive way.
  • Suggestions put forth by community members:
    • Youth
    • Communities (work together on community gardens, activities, markets etc. that bring together the community and advocate for better food in their communities — Accessible, Available, Adequate, Appropriate, Agencies as actors)
    • Structural engineers
    • Urban planners
    • Businesses (there are businesses and revenue-generating organizations of all shapes and sizes that can be founded or are already working towards a better food system)
    • Policy makers (Canada needs a national food policy)
    • Consumers (vote with your dollar, even, within reason, when it is the less convenient option)
    • Media (as a source of information and transparency)
    • Citizens as the public
    • Regulatory agencies (enabling citizens and food producers of all sizes to compete fairly in the marketplace)
    • Government (better social services, politicians, policy and regulation)
    • Foreign aid
  • Encourage people to consider interconnectedness among power structures.
  • Consider your own role (as a student, policy writer, urban farmer, community member etc.) and how your skills and perspective can contribute to positive change.

Keynote Presentation by Sasha McNicoll

Sasha McNicoll is a graduate of the Master of Environmental Studies program at York University and former Vice Chair of the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council. Sasha has worked for Greenpeace International in the past and started her own youth policy-driven group, the Food Secure Canada Youth Caucus, and shares her tips about finding your niche in the food system.

  • Finding your niche in the food movement (advice on getting involved when it seems like there are few opportunities).
    • Understand what your skill set is and what your interests are first. This is going to be the basis of marketing yourself. Marketing yourself means contributing to the food system in a way that leverages your unique skills. Look for opportunities and take what comes your way and is relevant.
    • Good at networking, organized? Work with Policy, Advocacy
    • Computer skills, detail-oriented, logical? Project Coordinator, IT Specialist
    • Want to be outside? Farming
    • What are your strengths in these fields listed above?
      • Multilinguial?
      • Creative?
      • Good with kids?
      • A good public speaker?
      • An amazing researcher?
      • Hyper-organized, management-oriented?
      • Critical thinker?
      • Chef?
      • Have a green thumb?
  • Best way to do this is get involved and see what you like and don’t like:
    • Hear and see the actions of your peers as ideas
    • What is it that you love about food and what kind of work do you enjoy most?
    • What kinds of accomplishments make you feel the proudest?
    • What kind of work environment do you prefer? Computers vs. dirt or both!
    • What makes for a good workday for you?
    • Which specific food issues do you care about most? What do you want to contribute to bettering?
      • Examples: Labour issues, biotechnology, distribution, community activism, policy etc.
  • Networking.
    • Find important organizations and reach out to them. Be curious about others and what they do. What are their career stories? There paths to where they are now?
      • Sign up for their newsletters
      • Be on LinkedIn
      • Go to their events
      • Go to food-related conferences
      • Create a list of contacts from these organizations and seek them out. (Check them off your list when you’ve spoken with them, learned from them, and they know who you are.)
      • Follow them on social media for updates
      • Volunteer with them
  • Go on “Field Trips”.
      • Identify organizations, companies or training opportunities you want to explore
      • Write a list of what you’d like to learn
      • Find a contact in the organization and set up a meeting
      • Bring a notebook
    • Questions to ask when on a field trip:
      • On a typical day in this position, what do you do?
      • What do you like most/least about this work?
      • What knowledge and skills are necessary for this work?
      • What is your personal career path to where you are now?
      • What advice would you give to people entering this field?
      • Is there demand for people in this field?
      • What are some related fields I can explore?
  • Now, get (more) educated after researching fields via field trips.
  • Get a job.
    • Learn how to format a resume.
    • Learn how to write a cover letter.
      • If you can do this well, Sasha’s experience is that approx. 50% of applicants to the same positions you are applying to do not know how to do this and consequently do not grab the attention of employers.
      • Be concise, get across who you are and why you can be an asset to that organization.
      • Tailor your resume and cover letter as one document to each specific job you are applying to.
      • Use the exact concepts and terms used in the job application you are applying to. Demonstrate how you enforce and display these attributes/skills.
    • Bring a portfolio of what you’ve done and bring materials (leave-behinds) to your interview that you think are relevant.
    • Seek out recommendation letters from past employers.
    • Be entrepreneurial and seek out funding to start your own organization or business.
    • Seek out smaller organization that you’ve volunteered with and networked with that would take you on, either as a NEW volunteer position to get your foot in the door or NEW part-time/full-time paid position via external funding.

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