Emma graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2016 with a Bachelor of Environmental Studies. She is currently the Logistics Coordinator at Two Roads Logistics and Co-Chair of the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council.
With a passion for re-naturing cities and an enthusiasm for food because of its connection to human health and environmental sustainability, she hopes to bring more fresh food and nature to cities through urban agriculture and rooftop gardens. In her current position, she hopes to learn how to increase transparency and make more sustainable decisions along the supply chain. Emma loves spreadsheets, cats, and pesto and in her free time, she likes to explore the great outdoors. She is also a podcast addict so please share with her your favourite shows!
Melinda is Co-Chair of the Council, and cares deeply about building a food system that adequately addresses issues of poverty and food insecurity in Toronto. Her love for food and its ability to foster connections to community and culture drive her desire to make a real and lasting impact on the way that people experience and engage with their food system. As a current Masters in Planning student at the University of Toronto, Melinda is interested in using city planning as a tool to reshape systems that perpetuate social inequities that individuals and families experience through their local food systems. She has previously worked in agricultural and livelihood development projects in Sri Lanka and Vancouver and has a specific interest in the relationships that immigrants and racialized communities have with food.
Maria believes that food is a fundamental human right that should be upheld in Canada. As Vice-Chair, Maria hopes to host engaging and enriching events that connect people to their ideal paths within the food-justice world. Maria intends to empower youth to become food justice leaders in Toronto through her active role as co-president and founder of Ryerson Students for Food Security. Her background in Food and Nutrition BASc, Sociology Minor and Food Security Studies certification shape her passion for social change and goals of food systems improvement. Maria has experience working in urban agriculture and holds a certificate in market gardening/farming from the Ryerson Urban Farm. In her free time, Maria enjoys travelling, baking, recipe developing, vegetable gardening, and adding to her houseplant collection.
Rav SinghCommunications Lead
Rav aims to empower individuals and communities to engage in their local food systems. She is interested in exploring relationships and intersections between food, cultural identity and aspects of urban society, including urban food security, food justice and sustainable urban planning. Rav is an urban farmer and educator, helping youth discover their passion for growing! She is also involved in food policy work on a national level, helping to mobilize youth and advance the dialogue around food security issues across the nation. In her free time, Rav enjoys exploring cuisines and restaurants in the suburbs – which, in her opinion, is where all the great food is!
Erika DupuisOperations Lead
Erika believes that youth engagement is central to equitable and sustainable food systems that promote affordable and nutritious food. Erika’s current work focuses on 2S and LGBTQIA+ youth food insecurity and housing first strategies. Erika is a recent graduate of the Ryerson Master of Social Work program and has previously worked in harm reduction, youth justice, and research/policy development. In their free time, Erika loves to catch up on her (many) podcasts and TV shows.
Crystal FungFundraising Co-Lead
Crystal is a Fundraising Co-Lead for the 2019/2020 TYFPC.
Zartasha ZainabFundraising Co-Lead
Zartasha recently completed her Honours Bachelor of Science with a double major in Health Sciences and Psychology at the University of Toronto. During her time at UofT, she organized various fundraisers, events, campaigns and panels around global humanitarian issues on campus and within the community ranging from winterization, famine appeal, orphan sponsorship and genocide awareness as well as creating safe spaces for students to have conversations. Zartasha enjoys working on social causes to help alleviate human suffering and enhance health and well being both at a social/political level as well as at an individual level. Her majors in Health Sciences furthermore enhanced her understanding of various health paradigms and humanitarian issues using holistic models which included both disease prevention and health promotion at the individual level and within a community.
These past two years, Zartasha has been in various critical conversations pertaining to food in relation to health. Whether it was during her time working with the student union to have conversations with students facing food insecurity, or whether it was cultural culinary practices shaping health by children of immigrant families including processed foods, convenient foods, or genetically modified foods and its impact on health issues as well as its psychological and social impacts. Zartasha also had an opportunity to work with the City Councillor on issues related to food security. She hopes that through working with the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council, she is able to have an enhanced understanding of food and its impact on physical and mental health amongst immigrant communities and engage in critical conversations with the community.
Sheldomar ElliottNetworking Co-Lead
Sheldomar is passionate about food justice work that tackles issues around food insecurity and achieving food sovereignty for marginalized communities. His focus is on how Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities are able to acquire food sovereignty within our current food system which continues to oppress these exact peoples. As a Ryerson University student studying Environment and Urban Sustainability, he recognizes the urgency needed to change and/or reform our food system through policy and advocacy work to ensure a sustainable one for years to come. Sheldomar has experience in organizing food events that bring together food activists and champions from around the GTA to facilitate discussion around what the future of food could look like through an equitable and anti-oppressive lens while remaining inclusive to folks of varying identities. On his free time, he loves to travel the world and enjoys the simplest joy of being present with his friends, family, and life.
Devika ParsaudNetworking Co-Lead
Devika has graduated from York University’s School of Health Policy and Management with a Masters in Health specializing in Health Policy & Equity. She has also completed an Honours Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology and Health Studies from the University of Toronto. Devika is interested in the relationship between the social determinants of health and the political economy. She is focused on bringing awareness and advocating for change within Toronto’s food system. Highlighting issues such as; food insecurity and the importance of sustainability. She is interested in community initiatives, outreach programs, and public policy. She has goals of exploring social injustices and being a part of interventions and change for a more equitable healthy society.
Jane LawEducation Co-Lead
Jane is passionate about using food as a tool to build solidarity across difference in communities. Jane sees food as essential to helping communities build resiliency, which she hopes to explore further as she pursues a Masters in Urban Planning at Ryerson University. Jane believes that reshaping ideas around food as a commodity and shifting perspectives of what spaces are “appropriate” for agriculture is key to building equitable, inclusive, culturally appropriate and accessible food systems. In the past year, she has worked as a facilitator in community kitchens, exploring storytelling as a medium in building solidarity. Outside of school, Jane enjoys dancing, bouldering, baking, and walking around the city. Through the TYFPC, Jane hopes to connect and engage with individuals passionate about food issues in our city.
Sophie LauEducation Co-Lead
Sophie is an Education-Co Lead for the 2019/2019 TYFPC.
Kaitlin RizarriAdvocacy Co-Lead
Kaitlin is a fourth year law-major with a focus in social policy studying at Ryerson University. She has a particular interest in social justice and food security. Through her work at an Indigenous criminal law firm, Kaitlin witnessed racial inequalities at systematic levels, and noticed that food insecurity was a major factor within the criminal justice system. Migrants and racialised folks were impacted disproportionately, and this sparked Kaitlin to look into food insecurity within the Filipinx community. Kaitlin is currently learning how colonial land displacement accounts for human disconnect to food, sensuality, and community. Additionally, Kaitlin does work for Maggie’s Toronto Sex Workers Action Project as a Board Member, the Centre for Safer Sex and Sexual Violence Support as a coordinator, as well as for Meal Exchange as the Student Feeding Change Coordinator. While her passion work focuses on centralized food systems, she enjoys developing policies for non-profit organizations.
Mary ShinAdvocacy Co-Lead
From farms in rural Nepali villages to the rocky soils of North York, Mary believes that food is a fundamental human right that has the capacity to nourish us and foster connection. Her experience with obtaining her permaculture training in Nepal, working as an urban farmer and community garden animator in Toronto, and background in non-profit organizations spurred her interest in further understanding the intersections between food security, sustainability, and climate change. Mary completed her Masters in Public Policy and currently works as a policy advisor researching energy resilience in the face of climate change. She’s excited to bridge her knowledge of policy with food security. In her spare time, you might be able to spot her dancing with her headphones on the TTC, stuffing her face with brunch, and/or scaling a rockclimbing wall.
jade guthrieAdvocacy Co-Lead
jade believes in the power of food as a meeting point – as a tool that creates space for people to come together. jade’s day job as a community kitchen facilitator gives her freedom to explore that space in relationship with communities across the city – cooking, eating, and learning together. Her background in social work brings an anti-oppressive, critical lens to the work she does around food, with a focus on engaging with food justice and sovereignty movements in meaningful ways. She is particularly interested in how the stories we tell (both ourselves and others) about food can be mobilized to build community. A few other things that she’s interested in include radical social policy, wine (both theoretical and practical dimensions), and dancehall music. Outside of that, you can usually find her eating dumplings, complaining about her allergies, and/or fantasizing about being able to pull off bangs.