Mary believes that food is a fundamental human right that has the capacity to nourish us as individuals and as communities. 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 and program advisor for Indigenous Education. 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, yelling yum as she eats something delicious, or rock climbing.
Whether you find him listening to 90’s R&B, scouring through his Magic the Gathering card collection, or recreating plant-based versions of his favourite snacks, Sheldomar inherently believes in the power of food as a vehicle for change while simultaneously being able to comfort, nourish, and heal us. With years of experience in food justice work and a background in community support roles, Sheldomar brings an anti-oppressive and community-centered lens to all of the work he is involved in. He is passionate about food justice, tackling issues of food insecurity and helping achieve food sovereignty for marginalized communities. As a member of the Black Food Sovereignty Alliance, he works to support and amplify the work of Black communities in Toronto towards juster, alternate food systems. Sheldomar also co-organized Soul Food Project TO: Community Cookbook as a means of hearing from Black youth in Toronto about the recipes, food stories, and discussions of how food comforts us during difficult times.
Melinda is Vice 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
Alexandra LambropoulosOperations Lead
Alexandra is passionate about the arts, the environment, urban planning, and the creative ways that they intersect to enhance our cities and support the resilience of our communities. She is pursuing her Master of Science in Planning at the University of Toronto. She believes that having equitable, culturally appropriate, and sustainable food systems is a key part to having healthy cities and communities. In her free time, Alexandra enjoys baking and travelling, taking photographs, and working on her podcast Urban Limitrophe.
Chris SunAdvocacy Co-Lead
Chris is a disabled, queer, settler of East Asian heritage studying Political Science, Critical Studies in Equity & Solidarity and Human Geography at the University of Toronto. They are deeply invested in food as a means of community building and believe that the creation of equitable and culturally sustaining food systems, cannot occur without the active dismantlement of oppressive beliefs and systemic structures – white supremacy, racism, patriarchy, colonialism, and capitalism especially – that perpetuate poverty and food insecurity within the city. In their spare time, they can be found in the company of close friends, going for long-ish bike rides and learning new recipes with kinfolk
Em DialAdvocacy Co-Lead
Em is a grower, educator, and poet born and raised on Ohlone lands, currently known as the San Francisco Bay Area of California. They hold a Bachelors in Biology, a Masters in Environmental Communication from Stanford University, and are the founder of Yoyu Aquaponics located in Downsview Park. She is excited to push for an uncompromisingly just food system this year as part of the TYFPC’s Advocacy Committee. In her free time, Em loves cooking, reading, rock climbing, and brewing beer.
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 food educator 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 binge-watching reality TV.
Deb AguillonCommunications Co-Lead
Deb (she/her) is originally from Nahuat Pipil and Lenca Territory Cuscatlan/Kuskatan, known as El Salvador. She moved to Tkaronto/Toronto in 2011 to study Anthropology and International Development Studies at York University. She is passionate about food justice and wants to address the issues of food insecurity and inequality & racism in our food systems. She is also interested in the relationship between food and identity, and believes in the importance of amplifying Black, Indigenous, and other marginalized voices when talking about issues related to food systems. She currently works as a Communications professional and hopes to use her skills to support the TYFPC’s goals for 2021-2022. In her free time, Deb loves drawing cute illustrations, baking, playing guitar, and listening to nerdy podcasts.
Zartasha ZainabCommunications Co-Lead
Zartasha Zainab is the Communications Co-Lead at TYFPC. She studied at University of Toronto, majoring in Population Health and Psychology. She believes food security is a critical aspect of building healthy communities. She has done various community fundraisers, and organized food and clothing drives to support those needing critical aid. In her final year with the Scarborough Campus Student’s Union as the Equity Service Center Coordinator, she also became acquainted with the extreme issue of food insecurity affecting the student population. Her research in university included at-risk homelessness youth and invisible homelessness and research with the Toronto City Councillor in Scarborough Ward 25 through which she became acquainted with the food policy council, the food map and food deserts. She later became involved with the youth food policy council conducting workshops on food waste, food securities’ intersection with femininity, looking at experiences of refugees and single parent households, doing webinars on the intersection of food and environmentally friendly practices and food as a health issue. She also supported the publication of the Melange Creative Arts Journal. She is currently looking to support the team’s outreach capacity and activities, spread awareness, and build meaningful community engagement to support the food movement as the Communications Co-Lead.
Gabriella LippaEducation Co-Lead
Gabriella (she/her) is passionate about addressing the social determinants of health and understanding the intersectional lens affecting groups from accessing affordable and nutritious food. She believes change is possible through collaboration with a holistic, culturally-sensitive focused approach. She looks most forward to working with like-minded youth on the council and engaging with youth in the community during the TYFPC events this year. She is in her final year of her Bachelors of Science Nursing degree at X University. Her work is centered around child/youth rehabilitation, harm reduction, and patient advocacy. You can find Gabriella reading, playing soccer, baking banana chocolate chip cookies, swimming, or hiking with her dog in her free time.
Kaitlin RizarriEducation Co-Lead
Kaitlin is a Filipina, Mi’kmaw and mixed European medicine grower raised by Lands and waters of Treaty 19 territory (known as Caledon), and Tkaronto/Toronto. She is a gardener with Miinikaan and a self-apprenticed seed keeper. Her scholarly work follows suit, as she is currently a MA student at the University of Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education where her research explores the possibilities Filipinx/a/o food sovereignty within Turtle Island and medicine growing in Tkaronto. Kaitlin is very passionate about sharing growing knowledge in Tkaronto and Peel Regions, and sees growing food and Land stewardship as a vessel for BIPOC solidarities.
Winnie WangEducation Co-Lead
Winnie is interested in issues concerning food insecurity, environmental sustainability, and the relationship between food and mental health. Informed by their cinema studies and film programming background, they’re also passionate about forms of communication and policy that create positive influence across large populations. As the Education Co-Lead this year, they hope to use their experience working on publications towards the goal of sharing knowledge surrounding food justice widely. In their free time, they enjoy eating pasta and attending film festivals.
Sara QureshiFundraising Co-Lead
Stephanie ChartrandFundraising Co-Lead
Stephanie is a Metis person from the Red River Settlement. She completed a degree in Political Science that has given her the ability to critically think about government systems and larger theoretical frameworks. She has now moved onto a degree in Community Development where she hopes to gain a better insight on practical skills for working with communities through an anti-oppressive lens. Stephanie seeks to do research and development in restaurants as community hubs. She believes we can seek food justice through building a cooperative model for restaurants that have workers central to its operations and practice. She looks to imagine these cooperatives as a means for urban Indigenous peoples to reclaim land within cities and provide cultural and practical skills for their kin. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and reading books. Her favourite pastime is travelling and exploring restaurants she hasn’t tried before. Conversation over food is what brings joy to her everyday life.
Margaux WeinribNetworking Co-Lead
Margaux is an urban and cultural planner with a life mission to build just cities and spaces. Taking a human-centred approach, they ensure that a diversity of people and perspectives are reflected in their work. They are passionate about creating sustainable and equitable food systems, inclusive and vibrant public spaces, and using creativity and innovation to solve complex urban challenges. Their passion for food justice sparked during their Urban Planning degree at X University where they had the opportunities to research and write about complex challenges within the food system and potential solutions. Margaux looks forward to putting their ideas into action!
Rossen LeeNetworking Co-Lead
Rossen (she/her) is a Chinese, queer, settler originally from Attiwandaronia/Hamilton, Ontario. Since then, she moved to Tkaranto/Toronto in pursuit of an education, career, and youthful adventures. As a city girl through and through, Rossen is in love with the beauty, people, and potential that she is certain actually does exist in Toronto. Her focuses include supporting BIPOC-led initiatives, enacting a universal basic income system, and increasing social connectedness within communities. In her free time though, you can find her toiling over her sewing machine, playing board games, and maybe flying a kite if the wind is just right. An avid believer of love and friendship, she’s super excited to be working on some amazing projects with some fantastic peers for another year.