List of Invited Speakers

February 27: Session 1
"Policy and the Food System Panel"
-An Analysis of Policy Effects on Shaping a Sustainable Food System
Fiona Cubitt, "BC AgriFoods--A Strategy for Growth"
Senior Manager, Industry Development, BC Ministry of Agriculture.  Architect of the BC Ministry of Agriculture's Food Strategy.
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Dr Fiona Cubitt is currently the Senior Manager of Industry Development at the BC Ministry of Agriculture.  Dr Cubitt leads a team of industry specialists who liaise between BC’s agriculture sectors and the Ministry, providing expert advice and information to industry and government, identifying commodity trends and risks, and developing strategies to address them.  The team also manages a number of industry trusts and funding initiatives.

Dr Cubitt led the development of the BC Ministry of Agriculture’s Agrifoods Strategy in 2012, a 5 year plan to build upon BC’s competitive advantages in high quality, high value foods to expand domestic and international markets and increase the competitiveness of the industry.

Dr Cubitt sits on the Certified Organic Associations of BC as ex-officio and has led and provided insight to number of legislative and policy changes.

Dr Cubitt has a background in applied fisheries and aquaculture research and has worked in Scotland Norway, Sweden, Italy, and on the east and west coasts of North America.  After moving to British Columbia, Canada in 2002, Dr Cubitt increased her focus on the social concerns with aquaculture, which led her to her role as the Ministry of Agriculture’s Aquaculture and Community Specialist.  That role, like her current position drew on her desire to facilitate solutions which enable sustainable agriculture and seafood industries within BC.

Wilf Keller, “Opportunities for Saskatchewan to Contribute to Global Food Security”
”President and CEO Agwest Bio

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As President and CEO, Wilf Keller oversees Ag-West Bio’s mandate to support the growth and development of a vibrant agriculture-based bioeconomy in Saskatchewan.
Wilf was born in Melville, Saskatchewan. He attended the University of Saskatchewan, receiving a doctoral degree in Crop Science in 1972. He studied as a postdoctoral scientist in Germany. Wilf was employed as a Research Scientist with Agriculture Canada in Ottawa from 1973-89. During this period he contributed to the establishment of a plant biotechnology research program which he chaired from 1980-89. In 1990, he accepted a position with the National Research Council of Canada in Saskatoon and served as Leader for canola biotechnology research until 1999 when he assumed the position of Research Director. In October 2008, Wilf was employed as President and CEO of Genome Prairie and in 2010 he also accepted responsibilities for serving as President and CEO of Ag-West Bio Inc. In June 2012 Wilf was appointed as full time CEO and President of Ag-West Bio Inc.
Wilf has been actively involved in the development and application of biotechnologies for the genetic modification of crops. He has collaborated with numerous government, university and industry groups and has provided training for researchers in plant biotechnology. He has led major research initiatives on the application of genomics in canola improvement, the development of industrial bioproducts from vegetable oils, and production of bioactive natural products in plants. He has given many presentations and lectures on aspects of biotechnology including public awareness and public education.
Jill Hobbs, "Evolving Food Supply Chains: Policy Perspectives"
Professor, Department of Bioresources, Policy, Business and Economics, College of Agriculture and Bioresources, University of Saskatchewan

hobbs Dr. Jill E. Hobbs is a Professor in the Department of Bioresource Policy, Business & Economics at the University of Saskatchewan. Her research interests encompass food economics and supply chain economics and she has published widely on topics such as the economics of food safety, quality assurance and traceability, changing supply chain relationships in the agri-food sector, and consumer attitudes toward new food quality attributes. Dr. Hobbs holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.
February 27 Session: 2
Designing a Sustainable Food System - What are the Key Considerations in Shaping a Food System for the 21st Century?
Bill Reynolds,"Seven Breakthroughs to Achieve a Vibrant Local Food System"
Manager Local Food Policy and Planning, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development

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Bill Reynolds is presently the Manager of Local Food Policy and Planning with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. Formerly, Bill was the co-leader for the Ag-tourism Initiative for 8 years with Alberta Ag and the catalyst behind many successful regional cluster development projects, and regional food event workshops.

Prior to his foray into the agriculture realm, he was the Director of Tourism Product Development with Alberta Economic Development, and there for twelve years involved in regional & community tourism planning, as well as heritage and ecotourism attraction feasibility.

After 8 years with Edmonton’s municipal government, Bill gathered a wide range of experience in marketing, adult education, special event planning, heritage interpretation and volunteer management, as head of visitor services for Capital City Park and program director with the John Janzen Nature Centre.

With a Master of Science degree in Environmental Resources Interpretation and a Bachelor of Science in Ecology, Bill started his career as a park interpreter working for a UNESCO designated Nature Conservation Centre affiliated with McGill University, followed by a stint working for Parks Canada in Banff National Park.

A travel enthusiast who has taken 2 year long sabbaticals to travel, once with a back pack and once with his family of 4 in a trailer, Bill is inspired every day with sunrises, orange infused willow trees, birdsongs, and children’s curiosity.

Lauren Baker, "Municipal Food Policy from the Ground Up: The Toronto Experience"
Coordinator, Toronto Food Policy Council

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Lauren Baker is the Coordinator of the Toronto Food Policy Council at Toronto Public Health and the City of Toronto. Her past work includes being the founding director of Sustain Ontario - the Alliance for Healthy Food and Farming. Lauren has consulted on many farm to fork food systems initiatives – from farmers markets to food charters. In 1997, Lauren co-founded Toronto's first certified organic urban farm, which led to the creation of FoodShare Toronto’s urban agriculture program. Lauren teaches at the University of Toronto, is a research associate with Ryerson University's Centre for Studies in Food Security, and has a PhD in Environmental Studies from York University. She is the author of Corn meets Maize: Food Movements and Markets in Mexico.

Lunch Speaker:
Global and National Perspectives in Advancing Food Security
Dr. Hugo Melgar-Quinonez, Director, McGill Institute for Global Food Security
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Dr Melgar-Quiñonez is currently the Director of the Institute for Global Food Security. As the Margaret A. Gilliam Faculty Scholar in Food Security he holds an appointment in the School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition at McGill University in Montreal. A Guatemalan and a USA citizen, Dr Melgar-Quinonez moved to McGill University in September of 2012, after 9 years of work as a professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Ohio State University. Previous to his appointment in Ohio, he worked as a researcher in public health nutrition at the University of California in Davis and at the Mexican Institute of Public Health. Dr. Melgar-Quiñonez holds a degree in Medicine from both the Friedrich Schiller University in Germany and the National University of San Carlos in Guatemala. He also received his doctoral degree in sciences from the Friedrich Schiller University in Germany. In addition to his academic appointments, Dr Melgar-Quinonez has worked as a consultant on food security in several countries in Latin America, and maintains strong collaborative relationships with the United Nations Food and agriculture Organization (FAO), among other international institutions and development agencies. His research program on the assessment of household food security includes over 20 countries around the globe.

February 27: Session 3 "Building Food Secure Communities"

Rachel Engler-Stringer, "Towards Implementation of the Saskatoon Food Charter"
Asst. Professor, Community Health and Epidemiology, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan
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Dr. Rachel Engler-Stringer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology in the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. She has a doctorate in Nutrition and her research interests include community food security, food environments and food access, food system sustainability, health promotion, and community-based and participatory research. Dr Engler-Stringer is currently a Principal Investigator on a large multi-year study funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation called Smart Cities, Healthy Kids: Food Environment that is characterizing the food environment in the City of Saskatoon. 

Karen Archibald, Dana Folkerson "Urban poor and their role in a vibrant food system - Programs and Services in Saskatoon, Regina and other SK locations"

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Karen Archibald is Executive Director of  CHEP Good Food Inc. . Under her leadership CHEP has developed  comprehensive community based  food security initiatives including children’s nutrition programs, community gardens and the Good Food Box program,  a rural/urban alternative food links and a core neighbourhood food store business plan, and stores for seniors and neighbourhood markets..  The  financial sustainability of the organization is due to Karen’s diversifying of income sources, development of revenue generating activities.  (I would like to say something about our budget growing 10 times during my service to CHEP)

 Her education has been in health and sociology where her interest in community development began.  Karen nurtures the organization’s approach at understanding and addressing root causes of food insecurity and at working in partnership with communities and institutions.

 Karen believes that  food is fundamental for strong families and strong communities.  When families can ensure a roof over their head and a meal on the table, they are not only stronger as a family, they are better able to engage in community to build healthier sustainable community.

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Dana Folkerson has been the Executive Director of REACH since 2008. Her career has included working in municipal government, health care, non-profit organizations, private business and provincial government. While working in these various areas her experience includes community and social development, food security development, facility operations, sport, culture, and recreation, volunteer development, fund raising, non-profit governance and public participation, policy research and development and human and financial resource management. Currently she is the co-chair of Food Secure Saskatchewan (A volunteer organization).  Throughout Dana’s career Food Security for children and families has always been a priority and she continues to work to improve the lives for all Saskatchewan residents.


February 27: Session 4 "Distribution - Building a Start-up Distribution System for Small Producers"
Mike Furi, “The value chain project from a buyer’s perspective” (Branch Manager, Manitoba/Saskatchewan Wholesale Division TGP, Saskatchewan Director Canadian Produce Marketing Association)

Manger of Procurement & Pricing TGP ( the Grocery People Ltd) a wholly owned subsidiary of Federate Co-op

40 years in the wholesale food industry with 22 years in Produce - all in Saskatchewan, by choice.

Executive board member of the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA)

Chair of Government working group for the CPMA - working directly with industry & the Federal Government


Connie Achtymichuk, “The value chain from a project coordinator’s perspective”
Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture and Bryan Kosteroski, Value Chain Specialist, Agriculture Council of Saskatchewan.

Bryan has been with the Agriculture Council of Saskatchewan for the past 8 year working within the Canadian Agri-Food Value Chain Programs and presently oversees the operations  within the Saskatchewan Grocery Retail  & Foodservice Value Chain Initiative. Bryan has been in the Food Industry for the past 22 years  and has extensive experience in product development process , developing brand & private label programming  along with point of sales programming. Bryan was also the Operations manager for a dry goods food co-packing company .

Dan Erlandson, “The value chain from a producer’s perspective”
Spring Creek Market


February 28: Session 1
“Institutional Food Service and Food Safety – Addressing the Regulatory Barriers”
Emily Murphy, “What is CanadaGAP, and how can it help achieve compliance with food safety requirements?”
Canada GAP Program Coordinator
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Emily Murphy has been working with the CanadaGAP Program in various roles since 2007 and took on the position of Program Coordinator in 2011. She has a science degree with a major in Earth and Atmospheric Science. Emily also has a background in education and is responsible for all program training activities.  She coordinates issues for the CanadaGAP Stakeholder Advisory Committee (previously called the Technical Working Group) as well as working on CanadaGAP program material. She graduated with a B.Sc. in Environmental Science from the University of Guelph in 2005 and with a B.Ed. from Nipissing University in 2007.

Noella Leydon “Barriers to purchasing local food in healthcare”
Food program supervisor, Saskatoon Health Region's Safe Communities branch
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As Director, Noella Leydon is responsible with her team for the daily meal service at Saskatoon’s three acute care hospitals and Parkridge Centre (over 1,000 patients and residents per day) plus retail food services as well as food purchasing for 39 long term care homes and integrated facilities. Noella is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan with a major in Dietetics and Nutrition and completed a Food Service Management Dietetic Internship at the Misericordia Hospital in Edmonton. Noella is a Fellow of the Executive Training for Research Application (EXTRA). The majority of her career has been in health care food service management, with additional experience as a provincial Abbott/Ross sales representative, SIAST Food Service Management   instructor, U of S lecturer in the Division of Nutrition and Dietetics, College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, and as a dietetic consultant.

Noella’s professional interests include reducing malnutrition in the community, hospitals and long term care, increasing customer satisfaction with health care food service, influencing the Ministry of Education to provide core curriculum skills training in food preparation and nutrition knowledge in Saskatchewan elementary/junior high school classrooms, maintaining a sustainable food supply in Saskatchewan (member of the Saskatchewan Food Summit organizing committee) and ensuring a supply of Registered Dietitians and Journeyperson Cooks in Saskatchewan.

Noella is currently Co-Chair of the Advisory Committee for Professional Affairs for Dietitians of Canada, a member of the Saskatchewan Dietitians Association (SDA), Dietitians of Canada (DC) and a mentor with Leadership Saskatoon.

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Michael Newell is a Public Health Inspector (PHI) with the Saskatoon Health Region and has been in this position since September, 2001. 

Born and raised in Truro, Nova Scotia, Michael attended the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, graduating in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, majoring in Environmental Biology.  He followed this up with attending the British Columbia Institute of Technology in Vancouver, graduating in 2001 with a Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health.  Having now lived on both the east and west coasts, Michael decided to move to the interior of the country and settled in his first posting in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, before being transferred to the Saskatoon office. 

As a Public Health Inspector, Michael has been involved with many varied programs, from taking on supervisory roles to teaching food handling courses to teaching parents how to properly and safely buckle children in their car seats. 


Erin Hiebert, “When regulations are barriers”
Manager, Skill Development and Food Safety Programs, Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre Inc.
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Erin Hiebert, Manager, Skills Development and Food Safety Programs

  • Erin has her B.Sc. in Agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan (major in Food Science minor in Agri-business).
  • She has been with the Food Centre since September, 2005
  • Currently manages the Food Safety and Quality Program and oversees the GMPs on-line and HACCP on-line Programs
  • Erin has knowledge in HACCP, Organic Certification, Natural Health Products (Site and Product Licensing) and GFSI Programs
  • She has trained thousands of employees and conducted many food safety related workshops since joining the Food Centre
  • Her main duties include assisting processors in developing, implementing and maintaining food safety systems.  This is done through on-site visits and training sessions.
  • Erin also assisted in launching the HACCP on-line and GMPs on-line programs.  These two programs are very unique and offer assistance on a global level.
  • Erin is also an ASQ certified HACCP Auditor
February 28, Session 2
First Nations and Potential for Local Food Production-Strategies and Initiatives
Priscilla Settee, “Indigenous Food Sovereignty”
Professor, Department of Native Studies, College of Arts and Science, University of Saskatchewan
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Dr. Priscilla Settee is an award-winning Professor in the Department of Native Studies at the University of Saskatchewan and a member of Cumberland House Cree Nations from northern Saskatchewan. Settee is a board member for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a Faculty Fellow at the Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Research at the University of Alberta and a Research Fellow at the Adivasi Academy in Tejgadh, Gujarat, India and the Department of Science and Technology in Development Education at the University of South Africa, Pretoria. Settee has published many journal articles and book chapters. Her second edited book(Coteau Publishing) called The Strength of Women, Âhkemêyimowak(2011) documents the stories of women who have struggled against negative forces to create a world of peace, harmony and justice for their communities.  Settee’s research interests include Indigenous women’s rights, Indigenous Food Sovereignty, prisoner’s and youth rights.  She  served as the Chair and Co-Chair for Oskayak High School (Saskatoon’s only Aboriginal High School) from 1996-2012.

In 2008 Settee was awarded a Global Citizen’s award by Saskatchewan Council for International Co-operation and was twice nominated for a teaching excellence award by her students.  In 2012 she was awarded the University of Saskatchewan Provost Award for teaching excellence in Aboriginal Education and was also awarded the Queen Elizabeth Silver Jubilee award in 2012 for contributions to Canada.  Settee is a fabric artist whose work is part of the Permanent Collection for the Saskatchewan Arts Board. Priscilla is the proud kohkum (grandmother) of her nosim(granddaughter) Nya Lily.


Joe Munroe,  Muskoday Indigenous Gardening
Food Movement
Larry Lenton, “Economic Sustainability of Greenhouses in the North”
Director Outreach and Collaboration Science and Technology Branch, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
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Larry Lenton has worked with the federal government for almost 30 years in various technical and management positions.  In the early years as an agricultural economist Larry assessed the economics of irrigated agricultural crops, as well as the financial viability of soil conservation practices on the prairie landscape.  Working for the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA) under Agriculture Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) at the time, Larry developed, delivered, and evaluated many of the PFRA programs of the era that included National Soil Conservation Program, Permanent Cover Program, Green Plan and Greencover Canada.  Today, Larry is the Director of Outreach and Collaboration in the newly formed Science and Technology Branch of AAFC, in the Prairie Boreal Plain of western Canada. The focus of his work is on technology transfer of the science that supports beneficial farming practices to the agriculture sector.  Larry resides in Regina, Saskatchewan.  

John Stewart,“Northern Food Security in Saskatchewan—what we can learn from the Manitoba Model”
Student, International Centre for Northern Governance and Development, University of Saskatchewan

jstewart John Stewart is currently completing his Masters in Northern Governance and Development with a focus on northern food security.  He has lived most of his  life in Northern Saskatchewan in and around La Ronge. His area of study stems from his personal experience with higher food prices in the north, adding to the higher prevalence of food insecurity in this region. He will be presenting key points from his White Paper in which he examines the Manitoba model (the Northern Healthy Foods Initiative (NHFI)) and discusses the potential for a similar approach in Saskatchewan.  This White Paper was directed to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations and completed for Dr. Robert Bone (NORD 898.3). John is a strong proponent of community gardens and small-scale greenhouses that act to re-localize our food systems. More recently he has become involved in the production of organic wild rice in  northern Saskatchewan.  Currently, he is  involved with a not-for-profit social organization in Saskatoon that promotes programs to increase  access to healthy, nutritious foods. In the future, he hopes to take his experience from working with this organization along with his degree and start an organization with similar goals in Saskatchewan’s North
Lunch Speaker" Saskatoon Regional Food System Project"
Yvonne Hanson and Denise Kouri
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Yvonne Hanson is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Saskatoon Regional Food System Assessment. Yvonne’s background includes work in restorative justice, community development and various agriculture and food initiatives, including involvement with farmers markets, collective kitchens, community gardens and being a WOOF’R (worker on an organic farm). Her work at the Prairie Women’s Health Centre of Excellence has focused on gender-based analysis and research that explores food security and its social and health dimensions. Raised on a grain farm, she now resides in Saskatoon with her family.

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Denise Kouri is the coordinator for the Saskatoon Regional Food System Project. She is a policy analyst, researcher and evaluation consultant based in Saskatoon, working on topics in health and social development. She also holds a part-time appointment as Evaluation and Research Coordinator with the University of Saskatchewan’s THRP, a health promotion project in Mozambique. She has an inter-disciplinary background, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and a Master of Arts in Sociology and Social Studies. 

Denise is the former director of the National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy in Montreal. Before that she was director of the Canadian Centre for Analysis of Regionalization and Health, a national organization based in Saskatoon. Her career includes previous positions with the Government of Saskatchewan, the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan. 

Her publications include articles and reports on health care, governance, leadership, evaluation and social development. She has also produced workshops, videos and web-based educational tools.  She is a former board member of the Saskatoon Community Clinic, the North-South Institute and CUSO.  English is her first language, and she also speaks French and Portuguese.

February 28, Session 3
Land Use Planning and Food Production; three models
Session Chair, Tim Ouellette, Saskatchewan Tourism

Glen Grismer, “The Blumenthal Initiative”
Former director of Land Use Planning, RM Corman Park

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Glen Grismer is a Professional Associate in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Saskatchewan focusing recently on Professional Planning Practice, developing courses in Research and Field Methods and Applied Planning Projects, and teaching Sustainable Cities and Regions. His other careers included conservation work with the fledgling Meewasin Valley Authority in the 1980s and many years of environmental and community planning work throughout western Canada. Glen was Director of Planning for the RM of Corman Park and Saskatoon Planning District for six years until 2011. Two accomplishments at Corman Park were a thorough, first-time, land use inventory carried out in partnership with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and a small class project that resulted in the “Blumenheim Bylaw”, a different approach to preserving a traditional agricultural community. These accomplishments in the context of non-agricultural development pressure in a booming urban region and significant governance malfunction are the basis of Glen’s views on both the importance and uncertainty of land use regulation to enhanced food sustainability through local food systems.

Janine de la Salle, Land Use Plannin for Sustainable Regional and Urban Food Systems
Senior Planner, Food and Agriculture Systems | Sustainable Communities Division, Golder Associates Ltd.

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Janine de la Salle is one of Canada’s leading professionals in the emerging field of sustainable and resilient food and agriculture systems.  As a senior planner with HB Lanarc-Golder, Janine works with municipalities, developers, and communities to plan and design food systems that create community health and wealth while respecting and restoring ecological systems. Janine brings multi-disciplinary teams together to develop a wide-range of projects including food system strategies and policies, guidebooks for local governments, farm parks, food hub feasibility and design, local food economy assessments, agriculture strategies, and agricultural urbanist neighbourhood designs. Janine is frequently invited to teach and speak about sustainable food and agriculture systems, and is a co-editor and contributor to: Agricultural Urbanism, Handbook for Building Sustainable Food and Agriculture Systems in 21st Century Cities.  As recognition of these efforts, in 2010 Janine was awarded the CIP President’s award for Young Planner (2010).

Mary Beckie, Assoc. “Land use policy changes as a driver to food security in the urban, peri-urban area in Edmonton”
Professor of Government Studies, Faculty of Extension, University of Alberta

beckie Dr. Mary Beckie is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Extension at the University of Alberta and holds an interdisciplinary doctorate in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development from the University of Saskatchewan. Over the past 15 years, her work has focused on sustainable community development and community-based resource management, particularly as relates to agriculture and local food systems, and the roles of local government and the social economy. Mary's research on these topics is predominantly interdisciplinary and in collaboration with community partners, and has been based in western Canada, the mid west USA, the UK, Cuba, Sri Lanka and India. During 2012 Mary served as vice chair of the Advisory Committee for Edmonton's Food and Agriculture Strategy,  which was recently approved by City Council. This was a unique opportunity to take part in formulating an urban agri-food strategy that incorporated land use planning - possibly the only municipality in Canada to do so thus far.