The Food Communities Network is a new bilingual pan-Canadian network.
Our focus is on the sharing of ideas, knowledge and experiences around building food resiliency in municipalities and communities across Canada and on Indigenous Territories.
We are a project on MakeWay’s shared platform, which provides operational supports, governance, and charitable expertise for changemakers. The shared platform enables more time and money to go towards achieving greater impact. MakeWay is a national charity that builds partnerships and solutions to help nature and communities thrive together.
Moe Garahan, Project Director
Moe has been working on food and farming issues in Ottawa since 1995. Focused on community development and community economic development approaches, she has facilitated the establishment of many ongoing community and regional food initiatives in Ottawa, (including Just Food) while supporting provincial and national food initiatives. Since 2004, she has been the Executive Director of Just Food, working with teams to integrate food access and food localism within the mixed urban and rural settings of the Ottawa region.
Nathalie McSween, Co-Coordinator
Nathalie has been working on food security issues since 2006 both as a local community leader and as an academic. Nathalie has extensive network coordination experience. From 2014 to 2020, she was the Executive Director of the Outaouais Roundtable on Hunger and Social development where she led, with the Roundtable’s members, the Food Rescue Initiative and the Community Hunger Mapping Initiative, amongst others.
From 2006 to 2014, Nathalie studied and learned from farmer movements and food leaders across the globe. Her Ph.D. thesis in Applied Social Science looked at the mobilization of farmers across scales in West Africa and her Master’s thesis looked at the impact of fair trade on local development in Burkina Faso. Nathalie is now a Postdoctoral Fellow at Saint Paul University and is a member of the team of researchers working on the SSHRC-funded research project “Civil Society and Social Movement Engagement in Food Systems Governance”.
Kathryn Lennon, Co-Coordinator
Kathryn (she/her) is honoured to support this new network as Co-Coordinator and looks forward to connecting and convening great minds from sea to sea to sea. She began working on urban food systems initiatives in 2009 by focusing on culturally appropriate practices in emergency food distribution and community garden networks in the Waterloo Region. From 2016-2018, as Principal Planner at the City of Edmonton, she led the implementation of fresh: the City of Edmonton’s Food & Urban Agriculture Strategy and supported the Edmonton Food Council. She has worked with a diversity of organizations and communities at the intersections of food and planning, cultural equity/inclusion, placemaking, public engagement, organizing, research and communications.
Kathryn holds a Masters of Arts in Planning from UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning, where she focused on grassroots youth-led placemaking in Vancouver’s Chinatown, and a Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo, where her thesis focused on food justice and the experiences of women of colour in local food organizing.
Kathryn was born and raised in Edmonton/Amiskwacîwâskahikan. Her maternal grandparents were once small-scale farmers and subsistence market vendors in Hong Kong, and her paternal ancestors left Ireland long ago during the famine. The acts of growing, cooking and sharing food and food knowledge mean many things to her; they are a way of honouring those who have come before, imagining just and sustainable futures, and cultivating relationships to people and place.