Blog #10: FNO Partners with Western MPH Program

Hello, my name is Stewart and I am completing my Master of Public Health (MPH) at Western University through a practicum placement with Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition and their FoodNet Ontario initiative. Throughout my studies in the MPH program, I have taken an interest in food security issues, specifically food waste and sustainability. This interest lead me to create a Green Box Program for food waste at the program as well as an awareness effort to bring healthier and more sustainable food options for the student and staff population. Selecting this Practicum with FoodNet Ontario seemed like a natural progression as they were focused on working together to achieve a food-secure Ontario.

Growing up in Paris, Ontario I was exposed to gardening and farming as well as traditional food preparation methods. My parents were avid gardeners planting potatoes, green beans, cucumbers, carrots, onions, tomatoes and many other fruits and vegetables. Rather than have my sisters and I sit around the house, it was our summer job to weed the garden and harvest whenever it was required. Both of my parents were from farming families and there was a lot of rural influence from the surrounding communities attending school in Paris. Now living in London, I do my best to grow fruits and vegetables, buy local, compost and support local food security initiatives.

I am excited to work with FoodNet Ontario this summer to increase the capacity and develop the network of members. Through my research and outreach, I hope to engage, support and help foster innovation or cooperation to achieve a food-secure Ontario. I will be adding new resources, events and publications as well as new programs to the database to help the knowledge transfer of all the innovative and progressive initiatives currently taking place in Ontario.

Look for my next blog where I will present highlights of my trip to a Sustain Ontario function at Innovate Guelph and my participation in a farm to table forum at FoodShareTO.

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