Session Descriptions

Can we eat our way to a healthy and sustainable food system?

Cecilia Rocha 


Changes in current food systems are essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The concept of "sustainable diets" is behind recently released national dietary guidelines, including in Canada. The presentation looks at the concept of sustainable diets and its potential for transforming food systems. Obstacles and opportunities for such transformation will be discussed.

Dietary Surveillance through a Health and Sustainability Lens: Comparing dietary intake from the 2015 Canadian Community Health Survey – Nutrition to the 2019 Canada’s Food Guide “Eat Well” Plate

Rachel Prowse, Ph.D., RD


Healthy and sustainable diets are global goals to enhance the health of humans and environments. In 2019, Health Canada released new dietary guidelines that promote healthy and sustainable dietary practices, including choosing plant-based foods more often. We compared the 2019 Canada’s Food Guide “Eating Well” plate to the actual intake of Ontarians using the 2015 Canadian Community Health Survey – Nutrition share file. In this presentation, we will review Ontarians’ dietary intake in reference to dietary recommendations to eat mostly vegetables and fruits, followed by whole grains, and protein foods and beverages.

The Food Industry’s Role in Sustainable Eating & Circular Economy

Cher Mereweather


Cher’s session will start by exploring the societal shifts that will need to take place to support a more sustainable food system. Through this lens she will discuss how and why communities and businesses are embracing circular economy concepts to combat environmental priorities like carbon and food waste. Cher will then shift the audience’s focus to the food industry - examining what needs to change within the industry, the influence of dietary guidelines and sustainable development goals, and how food manufacturers are helping consumers shift to more sustainable eating.

Healthy and sustainable eating initiatives in Ontario’s schools

Carolyn Webb


Schools across Ontario are advancing healthy and sustainable food initiatives. But what do these efforts look like in practice? This presentation will share how schools are finding ways to support healthy and sustainable eating by: offering a broad overview of how we can think about these as interconnected issues; evidence that exists linking school food programs to health and environmental impacts; efforts that are underway at the national, provincial, and local levels to move towards healthy and sustainable eating initiatives in schools; and resources that are available for use by both educators and community partners.

Teaching youth about agriculture: complexities, contributions, and careers

Dr. June Matthews 

To understand sustainable eating, it is necessary to understand agriculture – its complexity, its technological sophistication, and its wide-ranging economic, social, and environmental contributions that help to preserve wildlife habitats, mitigate global warming, and sustain rural communities while providing abundant, safe, nutritious, high-quality food. This presentation will highlight education strategies to teach youth objective and balanced information about agriculture, engage them in exploring agriculture-related careers, and draw their attention to the nuanced, complex, and dynamic relationships among diet patterns and the environment.

The CEC Food Matters Action Kit and how to engage youth to prevent food waste

Antonia Andúgar and David Donaldson 

Preventing food waste is one of the easiest ways we can all protect our environment, fight climate change, and help save our planet. Youth can make a big difference in preventing food waste, from small initiatives at home to more ambitious efforts that involve the whole community, and that’s why the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) created the Food Matters Action Kit. You can download the kit here. David Donaldson of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation will show you how to use the Food Matters Action Kit to engage youth to prevent food waste, and will discuss how the CEC partnered with youth organizations from across North America to create meaningful, engaging, and culturally appropriate educational content.

Dietetic Professionals Working for Sustainable Food Systems

Fiona Yeudall, Bridget King


A lack of sustainability in the dominant food system is well documented. Sustainable food systems work needs to consider inherent tensions and potential tradeoffs among social, economic and environmental considerations. Dietetic professionals bring a unique skill set to this work, and are developing role papers to enable Dietitians to contribute to solving this pressing issue. Key players in the development of two such position papers (for Dietitians of Canada and Ontario Dietitians in Public Health), will share their experiences, resources and lessons learned, and provide opportunities for participants to explore their potential role in facilitating more sustainable food systems.

Applying Dietetic Expertise and Skill to Land Use Planning in Peel

Emily St. Aubin, Sandra Fitzpatrick


This presentation will discuss how Registered Dietitians anticipated and planned for an opportunity to apply nutrition expertise to land use planning policy, a process typically considered outside of the scope of dietetic practice. Through undertaking a research review, policy and data analysis, the dietitians supported Regional planning partners by contributing the best available evidence related to urban agriculture to inform relevant amendments to the Region’s Official Plan. This novel application of dietetic practice has influenced land use planning policy in the Region of Peel to support Peel residents in adopting healthy and sustainable eating patterns.

Putting sustainable food on the menu

Jason Inniss, Wendy Mah

Many in the food industry get overwhelmed and discouraged when they think about making the shift to becoming sustainable. Jason Inniss and Wendy Mah, professors at George Brown College, will guide you through their research from their class, the Sustainable Chef, and introduce you to the tools that are needed to make your business more sustainable by exploring four main themes; people, planet, profit and policy. They will discuss the idea of chefs as ambassadors, making paradigm shifts, the need for a collaborative mindset and examine the tools needed to get ethical and sustainable food on the menu.

Growing the Movement for Good Food on Campuses

Brittany Maguire

Post-secondary educational institutions are thought leaders on sustainable and just societies and food systems, but does the food on campus uphold the values of the institutions and students? This presentation will introduce how Meal Exchange empowers students to demand and measure Good Food on campus - food that is local, sustainable, socially just, humane, and healthy. Amidst a sea of confusing food labels and claims about sustainability and ethical purchasing, the Good Food Challenge offers campuses a comprehensive and standard definition for Good Food and supports users in achieving and tracking progress. We will also discuss some of the key barriers and opportunities for increasing Good Food procurement on campus.

Using Simple Messaging to Educate and Spread Awareness

Jessica Bertrand, Kim Gascoigne

According to feedback on Queen’s University Hospitality Services offerings, students are looking for more sustainable and healthy eating options across campus. As such, the Registered Dietitian and Marketing Manager partnered to develop an efficient marketing plan to educate and spread awareness to the Queen’s community in an engaging manner. In this session, we will be outlining our initiatives and projects that have successfully promoted sustainability and healthy eating including a campus wide flexitarian campaign and floor clings in the all you care to eat dining halls. The active collaboration between both teams have allowed for our ongoing success with these initiatives.

Coordinating a multi-stakeholder planning group: key insights

Diana A. Johnson, Tara Galloro


The promotion of sustainable food systems requires collaboration across multiple sectors and stakeholders. In an effort to break down silos, the City of Toronto developed a cross-divisional working group to plan a series of events called Food Planet Health. Successes, challenges and key learnings will be discussed to provide recommendations for similar collaborative projects.

Harvest Haliburton: A best practice model of how rural municipalities can create a local sustainable food system

Melissa Johnston, Elsie Azevedo Perry


From humble beginnings as a local food coalition to an engaged and dedicated steering committee of municipal councilors and key stakeholders, Harvest Haliburton (HH) is dedicated to developing their local food system in a rural community with very little agricultural land. This presentation will describe an effective model of how collaboration between community partners and public health professionals can inspire and lead the shift towards creating a healthy and sustainable diet in rural communities. Learn about evidence-based strategies that have moved municipalities in Haliburton County from talking to action and how HH continues to build and gain momentum.

Understanding sustainable food and farming in Ontario

Cathy McKay, Sandra Vos, Kathryn Doan

The journey to healthy and sustainable eating in Ontario begins on the approximately 49,000 family farms that are the fabric of our rural landscape. ONCommon Ground, a collaboration of farm organizations representing livestock, field crop, fruit and vegetable farmers, will share an overview of the sustainable farming practices happening in Ontario. Conference participants will also have the opportunity to ask questions directly of farmers via a panel discussion. From on-farm environmental programs, to research, to animal care initiatives, sustainability is always top of mind for Ontario’s farmers. Our stories of sustainability may differ slightly from one type of farm to another, but our mission to grow healthy, safe, high-quality and sustainable food is the same across sectors.

Food waste and food literacy: Insights from the University of Guelph

Dr. Kate Parizeau


This session will discuss food waste research conducted in partnership between the Guelph Food Waste Research Group and the Guelph Family Health Study. We explored the relationship between household food behaviours, food skills, and food waste patterns. This presentation will also discuss a cookbook that we have developed as an intervention to reduce household food waste.

Talking Trash: the connection between healthy eating and food waste reduction

Risha Manak and D. Trevor Barton


The Ontario Food Collaborative (OFC) is an association of public works, public health, community-based and academic partners working collectively towards a common goal of promoting actions to address healthy eating and food waste reduction. This informative and engaging session will explore the growing issue of food waste in Ontario; highlight the importance of a food systems and food literacy approach to tackle wasted food at the consumer level; and showcase innovative tools and programs to support individuals and families to eat well and reduce food waste.

Food Work at the Intersections between health, equity and sustainability

Dr. Kate Mulligan​

Food practitioners and policy makers work at the intersections between health, equity and sustainability. A more intentional approach to building intersectoral connections can help to build and to unlock local capacity. This session will focus on the policy and practice of food-related social prescribing for populations facing barriers to health and wellbeing. This approach to local food work improves health, builds social connectedness, promotes partnership and collaboration, provides opportunities for locally-generated resilience, and creates a mechanism for measuring and reporting on impacts.

Promoting Healthy and Sustainable Diets to Our Audiences

Leslie Beck

Dietary advice needs to be simple, clear, and consistent in order to achieve healthier and more sustainable eating patterns. This session will highlight the importance of understanding our audiences and using effective communication strategies to help people make the shift. 


Formerly the Nutrition Resource Centre

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Toronto, ON M5H 1L3 Canada

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