Bring Food Home Forum

A dialogue to build trust and grow sustainable farm & food businesses in Algoma

The Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN), Johnson Farmers’ Market, United Way of SSM & Area and Algoma Public Health are inviting Algoma’s Agriculture and Food community to the Algoma Water Tower Inn on Thursday October 10th 2019 for the Bring Food Home Forum.

Farming and consumers’ preferences are adapting to rapid change. The last 5 years have brought a revised Canada Food Guide, new trade agreements and Beyond Meat.

The aim of Bring Food Home is to engage producers, community members, organizations and leaders to dialogue about how the community can grow profitable and sustainable farm and food businesses in Algoma.

The event will feature presentations and panel discussions with Ron Bonnett (Farm Products Council of Canada), Dr. June Matthews (Brescia), Jessica McLaughlin (Indigenous Food Circle), and Franco Naccarato (Meat & Poultry Ontario).

Producers, community organizations, government, and eaters: Join us for a dialogue to build trust and grow sustainable farm & food businesses in Algoma.

Panel presentations will include:

  • Canada’s Food Guide – What does this mean for agriculture and eaters?
  • Planning a Vibrant Agriculture and Food Sector in Urban, Rural and Indigenous Communities
  • Engaging International Talent in Rural and Urban Communities
  • Lake Superior Living Labs Network

Register Here: Tickets available on Eventbrite $20 Includes: Lunch & Refreshments

Regular Tickets available for $20 before October 9th.

Lunch sponsored by Penokean Hills Farm

Thanks to those who sponsored this event: Whole Foods Market, Sustain Ontario, Algoma Workforce Investment Corporation, Penokean Hills Farms and Algoma Water Tower Inn

Morning Program

Canada’s Food Guide – What does this mean for agriculture and eaters?

Canada’s Food guide is one vision of a sustainable diet. Does it work for you? It is intended to promote health and wellness through dietary change—leaving unanswered questions of access and food production. How will the new Food Guide shape our food systems, or change where we get our food? And what does this mean for agriculture across our region?

Panel Includes

Ron Bonnett (past-President, Canadian Federation of Agriculture)

Dr. June Matthews (Registered Dietitian, Prof. Home Economist, Associate Professor, School of Food & Nutritional Sciences Brescia University College)

Moe Garahan (Executive Director, Just Food, Ottawa)

The Morning Session will be viewable over webinar and shared between Just Food (Ottawa) and Algoma. If you’re interested in viewing this webinar, contact

Locally Sourced Lunch Sponsored by Penokean Hills Farms

Afternoon Program

Panel Presentation: Planning a Vibrant Agriculture and Food Sector in Urban, Rural and Indigenous Communities

With changing consumer preferences, market uncertainty and disruptive innovative technologies. How can urban, rural and Indigenous communities plan for a food system that is responsive to farmers, harvesters and people living in northern communities? What market opportunities can agri-food businesses respond to with changing demands? What is the City of Sault Ste. Marie planning to respond to the needs of farmers and eaters?

Panel includes

David Thompson, Project Coordinator of the Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN) , Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre

Frank Belleau, Elder, Clear Sky Evening Star of the Crane Clan, Garden River

Jessica McLaughlin, Co-Founder of the Indigenous Food Circle,Long Lake #58 First Nation

Peter Tonazzo, Registered Prof. Planner, City of Sault Ste. Marie

Engaging International Talent in Rural and Urban Communities

Finding labour is becoming increasingly challenging in many sectors in urban and rural communities. How can the sector engage new Canadians for a stronger agri-food sector? What does the agri-food sector need for trained people? How can we attract and retain skilled talent in our communities and businesses?

Panel includes

Adrian DeVuono, Program Coordinator, Local Immigration Partnership

Franco Naccarato, Executive Director, Meat & Poultry Ontario

George Alkhoury, Owner/Chef, Georgie’s Shawarma, Sault Ste. Marie

Presentation: Lake Superior Living Labs Network

The recently formed Lake Superior Living Labs Network serves as a platform to connect three regional hubs and community partners to expand and develop new partnerships and collaborative initiatives between Algoma University, Lakehead University and the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Nairne Cameron and Laura Wyper from Algoma University will be presenting initiatives that Algoma University is working towards through this new research partnership.

Presenters – Laura Wyper, PhD (Algoma University) and Nairne Cameron, PhD (Algoma University)


For more information about Bring Food Home Algoma, contact Jessica Cherry, RAIN Market Development Coordinator (705) 942-7927 x3141

Please Register by Friday October 4th

Speakers and Panelists

Ron Bonnett

Ronhas had a long and varied career in agriculture. He was the President of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA). In the mid-1980s, Ron became the founding president of the Algoma Federation of Agriculture, where he helped combat high interest rates. In 1997, Ron sat on the provincial board of directors for the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and OFA executive. He was the OFA Vice-President for two years, and also served as the OFA President for four years. As an advocate of agriculture at the international level, Ron sat on the Board of Directors for the World Farmers’ Organization as the North American representative and played a lead role in the development of the organization, acting as interim President. In 1975, Ron and his wife, Cathy, bought a dairy farm in Bruce Mines, located in Northern Ontario, which they operated until 1995. Since 1995, they have operated a cow/calf farm.

Dr. June Matthews, RD, P.H.Ec.

Dr. June Matthews is an Associate Professor in Food and Nutritional Sciences at Brescia University College and an Adjunct Research Professor with the School of Graduate and Post-Doctoral Studies at Western University in London, Ontario. As a Professional Home Economist and a Registered Dietitian, Dr. Matthews values an all-inclusive approach to teaching and learning about the whole food system, from the farmer’s fork to the eater’s fork to the compost fork. Dr. Matthews grew up on a dairy farm in Southwestern Ontario and has worked overseas on international development projects. Dr. Matthews received the Award for Excellence in Teaching from Brescia University College (2008), the President’s Distinguished Service Award from the Ontario Home Economics Association (2010), and a Member Recognition Award for Education from Dietitians of Canada (2016).

Moe Garahan

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.

Jessica McLaughlin

Jessica is a member of Long Lake #58 First Nation and grew up in Nakina, Ontario where she spent a good portion of her life on the land learning about her territory’s natural environment and the forest and freshwater foods available through seasonal harvesting. Jessica’s involvement in food systems began with Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) where she worked in community economic development. Jessica sits as an executive member with the Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy and is the co-founder and current coordinator of the Indigenous Food Circle, an Indigenous-led regional food network. Jessica holds a three-year Human Resources Diploma from Confederation College and a Bachelor of Arts Degree focused on Political Science from Lakehead University.

Peter Tonazzo

Peter graduated in 2000 with a degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Ryerson University. Peter began his planning career with the National Physical Planning Commission of Trinidad and Tobago. In 2003 he moved home to work with the Sault Ste. Marie Planning Department as a Land Use Planner. Today, Peter is a Senior Planner with the City of Sault Ste. Marie, focusing on land use planning and policy development. Peter is a Registered Professional Planner and member of the Ontario Provincial Planners Institute (OPPI). He sits on a number of boards and committees, including the Sault North Planning Board and the OPPI Northern District Leadership Team.

David Thompson

As the RAIN Research Project Coordinator, David leads the Rural Agri-Innovation Network to connect and build the capacity of Algoma farmers, agri-businesses and entrepreneurs through research and market development. Before joining SSMIC, David was a Research Coordinator for NORDIK Institute (Algoma University) and led several research projects on agricultural co-operatives and the social economy. David has an MBA in Community Economic Development from Cape Breton University and a B.A. (Hons) in Community Economic and Social Development from Algoma University.

Adrian DeVuono

Adrian DeVuono is the Program Coordinator for the Local Immigration Partnership, where he coordinates the activities of diverse groups to ensure “newcomers” to Sault Ste. Marie have access to the supports and services they need to fully participate in the economic, social, cultural and civic life of the community. Adrian has worked as an Employment Consultant and Grant Writer for the Sault Community Career Centre and has coordinated education and skills training programs for McGill University and Algonquin College at their campuses in Saudi Arabia. Adrian helps local employers, service agencies, and other key stakeholders build the resources, connections and knowledge they need to better understand and interact with “newcomers.”

George Alkhoury

George Alkhoury is the Owner/Chef of Georgie’s Shawarma, a new Sault Ste. Marie restaurant that will open this Fall. George started his career in food as a Field Officer with the World Food Program (Food Security) in Lebanon. George went on to work in retail in Barbados as a Store Manager. George arrived in the Sault just over two years ago where he was a Program Support and Job Coach with Sault Community Career Centre’s HOST Program, assisting with the settlement of newcomers.

Laura Wyper, PhD

Laura Wyper is an Assistant Professor in the Community Economic and Social Development Department at Algoma University. She is a Board member for Slow Food in Canada as the Liaison for the Ark of Taste. She is a long-standing food activist and a faculty member for the SSHRC ‘Living Labs’ Eastern Hub at Algoma University.

Nairne Cameron, PhD

Nairne is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Geography and Geology at Algoma University. Her teaching and research interests include: food access and health geography, spatial analysis, urban and regional development, and environmental issues with an emphasis on vulnerable populations. For several years, she has worked with students on the People’s Garden, a community garden on campus. As the Algoma University hub leader for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Lake Superior Living Labs project, she is collaborating with University faculty and staff and community partners in the Algoma region mainly on food-related projects, and coordinating with two other hubs based at Lakehead University and the University of Minnesota at Duluth.

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