Who we are

Just Food is a grassroots, non-profit organization that includes staff, volunteers, community partners, members and funders.

All projects are community-based. We seek direction from our broad community partners. We solicit feedback through our project advisory/ steering committees and through the monthly newsletter. All members are invited to meet formally once a year and provide feedback into the work of Just Food. Overall direction comes from the Board, with staff input.

Just Food engages in food policy conversations at many levels. Just Food is a member of Food Secure Canada and Sustain Ontario. We also provide strategic and logistical support to the Ottawa Food Policy Council.

Board of Directors

Want to talk with the Board? Board@justfood.ca

Sheila Rao, Chair

Sheila Rao is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at Concordia University. Her research and professional work with civil society centres on food justice issues both here in Canada and in East Africa. Her current research and teaching focuses on collaborative, applied research that supports seed sovereignty, agroecological approaches to nutrient-rich food production and supporting women’s leadership in these efforts. Sheila has extensive experience in managing a range of projects, initiatives and policy advocacy with international research centres, international non-governmental organizations and municipal and federal agencies.  Before shifting to international work and moving to Ottawa, she coordinated community initiatives around urban food security and environmental management in Southern Ontario with the City of Toronto, and Green Venture based in Hamilton. As an experiential gardener, Sheila has a keen interest in supporting sustainable, locally-based food initiatives; and in finding creative ways of bringing people with diverse backgrounds and experiences together for a meal and a conversation. Sheila is seeking her second 3-year term on the Just Food board and election to the Secretary role.

Alexander Carmenzind, Secretary 

Alex is a lawyer living and working in Ottawa. Prior to law, Alex worked as a research scientist in the field of biochemistry and proteomics in BC. Alex has lived in Northern BC, Vancouver Island, and Alberta, but now calls Ottawa home.

In his spare time, Alex enjoys cooking with local food from Ottawa’s farmer’s market and CSA farms, alongside whatever he can coax out of his back garden. He also enjoys hiking, camping, and spending time in the outdoors. 

Alex’s goal is to help people understand and access local food options, while also appreciating how local food fits into the broader provincial and national picture.

Ramsey Wright, Treasurer

Ramsey is a federal public servant with experience in energy, environmental and agricultural policy and programs. He served on the board of directors of the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax in the past, and worked with the organization to promote sustainable production of and access to local food. He has a graduate degree in environmental studies and is skilled in writing, analysis, planning and program design. He shares his home garden with his wife and kids and loves experimenting with heirloom vegetable varieties from local seed banks. Ramsey is seeking his second 3-year term on the Just Food board.

 

Scott Warrick, C.C.C.

Chef Scott Warrick began teaching at Algonquin College in 2005 as a part-time Professor, and currently teaches full-time in the Culinary Arts Program where he is Coordinator of the Culinary Programs.

In 2009, Chef Warrick received Algonquin College’s highest annual honour for part-time faculty members… the Dianne Bloor Part-Time Faculty Award.

Outside of the College, Chef Warrick works as a Food Service Consultant and has in the past provided food stylist services to McCain International Foods, Loblaw’s & the LCBO. Chef Warrick was for many years Executive Chef and food consultant to Ottawa Bluesfest, Culinary Advisor for the Ottawa Wine & Food Show and was part of the City of Ottawa’s Street Food / Food Truck Selection Panel as well as sitting as a founding member of the Ottawa Food Policy Council.

Prior to working at the College, Chef Warrick worked as a Chef for the House of Commons in Ottawa, Canada. At the House of Commons Chef Warrick played an active role in all areas of food production and distribution.

Along with teaching culinary students in the full-time Culinary Arts program Chef Warrick also teaches both high school dual credit students and student apprentices participating in the Ontario Apprenticeship Program.

Chef Warrick is a member of the Canadian Culinary Federation of Chefs and Cooks (C.C.F.C.C.), a former longtime member of the local CCFCC Executive, a Red Seal Chef and holds his CCC designation (Canadian Culinary Certification). Scott is seeking his second 3-year term on the Just Food board.

Karina LaBelle

Karina is perfectly bilingual (French and English). She grew up in small town, Embrun, Ontario, and comes from a farming family. Although Karina never lived on a farm, her mother grew up on the family farm in Embrun, which her brother inherited. Karina was brought up in a family that was very focused on health and well-being and that sourced its produce directly from a local organic farm nearby, whenever possible. Karina has always been health conscious, but it is only in recent years that she been focusing more on “going back to basics” and making more conscious choices in selecting local produce, not only for her own well-being but also to encourage local businesses and connect with her community.

Karina Labelle is an associate in Gowling WLG’s Ottawa office, practising in the Advocacy Group. Her practice focuses on commercial and civil litigation, with an emphasis on construction matters and commercial disputes.

Prior to joining Gowling WLG, Karina worked at two Ottawa law firms where she worked on a variety of litigation matters, in insurance law and family law, and conducted workplace harassment investigations for large corporations and associations.

Karina graduated from the University of Ottawa’s French common law program. During her studies, she volunteered for Pro Bono Students Canada, and acted as a teacher’s assistant for the Alternative Dispute Resolution course. Prior to attending law school, she completed an undergraduate degree in social sciences, with a minor in biology, at the University of Ottawa.

Lauren Brach

 Lauren is a dynamic professional with a strong academic foundation and a deep interest in sustainability. She holds a dual degree in Business Administration and Agriculture, with a sustainability minor, from Dalhousie University, where she actively participated in pitch competitions focused on circular food systems in Canada. Beginning her career in supply chain management, Lauren took on sustainability projects, laying the foundation for her future endeavors. She pursued a Master’s in Environmental Management and Policy at Lund University in Sweden.

During her master’s studies, Lauren became the President of 180 Degrees Consulting Lund, a prominent student 

consulting firm dedicated to environmentally and socially driven organizations. Lauren joined the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative, crafting an implementation guidance for regenerative agriculture in supply chains. Her work then shifted toward decarbonization and net-zero strategies.

Lauren joined the sustainability team at a leading technology company in Copenhagen, where she supported their sustainability reporting, carbon accounting, circularity projects, and biodiversity risk mapping. While doing her Masters  thesis she worked with a leading company to develop a comprehensive framework and roadmap, outlining a path to achieve fossil fuel free transportation, contributing to the company’s GlobalNet Zero Roadmap. She now works as Climate Associate at Climate and Nature Solutions supporting organizations scale practical solutions to accelerate toward a net zero transition and clean future.

Lauren is a dedicated advocate for sustainability focused on making a lasting impact.

Meagan Mcveigh

Meagan McVeigh is currently a Government of Canada employee working in Communications.  Meagan has a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Toronto Metropolitan University and a Post Graduate Diploma in Policy and Program evaluation from Carleton University. Her skills are centralized in Program development and evaluation.  Meagan recently transitioned from Parkdale Food Centre where she managed 2 youth programs. These programs were focused on the development of social emotional skills using social enterprise and solutionary thinking as tools to engage youth. Meagan has experience in entrepreneurship going through JUST FOOD FARM start up farmer program in 2017. Her favourite things to grow are heirloom tomatoes, cucumber and Arugula. The perfect summer Salad.

Kyle Cruickshank

Kyle’s journey is deeply rooted in family agriculture,  local food systems, and the foodservice and hospitality industry. Kyle grew up and was shaped by his upbringing on a family dairy farm in southern Ontario.

Kyle holds a graduate degree in political science, where he focused on international political economy and forms of private governance to best ensure environmental sustainability. While his academic pursuits initially led him to Ottawa, he found community and purpose working as a cook and service manager in Ottawa’s food service industry.   Later, with his business partners, Kyle, with his wife, Olivia  co-founded Pure Kitchen restaurant,  which has since become a cornerstone of Ottawa’s culinary community.

Through his role in Ottawa’s hospitality industry,  Kyle strives to lead with his values and actively works  to partner with local farms and food artisans to  sourcing locally where possible. Pure Kitchen has also worked to build and maintain supportive relationships with community charities whose work supports  food security for communities  in need across Ottawa.. These charitable partnerships, through Pure Kitchen Extra Setting Program,  include The Kanata Food Cupboard, the Parkdale Food Centre, the Ottawa Mission and Operation Come Home. 

Prior to opening Pure Kitchen,  he had a short tenure with Just Food,  as an intern and later with a  short contract, supporting the work of Savour Ottawa and the Ottawa Region Food Hub project.  As Kyle looks ahead, he is excited  to further his impact in the Ottawa community  and  to again have the opportunity to work with the team at  Just Food’s as a member of the Board of Directors.

Danielle Daviau 

Danielle Daviau is a dedicated advocate for sustainable food systems and community development with a strong commitment to creating safe spaces for growing organic, nutritious food. She holds credentials in Environmental Technician and Environmental Studies from Algonquin College, providing her with a deep understanding of environmental issues and sustainable practices. At the Debra Dynes Family House, Danielle successfully coordinated their community gardens,  connecting children and families with fresh produce, enhancing their overall well-being. She is passionate about the broader benefits of food growing, including mental health improvement, creating a safe and accessible opportunities for teaching children, and fostering community connections. Danielle’s experience in managing volunteers and her proficiency with digital tools make her a valuable asset to community-driven initiatives. Her dedication to equity and inclusivity drives her efforts to address barriers faced by diverse communities in Ottawa.

Fiona Glaetti

Coming soon!

Our Team

Moe Garahan, Executive Director

moe_pic_sm2Moe has been working on food and farming issues in the region since 1995.  Focused on community development and community economic development approaches, she has facilitated the establishment of many ongoing community and regional food initiatives, (including Just Food) while supporting provincial and coast-to-coast-to-coast food systems change (presently includes Sustain Ontario, Food Communities Network and Common Ground Network).  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 Algonquin/Ottawa region.

Kate Veinot, Director of Operations and Neighbourhood Planning

Kate’s background in food systems work has stemmed from years of small business experience in the food industry in Algonquin/Ottawa, and from being a longtime home-based food grower. Their studies in Issues in Urban Agriculture through the University of Guelph, and BSc in Political Science from University of Toronto, led them to get more involved in food justice and community development. Kate’s focus when it comes to their own gardening practices is on building soil health through low-till or no-dig methods, and promoting the importance of native species to support our pollinator friends. Their passion project is turning their front yard garden into an edible landscape with the help of their avid gardener kiddo!

Kath Stevenson, Community Gardening Network Coordinator 

Kath is a young, queer person who is deeply passionate about all things food, farming, growing, and making. From their seasons as a small-scale organic vegetable and flower farmer, to their experiences with community and social justice organizing, Kath is committed to exploring the myriad of deep-rooted connections between nourishing strong local food systems and cultivating vibrant, empowered communities.
Kath finds joy in spending time at their community garden plot, going to the farmer’s market, reading in the park, cooking, biking around Ottawa/Gatineau, and going to punk shows.
 
 
Julia Sterling, Child and Youth Coordinator

Julia Sterling is a climate change and social justice professional with experience in program development, socio-environmental research and facilitation. As a recent graduate from the Institute of political economy at Carleton University, her research compared Canada‘s COVID-19 versus climate response to reimagine what is possible for ambitious climate action in Canada. Julia is a strong believer in exploring diverse entry points to engagement in critical climate issues, particularly through the unifying entry point of food, and experiential education. At Just Food, Julia engages children and youth in issues in our food system through fun and engaging hands-on activities. She also empowered youth to enact change by building capacity to engage in municipal food policy issues through training and mentorship opportunities.

Marcel Moubarak, Community Economic Developer

Marcel was born and raised in Gloucester and recently relocated to rural Prescott-Russell. He is a first generation Canadian born to parents of Lebanese origin. He is passionate about history, languages, nature, growing food and travelling, amongst others. Marcel is pursuing his dream of homesteading and truly grounding his feet once more.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Jorja Darrington, Communications Coordinator

Jorja is a Communications professional with a focus on systemic digital equity who is currently planting her roots in Ottawa. In her Communication and Media Studies degree at Carleton University, she studies the socioeconomic barriers to communications tools and content. Jorja is dedicated to providing people with the tools and resources needed to make change. She combines this with her experience as an avid plant parent and connection to her late grandfather’s farm to fuel her passion for our food system. As Just Food’s Communications Coordinator, she is taking communications beyond social media and aims to streamline access to information regarding our food systems and their resources for the Algonquin/Ottawa region.

Newsbites

Start-up Farm Program

Just Food established the Start-Up Farm Program to support new farmers in the Ottawa region. By offering access to land, shared infrastructure/equipment, and training, the program aims to enable more people in this region to start their own successful farm business.

> Read More about Just Food’s Start-up Farm program