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.

Food Secure Canada
Sustain Ontario
OFPC

Board of Directors

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

Jennifer Emmans, Chair

Jenny is a lawyer in Ottawa and runs her own law firm.  She practices mainly in employment and human rights law for corporate and not-for-profit clients.  Prior to law school, Jenny pursued studies in biological and cultural anthropology.

Jenny has a longstanding passion for local and sustainable farming, local food, and the ethical treatment of animals.  She is an avid supporter of local food initiatives.  She has volunteered for animal rights organizations, Pro Bono Law Ontario, and often participates as an ad-hoc volunteer for various initiatives in Ottawa.

 

Laura Neidhart, Secretary

Laura Neidhart is a communications and development professional in the charitable sector, working on systemic social change. In her current role at Canada Without Poverty, an economic and social rights anti-poverty organization, she works to contribute to policy development affecting a cross-section of issues like the right to housing and right to food. Prior to moving to Ottawa, she worked on a number of economic and social justice projects, including housing and domestic violence projects in the United States and on prison reform campaigns in the United Kingdom. Before transitioning to the charitable sector, she attended culinary school and worked in the hospitality industry. Laura keeps ties with this part of her life through her love of local food, cooking, and gardening and previously served on the board of a social enterprise which supports immigrant and refugee women to transition into catering and restaurant careers.

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.

 

Cynthia Wagner

Cynthia is originally from rural Saskatchewan but made the big move east and has called Ottawa home base for a good chunk of the last 20 years. Her current day job is parliamentary affairs advisor and she has previous experience in various nonprofits in communications and campaign roles. She is an obsessive traveller and in a military family both of which have provided lots of opportunities to visit some inspiring and some not so inspiring locales. She is always game to go visit any type of food producer and get her hands dirty and sample local specialties. She has visited and worked at sunflower harvesting in Ukraine, cocoa pod picking in Peru, picking apples at the Orleans Fruit Farm, picking saskatoons on the Meewasin trail, zataar foraging in Haifa, and lots in between. She is a dedicated local foods first type consumer and spends as much of the family food budget as possible at farms stands and local markets. She is currently making sure that her city raised kids have a foot in the field and are interested in and understand where their food comes from.

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).

Sheila Rao

Sheila Rao is an anthropologist and research consultant based in Ottawa. Her recent doctoral thesis examined nutritional health and agricultural development in Tanzania through a feminist political ecology lens. Prior to completing her doctorate, Sheila managed multi-country projects on strengthening farmers’ access to resources and radio communications in Sub-Saharan Africa with Farm Radio International, African Highlands Initiative and the World Agroforestry Centre. 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. She has a keen interest in supporting sustainable, locally-based food initiatives; and in finding creative ways of bringing diverse people around the table to share a meal and a conversation.

Staff

moe_pic_sm2Moe Garahan, Executive 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.

 

 Phil Mount, Associate Director

Born and raised on a dairy farm in Ottawa, Phil pursued an interdisciplinary education that included law, sociology, silviculture, graphic design, farming, political economy, and web marketing. After doctoral studies which focused on the challenges involved with the transition to sustainable regional food systems, Phil has served for years as Associate Researcher at the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, and Associate Editor at Canadian Food Studies. Phil is the principal investigator of Shared Opportunities on Institutional Lands (projectsoil.ca), exploring the intersections of food production, health and education. Phil now also toils in the fields of Just Food, as Associate Director, and on the board of Sustain Ontario, as well as on Flat Earth Farm, with his wife Denise.


Harveen Sandhu, Community Gardening Network Coordinator

Harveen is a theatre artist and an environmental educator with a love for food, community and nature. Growing up in her father’s Indian restaurant in Ottawa, food has always been central in Harveen’s life, and she strongly believes the knowledge of how to sustainably grow food is the most essential life skill and birthright of people everywhere. Equipped with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Masters in Education, Harveen has taught and played with children at the Ottawa Forest & Nature School, nurtured a love of nature in young people through Genvironment’s innovative programs, and most recently spent a summer teaching high-school youth how to grow, harvest and sell market veggies and herbs in Vancouver with Fresh Roots. In this new role with the Community Gardening Network, Harveen looks forward to increasing community gardening opportunities and meeting and working with the amazing residents of Ottawa who are at the heart of it. Harveen fills her free time with yoga, piano, walks, and family and she is obsessed with Ayurveda and other ancient sciences of holistic health and wellbeing.

 

Camille Yu-San Koon (she/her), Engagement Organizer

Camille joins the Just Food team with a diversity of experiences, making contributions to the fields of environmental justice, nature-based education, farming, food sovereignty, organizing, and environmental science. As Engagement Organizer, she is committed to supporting, connecting, and building community with the Community Gardening Network. She continues to strive to occupy the intersections of education, recreation, social justice, and food sovereignty. To Camille, food, culture, and identity are deeply connected. The exploration of growing food is a personal passion and an inquiry into her own identity.

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