What organizations are you affiliated with? Founder/Principal – Cultivating Healthy Places, an international consulting business specializing in community health, social equity and food systems planning; Co-Investigator – Growing Food Connections; Chair – American Planning Association’s Food Systems Planning Interest Group.
What motivated you to join the VFPC? Most of my work focuses on local government food systems planning and policy making in other parts of North America. As a Vancouver resident and mother of two young children, I want to give back to the community in which I live. I am a former recipient of welfare and deeply passionate about food access and justice issues. I want to ensure that our food system is not only ecologically sustainable, but just and equitable for the most vulnerable, particularly low-income mothers and their children.
What are your areas of expertise in the food system? (and/or) What are your skills? As a certified planner and health professional, my work focuses on conducting policy-relevant research and providing technical assistance to the public and private sectors related to the design and development of healthy, sustainable and equitable places. My work focuses on the entire food system – from production to waste management, more specifically how urban and regional planners can plan for healthy, sustainable and just food systems and the role of plans and policies in strengthening local food systems. I have taught graduate courses on the connections between health, food systems, and planning; established national food system coalitions and partnerships in the U.S.; conducted a number of national studies on the food systems planning and policy making process; and established the Growing Food Connections Policy Database. I am author of Planning for Food Access and Community-Based Food Systems, co-author of Urban Agriculture: Growing Healthy Sustainable Places and co-author of the Principles of a Healthy, Sustainable Food System.
Tell us one interesting fact about yourself; (and/or) What is one of your proudest food system-related accomplishments? When I was working and living in Washington D.C. during the Obama administration, I was selected by the the First Lady’s Childhood Obesity Prevention Task Force to serve on a national advisory committee to provide expertise on health, food access and the built environment.
Which VFPC working group(s) are you currently active on and/or do you co-chair? I am a member of the Development Working Group.