Food Secure Canada’s 10th Assembly: Celebration, Reflection, Action

Resetting the Table, Food Secure Canada’s 10th Assembly took place in Montreal, November 1 - 4, 2018. It was co-hosted by Concordia University and the Concordia Food Coalition and organized in conjunction with Meal Exchange’s annual student summit. The 10th Assembly brought together nearly 800 farmers and foodies, chefs and Indigenous leaders, students, activists and businesses, seeding a wealth of new ideas and connections. More than 200 speakers engaged with attendees on a diversity of themes including agroecology, health, food justice, food security, food waste, global food systems, Indigenous food sovereignty, local food economies, food in the North, federal food policy governance, school food, and more. About 25% of the event budget ($65,000) went to support travel and registration for people who could not otherwise attend.

We discussed practical solutions to pressing food system failures - like skyrocketing levels of diet-related disease, climate change, and persistent violations of the right to food. We also discussed community-led solutions to build food sovereignty on the ground, and how to create a more supportive policy environment. Throughout, new connections, old friendships, rekindled partnerships and learning from one another, filled the days including through some difficult conversations.

At the opening plenary session, Paul Taylor from Food Share and FSC’s Board of Directors challenged us all - dismantling racism and oppression within the food system is not ‘extra work’ for the food movement, it is the work. He asked us to be aware of those whose backs our food system is built upon, and to support them. This set the tone for what was perhaps the most engaging and transformative Assembly yet. We’ve reached a critical juncture in the food movement in Canada. Together, we’ve come a long way in influencing the discussion, practices, and policies associated with our food system(s), but there is still work to be done in terms of sharing space and power equally with people from different histories and realities – histories of racism, colonialism, and continued oppression. As Joseph Leblanc, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, remarked in November 3rd plenary on Indigenous Food Sovereignty, “Colonization is a process that has been ongoing for many generations. I have come to understand it will take multiple generations to decolonize our minds, bodies, and spirits. The work I do will now will help my children advance along that trajectory.” Following the Assembly, the new Board of Directors met to discuss what had happened and to begin to make plans to follow up on the work based on participant evaluation and feedback.

Resetting the Table showed that, it is not simply a matter of who is at the table, but what we keep on the table as points of debate and departure. Continuing to evaluate the sites of injustice in our food system, investigating how they operate, and how each of us might benefit from them/be disadvantaged, in order to create change for present and future generations are our collective tasks now. An openness to learning and unlearning, becoming unsettled, and making space can make our next ten years of work even more impactful.



Plenary recordings

Charles Patton, Elder from Kahnawake opened Food Secure Canada's 10th Assembly with Ohen:ton Karihwatehkwen which means “the Words that Come Before All Else.” Find the recording of the opening prayer here and download the slides here.

Here are the recordings of the three plenaries:

Reconnecting Food and Health

November 2

Whose Food Sovereignty? Indigenous Food Systems, Land, and Governance

November 3

Building Resilience: Rethinking the Transition to a More Sustainable Food System

November 4

Listen to the recording

Moderator: Malek Batal

Speakers: Louise Hénaut-Éthier, Elisa Levi, Michel Nischan

Download Michel Nischan's presentation.

Listen to the recording

Moderator: Brooke Deer

Speakers: Treena Delormier, Salina Kemp, Ryan McMahon, James Whetung

Listen to the recording

Moderator: Amanda Wilson

Speakers: Anita Abraham, Patrice Fortier, Elizabetta Recine

Download Elizabetta Recine's presentation.



Gaspillage Alimentaire au Québec : initiatives innovatrices

Armes Conflicts, Refugees and Food Insecurity: A Global Challenge

Using Food to Build Bridges with Newcomers

*If you would like to add your presentation here, contact us at





Photo Album

(Credit: Nadia Zheng)




Cathleen Kneen Award 2018 WInners

The two winners of the 2018 Cathleen Kneen Award are extraordinary mentors and community builders, Vincent Frenette and Ilham Saydna. Find out more about them...


Blogging and writing about the 10th Assembly

Session reports:

Read the Question Period session blog here.

Read the Changing Food Trade Landscape blog here.

How communities are using CCE to lead the fight for a Food Secure Canada

Carleton University

10e forum du Réseau pour une alimentation durable: un rendez-vous inspirant!

100 degrés

UFCW brings voice of food workers to Food Secure Canada 10th Assembly

Resetting the Table: Notes from Food Secure Canada’s 10th Assembly

Dismantling racism is the food movement’s work

Pour une alimentation durable

Le Devoir


Thank you again to our many Partners & Sponsors


Sun Category

Québec Government, Lawson Foundation, Sobeys, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)

Soil Category

Fondaction CSN, Fondation du Grand Montréal, Sprott Foundation, Canada Government

Water Category

Harbinger Foundation, Chagnon Foundation, UFCW, Community Food Centres of Canada (CCFC), Concordia Food services

Seed Category

Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA), Loyalty One

In-Kind Donations

Aramark, Fourmi bionique, Gin Fjord, Prana, Rise Kombucha