Award Winners


We are delighted to announce the winners of the 4th Cathleen Kneen Award, two extraordinary leaders who work at the very grassroot of our communities: Ilham Saydna and Vincent Frenette.


Ilham Saydna is an outstanding and passionate community leader, builder and mentor, and truly reflects the fiery spirit of Cathleen Kneen. Working her way from the ground up in war torn Sudan, Ilham shows persistence, integrity and generosity in everything she does. Chatting with her, you may not realise what genius is sitting with you; she may casually mention working with a Women and Development program in Holland, or night shifts at Tim Hortons while earning her Master's of Environmental Studies at York. You may not even realise she’s actually teaching you the tenants of Popular Education by guiding you through an exercise to understand the root causes of poverty and food insecurity in Canada, until she changes your mind about something you’ve never even questioned. Ilham boldly believes in radical and systemic change for this world and her positive vision for our budding futures are so heart-felt and genuine, her ideas are contagious. She is an integral pillar in many communities – food security movements in Toronto, Muslim and Sudanese-Canadian communities, the growing Arabic-speaking immigrants and refugees that she helps navigate the complicated systems in Canada, and many more. She’s dedicated to the work continuing with younger generations and is an inspiration to all of us who work for social and environmental justice in this world.


Vincent Frenette For the past 15 years, Vincent Frenette has been running Le Filon, a food security organization in Lévis, Québec. One of Le Filon’s projects is Chaudronée, which develops innovative activities designed to strengthen the community’s food autonomy and encourage them to co-create solutions, so that each citizen participates and shares in the community. As a demonstration of his dedication to citizen involvement, he recently helped to merge two community organizations so that they are built on a foundation of citizen engagement. Vincent is as much behind the scenes fighting to recognize the right to food, as much as he is a leader in food security. He embodies the mission of sustainable food, and encourages those around him to go further, developing projects that are complementary to traditional food aid initiatives. As an activist in building relationships between local producers and consumers, he helped to start the People’s Pop-Up Market (Marché populaire mobile). This mobile market brings fruits and vegetables that are “ugly” but still full of nutrition to low-income residents in food deserts, offering them better access to produce without stigma. This project is part of his work in raising awareness around food waste and the zero waste movement. His other work includes participating in the creation of the food cooperative La Mauve (, whose goal is to support local producers. Weaving a grassroots movement around his collective projects, Vincent’s vision of sustainable food has permeated through other initiatives in social development and the fight against poverty, in both his city of Lévis and the region of Chaudière-Appalaches.



We are delighted to announce the winners of the 3rd Cathleen Kneen Award, two women who show extraordinary leadership and embody the spirit of the food movement in their communities and territories: Abra Brynne and Norma Kassi.

Abra Brynne is a community organizer, scholar and food systems consultant based in rural BC who works with farmers, non-profit organizations and academic researchers from a solid commitment to food sovereignty.  Her civil society engagement includes the BC Food Systems Network, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, Kootenay Co-op, Unitarian Service Committee Canada and Food Secure Canada.

Norma Kassi is a Gwitchin elder whose deep commitment, especially working with youth, is to healthy, sustainable and inclusive food systems in the North so people can flourish despite multiple challenges to their traditional sustainable food sources and habits.  Her civil society engagement includes the Arctic Institute for Community-Based Research, Council of Yukon First Nations and Food Secure Canada.



Food Secure Canada is delighted to announce Linda Geggie as the winner of the second biennal Cathleen Kneen Award.

Linda Geggie’s early travels in South America convinced her that Canadians had a lot to learn about food. She has worked on grassroots food security in her community for over 20 years as a farmer, organizer, educator, and policy advisor. In 1994 she helped found LifeCycles Project Society; today she coordinates the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable (CR-FAIR), which fills many of the roles of a food policy council. Both organizations restore and reconnect the region’s citizens with food. Linda is also founding member of the BC Food Systems Network and one of its key strategists.