Staff and Board

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

See our current Board of Directors

 

STAFF TEAM

 

Gisèle Yasmeen

Executive Director

director@foodsecurecanada.org

Gisèle joined Food Secure Canada as Executive Director in May 2019 and has 20 years of leadership experience in knowledge organizations having served as a not-for-profit and government executive including Vice-President of Research and Partnerships at the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Senior Director of Outreach, Communications and Research at Elections Canada and founding Regional Director for British Columbia and the Yukon of the Centre for Research and Information on Canada. Gisèle brings a deep food systems lens to her work and started working on agri-food issues in both Asia and Canada in the early 1990s and has published widely in the field including two books, several scholarly articles and media commentary in both English and French. She has held faculty appointments at the University of British Columbia, Royal Roads University and Dawson College in Montreal. Gisèle has a PhD from the University of British Columbia, a master’s degree from McGill and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from University of Ottawa. Gisèle has also advised numerous organizations including the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, “The Big Picnic” (a European-Union funded project on food security involving botanical gardens), the World Bank, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems. Gisèle is currently a member of the scientific committee of CityFood project at New York University. She has also served on four boards of directors of Canadian not-for-profit organizations over the course of her career.

Gisèle’s diverse skills and experience will help Food Secure Canada to strengthen, advance and support the needs of Canada’s growing and diverse food movement in a rapidly evolving global context. Gisèle is fluent in English and French and has studied Thai, Urdu/Hindi, Spanish and Mandarin. She loves to participate in the performing arts in her free time.

 

 

Amélie Lévesque

office manager

admin@foodsecurecanada.org

Amélie has been working for FSC since 2014. She has held various positions, both as an employee and as a contractor. Currently working as the office manager, she wears many hats, from administration to translation, database management and many more. She has also been a professional translator for over 10 years and has even made a brief foray into the world of social dance. An interesting career, but oh so precarious. Prior to joining FSC, Amélie completed a Master's degree in International Studies where she focused on human rights, specifically the right to food and food sovereignty.

Amélie is interested in languages. Apart from French and English, she studied Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin. When she's not in the office, she can be found riding a bike or walking through the Marché Jean-Talon, one of her favorite places in Montreal.

 

 

Debbie Field

coalition for healthy school food coordinator

schoolfood@foodsecurecanada.org

Debbie has been involved in promoting and improving school food programs for decades, starting when she was a child growing up in New York City where she participated in a free lunch program and loved the mash potatoes and meatloaf but hated the stigma of eating in the “free lunch” cafeteria.  When her children entered grade school she was instrumental as a parent activist in organizing a healthy hot lunch program at her children’s school and then advocating to the City of Toronto to fund student nutrition programs. Over her years as the Executive Director of FoodShare Toronto she and her colleagues were involved in developing innovative and sustainable student nutrition and school food literacy programs and the creation of the Coalition for Healthy School Food.

A social activist and globally recognized leader in the creation of a more socially just and environmentally sustainable food systems, Debbie is currently also a Distinguished Visiting Practitioner with the Centre for Studies in Food Security at Ryerson University. Debbie’s passion for collective action and policy change is informed by her experiences as a community college instructor, union organizer and leadership in a variety of social movements.

Debbie’s accomplishments and influence in Canada’s food movement are well known to us at Food Secure Canada. Her leadership and nurturing of innovative solutions to food systems challenges through community-based approaches are rooted in recognition of progressive policy change.  

 

 

Susan Alexander

POLICY ADVISOR; Inside Scoop Editor

insidescoop@foodsecurecanada.org

Susan Alexander edits the monthly newsletter about national food policy for FSC members and supporters, the Inside Scoop, established in May 2017. She is a communications specialist, with international experience of working with NGOs, think tanks and an international news agency, IPS.

Currently putting down roots in the Montreal food movement, Susan volunteers with Santropol Roulant and is a member of a collective garden in her neighborhood.

 

 

Anna Paskal

SEnior policy advisor

anna@foodsecurecanada.org

Anna Paskal has worked towards a better future for food for almost twenty years - in Canada, Asia and globally - in the areas of civil society policy, advocacy and network process; as well as on food systems related programming and evaluation. Anna's work has consistently emphasized collective and ecological approaches to food systems transformation, with a particular focus on biodiversity-based agricultural systems such as agroecology and food sovereignty.

Anna has been working with FSC in various capacities since 2002, including as Policy Lead and Lead Writer on the People’s Food Policy; Lead for the civil society joint Coordinating Committee for the United Nations Rapporteur Mission on the Right to Food to Canada; Strategic Advisor to the Eat, Think, Vote campaign; and as Senior Policy Advisor on work related to Canada’s first ever Food Policy for Canada. Anna also works as a Consultant, including on organizational change and strategic planning, and in evaluation (ex: ActionAid’s International Food Security Network; Global Affairs Canada/International Development Research Centre’s International Food Security Research Fund).

Anna currently serves as Visiting Researcher with the Center for Agroecology and Water Resilience at Coventry University. She holds an MA with Distinction from Sussex University in the Anthropology of Development and Social Transformation; and a Certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution from the Canadian International Institute of Applied Negotiation. Anna is a published author, and award-winning filmmaker.

 

 

Rachel Cheng

COMMUNICATIONS manager

rachel@foodsecurecanada.org

Rachel completed her Master’s of Public Health at the Université de Montréal, where she focused on food security and sustainable food systems. She has worked with various non-profits as well as the Montréal public health department in project management, event logistics, communications and partnership development. Rachel is also actively involved in the community as an event organizer, photographer, and otherwise sharing the love of good food with people at the market or over a meal.

 

 

Danie Martin

Project officer

danie@foodsecurecanada.org

Danie is a project officer for the communications team and the Coalition for Healthy School Food, among others.

She completed a major in Communications at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) followed by a certificate in Community Action at Université de Montréal. Since pre-university college, where she was the Greenhouse activity leader, Danie has always been a firm believer that food is the center of human interactions. Her work as a community development officer in New-Brunswick ignited her interest for community based work and citizen initiatives. While at university, she was involved in grassroots student-lead projects around local food and social ecology with the Public Interest Research Group, which lead her to work as co-coordinator of UQAM's Farmers Market. 

Fairly new to the food movement across Canada, she has endless appetite to discover more initiatives and projects. Cyclist amateur, Danie is an outdoor lover.

 

 

Gorana Govedarica

Project manager

gorana@foodsecurecanada.org

Gorana is a consultant, project manager at FSC.

She holds an MSc in Social Innovation from HEC Montréal where she focused her thesis on a topic that she is passionate about, sustainable food systems transition. Gorana has a business background with ten years of financial services and digital transformation consulting experience. She has been working in the field of Social Innovation and Sustainable Food Systems over the past five years.  Gorana is passionate about cross-fertilization between different sectors to bring forth innovative solutions for complex issues in food systems.

In her free time, Gorana practices yoga, contemplates with nature and loves to write poems.

 

 

 

Aviva Lessard

Communications Assistant

aviva@foodsecurecanada.org

Aviva is the Communications Assistant at Food Secure Canada.

She completed her graduate diploma at Concordia University in journalism and has worked for CBC and the Montreal Gazette. She loves to tell stories in a compelling and accessible way.

During her undergraduate degree in Anthropology at the University of Victoria, she participated in an archaeological dig on the coast of Vancouver Island, and made an audio documentary about pigeon racing in Santiago de Cuba.

Aviva’s interest in food security stems from volunteering in community gardens, working on organic farms, and starting a group aimed at minimizing food waste called the Community Cabbage in Victoria, BC.

Aviva’s favourite place to be is in her garden listening to podcasts.