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Speaker Series

Watch our recap video below:

Join RSI for a series of weekly, one-hour action learning speaker webinars during the month of May 2022.

Designed for action learning, the speaker series features a diversity of topic related leaders and experts recognized for their innovative, inclusive and systems thinking in advancing food security and climate resiliency in Canada and abroad to get their views on the future of food in a time of great change.

Why now? Why a Systems Approach?

Over 5.6 million Canadians live with food insecurity, hunger and poverty every day of their lives! With the impacts of Covid-19, rising inflation and climate change across the supply chain, the actual number of people living with hunger is likely a lot higher than what’s reported.

The 2022 Food Price Report for Canada forecasts a 5% to 7% increase in food prices in 2022, the highest in its 12-year history. This translates to an annual cost of food of $14,767 for the average Canadian family – an increase of $966 over 2021.

This is a highly concerning figure for Canada’s most vulnerable people. There is more than enough food produced to nourish every Canadian, but over 50% of our produce gets wasted. There are clear systemic challenges that need to be explored. These complex supply dynamics are shifting rapidly.

It is a complex, interconnected problem that needs to be explored, understood and addressed with a futures lens and systems approach.


*Note: through the generosity of our wonderful sponsors, everyone who registers will receive a promotional discount code from both The Big Carrot and The Spent Goods Company.

#3: May 19, Thursday at 12 PM ET: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/a-reimagined-future-of-food-security-and-climate-resiliency-week-3-tickets-323311000907

FOCUS: Future Food Distribution and Sustainability.


Dr. Charlebois is also the Senior Director of the Agri-food Analytics Lab, also located at Dalhousie University. Before joining Dalhousie, he was affiliated with the University of Guelph’s Arrell Food Institute, which he co-founded. Known as “The Food Professor”, his current research interest lies in the broad area of food distribution, security and safety. Google Scholar ranks him as one of the world’s most cited scholars in food supply chain management, food value chains and traceability.

Jess Newman is the Senior Director of Agriculture & Sustainability at McCain Foods, the world’s largest manufacturer of frozen potato products and appetizers. Her team of agronomists and field representatives are responsible for all the sweet potatoes, peppers, onions, zucchini, and other vegetables purchased directly from farmers. They also implement McCain’s 2025 sustainability goals related to agriculture: 100% of farmers implementing regenerative practices, 25% reduction in farming CO2 emissions intensity, 15% improvement in irrigation water use efficiency in water-stressed regions, and the launch of three Farms of the Future.

Jess works remotely from her home state of Michigan and travels frequently to support her team (when covid allows).

Jess is passionate about sustainability in agricultural supply chains. Her philosophy is to meet farmers where they are and help them move along the sustainability spectrum – while creating profitability too! Talking to farmers is what energizes her. Shas worked at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Ecologic Institute, New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, Booz & Company, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), and Anheuser-Busch. She holds a B.A. from Harvard, an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management (with Sustainability Certificate). She loves baking bread, sci-fi/fantasy, and cats.

Dihan started his first social enterprise, Organic Lifestyle, to focus on promoting non-toxic alternatives for the home, such as organic pillows, linens, and mattresses.

While researching whether his dog’s poo could be used to generate energy to power his house, instead of having to pick it up, he was inspired by solutions that made revenue from plastic pollution, cementing his belief that practical solutions to reducing waste while generating profits are within our reach.

One night at his local pub, Dihan asked the question we’ve all been too shy to ask: What happens to all the grain used to make beer?

After learning that most spent grain, especially from smaller breweries, ends up in landfills, The Spent Goods Company was born. The company is currently working with craft breweries to transform their leftover barley grains (spent grains) into delicious food.

#4: May 26, Thursday at 12 PM ET: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/a-reimagined-future-of-food-security-and-climate-resiliency-week-4-tickets-323379666287

FOCUS: The Future of Food Security for Communities and Cities.


Dr. Kim Zeuli
Founder and Managing Director
Feeding Cities Group – USA

Dr. Zeuli established the Feeding Cities Group in 2019 to mobilize the vision for resilient urban food systems she forged while serving as the Senior Vice President at the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC). Kim holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics and has extensive experience as a researcher and consultant working on food system issues in the U.S. and globally. She has worked in and with corporations, government agencies, philanthropic and non-profit organizations as a thought leader and trusted advisor at the intersection of food systems, disaster risk mitigation and community development.

Phil Fung, P.Eng.
Founder & President

Phil Fung is a Consulting Engineer (Energy and Sustainability) in Ontario, Canada. His areas of expertise are energy efficient and sustainable buildings design, nature-inspired regenerative buildings design, energy modelling, and LEED certification management. Starting his career as an Automation & Robotics Engineer, Phil accepted the part-time professorship at Humber College in 2012. Phil’s overarching design principle is “Buildings like the forest ecosystems.” Using nature as mentor and tool, Phil designed and applied for patent of his Vertical Indoor Aquatic Ecosystem – Vertical Indoor Garden (VIGA™) – in early 2014 which was based on biomimetic, biophilic, and bio-synergistic design principles. Recently, Phil secured a research grant from NSERC (National Science and Engineering Research Council) using biophilic design to enhance the mental health of people working from home and improve their productivity and effectiveness.

Kate McMurray
Education Outreach
The Big Carrot

Kate is a certified nutritionist and healthy food systems advocate. For 10 years her work at The Big Carrot has focused on championing organic agriculture, building better food literacy, and fostering creative partnerships in the community.

The Big Carrot is a worker-owned natural food market that has been committed to local, organic, non-GMO and sustainable food systems since 1983. Growing from 9 founding partners to a thriving worker-owned business, The Big Carrot is run in the same democratic manner as when it first opened. Its approach to health includes creating and protecting sustainable, robust food systems and facilitating community innovation. Each year The Big Carrot funds two grant streams: Carrot Cache and Natures Finest Fund which support sustainable farming and equitable food systems in Ontario.

Mike Carter
First Green Energy

The opportunity Mike sees in agri-voltaics threads his collective experience and fuels his ambition to be a change maker and accelerator of the energy transition through an agricultural lens.

Mike has been involved with the renewable energy industry for most of his life. He has led teams to develop and operate utility-scale solar, energy storage and hydroelectric projects throughout Canada and the US. Under First Green Energy, Mike has returned to his roots and has redoubled his attention to the acceleration of the electrification transition in Canada bringing his personal background in farming and applying his professional experience towards expanding agrivoltaics into Canada.

Mike founded First Green Energy in 2007 as a renewable energy development consultancy after growing up supporting his family’s hydroelectric business endeavours. Mike has held many roles concurrent to his renewable experience including mining, manufacturing, agriculture, and automotive sectors. For the past 20 years, Mike has also managed his family’s farm operations, where he was named Entrepreneur of the Year for Halton Hills in 2013. Through his farming efforts Mike led various endeavours seeking added value from a difficult to resolve agricultural reality for many of today’s family farms. These efforts included organic strawberry growing , on-farm market development, traditional cash cropping, and market gardening.

Through all of his experiences in energy, farming and elsewhere, Mike has continually developed strong business relationships with ever diverse parties to contemplate, realize and deliver innovative business outcomes.

Yasmin Glanville
Founder, Futurist
Rethink Sustainability Initiatives

Yasmin is a recognized futurist, innovation and growth strategist and advisor for leaders, boards, organizations and communities in the Americas, Caribbean and Europe.

She specializes in helping clients explore the future and mobilize best fit approaches and solutions to thrive in the new realities of a highly disruptive world impacted by Covid 19, climate change, digitization, inflation, social-economic inequities and more.

Backed by 30+ years of international experience as both an executive and a senior advisor for and with corporations, government/NGOs and NFPs, Energy/Social Innovation Hubs, entrepreneurs and philanthropists she is a sought-after keynote speaker and strategic advisor.

Yasmin uses a similar futurist-systems thinking approach for community initiatives.

This includes the 2021-2022 RSI Community Climate Action project by and with St James Town members, a dedicated project team and experts from seven countries – funded in part by the Government of Canada.

In 2011, she founded RSI as a go-to knowledge exchange for senior leaders to broaden their understanding of how important it is to embed sustainability and resiliency as core business priorities vs. a sideline.

Since then, RSI has evolved into a global brand, spanning all sectors, with a common focus on building a more resilient, just, and sustainable future. RSI collaborates with a diverse and inclusive ecosystem of senior and emerging leaders, partnerships, associations and youth.


Event Sponsors:


To learn more and to explore other ways of getting involved, including partnership opportunities, contact:

Patrick Gossage at pgossage@rethinksustainability.ca / mobile (416) 347-1862 and communications@rethinksustainability.ca, urvil.villaruel@rethinksustainability.ca

About the Series Organizer and Contact Information

RSI is a dynamic “think-do” knowledge exchange that helps executives, entrepreneurs and innovators examine the challenges they face while helping them identify strategies and insights for advancing the sustainability and resiliency of business and society to thrive into the future. Our exchange, through formal and informal discussions, action-learning accelerators, workshops, keynote presentations and publications, provides access to progressive leaders and actionable insights for Canadians and our global partners.

For more information:
Email: communications@rethinksustainability.ca

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