Hello Meal Exchangers!

It’s hard to describe how excited and honoured I am to join the Meal Exchange team at this important time. It’s a privilege to join you in this meaningful work.

Maybe it’s true that every generation feels like the world has never been a more complex place, but to me, most days it feels like our world is at once increasingly interconnected and also intensely fragmented and disconnected. Despite the abundance of wealth and technology that has been generated, we know that the benefits of society have not been fairly distributed, and that the personal impacts and social stresses that result from this are real. We know there is still so much work to do.  

It feels important to see the world as it is, but also to work hard for what it could be. For more than two decades, Meal Exchange has embodied this as a youth-driven, National movement motivated to build a more just, inclusive and resilient food system. Food has the power to be a unifier, to build inclusive community, to enable health and to help address interconnected issues like poverty, inequality and climate change. But, when equal access in society is not a reality for all, food has the power to serve as a barrier in our communities.

Growing up in Vancouver in a family affected by addictions and mental health, I felt compelled to work with people in my community to address some of the problems I was seeing. This was an empowering experience that showed me how a group of concerned citizens could create change, but it also taught me that there were so many problems that I didn’t see and many experiences that I was blind to. This same cycle of learning has occurred many times since, and has reinforced in my leadership style the importance of active listening and acknowledging my own uncertainties and biases.

Joining this organization, I’m humbled to be following some really outstanding humans, like Anita, who have led Meal Exchange in inspired ways. I’m a relationship-first kind of person, and with that, I’m very excited to meet and learn from you, our amazing volunteers, alumni and partners who make Meal Exchange what it is. If you have ideas or perspectives to share, and want to learn more about me, you are always welcome to be in touch: james@mealexchange.com.

Moving forward, I’m tremendously motivated to build on the history of Meal Exchange’s work, and to take us forward by growing the network of students, young people, and community partners we work with in promoting people-centered and innovative solutions that make Canada a better place.

Thank you for everything you do.