National Staff

 Anita has spent her career determined to address our most pressing social challenges and believes in the transformative power of young people to create positive change. She has worked on university campuses over the last decade, including at Social Innovation Generation (SiG@Waterloo), a national collaborative addressing Canada’s social and ecological challenges by creating a culture of continuous social innovation. When she was a student at the University of Guelph, Anita led the Meal Exchange chapter to break national records and engage hundreds of students. She holds a Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies and a Graduate Diploma in Social Innovation.

Anita has spent her career determined to address our most pressing social challenges and believes in the transformative power of young people to create positive change. She has worked on university campuses over the last decade, including at Social Innovation Generation (SiG@Waterloo), a national collaborative addressing Canada’s social and ecological challenges by creating a culture of continuous social innovation. When she was a student at the University of Guelph, Anita led the Meal Exchange chapter to break national records and engage hundreds of students. She holds a Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies and a Graduate Diploma in Social Innovation.

Anita Abraham
Executive Director
anita@mealexchange.com
416 657 4489 ext. 1

 Merryn became engaged with food insecurity while volunteering at food banks in the North end of Hamilton and was inspired by the 'Code Red' studies conducted at McMaster University. She graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2016 with an MSc in Public Health and Health Systems, where she conducted a qualitative study on the experience of student food insecurity. Merryn volunteers her time with Food Secure Canada's Youth Caucus and the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council. She is excited to support the voices of students in changing good food access and availability on Canadian campuses.

Merryn became engaged with food insecurity while volunteering at food banks in the North end of Hamilton and was inspired by the 'Code Red' studies conducted at McMaster University. She graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2016 with an MSc in Public Health and Health Systems, where she conducted a qualitative study on the experience of student food insecurity. Merryn volunteers her time with Food Secure Canada's Youth Caucus and the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council. She is excited to support the voices of students in changing good food access and availability on Canadian campuses.

Merryn Maynard
Program & Operations Coordinator
merryn@mealexchange.com
416 657 4489 ext. 2

Matt was trained as a teacher and firmly believes that social change is best achieved through the power of young people and education. He has spent the past several years as a community builder and campaigner, working on issues of food security, social inclusivity, and civil liberties. Matt holds degrees in theatre, teaching, and has recently completed an MBA, where he focused on health service management and policy development. He has learned from his experiences as an educator, healthcare professional, and activist that food is central to community well-being and mobilization. Matt is excited to share his experiences to help students build just and sustainable food systems on campus

Matt Currie
Campaign, Chapters & Communications Coordinator
chapters@mealexchange.com
416 657 4489 ext. 2

 Rajean is a community organizer and activist. Throughout his academic career he has been heavily involved in the student organizing on campus serving as a coordinator for the Racialised Students’ Collective, and then subsequently the Vice-President Equity and President of the Ryerson Students’ Union between 2013-2015. Engaging in on campus activism sparked his interest in our national and provincial student movements leading him to be elected to serve as the National Racialised Representative for the Canadian Federation of Students in 2014-2015 and the Chairperson for the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario between 2015-2017. Rajean values students’ collective ability to provide crucial services aimed at making post-secondary education more accessible for the most marginalized students. In his time at the Good Food Centre, he has worked to engage more students in the work of the Centre and helped launched the campus' first Free Breakfast Program.

Vajdaan Tanveer
Events Coordinator
vajdaan@mealexchange.com, summit@mealexchange.com
 

 Nicole is Registered Dietitian who strives to use food as a tool to make meaningful impacts within the student community.  She has been working with people living within the spectrum of food insecurity on and off campus for five years. As the Food Service Coordinator at  360°Kids she created a program which engaged homeless youth to develop their food skills in a creative and supportive environment.  While working as the Community Services Coordinator at The Stop CFC, she experienced first hand how food programs can act as gateway to connect people to their communities and engage them in community led systems change.  Nicole holds a Masters in Nutrition Communication. 

Nicole is Registered Dietitian who strives to use food as a tool to make meaningful impacts within the student community.  She has been working with people living within the spectrum of food insecurity on and off campus for five years. As the Food Service Coordinator at  360°Kids she created a program which engaged homeless youth to develop their food skills in a creative and supportive environment.  While working as the Community Services Coordinator at The Stop CFC, she experienced first hand how food programs can act as gateway to connect people to their communities and engage them in community led systems change.  Nicole holds a Masters in Nutrition Communication. 

Nicole Norris
National Good Food Campus Lead
nicole@mealexchange.com

 Celia first became passionate about food when she learned to garden with her mother as a child. Now, an avid gardener, fisher, hunter and preserver, she engages with the food system in as many ways as possible. Celia began volunteering with Meal Exchange in 2011, and transitioned from her volunteer position into a full-time job with Vancouver Island University after finishing her undergraduate degree. She has learned from farmers and seed savers around the world, and she is passionate about continuing to learn how to transform our world through the food we grow, eat and share.

Celia first became passionate about food when she learned to garden with her mother as a child. Now, an avid gardener, fisher, hunter and preserver, she engages with the food system in as many ways as possible. Celia began volunteering with Meal Exchange in 2011, and transitioned from her volunteer position into a full-time job with Vancouver Island University after finishing her undergraduate degree. She has learned from farmers and seed savers around the world, and she is passionate about continuing to learn how to transform our world through the food we grow, eat and share.

Celia White
Indigenous Food Sovereignty Bookclub
celia@mealexchange.com

 Sarah loves exploring how insects, plants and humans can work together. She graduated from McGill University with a degree in Ecological Agriculture and Global Food Systems. She learned from the wisdom of food gathers and growers in seven countries and many nations across Turtle Island. Sarah was co-coordinator of the McGill Food Systems Project, an intern at Local Food Plus and a data analyst at the Global Crop Diversity Trust in Rome, where she collaborated with farmers from 84 countries. Sarah was a Food Secure Canada Board Member from 2013-2016, bringing young voices to a national policy level. She loves the diversity and strength of the Meal Exchange network and can be found planning our programs including the National Student Food Summit and Trick or Eat, connecting with our partners and finding new opportunities for the organization.  

Sarah loves exploring how insects, plants and humans can work together. She graduated from McGill University with a degree in Ecological Agriculture and Global Food Systems. She learned from the wisdom of food gathers and growers in seven countries and many nations across Turtle Island. Sarah was co-coordinator of the McGill Food Systems Project, an intern at Local Food Plus and a data analyst at the Global Crop Diversity Trust in Rome, where she collaborated with farmers from 84 countries. Sarah was a Food Secure Canada Board Member from 2013-2016, bringing young voices to a national policy level. She loves the diversity and strength of the Meal Exchange network and can be found planning our programs including the National Student Food Summit and Trick or Eat, connecting with our partners and finding new opportunities for the organization.  

 
 

Sarah Archibald
Special Projects Coordinator
sarah@mealexchange.com

 
 

Summer Students

 Jasra completed her undergrad in Business Administration and quickly realized the cubicle life wasn't for her which led her to do a Master's in Social Justice. She is currently completing her research on the experiences of international students in Thunder Bay. In her spare time, you can find Jasra with a cup of chai or out exploring Thunder Bay. 

Jasra completed her undergrad in Business Administration and quickly realized the cubicle life wasn't for her which led her to do a Master's in Social Justice. She is currently completing her research on the experiences of international students in Thunder Bay. In her spare time, you can find Jasra with a cup of chai or out exploring Thunder Bay. 

Jasra Rahmath

Lakehead University Students Feeding Change Coordinator

 Hannah Chan is an undergraduate Human Nutritional Sciences student at the University of Manitoba and food enthusiast. Her keen interest in how multi-level food systems and food environments affect the nutritional health of individuals and populations led to her role as UManitoba's Meal Exchange Chapter Coordinator in 2016. As a member of the Student Standards Committee (Round 3) and as the Good Food Challenge Calculator and Campaign Lead at the University of Manitoba, Hannah is passionate about connecting stakeholders in the university community, and leveraging the collective energy and creativity of students to build more sustainable, equitable, and healthy campus and community food systems.

Hannah Chan is an undergraduate Human Nutritional Sciences student at the University of Manitoba and food enthusiast. Her keen interest in how multi-level food systems and food environments affect the nutritional health of individuals and populations led to her role as UManitoba's Meal Exchange Chapter Coordinator in 2016. As a member of the Student Standards Committee (Round 3) and as the Good Food Challenge Calculator and Campaign Lead at the University of Manitoba, Hannah is passionate about connecting stakeholders in the university community, and leveraging the collective energy and creativity of students to build more sustainable, equitable, and healthy campus and community food systems.

Hannah Chan

Good Food Challenge Health Research Lead

 Timaaj is a Women and Gender Studies and African Studies student at the University of Toronto. In addition to pursuing her degrees, she has spent her time on campus advocating for equity and social justice for marginalized students. Timaaj is also a spoken word artist, educator, and public speaker. She has and continues to use these platforms to resist oppressive systems and institutions, and promote equity.

Timaaj is a Women and Gender Studies and African Studies student at the University of Toronto. In addition to pursuing her degrees, she has spent her time on campus advocating for equity and social justice for marginalized students. Timaaj is also a spoken word artist, educator, and public speaker. She has and continues to use these platforms to resist oppressive systems and institutions, and promote equity.

Timaaj Hassen

Communications & Outreach Assistant

 Joycelyn is completing a Nutrition and Dietetics degree and a Digital Communications certificate at the University of Western Ontario. Her interest of combating food insecurity on campus has led her to Meal Exchange. When she is not advocating for students, Joycelyn enjoys volunteering in the community and cooking up innovational recipes in the kitchen.

Joycelyn is completing a Nutrition and Dietetics degree and a Digital Communications certificate at the University of Western Ontario. Her interest of combating food insecurity on campus has led her to Meal Exchange. When she is not advocating for students, Joycelyn enjoys volunteering in the community and cooking up innovational recipes in the kitchen.

Joycelyn Huynh

Trick or Eat Assistant

 Jaimie entered the nutrition field from a science-based background, but quickly grew to realize she was most passionate in understanding peoples’ relationships to food and their impact on health, as well as learning how these relationships are shaped by systemic forces. Jaimie has been working with Meal Exchange on the Students Feeding Change project since December and has found the opportunity to advocate for equity on campus both exciting and humbling. She is entering her final year of Ryerson’s Food and Nutrition program and will also be completing a certificate program in studies of food security. In her spare time, Jaimie loves to run, cook, explore Toronto by bicycle, teach swimming, and volunteer in community-based food programs.

Jaimie entered the nutrition field from a science-based background, but quickly grew to realize she was most passionate in understanding peoples’ relationships to food and their impact on health, as well as learning how these relationships are shaped by systemic forces. Jaimie has been working with Meal Exchange on the Students Feeding Change project since December and has found the opportunity to advocate for equity on campus both exciting and humbling. She is entering her final year of Ryerson’s Food and Nutrition program and will also be completing a certificate program in studies of food security. In her spare time, Jaimie loves to run, cook, explore Toronto by bicycle, teach swimming, and volunteer in community-based food programs.

Jaimie White

Ryerson University Students Feeding Change Coordinator

 Sonya Manchanda Peres is a recent graduate of McGill University, where she studied International Development and History. She will attend the University of Edinburgh in the fall to undertake a masters in Environment and Development. Sonya is passionate about trying to mitigate food insecurity and environmental racism through research and advocacy. This is her second summer as the co-chair of the Student Standards Committee and she is thrilled to continue to help realize the goal of ensuring student food security and sustainable purchasing across Canadian campuses.

Sonya Manchanda Peres is a recent graduate of McGill University, where she studied International Development and History. She will attend the University of Edinburgh in the fall to undertake a masters in Environment and Development. Sonya is passionate about trying to mitigate food insecurity and environmental racism through research and advocacy. This is her second summer as the co-chair of the Student Standards Committee and she is thrilled to continue to help realize the goal of ensuring student food security and sustainable purchasing across Canadian campuses.

Sonya Peres

Good Food Challenge Student Standards Committee Co-Chair

 Donna is a Hamilton based graphic artist. Although she has no formal training or education about sustainability and the food system, she is passionate about learning and living a lifestyle that supports ethical and sustainable practices.

Donna is a Hamilton based graphic artist. Although she has no formal training or education about sustainability and the food system, she is passionate about learning and living a lifestyle that supports ethical and sustainable practices.

Donna Velasco

     Graphic Designer           

 Keanna is an undergraduate student in Sustainability and Marine Biology at Dalhousie University. Her interest in sustainable seafood has brought her to many fish markets which has led to exciting conversations over coffee with fishers. Her CSF subscription taught her how to improvise recipes - not all successful - for different types of seafood. She enjoys constant and experiential learning, especially through personal stories and connections with nature. In her free time, she loves science blogging and science outreach, hiking the coast, and taekwondo!

Keanna is an undergraduate student in Sustainability and Marine Biology at Dalhousie University. Her interest in sustainable seafood has brought her to many fish markets which has led to exciting conversations over coffee with fishers. Her CSF subscription taught her how to improvise recipes - not all successful - for different types of seafood. She enjoys constant and experiential learning, especially through personal stories and connections with nature. In her free time, she loves science blogging and science outreach, hiking the coast, and taekwondo!

Keanna Burns

Good Food Challenge Sustainable Seafood Research Lead

 
 Nadja is in their undergrad at Dalhousie studying Sustainability and Ethnobotany and spends a great deal of their time working with local food advocacy groups on and off campus in Halifax. In the past couple of years Nadja has worked with Freedge, bringing the first community fridges to western Canada. Working within a framework of awareness and action, they set up two fridge locations and held events promoting reduction of household and commercial waste.  Through years of working within food sovereignty programs, Nadja feels that the unique opportunity plants and food provide humans, is a strong connection to one another and our world, with all the ‘isms’ aside. A way to share culture, narrate stories, reveal struggles, and overcome challenges, food is powerful, which is why Nadja feels that it’s within food advocacy and solidarity, that we can move towards a more just world. When not running around the city, you can find Nadja with her hands in the dirt, learning about new plants or on a hike!   

Nadja is in their undergrad at Dalhousie studying Sustainability and Ethnobotany and spends a great deal of their time working with local food advocacy groups on and off campus in Halifax. In the past couple of years Nadja has worked with Freedge, bringing the first community fridges to western Canada. Working within a framework of awareness and action, they set up two fridge locations and held events promoting reduction of household and commercial waste.  Through years of working within food sovereignty programs, Nadja feels that the unique opportunity plants and food provide humans, is a strong connection to one another and our world, with all the ‘isms’ aside. A way to share culture, narrate stories, reveal struggles, and overcome challenges, food is powerful, which is why Nadja feels that it’s within food advocacy and solidarity, that we can move towards a more just world. When not running around the city, you can find Nadja with her hands in the dirt, learning about new plants or on a hike!

 

Nadja Hanson

Dalhousie University Students Feeding Change Coordinator

 Located in the traditional territory of the Lekwungun-speaking Coast Salish peoples, Alexandra is a fourth year student at the University of Victoria. Here, she studies  history and applied ethics. She is passionate about middle eastern history, and focuses on learning about the impacts of colonialism and imperialism on the modern Middle East. Alexandra is the coordinator of thé UVSS Food Bank and Free Store, and cares deeply about food security. In particular, Alexandra is focused on the intersections between food security and privilege, especially the ways in which a lack of privilege can interfere with access to healthy, high quality food. With the food bank, Alexandra has focused on expanding the accessibility of nutritious food while also reducing environmental impact of food waste. Alexandra loves the work that Meal Exchange does, and is very happy to be on the team! 

Located in the traditional territory of the Lekwungun-speaking Coast Salish peoples, Alexandra is a fourth year student at the University of Victoria. Here, she studies  history and applied ethics. She is passionate about middle eastern history, and focuses on learning about the impacts of colonialism and imperialism on the modern Middle East. Alexandra is the coordinator of thé UVSS Food Bank and Free Store, and cares deeply about food security. In particular, Alexandra is focused on the intersections between food security and privilege, especially the ways in which a lack of privilege can interfere with access to healthy, high quality food. With the food bank, Alexandra has focused on expanding the accessibility of nutritious food while also reducing environmental impact of food waste. Alexandra loves the work that Meal Exchange does, and is very happy to be on the team! 

Alexandra Ages

University of Victoria Good Food Challenge Coordinator

 Eric is completing his final year in political science with a law specialization at the University of Windsor . He has been involved with Meal Exchange since January after learning about the organization through his class: The Political Economy of Agriculture and Food. Eric is passionate about inequality and food insecurity, and is excited to have the opportunity to tackle it though his position with Meal Exchange. In his spare time, Eric enjoys hiking, photography, hockey, and cooking.  

Eric is completing his final year in political science with a law specialization at the University of Windsor . He has been involved with Meal Exchange since January after learning about the organization through his class: The Political Economy of Agriculture and Food. Eric is passionate about inequality and food insecurity, and is excited to have the opportunity to tackle it though his position with Meal Exchange. In his spare time, Eric enjoys hiking, photography, hockey, and cooking.
 

Eric Hubberstey

  Chapter Coordinator      

 Mira Makan is a fortunate third year undergraduate student in the Nutrition and Food Program at Ryerson University. She chose to join Meal Exchange because of her interest in the intersection between food systems and, the public health and well-being of students across Canada. She finds it rewarding to be part of an organization that values the concept of healthy eating as fundamental to well-being and is proud of this organization for being a trail blazer in this regard. In the future, she hopes to pursue opportunities that allow to engage more with people through the government and public policy realm by participating in conferences, public speaking, and delegation. In her spare time, Mira loves to connect with people so please feel free to reach out to her, as there is nothing more that interests her than listening to a good story.

Mira Makan is a fortunate third year undergraduate student in the Nutrition and Food Program at Ryerson University. She chose to join Meal Exchange because of her interest in the intersection between food systems and, the public health and well-being of students across Canada. She finds it rewarding to be part of an organization that values the concept of healthy eating as fundamental to well-being and is proud of this organization for being a trail blazer in this regard. In the future, she hopes to pursue opportunities that allow to engage more with people through the government and public policy realm by participating in conferences, public speaking, and delegation. In her spare time, Mira loves to connect with people so please feel free to reach out to her, as there is nothing more that interests her than listening to a good story.

Mira Makan

Campus Food Report Card Research Analyst

 
 

Student Researchers

 
 Abdullah is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History and the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto, and holds an MA in Jewish Studies from McGill University. Although his research looks at relations between Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the medieval Mediterranean, Abdullah became interested in sustainable and ethical food practices after the birth of his daughters. He now enjoys teaching his young charges about how and where food is produced and the many steps food takes to get to our tables. He has just recently begun volunteering with Meal Exchange through the University of Toronto’s Community-Engaged Learning program, and is interested in how current food policy, access to healthy food, and economic issues, might affect young adults and future generations. When not busy with his family or cats, he spends his time reading and boardgaming.

Abdullah is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History and the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto, and holds an MA in Jewish Studies from McGill University. Although his research looks at relations between Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the medieval Mediterranean, Abdullah became interested in sustainable and ethical food practices after the birth of his daughters. He now enjoys teaching his young charges about how and where food is produced and the many steps food takes to get to our tables. He has just recently begun volunteering with Meal Exchange through the University of Toronto’s Community-Engaged Learning program, and is interested in how current food policy, access to healthy food, and economic issues, might affect young adults and future generations. When not busy with his family or cats, he spends his time reading and boardgaming.

Abdullah Farooqi

Good Food Researcher

 
 

Board of Directors