Dave Meslin, Keynote Speaker

Dave Meslin is an activist, journalist, community organizer and professional rabble-rouser with a focus on public space, voting reform and providing an antidote to apathy.

With one foot planted firmly in the world of mainstream politics and the other foot dancing in the more vibrant universe of grassroots activism, Meslin has found ways to bring them both together and turn energy into action.

Meslin's activism started with guerilla-style street antics. Painting bike lanes directly onto the street, altering billboards, and hanging pictures of Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton over "Post no Bills" signs were all part of his repertoire.

He was named one of the Top 12 to Watch in 2012 by the
Toronto Star for his actions to ‘make it easier for citizens to be energetic participants in city government, not just frustrated observers.’ Recent projects include: the Ranked Ballot Initiative (’11), which may influence the future of voting in Toronto and curating the Fourth Wall exhibit about transforming local politics in Toronto.

In November 2010, Coach House books published Local Motion: The Art of Civic Engagement in Toronto co-edited by Dave, Alana Wilcox and Christina Palassio. In 2011, his TEDx video The Antidote to Apathy earned him a spot on the home page of TED.com and over ¾ of a million views.  Multi-partisan, fiercely optimistic and delusionally utopian, Dave embraces ideas and projects that cut across traditional boundaries between grassroots politics, electoral politics and the arts community. In his work, he attempts to weave elements of these communities together.

Chosen as one of the Top Ten Activists of the year by NOW Magazine in 2000, Meslin went on to form the Toronto Public Space Committee. During the following five years the TPSC grew to become one of the most effective unfunded non-profits in Toronto, and was chosen in 2005 as the “Best Activist Group” by both
EYE Weekly and NOW magazines.

City Idol project was filmed and turned into a full-length film that now airs frequently on the Documentary Channel. It came from coordinating a project called Who Runs This Town?; a campaign aimed at injecting some fun and creativity into the 2006 municipal elections in Toronto. The highlight of the project was City Idol, an attempt to get alienated citizens to explore and share their political ideas by competing for a spot on City Council in front of a live audience.

Meslin's political adventures have taken him in many directions. On the inside, Meslin has been flown to Bogota to represent Toronto at a United Nations conference about Car-Free Cities, he's been appointed to Toronto's Cycling Committee and Pedestrian Committee, and has worked as an executive assistant at both Queen's Park and City Hall. On the outside, Meslin's rabble rousing had him labeled by the
Globe and Mail as a “constant thorn” in City Council’s side. He's encouraged hundreds of people to get involved in local activism, he's successfully derailed two major projects at City Hall that threatened public spaces and he's also landed himself in jail.

When he’s not deeply immersed in urban politics or electoral reform, Dave tours with
The Hidden Cameras. Future projects could possibly include a transit riders’ union, a bike store, a reality TV show, and hopefully another book.

Simone Edginton, Registered Dietitian
County of Lambton Community Health Services
Sarnia-Lambton Food Coalition Co-Chair Year 1

Simone grew up in Sarnia and is a founding member of the SLFC. She has been a Registered Dietitian on the Health Promotion team at the County of Lambton Community Health Services Department for over 5 years, where her work focuses on individual and community food security.

Lana Smith, Registered Dietitian
Public Health Nutritionist, County of Lambton Community Health Services
Healthy Living Lambton Healthy Communities Partnership Chair

The Healthy Living Lambton Healthy Communities Partnership  is currently working on establishing municipal planning and transportation policies that increase access to healthy food. Lana has expertise in nutrition, community development and capacity, and policy development.She is a founding member of the Sarnia-Lambton Food Coalition, which she also co-chairs. 

Nancy Dubois

Nancy is a health promotion consultant with extensive experience from the community level to international work.

Tom Schell
Centre for Sustainable Food Systems 

Tom bring over 25 years of business development experience where he successfully commercialized hundreds of consumer, commercial and industrial products across multiple distribution channels.
More recently, he unleashed his passion for community economic development on Sustainable Food Systems. Tom conducted eighteen months of comprehensive research resulting in a practical, innovative Sustainable Food Cluster framework that is poised to create tens of thousands of permanent, rewarding production and processing jobs in Southwestern Ontario while addressing pressing environmental and social challenges.