We are very grateful to our speakers and wisdom-holders that shared with us at the event.
Speaking on Indigenous Food Sovereignty and household food insecurity:
Speaking about poverty as one of the root causes of household food insecurity:
Melanie Kurrein is the Provincial Manager of Food Security with the Population and Public Health Team with the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA). She is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in socio-cultural studies of food and has worked in food security for over 17 years at both local (health authority) and provincial levels. In her current position as the Provincial Manager of Food Security, Melanie works closely with the regional health authorities, the First Nations Health Authority and the Ministry of Health to facilitate provincial collaboration and coordination of activities to inform food security policy and initiatives across the province. For example, Melanie works closely with the health authorities to coordinate and disseminate the Food Costing in BC and The Affordability of Healthy Eating initiative.
Trish Garner is a passionate advocate for social justice. Having gained her experience working with Raise the Rates, an anti-poverty group based in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, she is now the Community Organizer of the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, a broad-based network of over 400 organizations throughout BC. She is the co-author of A Poverty Reduction Plan for BC and a regular media contributor and commentator.
In 2008, she co-founded the Poverty Olympics, a community festival that highlighted the disparity between public spending on the Olympics and people living in poverty, and in 2010, she coordinated the Poverty Olympics Torch Relay around the province ending with a 100 km walk from Langley to Vancouver.
Cynthia is a Kamloops community advocate on issues around homelessness, poverty, and gender. She is a member of the Lived Experience Committee, and is one of the key team members of the Big E, a publication-based social enterprise that supports those living in poverty. She is a member of Changing the Face of Poverty, and coordinator at the My Place program. Cynthia was also a participants in the cultural mapping EmpowerHER project that was launched in partnership with TRU Research and Graduate Studies.
Dawn Morrison is the Founder, Chair and Coordinator of the B.C. Food Systems Networking Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty. In the years away from her ancestral Secwepemc (Shuswap) community, Dawn’s work in various capacities throughout her 20 year long career in Horticulture has literally kept her in touch with her Indigenous roots through applying an ecological approach to studying and working with plants.
Some of Dawn’s most recent professional developments include participating in various roles with several indigenous and non-indigenous organizations such as: the B.C. Food Systems Network – Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty (Coordinator/Chair), 1stAnnual Interior of B.C. Indigenous Food Sovereignty Conference (Coordinator), Around the Kitchen Table Project – Aboriginal Women’s Group working on HIV/AIDS Awareness and Prevention (Community Facilitator), and Project Associate on various other land, culture and ecology related projects.
Courtney Mason is an Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Rural Livelihoods and Sustainable Communities at Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia. His work examines locally-driven initiatives in rural and Indigenous communities that enhance regional food security, health programs and tourism development.
Randy Sam is a Secwepemc Elder from Neskonlith, and the Indigenous People’s Cultural Worker at the Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society. Randy is a traditional knowledge holder, a Secwepemc artist, singer of our songs and salmon dip net fisherman. He has intimate knowledge of hunting and harvesting edible and medicinal plants in Secwepemculewc. Randy holds a BSW, and holds wisdom around the connection between Indigenous health and food security and the traditional food systems that the Secwepemc have depended on since time immemorial.