Food Literacy For All: Wayne Roberts
Wayne Roberts is a Canadian food policy analyst and writer, widely respected for his role as the manager of the [Toronto Food Policy Council], a citizen body of 30 food activists and experts that is widely recognized for its innovative approach to food security, from 2000-2010.
As a leading member of the City of Toronto’s Environmental Task Force, he helped develop a number of official plans for the city, including the Environmental Plan and Food Charter, adopted by Toronto City Council in 2000 and 2001 respectively. Many ideas and projects of the TFPC are featured in Roberts’ book The No-Nonsense Guide to World Food (2008).
Since 1989, Roberts has written a weekly column for Toronto’s NOW Magazine, generally on themes that link social justice, public health and green economics.
In 2002, he received the Canadian Environment Award for his contributions to sustainable living. NOW Magazine named Roberts one of Toronto’s leading visionaries of the past 20 years. In 2008, he received the Canadian Eco-Hero Award presented by Planet in Focus. In 2011, he received the University of Toronto Arbor Award for his role in establishing food studies as a field of study at University of Toronto.
Roberts earned a Ph.D. in social and economic history from the University of Toronto in 1978, and has written seven books, including Get A Life! (1995), a manual on green economics, and Real Food For A Change (1999), which promotes a food system based on the four ingredients of health, joy, justice and nature.
Roberts chaired the influential and Toronto-based Coalition for a Green Economy for 15 years. He has also served on the Board of the U.S.-based Community Food Security Coalition and Food Secure Canada. He is on the board of Green Enterprise Toronto, an organization of local eco-businesses that’s associated with the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies across North America. He has been invited to speak around the world on strategies that combine food security, community empowerment, environmental improvement, social equity and job creation.
Prior to his involvement with environmental issues, Roberts worked for two decades in the fields of community organizing, university teaching, media, labour education, industrial relations and union administration.
Food Literacy for All (NRE.639.038 and ENVIRON305.003) will be structured as an evening lecture series, featuring different guest speakers each week to address diverse challenges and opportunities of both domestic and global food systems. The course is designed to prioritize engaged scholarship that connects theory and practice. By bringing national and global leaders, we aim to ignite new conversations and deepen existing commitments to building more equitable, health-promoting, and ecologically sustainable food systems.
This community-academic partnership course will be co-led by Jennifer Blesh, agroecologist and Assistant Professor in the School of Natural Resources and Environment, Malik Yakini, Executive Director and a co-founder of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, and Lilly Fink Shapiro, Program Manager for the Sustainable Food Systems Initiative. UM students can enroll in the course for credit and community members can attend the series for free (signup here). Food Literacy for All will take place Tuesday evenings during the winter semester of 2017.