Don Mills, President
Don Mills is a longtime family farmer and respected farm leader. Raised on a dairy farm, Don and his family now raises pigs, beef and crops on their farm north of London. He also serves as vice-president of the National Farmers Union. Don’s commitment to the big picture of farm and food system sustainability goes back to his youth, when he earned his BA in environmental studies. He’s kept up that interest as a member of the Sierra Club on food and farming issues. Don served on the Minister of Agriculture’s Strategic Advisory Committee and the Premier’s Agri-Innovation Awards Judging Panel..
Jessica Thornton, Director of Operations
Jessica Thornton is LFP’s Director of Operations, overseeing a little bit of everything. Her undergraduate work on a research team looking into student food preferences helped encourage the University of Toronto to partner with LFP to become the leading public sector purchaser of local sustainable food in North America. After earning her BA, Jess took additional diploma courses on fundraising, volunteer management and food security. Before joining LFP staff, Jess volunteered at an LFP-certified farm, and worked at an LFP retail partner. Jessica is also actively involved in Toronto’s food community, as a member of the Toronto Food Policy Council, the former Vice-Chair of the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council, and as a consultant advising food passionate youth about opportunities in the food system on the side.
Sherry Nielsen, Certification Manager
Sherry Nielsen brings solid experience in the field of organic certification to her job, overseeing smooth and personalized handling of otherwise-anxiety-producing stages of inspecting, certifying and recertifying farmers and processors for sustainable practices. Food producers are more ground down by complicated paperwork and confusing red tape than most, so Sherry’s job is to ensure smooth and personalized treatment of all applicants – part of the human feel that LFP sees at the centre of sustainability.
Judy Yee, Office Manager
Judy Yee manages the LFP office, oversees preparation of funding proposals and budgets and manages all critical documentation. She did post-secondary studies in Montreal before moving to Toronto, where she’s worked for many years as confidential and executive secretary.
Toby Davine, Metcalf Sustainability Intern
Toby is LFP’s Communications and Outreach Metcalf Foundation Intern, managing content for our online publications and educating the public through community events. Holding an honours degree in International Development and Environmental Studies, Toby split her time during her studies organizing various environmental initiatives on and off campus in Montreal. After attending the UN climate negotiations as part of the Canadian Youth Delegation in Durban, South Africa, she decided to narrow her focus to sustainable food systems as a more tangible channel to address the same global environmental problems. Most recently, she studied Permaculture for 6 months on an ecological farm. She is interested in the intersection between climate change, food security, and community resilience both at an international and local level.
Dr. Rod MacRae, Senior Policy Advisor
Dr. Rod MacRae, LFP’s senior policy analyst responsible for certification standards, is a professor of food studies at York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies and president of the Canadian Association of Food Studies. One of Canada’s most eminent and respected food policy analysts, he was founding manager of the Toronto Food Policy Council during the 1990s and co-authored Real Food for a Change with LFP president Lori Stahlbrand in 1998.
Lori Stahlbrand, Founder and Special Advisor
Lori Stahlbrand founded Local Food Plus in October 2005, and served as it’s President until 2012. Lori first became well-known to Canadians during the 1980s and ‘90s, when she hosted a variety of high-profile news and current affairs shows for CBC Radio. After hosting shows and posting regular stories and features from Charlottetown, Sydney, Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton, Jasper, Vancouver and Inuvik, Lori got to know about many of Canada’s unique regions. More recently, she volunteered for four stints as a farmhand in Prince Edward Island and British Columbia so she could learn firsthand — from the ground up and sore back down — about the realities facing primary food producers.
Aside from heading up LFP for seven years, Lori has been a leading member of the Laidlaw Foundation environment awards committee, FoodShare, the Minister of Agriculture’s Strategic Advisory Committee, and Toronto Food Policy Council, as well as Sustain Ontario. Her overall work on behalf of food and the environment was recognized by the Yves Rocher Foundation, which gave her its Woman of the Earth Award in 2008.
Lori is currently working towards a PhD in Geography at Wilfrid Laurier University.
LFP Board Members
The Board of Directors of Local Food Plus guides the organization to ensure that terms and conditions of a charitable non-profit are observed and honoured. LFP board members also bring a breadth and depth of experience in public health, public administration, food provision, farm protection and food policy that add to LFP’s credibility and outreach opportunities.
Yusuf Alam is a health promotion consultant with the Environmental Protection Office at Toronto Public health. He has an MA from the United Nations University in Costa Rica, and has worked in the communications field for Earthday Canada.
CJ Chiddy, Director of Operation at the Sweet Potato
Dr. David Clandfield is a former principal of New College at University of Toronto and a professor emeritus teaching and researching the place of food in French culture. A former Board of Education trustee in Toronto, David devoted much of his career and many publications to educational reform.
Kim De Lallo, chair of the LFP board, manages member relations and education for the Ontario Natural Food Co-op.
Karen Hutchinson, vice-chair of the LFP board, is a longtime president of the Caledon Countryside Alliance and co-chairs Sustain Ontario.
Chris Sparks, CA, Treasurer of the LFP board and Director of Library Operations at the University of Toronto Mississauga
Elbert van Donkersgoed, longtime policy analyst with the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario and well-known broadcasters and commentator on farm policy, was the founding executive director of the Greater Toronto Area Agricultural Action Committee. He consults to food and agriculture groups.