Urban Agriculture in Edmonton – Monday, May 2
Join us for an evening panel discussion on urban agriculture in Edmonton. Topics will include resiliency, the role of urban agriculture in our community and food insecurity. Panelists will share their journeys and the development of their connection with food as well as explore local programming and opportunities for citizen involvement.
Marjorie Bencz became the Executive Director of Edmonton’s Food Bank in 1989. Over time, Marjorie has been involved on provincial and national levels of food banking. She serves on the Edmonton Food Council.
Over the years, Marjorie’s work and dedication to vulnerable Edmontonians resulted in being recognized with a number of community awards such as an honorary diploma in Health and Community Studies from Grand MacEwan University and being named Global TV’s Woman of Vision. In May, 2012 in the category of Community Service, Marjorie was honored with a YWCA Woman of Distinction Award. Also in 2012, she received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. In June 2015, Marjorie was inducted into the City of Edmonton Community Service Hall of Fame.
Marjorie was honoured nationally for her ongoing service to Canadians and invested into the Order of Canada in the category of Social Science in 2006. Marjorie continues to believe that this recognition is not for her role, but for the collective support she receives from Edmontonians, Albertans and fellow Canadians in reducing hunger in our communities.
“A strong voice for the poor and working poor, Marjorie Bencz has been fighting hunger in Canada for the past two decades. Executive Director of the Edmonton Gleaners Association Food Bank since 1989 and past chair of the Canadian Association of Food Banks’ board of directors, she battles complacency and apathy with action. Adept at gathering community support, she has led a relentless campaign to safeguard the right of all Canadians to maintain their sense of dignity regardless of their socio-economic situation.” – 2006 Investiture Excerpt
Growing up in a rural Saskatchewan community as part of a family with a mixed farming operation certainly set the foundation for Debbie’s lifelong interest in healthy living and community life. She has been a resident of the Capital Region for the past 25 years and recently retired from a 35 year career as a Speech-Language Pathologist. Serving on the Regional Advisory Committee for the 7th National Truth and Reconciliation Event and travels to Cuba, Costa Rica, Chile, India and Palestine/Israel have fuelled her interest and a passion for human rights and for working to create a world and a community that is just for all and where everyone has access to the basic human rights of education, work, water, food and citizenship. Most recently she has worked to form the Westend Food Hub Alliance – a neigbhourhood response to food insecurity in 10 neighbourhoods in West Edmonton. Through the Alliance, access to food is being used as a means to build the social, physical and economic capital among neighbours and organizations.
Debra J. Davidson is Professor of Environmental Sociology in the Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology at the University of Alberta, having received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin (1998). Her key areas of teaching and research include impacts and adaptation to climate change, and crises and transitions in food and energy systems. Dr. Davidson is a Lead Author in Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change’s 5th Assessment Report. Her work is featured in several journals, including Science, Global Environmental Change, British Journal of Sociology, Society and Natural Resources, International Sociology, and Sociological Inquiry, among others, and she is co-author of Challenging Legitimacy at the Precipice of Energy Calamity (Springer, 2011), and Consuming Sustainability (Fernwood, 2005). She is also Director of Prairie Urban Farm, a community farm, education and outreach centre at the University of Alberta, focused on sustainable urban agriculture and local food security.
Kathryn Lennon works with CITYlab at the City of Edmonton, as the Principal Planner responsible for the stewardship of fresh: Edmonton’s Food and Urban Agriculture Strategy.
fresh is a high level strategy that will help guide Edmonton towards the vision of a resilient food and agriculture system that contributes to the local economy and the overall cultural, financial, social and environmental sustainability of the city. It was developed in consultation with citizens, interested groups, businesses and organizations, and was approved by City Council in November 2012.