A Top Chef Canada finalist and a former Canadian consul general will take part in the University of Guelph’s fourth annual Arrell Food Summit this week.

Hosted by the Arrell Food Institute (AFI), the Oct. 28 online event will feature activists, chefs, business executives and scientists under the theme of “Turning Ideas into Action.”

Rich Francis

Rich Francis, Top Chef Canada finalist and host of Indigenous cooking television programs, will discuss food as a tool for decolonization.

Nadia Theodore, senior vice-president, global government and industry relations, with Maple Leaf Foods and former consul general to southeast U.S. for Canada, will talk about government-industry relations and supply chain innovations.

“The pandemic has challenged us all to come up with new ideas for how to deal with big problems like food insecurity, climate change and supply chain failures,” said AFI director Dr. Evan Fraser, professor in the Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics within U of G’s College of Social and Applied Human Sciences.

“This year, we want to take home the lessons learned by those who have put those ideas to work and seen meaningful change as a result.”

Nadia Theodore

AFI aims to reduce the environmental impact of global food systems by researching and promoting new ways to feed the growing human population. Its annual summit focuses on innovation in agriculture and food, and features speakers as well as laureates of the Arrell Global Food Innovation Awards.

Designed to provide insight and inspiration for food producers, processors, government and corporate leaders, entrepreneurs and academics, the summit will include on-demand content and live sessions.

Sessions include the following:

  • Dr. Shakuntala Thilsted, global lead for nutrition and public health at WorldFish and 2021 World Food Prize winner
  • The Unexpected: Climate Change and Food, with scientists and farmers helping the food system adapt to climate change impacts
  • The Changemaker’s Forum, featuring Haile Thomas, founder/CEO of the non-profit HAPPY organization; Julia Romagnoli, production system specialist at John Deere and founder of #PrideinAg; Joshua Smee, CEO of Food First NL; and Raul Fernandez, chief imagination officer at Thx Dreams
  • Joshna Maharaj, chef, speaker, radio and podcast host, author and advocate for change to institutional food production

A pre-event cocktail demonstration on Oct. 27 will be held by award-winning bartender Harry Hanson.

Registration, program details and additional speaker information are available at the summit website.


Maggie McCormick, communications manager
Arrell Food Institute
519-824-4120, Ext. 58782