Who We Are
The Northumberland County Food Policy Council is a diverse group of community partners who envision a vibrant, sustainable, food-secure Northumberland County. Individual member bios can be found below.
Russ Christianson – Chair
For three decades, Russ has worked with farmers, consumers, retailers, distributors, processors, co-operatives, governments and environmental organizations to increase the market share for local organic food. As the General Manager of the Ontario Federation of Food Co-ops and Clubs, he led the organization’s re-positioning as a premier organic food distributor. He worked with Kaviwiosa Manomin, an Ojibway owned wild rice co-op, to develop Canada’s first domestic fair trade product. Together with Mary Lou Morgan, Russ founded Origins Co-operative, creating a national brand for organic foods. Russ was also instrumental in negotiating a separate pool for organic milk in Ontario. He was a member and Co-Chair of the Toronto Food Policy Council during its first four years of operation and currently volunteers on the Northumberland County Food Policy Council. Russ lives on a reforested farm near Campbellford, Ontario with his partner Heidi Schaeffer.
Miriam Mutton – Community Partner
Our family home had a big vegetable garden in the back yard and flower gardens everywhere. Inspired by these early childhood experiences, I joined the Cobourg and District Horticultural Society. As a landscape architect (BLA Guelph 1983, OALA CSLA) I have had an office in my hometown of Cobourg since 1989 and I specialize in garden design. My interest in urban planning for healthy and resilient communities lead to roles in community advocacy both as a volunteer and as a municipal politician. Most recently, I pursued graduate level research and completed an MA in Sustainability Studies (Trent) in June 2015. I enjoy good food and am a regular supporter of local farmers’ markets.
Bruce Bellaire – Community Partner
Bruce has been active in cycling advocacy since 2011, serving as chair of the Bicycle Action Committee (a grassroots group) and also of Cobourg’s Active Transportation Committee (advisory to town council). Bruce is an active member of Sustainable Cobourg’s Food Action Committee and in 2015 was elected chair of the Cobourg Community Garden Group, which is establishing a community garden in Cobourg’s east end. When not paddling or cycling, Bruce enjoys tending his organic vegetable garden in his backyard in Cobourg during the spring and summer months.
Nicole Beatty – Community Partner
Jenny Madden – Community Partner
Jenny co-owns and operates Glenlea Farm where she organically grows vegetables and cut flowers. She has been a vendor at the Campbellford Farmers’ Market for four seasons and since 2016 has served as the Chair of the Campbellford Farmers’ Market Vendor Association. Jenny’s degree from Queen’s University pointed her towards museum studies, education, and event planning. Most notable was her work in Ottawa as the Education and Interpretation Officer at the Canada Agricuture Museum. Jenny has lived in Northumberland County since 2004 and is excited for this volunteer opportunity to help keep Northumberland’s food system vibrant, sustainable and secure.
Vicky Niles – Alderville First Nation
Lucas Cleveland – Urban Grocery, Cobourg
Arlene Dorland – Farmers’ Federation/Union Rep
Lynn Phillips – CAO Representative
In my role as CAO for the Municipality of Trent Hills I oversee the operation of the municipality with a view to improve quality of life and further develop Trent Hills as the ideal destination to live, work and play. With over 15 years experience in the public sector, primarily in business development and rural economic development, I was the Community Development Officer for Trent Hills prior to accepting my current position. As a lifelong resident of Trent Hills, I am invested in the health and prosperity of this community and interested in the important role that agriculture and local food production can play.
Heather Candler – OMAFRA Representative
I work with rural Eastern Ontario communities in both Northumberland and Haliburton Counties on economic development initiatives in my role with the Ministry, including committees like Northumberland County’s Food Policy Committee. My academic training includes an M.Sc. in Rural Planning & Development from the University of Guelph. This training thrusts most grads into a varied and exciting career in economic development, myself included. I have worked as a consultant on land claims with First Nations, as Manager of Economic Development for the City of Belleville, and most recently for 10 years as the general manager of a very unique, sustainable rural community development project in Batawa. I draw experience from the public sector, private sector, and even my own agricultural background as an alpaca farmer. When working with rural communities, I understand the challenges at each of these levels, and the power of collaboration to overcome them. I have experience in all these arenas managing projects, and clients, to achieve positive results.
Jennifer Murphy – Dietary Manager, Golden Plough Lodge
Adam McCue – Manager, Northumberland Planning and Technical Support
Dan Orr – Communications & Education Coordinator, County of Northumberland
Rob O’Neil – Manager, Northumberland Food For All
Northumberland County’s Food 4 All warehouse opened in 2004 and strives to attain a higher level of food security throughout Northumberland County. Food 4 All has a distribution warehouse located in Cobourg that helps to provide food and essential items to more than 120 local programs, including food banks, school nutrition programs and other not-for-profit agencies located throughout all areas within Northumberland County. As Food 4 All’s manager, I have overseen the day to day operations of the program since the warehouse opened over 11 years ago. During the past 11+ years, I have been active on local committees dealing with hunger relief programs including Northumberland Food for Thought and Food Access Northumberland. In addition, I spent 6 years as a member of the board of directors of the Ontario Association of Food Banks.
Kimberly Leadbeater, Registered Dietitian – HKPR District Health Unit Representative
The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit works with residents of Northumberland and Haliburton counties and the City of Kawartha Lakes to prevent illness, protect against disease and promote healthy lifestyles. As a HKPR District Health Unit staff member, I work together with community partners to provide programs designed to create healthier communities and healthier residents. As a Public Health Dietitian, I strongly believe that in order to have a healthy, vibrant community, all residents must be food secure. Food security means more than just having enough to fill you up. In a food secure community, everyone has sufficient access to fresh, nutritious, affordable food that meets their nutritional needs and cultural preferences, produced in a way that minimizes impact to our environment. When not working as a Public Health Dietitian, I enjoy long distance running, walking, downhill and cross-country skiing.