School Food Matters Symposium, Hosted by Alberta Food Matters
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School Food Matters Symposium, Hosted by Alberta Food Matters
Presented by: Various Speakers
Friday, November 06, 2020 | 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Saturday, November 07, 2020 | 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Sunday, November 08, 2020 | 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Session Location:
About the Session:

Keynote is by Dr. Kim Raine, who is a Professor at the University of Alberta’s School of Public Health & Dr. Mary McKenna, who is a Professor at the University of New Brunswick

Other Speakers include Debbie Field, Coordinator of Coalition for Healthy School Food; Scott Hall, Teacher and School Food Coordinator at Ermineskin Schools; Marjorie Bencz, Executive Director of Edmonton’s Food Bank

Alberta Food Matters (AFM) is proud to host this online symposium to assemble teachers, policy experts, academics, health professionals, local food producers, and community organizations to share information and discuss matters relating to school food. Like many Albertans, we believe that all children living in Alberta have the right to nutritious food and a healthy lifestyle!

This learning opportunity will include session topics and strategies to address: setting up a school food system, sourcing local food, financing programs, maintaining children’s nutrition during the pandemic, comprehensive school health, and how we can make a universal, healthy, school food program a reality in Alberta. 

Join our combination of keynote speakers such as, Nancy Kelner, Sarah Linde, Marjorie Bencz as well as various panels, and breakout sessions as we address a variety of some of the most pressing school food challenges we are faced with today. Alberta School Food Matters! 

This event is co-sponsored by the University of Calgary O'Brien Institute of Public Health and AA Pediatric Medical Clinic.

Visit the Symposium Website at to learn more about the sessions and speakers.


About the Presenter(s):
Various Speakers

Kim Raine, PhD, RD, FCAHS

Dr. Kim Raine is Distinguished Professor in the School of Public Health, University of Alberta. She is a Registered Dietitian, and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

A pioneer in bringing social scientific concepts to the study of nutrition and health, her innovative research has shown dietary patterns as deeply contextualized behaviours embedded in complex food environments. Her research program broke new ground by exploring food environments, and how they shape the availability, affordability, and social acceptability of dietary patterns, as well as their association with health‐related outcomes. Her research pioneered social‐ecological thinking in nutrition and demonstrated the potential of large‐scale population interventions at community and policy levels. She has influenced research strategies and policy development at local, provincial, and federal levels. Dr. Raine’s team is at the leading edge of the exponential growth of research in food environments in Canada.

Marjorie Bencz

Marjorie Bencz began with Edmonton’s Food Bank in 1987 as a volunteer. In 1989, she became the Executive Director of Edmonton’s Food Bank.

“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

Over the years, Marjorie’s work and dedication has resulted in her being recognized with a number of community awards such as an honorary diploma in Health and Community Studies from Grand MacEwan Community College 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 Hall of Fame.

Sarah Halton, RD

Sarah Halton is part of the Edmonton public health dietitian team with Alberta Health Services. Sarah has worked in the area of school health for the past 13 years and is involved in resource development and initiatives that support healthy eating environments and education in schools.

Sarah Linde, BSc

Sarah grew up in Calgary, AB, spending all her free time on local farms and riding horses.

Sarah completed her BSc in Agribusiness in 2007 and followed her passion in the agriculture world. Sarah spent 7 years supporting and managing agriculture events and youth agricultureeducation programs in Calgary working to continue to connect the urban audience with where their food comes from and our rural roots in Alberta. Sarah joined the Agriculture for Life team in 2015 and has worked on the development and execution of several new Ag Education and Farm safety programs throughout Alberta including the Rural Safety Unit which has reached over 125,000 participants in the past two years.

Jesse Veenstra

Jesse is a public health professional with a passion for food security and community building. Prior to joining Farm to Cafeteria Canada in 2018, she spent a decade managing complex projects across the continuum of care at Vancouver Coastal Health and at BC’s Provincial Health Services Authority. Since 2017 Jesse has served on the Vancouver Food Policy Council and is a member of the council’s Leadership Team and Zero Waste Working Group. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Nutraceutical Science and Master of Science in Human Health and Nutrition. In her spare time, you will find Jesse exploring the BC wilderness, experimenting in her garden, or getting creative in her kitchen with the local bounty BC has to offer.

Christine Volkins

Christine Volkins is a Health Promotion Facilitator (HPF) with the School Health & Wellness Promotion team, Alberta Health Services. She encourages school authorities to utilize Comprehensive School Health (CSH), an internationally recognized and effective approach for building healthy school communities. CSH can be used to address a variety of health issues and can improve both health and education outcomes for students, staff and parents. Christine has been in this role for 14 years; prior to that she worked in the school system as a Family School Liaison/Counsellor. She resides in the rural area of Trochu with her husband and has two sons attending university. Gardening, golfing, and summers at the lake with family and friends help to make her life complete.

Nancy Kelner

Nancy grew up in Winnipeg, MB, spending summers on her grandparents’ farm where her curiosity for environmental and animal science was first sparked. Following these passions and her love for life-long learning, Nancy completed her B.Sc. (Bio Sci) and B.Ed. at the University of Winnipeg, and has over 10 years teaching experience as science education specialist serving rural Manitoba students. She moved on from the classroom to work with a national non-profit, developing and delivering innovative student programs, as well as PD and training sessions for teachers, classrooms, and school boards across Manitoba. Nancy relocated to Okotoks last year and joined the Agriculture for Life education team, developing new education initiatives to connect students to our agricultural food production systems.

Catering is not prepared in a nut/gluten-free environment.
Photography Release:
This is a public event with the likeliness of photo/video throughout the day. By attending, participants understand they may be captured in photo or video for future presentations or promotional material development. Please see conference hosts if you prefer to not be photographed.

Registration Fee:


Registration Deadline:

November 05, 2020


Administrator/Administration, Counselors/Conseiller en orientation scolaire, Daycare Operators/Garderie, Health Care Practitioner/Professionnel de la santé, Parents/Parent, Teachers/Enseignant

Grade Level:

K-12/Tous niveaux Maternelle à 12, Pre K

Registration Notes:


Want to be a sponsor?

Please see Sponsorship Package for more details

 University of Calgary O'Brien Institute of Public Health
Alberta School Food Matters