Speaking With: Toronto Food Policy Council Chair Hélène St Jacques

One of my favourite parts of this blog has become the interviews – talking to people who are making a difference in their own lives and the lives of others has inspired me to follow my own purpose. Recently I sat down with Toronto Food Policy Chair Hélène St. Jacques in her beautiful, cozy office to discuss food, following your own path and making a difference in the Toronto food community. Here’s part of our interview:

Toronto Food Policy Council Chair Hélène St. Jacques has been a passionate advocate for accessible food for over 13 years. Having earned her chops in the then male-dominated industry of market research, St.Jacques carved out a niche for herself doing government projects and became exposed to the world of sustainable food and agriculture. Now she’s a leader in the Toronto food community and has been an active board member of both Foodshare and the Toronto Food Policy Council for over 10 years. I met with Hélène to find out what drives her to keep this internationally-recognized council on the forefront.

Why does food matter to you?

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved to eat! Both my parents came from the farm and my father always had a big garden out back. My mother did a lot of cooking and encouraged me from a young age to cook. Making food and eating food has always been front and center in my life.

I really feel my connection to food at difficult times. When the September 11th tragedy happened, all I could think to do was take the big bag of carrots I had in my pantry and make soup. It sounds so absurd, but it was such a confusing time, and for some reason, slowly stirring that pot of soup, with jazz playing in the background, it somehow grounded me. Food, music and friends are the things that keep my feet firmly planted on the earth.

Even with colleagues, I find it makes such a difference break bread together symbolically. When you offer food and share it, it changes the tenor of everything.

You can read the full interview on the Toronto Food Policy Council’s website.

Elsewhere: I’m blogging about my other love, sale shopping, on Shopping’s My Cardio today. Head over there to find out how I master clearance stores!


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