Toronto food justice organization announces new executive director
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Toronto (Ontario) January 22, 2024
FoodShare Toronto onboarding new Executive Director after year-long search
Toronto-based food justice organization FoodShare announced today that Regina-born chef turned non-profit leader Matt Johnstone (he/him) will take up the role of their new Executive Director as of January 22, 2024.
FoodShare Board Chair Germaine Catchpole says that she and the board of directors are delighted to have someone taking on this leadership role full-time: “the FoodShare team has been doing excellent work as we have carried out a year-long search to find them a new leader; we’re excited for them to be able to refocus on long term strategic planning as Matt joins the team.”
Catchpole says Johnstone brings experience from a number of sectors including food insecurity and mental health, much of it in Vancouver’s downtown east side. With more than two decades of experience in a wide range of projects and organizations with a focus on impact, Johnstone is a Professional Project Manager with a degree in Communications and Dialogue from Simon Fraser University. It was a combination of this experience and his personal values that Catchpole says “gave us the confidence that he was the right fit for this position,” one that she says plays an important role “not only within the organization but in the wider food sector and Toronto community as well.”
Johnstone says he has long been a fan of FoodShare’s work and is looking forward to becoming part of the impact he has admired from afar—both literally and figuratively. “In Vancouver I worked at the intersection of community development, urban agriculture, and social enterprise, gaining many insights working with folks who experience complex barriers. Since at least 2012 my interest in sustainable food systems brought FoodShare to my attention and I am thrilled for the opportunity to work alongside the FoodShare community.”
Johnstone describes himself as bringing a people-first approach to service leadership with an internalized commitment to anti-racism, anti-oppression, and a trauma-informed lens.
Catchpole says the hiring committee members were struck by his listening skills, desire to understand and commitment to working in a team environment in a collaborative way. “This feels like a great way to start out a new year at FoodShare. We’re really looking forward to seeing Matt’s distinctive leadership approach in action,” she says.
She adds, “He’ll be working with an incredible team of folks who are deeply committed to justice. Together they’ll be advancing the human right to food in our city and beyond.”
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FoodShare is a food justice organization, advocating for the right to food, and working to challenge the systemic barriers that keep people from accessing the food they need to thrive. We support community-led food initiatives and work alongside communities most affected by poverty and food insecurity: Black and Indigenous people, people of colour, people with disabilities, and folks living on a low income. Whether it is supporting urban farms, subsidizing local produce markets or coordinating community kitchens, all of our work is about folks accessing food on their own terms.