Leanne Idzerda

When I started my doctorate in food security and learnt about where our food comes from and how it is prepared, my life changed dramatically. I realised that most of the time I wasn’t eating food at all– but some cardboard resemblance of what real food should be... apples covered in wax, carrots soaked in chlorine, bread that has more salt than fibre! I was distraught! How could I go on eating?

Then I learnt about the power of local organic foods – and more importantly, I learnt that I could afford to buy these foods (even on my very meagre student budget). That is when I decided to start an organization called Sustainable Eating to help others learn about what is in our foods and how through eating we can live a more healthy sustainable life. This also happens to fit well with my doctoral work which is focused on transformational social change in the foods system in Sub-Saharan Africa. I strongly believe that if we want to see real change in sub-Saharan Africa, we need to change the way we live and eat in North America. I currently split my time between Canada and South Africa.

In addition to promoting healthy sustainable eating, I volunteer in an urban community garden in Ottawa, conduct research on transforming health systems, am involved in humanitarian work both in Canada and internationally, and am learning to play the West African drums.