Daschuk guest keynote for food conference

July 16, 2015

Dr. Rachel Engler-Stringer has had an active couple of months when it comes to knowledge translation including one event in Ottawa with a familiar face as a guest.

Dr. Rachel Engler-Stringer and Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine at Food Environments in Canada.
Dr. Rachel Engler-Stringer and Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine at Food Environments in Canada.

She serves as president of the Canadian Association for Food Studies (CAFS), which met for its annual conference in Ottawa in May. For this year’s event, she had Dr. James Daschuk speak about his book, Clearing The Plains, which chronicles famine and starvation among Indigenous people on the Prairies in the late 1800s and the role the federal government, particularly under Prime Minister John A. MacDonald, played.

“Rachel is so good that she got me thinking about Clearing The Plains in a different way – as a study in food security, so in couching my story in those terms, I could relate to CAFS and widen my own horizons – my next project may centre around food, health and disease because of my experience with them,” says Daschuk.

While the Canadian Association for Food Studies represents researchers from a range of disciplines, including humanities, social sciences and health sciences, they do not typically look at food research from the historical vantage point.

“It was really different from our typical keynotes. Our typical keynotes study food all the time,” says Engler-Stringer, adding that the response was very positive.

The annual conference followed the Food Environments in Canada symposium and workshop, held in Saskatoon, May 20 to 22. The event featured Engler-Stringer and Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine speaking about SPHERU’s food environment research involving children and access to healthy food, as well as the Good Food Junction intervention in Saskatoon.

Food Environments in Canada also featured speakers such as Dr. Steven Cummins from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Dr. Jason Gilliland. There are video links available for the talks. Full coverage is available on the kidSKAN website.

In late June, Engler-Stringer also took part in a three-hour workshop with planners and others as part of THRIVE 2015, the annual conference of the Saskatchewan Professional Planners Institute and the Canadian Institute of Planners.

The workshop focused on the Pleasant Hill area of Saskatoon, which has disproportionately high outcomes for trends such as attempted suicides and infant mortality. One of the focal points of the tour was Station 20 West, which includes the Good Food Junction, the food desert intervention that Engler-Stringer is studying. Other presenters at the workshop included Eric Westberg, Senior Planner, City of Saskatoon; Neal Kewistep, Program Manager, Building Health Equity, Saskatoon Health Region; Len Usiskin, Manager, Quint Development Corporation; and Maryam Mehtar, Director, Social Pediatrics/Pediatric School-Based Health, University of Saskatchewan.


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