Canadian food coverage analyst and author Wayne Roberts died on Jan. 20 at the age of 76 following battling leukemia, leaving driving his spouse and kids, but also a legacy of advocacy rooted in meals protection.
Roberts was extremely highly regarded for his operate in food items coverage and his position as supervisor of the Toronto Meals Coverage Council from 2000 to 2010 in which the Toronto Food stuff Charter was formulated underneath his leadership.
But Roberts was not only recognised and nicely-highly regarded for his perform in foods advocacy and sustainability — he was a pal to numerous.
Anan Lololi, govt director of Afri-Can FoodBasket, considered Wayne Roberts a husband or wife in advocating for foodstuff protection, as very well as a pricey pal.
Lololi says he was inspired by Roberts’ operate in food items plan and sustainability inside his possess do the job in preventing for food justice and food sovereignty.
“He is the godfather of excellent meals plan for Canada for the matters that he contributed to foodstuff coverage in Toronto and Canada at big,” Lololi claimed.
Roberts worked as a foremost member of the City of Toronto’s environmental process power and helped develop a variety of plans, such as the Environmental Strategy and Food Constitution, which was adopted by city council in the early 2000s.
He was also a frequent columnist for NOW Journal concentrating on issues of foodstuff insecurity, social justice and general public health and fitness. The magazine named Roberts one of Toronto’s primary visionaries of the past 20 a long time.
Roberts was an author of a selection of books which includes Get A Lifestyle!, Authentic Food stuff For A Alter, and The No-Nonsense Guidebook to Earth Foods.
Lololi suggests he remembers Roberts bringing humour and wit to every single discussion, everyday or professional.
He described him as a people today particular person who looked out for very low-profits individuals and varied communities within just Toronto.
The pair last got to work collectively with the Black Creek local community of Jane and Finch wherever they looked into food as medication, but his legacy will are living on for decades to occur both of those locally and nationally.
“As a man or woman which is so really highly regarded in meals coverage progress, it was an honour for me to function with him in this local community,” Lololi claimed.
“He’s that kind of person who genuinely would like to get to the bottom of what the concern is so he can work with that certain community.”
Roberts received the Canadian Atmosphere Award for his contributions to sustainable living in 2002 and went on to acquire the Canadian Eco-Hero Award in 2008.
Tammara Soma, an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University claims while she was not related to Roberts, his dying hit her “quite, pretty hard.”
Soma claims Roberts was a “superhero” of hers.
Initially from Indonesia, when Soma first came to Canada as an undergraduate student, she distinctly remembers assembly Roberts for the initially time. He was dressed in a carrot costume handing out carrots at the Royal Agricultural Winter season Truthful.
From that moment on, Soma says, Roberts provided his assistance and mentorship — something he would commonly do for anyone who needed to take portion in the meals motion.
Soma, one of the founding members of the Toronto Youth Foods Plan Council, says Roberts’ efforts in encouraging give a voice to the youth in particular has made him a hero to several, not only her.
“He’s a pollinator…he is like this lovely dandelion, it just spreads everywhere, his positivity, his enthusiasm, his electricity,” she reported.
“I will usually be thoroughly indebted to him simply because of that.”
Joe Mihevc, former Toronto city councillor, suggests a single of his fondest recollections of Roberts was his involvement in Toronto’s re-integration of chickens in the metropolis.
Mihevc said during the final assembly of the Toronto Urban Hen project, he pulled a prank on Roberts by giving him two chickens.
“The pleasure of that tale is just the glance on his confront and I assume it is really the only egg that has at any time been laid at city hall,” he mentioned.
Mike Schreiner, Guelph MPP and Green Party of Ontario leader, said Roberts’ impact on Toronto’s local food items scene was paramount.
“When somebody in Toronto goes to a farmers’ market place or they harvest from a community garden or they see that their neighborhood grocery retail store has a lot more community foods in it — Wayne played a very important purpose in making that take place,” he said.
Previous Environmentally friendly Get together chief Jim Harris explained Roberts taught him a unique lesson in everyday living.
“As he was dying, he and I would giggle a ton as we often did — and he and I coined the time period ‘radical happiest’,” Harris said.
“Dwelling with pleasure I consider is the biggest lesson that I’ve learned from Wayne.”