Can We Believe in a World Without Waste?

by Erika Salem, Laurence Lavigne, Éliane Brisebois, Catherine Houssard and Guillaume Cantin

Sunday November 1 - 11:00 am

Facebook live



Eating is not free. A multitude of issues regarding food production is at the center of environmental debates. It’s startling to recognize the amount of food wasted at every step of the chain: at production, during transportation and distribution, at point of sale, when transformed, etc.

These wasteful situations, from the field to our plates, raise crucial social, economical, and political concerns, as they should. A tremendous amount of food is thrown away and yet so many are still living with daily food insecurities. What can we do, and quickly, to limit food waste and provide for those in need? Does the answer to this question lie in education, legislation, transport? Will we have to build an entirely new system for food distribution, starting closer to the production line? To better understand these questions, to learn how to answer them, to get inspired by change, and to influence those around you, come and join this panel.

About the speakers

Mrs. Erika Salem is specialized in environmental management, particularly when it comes to food. Her mandates as a cooperant, especially with Oxfam-Québec, in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East, allowed her to acquire a keen knowledge of adaptation issues of climate-changing in agricultural environments from different parts of the world. After one year of work in Palestine for an education project in Agroecology, she now concentrates her professional activities on food issues in Montreal. She occupies the position of Program Officer for the Montreal Food System Council, a Montreal consultation that acts as a lever for sustainable development for the municipality.

Éliane Brisebois holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication (Journalism) and a Master’s in Environmental Science from the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM). As part of the research for her Master’s thesis, she was interested in the question of food waste in Montreal’s alternative food system. Since graduation in 2017, she continues to study the challenges of food systems and ecological transition as a Research Officer and Coordinator of the UQAM Research Chair on Ecological Transition and as a consultant. She has published the article The Social Production of Food Waste at the Retail-Consumption Interface, which she co-signed with René Audet in 2019. The applied research in the field and the transfer of knowledge to the general public represent the engines of the ecological transition.

Guillaume Cantin is someone who is dedicated to the service of others. Graduate of the Hotel School of the Capital, his passion for cooking became more than a job; it became a way to build a better world and to help others. Very young, Guillaume’s talent and personality lead him to win the first season of Les Chefs! on Radio-Canada. After several years in prestigious Quebec kitchens highlighting the local ingredients, he took a break to reorient his career to have a positive impact on society. Challenged by a friend to cook a gastronomic meal from unsold products recovered in grocery garbage bins, he became aware of the extent of the amount of food wasted. He then decided he would use his talent to eliminate this problem. In 2017, this desire led him to co-initiated the NPO La Transformerie with three friends.

Member of the Enlarged Audit Committee and City Councilor Maisonneuve – Longue-Pointe electoral district Mercier — Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district and originally from Montreal, Laurence Lavigne Lalonde has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Montréal and a Master’s degree in International Development Studies and a Management degree of Social Projects at Paris 1 Sorbonne University. She was first elected in 2013 as Councilor for the Maisonneuve-Longue-Pointe district. Since March 2019, she has sat as Manager of Ecological Transition and Resilience, Espace pour la vie, and Urban Agriculture. She is particularly interested in ways to fight poverty and favor inclusion and diversity by planning and protecting the environment. She works presently at the achievement Climate plan whose main objective is to make Montreal a carbon-neutral city by 2050.

Engineer in agro-food training, Catherine Houssard specialized in the analysis of the environmental impact of the food system by completing a Doctorate at the International Reference Center on the Life Cycle of Products, Processes, and Services (LCPPS) at Polytechnique Montréal. Co-founder of the PolyCarbonate organization and adviser in sustainable development for Group AGÉCO, she concentrates her energy on the scientist knowledge transfer in society by helping organizations and consumers to make informed decisions to change their behaviors and reduce their environmental footprint efficiently. She is a member of Conseil SAM (Système Alimentaire Montréalais) and she also participates in the project Transition Paths initiated by the University of Montreal in collaboration with Espace pour la vie, who aims at collectively identifying the ways that have the potential to lead the Quebec Food System towards a more sustainable trajectory. With PolyCarbone and her partners, such as RÉGAL or Préserve, she developed many sensibilization campaigns and actions for the fight against food waste in academia and regularly gives conferences on the theme of sustainable food.