Gavin Dandy, Manager, The SEED project at Guelph Community Health Centre and Executive Director, Everdale

Alison Springate Guelph Smart City Office • 12 January 2021

Gavin Dandy developed a joy for organic farming in the 1990s. He quickly grew to appreciate how we relate to the land and our food. He also developed a deep understanding of food insecurity in our community that ignited a passion to contribute to a solution.

Two decades later Gavin is co-founder and executive director of Everdale, a farm-based charity that provides hands-on sustainable farming education including a popular summer camp. The farm grows thousands of pounds of fresh produce that is sold locally as well as donated to community food security partners. More recently, Gavin added the role of manager of The SEED to his already full plate. With a vision of a community with no barriers to healthy food, The SEED operates programs and social enterprises that address the immediate affects and root causes of food insecurity.

Both organizations have played a vital role in addressing the increase in demand for food assistance programs brought on by COVID-19. By May 2020, The SEED was running an Emergency Food Home Delivery program. The project, which is supported by Our Food Future’s Grow Back Better pandemic recovery commitment, has delivered more than 50,000 food boxes at no cost to householders. The program is possible thanks to a remarkable collaboration amongst dozens of businesses, charities, donors and volunteers. 

"Multi-stakeholder collaboration and government innovation are the keys to re-imagining our food system.”

- Gavin Dandy about the emergency food project, as well as his motivation to get involved in the Our Food Future initiative 

A valuable advisor for all three project workstreams, he has contributed expert and practical insight such as his Perspectives on Food Security During COVID-19 discussion with the University of Guelph’s Evan Fraser in August 2020.

Gavin believes everyone can play a role in Our Food Future’s vision of a circular food economy. In additional learning more about urban agriculture and supporting healthy food programs, he notes that “anyone can shop at The SEED’s soon-to-be-launched social enterprise, Groceries from The SEED. Every dollar you spend makes groceries more accessible for low-income community members who otherwise can’t afford good food.”

Groceries from The Seed will be launched in Spring 2021.

Read: The SEED's Home Delivery food program strengthens community

Five questions with Gavin

  1. What’s the best advice you ever received?

    Follow you heart.
     
  2. What is the name of your first car?

    The Habitant. It was a VW bus that travelled North America.
     
  3. What song do you always play at full volume?

    Bruce Cockburn’s “Strange Waters”
     
  4. What recipe or food dish do you absolutely rock at making?

    I like to cook without following a recipe. Sometimes the results are great, sometimes not! I like to believe that I can make a pretty good south Indian curry eight times out of 10.
     
  5. Favourite animated movie?

    Wall-E. Love the food-growing theme and the call to action for us to stop being couch potatoes and get out and live.

Connect with Gavin

Email: gdandy@guelphchc.ca

or comment below.