Celebrating Resilience Conference

Over the past year, we have seen a huge increase in the number of people accessing food banks in Toronto. Through unprecedented crises, the incredible staff and volunteers across our networks have worked hard to ensure that people have access to food. It has been a difficult and overwhelming time for those on the frontlines of the pandemic, navigating ever-changing personal and professional challenges, while witnessing so much inequity, trauma and loss in our communities. We at Daily Bread would like to show our recognition and appreciation for the efforts of agencies, and hold space for the complexity and diversity of experiences across the city. 

Over 3 half-days, we will host speakers and performers including Mayor John Tory, Polaris Prize winner Jeremy Dutcher, and Scarborough’s Walk of Fame Farley Flex, and hold conversations to celebrate, honour and process the last year of constant adaptation, grief, and resiliency of those running food programs, while looking forward to the next phase of our essential work.

Registration opens May 3rd and there is no cost to staff and volunteers of Daily Bread and North York Harvest agencies.


Day 1: Tuesday, May 18

1:00-1:30pm     Welcome from Daily Bread Food Bank and North York Harvest

Join Daily Bread Food Bank and North York Harvest leaders as we begin our three day celebration of resilience.

1:30-2:00pm      Mayor John Tory

2:00-2:30pm      Keynote: Farley Flex

2:30-3:00pm      Special Guests and Wrap up


Day 2: Wednesday, May 19

10-11:30am       Holding Space for Grief while Resourcing Ourselves

Join Chris Leonard in an interactive virtual space where she guides us to unpack and process the hard work and effects of the last year.

Day 3: Thursday, May 20

11am-12:30pm    Achieving the Right to Food in Canada:
Opportunities for Action

Join this panel discussion moderated by Talia Bronstein, VP, Research and Advocacy at Daily Bread Food Bank. Panelists include:

  • Garima Talwar Kapoor, Director of Policy and Research, Maytree
  • Mustafa Koc, Associate Director, Centre for Studies in Food Security
  • Nadia Lambek, Human Rights Lawyer & Chair, Canadian Association for Food Law and Policy
  • Melana Roberts, Member of Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council & Food Justice Advocate

12:30 – 1:00pm        Keynote: Fareed Zakaria

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria will be speaking about food insecurity from a global perspective and its interplay with human rights and economics. 

2:00-3:00pm     Closing Live Musical Performance by Jeremy Dutcher

Jeremy Dutcher, winner of the 2018 Polaris Prize and 2019 Juno Award for Indigenous Music Album of the Year, performs live as a special thank you for our members.


Fareed Zakaria

Fareed Zakaria hosts Fareed Zakaria GPS for CNN Worldwide. He is a columnist for The Washington Post and bestselling author of “In Defense of a Liberal Education” and “The Post-American World.”

Fareed Zakaria GPS is an international and domestic affairs program on that airs Sundays on CNN and around the world on CNN International. The forum is a television destination for global newsmakers, U.S. politicians, CEOs, and thought-leading authors and journalists.

Jeremy Dutcher

Jeremy Dutcher is the winner of the 2018 Polaris Music Prize, and 2019 Juno Award for Indigenous Music Album of the Year for his first album, Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa


Performer, composer, activist, musicologist — these roles are all infused into his art and way of life. His music, too, transcends boundaries: unapologetically playful in its incorporation of classical influences, full of reverence for the traditional songs of his home, and teeming with the urgency of modern-day struggles of resistance.


A member of Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick, Jeremy first did music studies in Halifax before taking a chance to work in the archives at the Canadian Museum of History, painstakingly transcribing Wolastoq songs from 1907 wax cylinders. “Many of the songs I’d never heard before, because our musical tradition on the East Coast was suppressed by the Canadian Government’s Indian Act.” Jeremy heard ancestral voices singing forgotten songs and stories that had been taken from the Wolastoqiyik generations ago.


As he listened to each recording, he felt his own musical impulses stirring from deep within. Long days at the archives turned into long nights at the piano, feeling out melodies and phrases, deep in dialogue with the voices of his ancestors. These “collaborative” compositions, collected together on his debut LP Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa, are like nothing you’ve ever heard. Delicate, sublime vocal melodies ring out atop piano lines that cascade through a vibrant range of emotions. The anguish and joy of the past erupt fervently into the present through Jeremy’s bold approach to composition and raw, affective performances enhanced by his outstanding tenor techniques.


“I’m doing this work because there’s only about a hundred Wolastoqey speakers left,” he says. “It’s crucial for us to make sure that we’re using our language and passing it on to the next generation. If you lose the language, you’re not just losing words; you’re losing an entire way of seeing and experiencing the world from a distinctly indigenous perspective.”

Farley Flex

Farley Flex is a founding partner at Urban Rez Solutions – Social Enterprise, an integrated community and social service company specializing in the fulfillment of the untapped potential of racialized and marginalized communities and individuals everywhere. As an innovator and trailblazer in community capacity building, the entertainment industry and media, Flex has devised and contributed to the establishment of several ground-breaking initiatives including REAL School, Take Back Ur World, Just Think 1st, Say It Loud and MentorME. As part of the founding team, Flex was instrumental in launching Canada’s first Black owned and operated commercial radio station FLOW 93.5, which is largely responsible for the commercial success of scores of Black musical artists in Canada including Drake, Jully Black, K-os and Kardinal Offishall. As an artist manager and media consultant he was selected as a perennial judge on Canadian Idol from 2003- 2008.

Along with his business partner Roderick Brereton, Flex has developed a pedagogy that infuses pop culture and its ubiquitous appeal with youth engagement strategies. The model has been tremendously impactive amongst the hardest to reach youth in Black and Indigenous communities across Canada. 

Flex has been the recipient of several community and entertainment industry awards of recognition and achievement including induction into the Scarborough Walk of Fame, the Harry Jerome Award for Entertainment and Community Service, two Juno Awards as Manager of Maestro Fresh-Wes, the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Award for Protecting the World’s Most Vulnerable Children, two Bob Marley Awards, the Canadian Urban Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award, an Honorary Diploma in Broadcasting from Fanshawe College, the BBPA, Men of Excellence Award for Community Service, Entertainment and Business and more. 

Garima Talwar Kapoor

Garima is the Director of Policy and Research with Maytree, a charitable foundation that works to advance systemic solutions to poverty through a human rights approach. Prior to joining Maytree, Garima spent several years with the Ontario Public Service in various roles. She focused on understanding how changes in the labour market and economy impact population health and our social fabric, and helped develop policy initiatives that could help strengthen the income security system. Garima is driven by a passion to understand how civil society organizations, governments and private industry can work together to strengthen communities. Garima holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management from Carleton University.  

Mustafa Koc

Mustafa Koc is a professor at the Department of Sociology at Ryerson University. He received his BA at Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey, MA at University of Waterloo and PhD at the University of Toronto. His research and teaching interests involve food studies, food security, food policy, globalization and sociology of migration. He was among the founders of the Centre for Studies in Food Security, Food Secure Canada, and the Canadian Association for Food Studies. He has also been involved in various national and global debates on globalization, social change and development, food security, and peace. 

He has various publications on sociology of agriculture and food, social change and development, and immigration. Mustafa has been the recipient of the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement award, Canadian Association for Food Studies, 2017; Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, Volunteer Service Award, 2017; Ryerson Faculty Association’s Career Achievement Award, 2016 and the Provost’s Interdisciplinary Teaching Award, Ryerson University, 2014. 

Nadia Lambek

Nadia Lambek is a Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) candidate at the University of Toronto, and a human rights lawyer, researcher and advocate focused on food system transitions and the rights of working people.  Beginning in July 2021, she will be an Assistant Professor at Western University Law School.  Her current research explores the role of international law in constituting rural places and how transnational agrarian movements are employing law and legal claims in an effort to transform rural and food system trajectories.

She is a founding member and co-chair of the Canadian Association for Food Law and Policy. She regularly collaborates with civil society organizations on issues of food system governance, including supporting the Youth Working Group of the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism to the UN Committee on World Food Security. She also has worked extensively on right to food issues, including supporting Food Secure Canada’s effort to include the right to food in the national food policy, and collaborating with UN Special Rapporteur Michael Fakhri on responding to the UN Food Systems Summit.  

Chris Leonard

Chris Leonard brings extensive experience supporting communities impacted by loss. Her process facilitation and trainings are grounded in holistic, anti-oppressive and resilience frameworks that builds capacity in areas of trauma, grief and restorative approaches. Over the past 30 years Chris has supported individuals and workers impacted by sexual violence, HIV/AIDS, opioid poisonings, gun violence and other traumatic personal and community losses. She brings mindful awareness from her training as a Zen shiatsu therapist into her work of holding space for individuals, teams and communities impacted by loss.

Melana Roberts

Melana Roberts is a food justice advocate, food and municipal food policy strategist and community builder. Bringing an anti-racist, intersectional lens to federal and municipal policy, her work focuses on how to advance community driven solutions that democratize food systems governance, prioritize access and equity, and responds to environmental challenges.

She is currently undertaking the creation of North America’s first municipal Black Food Sovereignty Plan at the City of Toronto, and brings experience working on community food projects, from urban farms, student nutrition programs, emergency food projects and grassroots youth initiatives.

Melana has experiences working in a City Councillor’s office, and at the City’s largest social housing provider, and has worked collaboratively with diverse food actors, volunteering on Boards, Councils, and in international fora. She serves as Canada’s United Nations Civil Society Delegate for the Commission on Population and Development, and has provided expert advice on global and Toronto-based emergency food responses during COVID-19. She is a member of Canada’s first Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council, supporting the implementation of the first Food Policy for Canada, and has been a member of the Toronto Food Policy Council, and former Chair of the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council. She is also currently Chair of Food Secure Canada, a member of the Food Communities Network Leader’s Table.

In her spare time she devises ways to get more funds into the hands of the community, in her role as a Director at Carrot Cache, a community grants fund supporting food projects in Ontario. In 2020, Melana led a research project to identify the policy barriers Indigenous, Black, immigrant, women and youth face to get into farming in Canada, and was named a CBC Next 10 Leader, shaping the future of food in Canada. Prior to her work in Canada, Melana worked with the Red Cross and grassroots women’s organizations on community health and nutrition initiatives supporting Afro-descendant populations in Latin American and the Caribbean. 

Celebrating Resilience Conference FAQs

What is the Celebrating Resilience Conference?

The Celebrating Resilience Conference is three half-days of recognition and appreciation for Daily Bread Agencies, and the opportunity to hold space for the complexity and diversity of experiences across the city.

We will host speakers and performers including Mayor John Tory, Polaris Prize winner Jeremy Dutcher, and Scarborough’s Walk of Fame Farley Flex, and hold conversations to celebrate, honour and process the last year of constant adaptation, grief, and resiliency of those running food programs, while looking forward to the next phase of our essential work.

Register here. 

What is the technology being used for the conference?

Daily Bread Food Bank has partnered with Resolve Collaboration Services to host the conference through Zoom. Their technology ensures a great user experience which can support thousands of users simultaneously.

How does the conference work?

The conference runs May 18-20 with a couple sessions throughout the day.

Once you register you will receive access to the conference via Zoom link. Please do not share this link.

On the conference days, you can join in on speeches, sessions and performances through the link.

Can I attend from my tablet or phone?

Yes, attendees can experience the full event from a tablet or smart-phone/device.

What if I miss the live events?

No problem! You will be able to access the videos and audio presentations after the event. However, to be able to interact with your peers and speakers, we recommend attending the live event.

How do I get access to the conference?

Register for the conference here. You will receive an email confirmation and access to a Zoom link.

Is there a cost to attend?

No, the Celebrating Resilience Conference is free for Daily Bread Food Bank and North York Harvest staff and volunteers!


 Please contact Reena Reddy, Manager, Agency Relations at
rreddy@dailybread.ca or 416.203.0050 x 257.