20 Voices from 20 Years: Katie Temple
When Katie Temple first got involved in food security, she was looking for an organization to become involved with that fit her values.
“The Food Security Network (now Food First NL) seemed like a perfect fit for me because it connected so many key issues under the umbrella of food,” says she says.
“Food is both personal and political. It addresses environmental concerns, social justice, inequality, health and so much more. Although the organization was tiny at the time, there were very dedicated people involved, and I could see the potential for a big impact in the future.”
Starting with the organization as a summer student, Katie soon became a board member, growing her understanding of food security, as well as the inner workings of community-based organizations.
“I learned so much about how a non-profit organization operates, and in particular how they are driven by the amazing power of passionate volunteers, often with very little recognition for the hard work they put in,” says Katie.
“Volunteers such as Melba Rabinowitz, Jane Aucoin, Margie Coombs, Glendora Boland, and others stand out in my mind as being instrumental at the time to its development.” Katie also credits the work of Sherril Gilbert (the first-ever Executive Director of Food First NL) for her work in setting the foundation for what Food First NL would later become, such as organizing the first Food Security Assembly in 2007.
“I still remember being captivated and inspired at that event by the late Cathleen Kneen, who spoke so eloquently about the need for changes in our food system,” says Katie. “I think that Assembly was an important turning point in the journey of Food First NL.”
Katie still draws inspirations from those early days, when Food First NL was completely volunteer-run and operated out of a tiny office upstairs at Cochrane Street United Church. “The organization has come such a long way since then, and has made an incredible impact on food security in this province.” says Katie.
Since then, Food First NL has helped put food on the political agenda and created a vast network of people and organizations across the province who are all working on common goals.
“I’ve noticed that just about everyone is talking about food these days!” says Katie. “People are talking about how to grow it more sustainably, how to eat more healthy, how to revive food skills and traditions, how to distribute it more equitably, how to reduce food waste and so much more. It is very exciting for me because I am passionate about talking about food in every possible way.”
“Food First NL should continue to strive to keep food action top of mind for politicians and decision makers,” says Katie. “Many critical changes to the food system require changes in policy and I think that Food First NL is in a great position to exert a positive influence in this area.”