March 8 marks International Women’s Day. In a sector historically dominated by men, the contribution of women in agriculture and food security deserves more attention, in order to highlight the leadership of women in this field. Today, we would like to take a moment to recognize the incredible work of women at Regeneration Canada.
Since its inception in 2017, Regeneration Canada has been forged out of the dedication and leadership of women who care about the survival of our planet and the well-being of our producers, workers and animals. In our six years of existence, numerous women have made significant contributions to propelling the regenerative agriculture movement in this country, from employees, to board members, to consultants and external collaborators.
At the first ever Living Soils Symposium in 2017, six women from different life paths brought together 400 people from across Canada to talk about soil health and regenerative agriculture. This was a pivotal moment and a catalyst for bringing the concepts and principles of regenerative agriculture to the public and building bridges between agricultural producers and consumers. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our founder Gabrielle Bastien, Erica Groome, Alexandra Groome Klement, Corine Leduc and Vivian Kaloxilos, as well as some 50 volunteers and collaborators.
Between 2018 and 2021, we laid the foundation for the first national organization dedicated entirely to promoting soil health and regenerative agriculture. Extraordinary women built the pillars of the organization both in terms of internal policies and organizational development, as well as through the implementation of three editions of the Living Soils Symposium, the growth of the membership, the creation of the Regenerative Farm Map, and many other initiatives. These accomplishments would not have been possible without the exceptional work of our President and mentor Ananda Fitzsimmons, Sara Barsalou, Rosina Rodighiero, Aviva Lessard, Isabelle Lemaire, Laurence Côté-Leduc, Chelsea Kingzett, Michelle Holiday, Leah (Rae) Vineberg, and our wonderful Board members.
In 2023, Regeneration Canada is entering a new phase where we are doubling our staff and projects, with 90% of our team currently made up of women without whom our organization would never be where it is. Today, Sara Maranda-Gauvin, Meagan Patch, Geneviève Leblanc, Trisha Shufelt and Alix Tabet, with the support of Jade Heilmann, are guiding the growth and development towards a national organization with regional chapters rooted in the community and woven together to make regenerative agriculture in Canada the new standard.
We would also like to point out that many of the non-profit organizations in Canada that work at the intersection of agricultural production and food systems are led by women. Regeneration Canada is privileged to work closely with these organizations and has much to learn from these innovative women.
We wish all of you a wonderful International Women’s Day. May our contributions and accomplishments be recognized, may our work allow us to take care of each other, and may our well-being be equal to our dedication to the causes in which we engage!
– Geneviève, Sara and Antonious for the Regeneration Canada team