After graduating from Queen’s University with a major in Global Development Studies, Michelle Austin has dedicated her career to food system sustainability to address humanitarian and environmental issues. From working on an organic vegetable farm in Ontario to now working for a sustainability- oriented, online grocery store in Vancouver, Michelle has acquired a strong understanding of Canada’s food system from farm to fork. As SPUD.ca Sustainability Lead, Michelle is currently focused on integrating a circular economy ethic into SPUD.ca’s programs and operations in order to eliminate waste, regenerate natural systems, and empower others to be part of the solution.
In her free time, Michelle enjoys exploring B.C.’s natural landscape through biking, climbing, and skiing!
Last year, the Government of Canada published the country’s first-ever national food policy which focuses on four specific UN Sustainable Development Goals: Zero Hunger, Good Health and Wellbeing, Responsible Production and Consumption, and Climate Action.
Michelle’s sustainable school lunch program aims to address all four of these goals. This program will offer sustainably sourced and healthy meals in reusable packaging to local schools. The program will leverage SPUD.ca’s reverse logistics delivery model and fulfilment solutions to deliver a modern food system to the changemakers of tomorrow- the youth.
The program aims to create a positive impact beyond just the program’s stakeholders. By proving that a circular economy for food packaging is not only possible for food delivery companies, but that it is an attractive business model, SPUD.ca’s school lunch program can be a guide to transformation for all e-commerce and food delivery businesses.
Schools are spaces where kids are taught how to live responsibly and given skills to succeed. Although we know that many school lessons are learned outside the classroom, non-classroom settings are not often treated as such. At SPUD.ca, we believe that food is an underutilised tool for teaching. Food can teach us about ecology, globalisation, culture, nutrition and healthy lifestyles.
To support today’s youth, who are courageously stepping up to be sustainability leaders in their communities, SPUD.ca wants to provide their schools with a food system that reflects the future that they are working to create.
MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET
I have two main motives for addressing the climate crisis. Subjectively, I want to preserve unaltered nature because I believe there are incomparable gifts and invaluable lessons to be learned in the wild. Objectively, my commitment to building a sustainable planet is due to the fact that Earth’s ability to support human life is under threat. I want to be able to say to the next generation that when I became informed about the state of our planet, I did my best to ensure that their future was as full of the same wonders and opportunities as I have enjoyed.