Meredith Bessey

Administrative Assistant and Honours Research Student

Meredith has an existing BSc Honours from Psychology from Dalhousie University, and is now studying Applied Human Nutrition at MSVU. During her time at Dalhousie, her interest in research was piqued and her interest in food security and sustainability was ignited while working with Halifax’s Ecology Action Centre (EAC). Her career goal is to work in research and policy change in the area of food security and sustainability. Meredith is an active member of the Food Action Committee (FAC) at the EAC, and sits as the Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator on FAC’s Leadership Team. Meredith also coordinates the Meal Exchange chapter at MSVU, and is very interested in student food insecurity issues and institutional procurement of local foods. . In her spare time, Meredith enjoys teaching and practicing yoga at Moksha Yoga Halifax, reading novels and books about activism, cooking and serving food to friends, and hanging out with her partner and their cats.


Madeleine Waddington

Project Coordinator

Madeleine is a recent graduate from the Master of Science in Applied Human Nutrition at MSVU and received her designation as a Professional Dietitian in 2013. Under the supervision of Dr. Patty Williams and Dr. Misty Rossiter, her thesis research explored mothers’ experiences of food insecurity in relation to breastfeeding, as well as their experiences with public health nurse breastfeeding support and the impact of policies at the health system level. Originally from Toronto, she first began working with FoodARC in 2014 as a research assistant and has developed a passion for many kinds of food security research and knowledge mobilization, particularly those rooted in first voice experiences. Madeleine’s areas of interest include infant food security, health professionals’ perceptions of and solutions to food insecurity, as well well as critical health and food literacy. In her spare time, Madeleine loves to travel and experience new countries and cultures through her taste buds!


Photo - Dr. Patricia Williams

Dr. Patricia Williams

Director, FoodARC; Professor and Canada Research Chair in Food Security and Policy Change, Applied Human Nutrition; Senior Research Associate, Healthy Populations Institute, Dalhousie University

Patty Williams is a Professor and Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Food Security and Policy Change in the Department of Applied Human Nutrition at Mount Saint Vincent University. She is the founding director of FoodARC – the Food Action Research Centre. With FoodARC’s organizational partners, she was awarded the prestigious Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Partnership Award in 2011. She holds a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of British Columbia, and completed a CIHR funded Postdoctoral Fellowship in Health Promotion at Dalhousie University. Her research focuses on the use of participatory action research to engage intersectoral partners, including women experiencing food insecurity, in capacity building and knowledge-to-action for social and policy change to build food security. She has led several national studies on food security related policy change, 7 cycles of the Nova Scotia Participatory Food Costing project, and from 2010 and 2016 was the Principal Investigator of a 5–year, 1 million dollar Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) funded Community University Research Alliance on Community Food Security, which resulted in the most comprehensive research to date on community food security in Nova Scotia. Dr. Williams is also actively engaged in knowledge sharing activities such as and engagement with policy maker, classroom, and community audiences. She is a founding member of the Nova Scotia Food Security Network and the Nova Scotia Food Policy Council, and a Senior Research Scholar at the Healthy Populations Institute ( at Dalhousie University. She teaches in the Applied Human Nutrition Graduate Program at MSVU.


Kathleen Chan

Research Assistant

Kathleen holds a BSc in Environmental Biology from Bishop’s University and is currently studying Applied Human Nutrition at MSVU. Originally from Ontario, FoodARC was an element of the MSVU experience that drew her to move to Halifax. She has had an ongoing interest in social justice and community development. Her interest in food security has developed from living and traveling in Northern Canada and South America. She began volunteering and working with FoodARC in the fall of 2015. Her past research experience includes work at Bishop’s University’s Climate and Environmental Change Research Laboratory. She looks forward to learning more about building healthy and sustainable communities through food. In her free time, Kathleen enjoys cooking, volunteering at the Dartmouth North Community Food Centre and exploring Nova Scotia’s art scene.


Catherine Hart

Research Associate

Catherine Hart is a white Settler who grew up in Cornwall, Ontario (Haudenosaunee territory) and recently moved to Margaree Valley in Unama’ki/Cape Breton. She received a BA Honours in Global Development Studies with Economics minor from Queen’s University in 2012 and graduated from the Master of Resource and Environmental Management program at Dalhousie University in 2014. She then served as the Research Program Manager for the Health, Environment, and Communities (HEC) Lab until spring 2016. She enjoys thinking, learning, and doing work around food sovereignty, Indigenous health and ways of knowing, the intersections between climate, environmental, and food justice, and feminism. When not working or volunteering, you can find her training as a competitive weightlifter, listening to a podcast, or kayaking the Margaree River.


Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU) logo

FoodARC is a proud part of the Mount community.

Associated with the Department of Applied Human Nutrition, FoodARC continues the strong Mount tradition of research and community-engaged scholarship in supporting social responsibility, the advancement of women, and preparing students for global citizenship.

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