CWCF Welcomes Janielle Maxwell as Project Coordinator for the Justice, Equity, Diversity, Decolonization, and Inclusion (JEDDI) Social Acquisition Project

Hello reader! 🙂

My name is Janielle ( she/her/elle) and I have recently joined the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation as the Project Coordinator for the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDDI) Social Acquisition Project. I am happy to be in a position where I can help improve access to viable, long-term business solutions for equity-seeking groups. This will not only help increase capital and economic stability in these communities, but contribute to solving the multi-factorial business succession dilemma Canada currently faces.

As a Black woman of colour who grew up amongst other equity-seeking groups (other racialized individuals, people with disabilities, LGBTQ2S+, etc.), I am well aware of the inequities and barriers marginalized people face in social, academic, and professional spaces. Due to personal experience with all of the aforementioned contexts, I have developed a strong passion for true advocacy that catalyzes measurable change for the systematically underserved, underrepresented, and under-credited. 

I am currently completing my MSc in Rural Planning and Development at the University of Guelph, with a One Health Specialization. My research focuses on farm-level best management practices (BMPs) amongst minority farmers; whether that be racialized or small-scale farmers. Due to the scale of their operations or cultural perspectives on land and food, most of these producers farm to increase food security and/ or food sovereignty. Thus, many of these farmers’ practices differ from the norm, as they usually implement some form of regenerative or holistic agriculture. It follows that such groups can be uniquely positioned as models for new or improved BMPs that are better suited to reduce the environmental impacts of agriculture. As an aspiring One Health practitioner, I also consider the interconnections between human, animal, and environmental health in this matter.

Apart from work and school I am a HUGE foodie. I love exploring international cuisines and am always following Mark Wiens, ‘The Taste Life,’ and ‘The Best Food Review Show Ever’  (traveling social media foodies) on their next adventures. Some international dishes I am proud to have mastered so far are: Indian channa masala, Nigerian jollof rice, and Egyptian koshari. Accordingly, I am also an advocate for not only food security, but food sovereignty- as I do believe investment in these essentials has the potential to promote socio-economic development in communities our system has historically underserved. I currently volunteer at an organization that seeks to mitigate the negative effects of urban planning on marginalized groups and my hobbies include: poetry (I hope to publish a book soon), herbal/plant-based medicine, languages (fluent in French and learning Spanish), exploring my culture, and all things self-care i.e. candles, crystals, aromatherapy.