Johnny Mills

Johnny Mills

Food as Justice, Food as Community

Johnny Mills

Johnny Mills grew up wanting to learn more about political and economic systems. During his high school studies at Pearson College, the close-knit environment afforded him the chance to connect with peers from around the world and engage with the community. The same small-school atmosphere was one of his reasons for coming to study at Bishop’s.

He also grew up on a farm, and has a long-held interest in how citizens connect with food systems. A class presentation in his second year gave Johnny the opportunity to work on something he’s passionate about: political economy with a focus on food. Building on this experience and wanting to find out more about current research into the topic, Johnny began to look for an academic association in Canada and found CAFS, the Canadian Association for Food Studies. CAFS promotes critical, multidisciplinary scholarship in the broad area of food systems, addressing topics such as food policy, production, distribution, and consumption.

Through his B.E.S.T. project, Johnny attended the annual CAFS Conference in Vancouver, which consisted of four days of workshops, panel discussions and networking opportunities on the future of food studies in Canada. It began with a pre-conference event designed specifically for students and emerging researchers in the field, an ideal way for Johnny to ease into the packed program of activities.

“The conference offered so much information under the theme of ‘Circles of Food’. From panels on the financialization of food and the relationship between venture capital and food, to discussions on cooperative land purchasing in Germany and sustainable food production strategies for smaller farmers, to examining cost barriers and indigenous food systems, it was an impressive and varied program,” explains Johnny.

With a focus on interdisciplinarity, the conference was a great opportunity to make connections with experts in the field and potential supervisors and mentors for future studies, and provided a first introduction to the ins and outs of networking for Johnny. “I also came away with ideas about how I could share what I’d learned with my peers, whether through organizing a guest speaker or developing a case study from the conference to bring back to my classes, as well as themes to incorporate into Bishop’s Global Awareness Week to reach an even wider audience,” shares Johnny.

“The B.E.S.T. Project Fund is a fantastic way to take an idea you’re passionate about but might not be sure how to fully execute – start from the place that gets you excited. If you have the drive to achieve something, this Fund is an excellent opportunity to realize it.”