Paul Taylor, the former head of FoodShare and a life-long anti-poverty activist, dismantles the barriers – including fat phobia and weight bias – that constrain people’s access to food on their own terms. Listen to this episode to hear Paul’s story of challenging the status quo with integrity and a deep commitment to the communities he serves. Learn about Paul’s work with FoodShare, Canada’s largest food justice organization, why food justice is critical for addressing food insecurity, and why and how FoodShare has committed to body liberation and fat acceptance to advance its food justice mission. Later in the episode, you’ll hear from Lillian Yin to reflect on what this means for public health and dietetics practice. Lillian is a registered dietitian with Vancouver Coastal Health’s prenatal outreach program and discusses the health harms of attitudes and systems that discriminate against people living in larger bodies and her desire to contest weight bias and discrimination through her work. In speaking with Lillian, we explore the role public health can play in advancing body liberation as a vital piece of advancing food justice in Canada.
Paul Taylor is a lifelong anti-poverty activist and a champion for the right to food. Paul was the executive director of FoodShare Toronto until January 2023. Growing up materially poor in Toronto, inspired Paul to commit his life to doing what he can to dismantle the systems of oppression that cause and uphold food insecurity and wealth inequality, including neoliberalism and white supremacy. Paul has been named one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40, one of Toronto Life’s 50 Most Influential Torontonians and voted Best Activist by readers of NOW Magazine. Alongside his colleagues at FoodShare, Paul works to support community-led food infrastructure with the collective vision of a Toronto where everyone can feed themselves, their loved ones and their communities with dignity and with joy. Paul’s experience also includes executive director roles at Gordon Neighbourhood House and the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House. He has chaired the British Columbia Poverty Reduction Coalition, served on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and as Vice-Chair of Food Secure Canada. Paul teaches courses at Simon Fraser University, is a regular political commentator on CTV and has authored a range of op-eds and columns, including a four-part series for the Globe and Mail’s Leadership Lab on the role of non-profits in equity and social change.
Reflective guest Lillian Yin is a registered dietitian and a diabetes educator, of East-Asian descent with roots in Taiwan and China. For the last 7 years, she is privileged to serve in spaces across the spectrum of life, from infancy and pregnancy, through adolescence and older adult years, and various areas of the health system ranging from acute and primary care to community and public health. Her principles of care are framed by social justice, equity, strength-based and cultural safety. Driven by her passion to advance social justice and achieve health equity within the wider system through collective action, she is currently pursuing a Master in Public Health at Johns Hopkins University.
This episode is produced by Rebecca Cheff, Carolina Jimenez, and our host Bernice Yanful (NCCDH). Special thanks to our episode guests Paul Taylor and Lillian Yin. Coordination of communications, webpage development and dissemination are led by Caralyn Vossen (NCCDH). Thanks to Claire Betker and the rest of the NCCDH team for their support. Technical production and original music by Chris Perry. Artwork by comet art + design.