young man with short dark hair and facial hair standing in a farmers field

Darcy Higgins, Executive Director, Food Forward. BES '07, Environment & Resource Studies

Darcy Higgins wants to change the way people eat. The ’07 ERS grad’s interest in food and agriculture issues led to his 2006 founding of the University of Waterloo campus farmer’s market -- one of the first on a Canadian campus. After graduation, he began a career in policy and environmental advocacy working with Environmental Defence and the Ontario Clean Air Alliance. He also served as a Policy Advisor with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario where he brought new discussions in food policy and diversity, and as the Director of Policy and Communications for the Green Party of Ontario.

In 2010 Darcy started Food Forward, a registered non- profit organization advocating for sustainable food and food access policy in Toronto. Collaborative in nature, Food Forward aims to channel the collective efforts of those involved in the food system, from school and hospital nutrition programs to farmers' markets and community gardens to street vendors and social entrepreneurs. Their goal is to educate, advocate and advance food policy change by mobilizing both the public and politicians.

Since Food Forward’s inception, Darcy has grown the organization to hundreds of members, gaining considerable media attention by hosting regular networking and special community events with partners such as the David Suzuki Foundation. The events aim to tackle food issues with special interest groups like the Sustainability Network and AGM of the Conservation Council of Ontario, and to work with local and provincial governments to raise awareness around food-related issues. Most recently Darcy successfully consulted with all provincial political parties to implement improvements to the Local Food Act.

Beyond his work with the food system, Darcy chaired the St. James Town Safety Committee and its community festival, raising awareness and funds for a low income neighborhood. He is currently on the Board of One More Step – a charitable organization that supports the livelihoods of children in Vietnam. He also spends his free time advising community projects, and supporting other young people in green business and environmental campaigns.

Darcy has received many awards including David Johnston’s President’s Circle Award for Volunteerism, the University of Waterloo Federation of Students Leadership Award, and the Green Party of Ontario Volunteer Award for his sustainability and community building efforts on campus and in the community.

Darcy is a 2013 Young Alumni Achievement Award Nominee.