April Alumni Profile: Nina Bailey-Dick

Friday, April 20, 2018

NinaWhen Nina Bailey-Dick began at the University of Waterloo (1992-1999) she knew that it was community development that interested her, and since the university did not offer this as a program, she chose to purse a General Arts degree with a PACS option; taking courses that would prepare her for working in community development. Following her graduation Nina joined the Christian Peacemaker Teams, an international organization that partners with nonviolent movements around the world and places teams at the invitation of local peacemaking communities that are confronting situations of lethal conflict. Nina spent a couple of weeks at a time living in New Brunswick with Burnt Church First Nation (Eskɨnuopitijk) a Mi'kmaq First Nation band government during the Burnt Church Crisis.

Shortly after, Nina returned to Waterloo Region to pursue a Masters in Community Psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University. After moving to Indiana for a year while her husband completed seminary, Nina began working for the Region of Waterloo as a Social Planning Associate supporting first Public Health and then Community Services with the Employment and Income Support Division. In this role Nina works behind the scenes to evaluate programs, to discuss and plan improvements, and to bring in client voices to ensure the programs are working for those who need them most.

“I love the varied projects I get to do in my role. Right now I’m facilitating cultural shifts in the staff community, evaluating the clerical business practices with staff to find ways to make their work more efficient and meaningful, and collaborating with staff to create a data strategy for the division that will help us figure out how to measure if what we are doing is working.”

Bailey's Local FoodsThis work however, has been part-time, leaving Nina 4 days a week to pursue other projects that she is wildly passionate about.  In 2007 Nina and her father Wendell started ‘Bailey’s Local Foods’, a local food business with the aim of making it easier for urban families to easily access a wide variety of local foods. While this business began in Nina’s carport, she soon secured a business partner Rachael Ward and the company has since expanded and now works with over 80 farmers and producers to bring locally grown or produced foods to their members year round. Nina sold her share of ‘Bailey’s Local Foods’ in 2010, and began another project with her friend Leanne Baer: a community farm. Our Farm was born when Leanne and Nina and a few other community volunteers approached KW Habilitation about turning their 8-acre property of farmland into a farm that would connect people to the land, their food and each other.  Our Farm was selected as a research site for Project SOIL, province-wide feasibility study funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF).

Nina’s passion for community development is not something that PACS gave her.

“I chose PACS because I was already interested in it. I was talking about these issues since high school.”

PACS offered the knowledge of the theoretical frameworks behind the desire for a healthier economy and thriving communities that Nina cared so much about. PACS helped Nina engage in conversations with others that then further fueled her passion to learn more.         

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