A brief background:
I am a Toronto-based Registered Dietitian and Professional Home Economist. As a dietitian, I work full-time as a clinician and diabetes educator in an urban primary health care team. As a diabetes educator, I am passionate about community dietetics and working with clients to achieve their nutrition and wellness goals. As a P.H.Ec., I am committed to fostering food literacy skills among vulnerable and marginalized populations and facilitate an ongoing community-based ‘Healthy Eating on a Budget’ program.
I also have a flourishing side business providing nutrient analysis and recipe development to Manitoba Canola Growers “Canola Eat Well” website, Canada Beef, and Watermelon.org. I have contributed nutrient analysis to cookbooks including “Homegrown” (Mairlyn Smith and OHEA, Whitecap, 2016); and a second cookbook by Mairlyn Smith slated for release in 2019.
During my free time, I enjoy spending time with family, friends and my new puppy, Ziggy.
I have been involved in Home Economics outside the field of Food and Nutrition. I graduated in Home Economics – Fashion Option when Ryerson was known as Ryerson Institute of Technology. After graduation I worked a short time in the clothing industry at a high end fashion house in Toronto to facilitate attending the College of Education, U. of T. I then taught Clothing and Textiles in Barrie ON for several years. I continued taking courses at Ottawa U. and Cornell U. in Home Economics and Education. When Ryerson was granted the right to award degrees I completed my B.A.A. in Home Economics while teaching at the secondary school level in London ON.
Involvement in OHEA:
I have been a member since the early years of the association. In the late 1980’s I was President before and after obligations on the Board. I also chaired OHEA Board meetings for several years in the late 1990’s to 2002.
I represented the province as a Director on the CHEA Board. More recently was a provincial trustee to CHEF (Canadian Home Economics Foundation).
This involvement, in and for OHEA, provided me with the aptitude to chair the local community association for many years and work with London City Hall on redevelopment issues in a historic district. In 2012 I was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for my contribution to the city.
Why I Joined OHEA:
As a secondary school teacher I was a member of OFSHEEA but felt that OHEA provided a broader perspective in the field of Home Economics for the classroom. To support the association, I have continued my OHEA membership since retiring over 20 years ago.
Where Does OHEA Go in the Future:
The recent announcement about the Food Guide certainly will provide lots of opportunity for food oriented members to make their mark with the public. However I feel that some of the other branches of Home Economics: money management, housing, consumerism, relationships, the environment, etc. are being neglected. What the future holds is certainly unknown but there is lots of opportunity for new grads to apply their skills.
Born and raised in Vancouver.
Went to UBC.
Graduated to change the world, no one wanted me to, so I went back to school and took a year of Education at UBC – became a Home Ec and Drama teacher - taught for three years.
Moved to Toronto to pursue my acting career.
Landed a spot in the Second City Comedy Troupe.
Worked with the comedy troupe for 2 years.
Acted in commercials, TV and film.
Got a part as the TV cook on a TV series called Harrowsmith Country Living for 4 years…I think it was 3 or four!
Nominated for a Gemini Award.
Started writing cookbooks after Harrowsmith was over
Started on BT.
And since then I have written seven cookbooks with number 8 coming out in May called Peace, Love and Fibre.
Won best cookbook at the Cuisine Canada awards now called Taste Canada for Ultimate Food for Ultimate Health with Liz Pearson = it was the first healthy cooking cookbook that have ever won Gold.
Won People Choice for The Vegetarian’s Complete Quinoa Cookbook with the OHEA at Taste Canada.
I am a Guest Expert on Cityline and Breakfast TV.
I am a keynote speaker.
And that’s about it.
I don't take myself too seriously anymore.
My Involvement in OHEA:
I have lived across this country, in part, because of my father being in the Canadian Navy at a time when families were moved from coast to coast and in between as a regular part of duty.
I had my first introduction to Home Economics at Esquimalt Junior High School, in Esquimalt (part of Greater Victoria, B.C.). I loved the subject area and most of the teachers I had both at that school and in Gr. 12 at Trenton High School.
I have a Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology with a specialization in family studies. I graduated from Brescia University College in 2016. I’ve been a member of the London Home Economics Association (LHEA) since 2015. With LHEA, I have been the program coordinator for events and the co-chair for the past two years.
Last year, I held a booth at the OHEA conference for my business, Ra Ferments. I started the business in November 2017. It’s a lot of work to start your own business, and it is not encouraging until you are finally able to see results. Making sales and having happy repeat customers is extremely encouraging and I’m very fortunate to have had some great customer exposure through OHEA and LHEA.
Due to the length, this interview has been significantly shortened for readability. OHEA highly recommends members listen to the audio file which goes in-depth with Peggy O’Neil. The audio file can be found at the bottom of this interview.
Who are you?
My name is Peggy O’Neil, and I am a Professional Home Economist (P.H.Ec.), Ontario Home Economics Association (OHEA) member, and International Home Economics Association (IFHE) member. I have a doctorate in education and am currently a professor.
Rachelle graduated with a Bachelor of Science with an Honours Specialization in Nutrition and Dietetics in June 2018 from Brescia University College. Currently, she is completing a Diploma in Public Relations from Western University at Western Continuing Studies. Throughout her undergraduate degree, she was involved in multiple student leader positions. In March 2018, at the OHEA Annual General Meeting Rachelle was elected to the Board of Directors as the Vice President Communications.
I completed my Bachelor's of Applied Science in Applied Human Nutrition at the University of Guelph in 2015. After that, I worked a handful of different jobs before ending up working in the Product Development department at McCormick Canada as a Culinary Technologist. I also started working as a nutrition coach at Degree CrossFit Seaforth during that time. I then completed my dietetic internship through London Health Sciences Centre in August 2018.
Brittaney Berendsen RD, PHEc, began her professional education at Brescia University College at Western University in London Ontario where she graduated with a BSc in Nutrition. She then went on to complete a Dietetic Internship at Grand River Hospital in Kitchener Ontario. After earning her RD Designation, Brittaney is now working as an Administrative Dietitian in the Nutrition Services Department at the University Health Network (UHN) in Toronto Ontario.
Having worked in Healthcare Foodservice for five years prior to beginning her role as an Administrative RD, Brittaney has always enjoyed the organizational aspects of Nutrition Services and is dedicated to improving food in healthcare. Brittaney is also a self-proclaimed foodie and amateur food stylist. She loves to express her creativity in the kitchen through recipe development and is extremely passionate about cooking delicious food that nourishes.
Cailin holds a human ecology degree in nutrition, family studies, and psychology from Brescia University College. She is passionate about building healthy communities and an equitable society. With a post-degree diploma in Not-for-Profit Management, she believes in the strength of the nonprofit sector and building cross-sector relationships for positive social change. Cailin is currently the Stewardship Coordinator at Girls Inc. of Durham. She provides fund development and administrative support in delivering research-based programming to address the unique challenges girls face and help them reach their full potential. In her spare time, Cailin loves to get creative in the kitchen!
The Ontario Home Economics Association, a self-regulating body of professional Home Economists, promotes high professional standards among its members so that they may assist families and individuals to achieve and maintain a desirable quality of life.