Conference Co-hosts


President and Chief Executive Officer, CEDEC

John Buck is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Community Economic Development and Employability Corporation (CEDEC).  CEDEC has designed a new and innovative approach to economic development that helps communities achieve lasting success by identifying and leveraging their strongest opportunities for growth.  Specifically, CEDEC helps create public-private-civil society partnerships to foster economic innovation and creativity, combine resources and expertise, and drive local economic development initiatives.


Mr. Buck has served in his capacity as President and CEO at CEDEC since 2006 and he has been involved with CEDEC since the organization was created in 1999.  As a founding member, Mr. Buck served on the Board of Directors and then went on to serve as Treasurer and Secretary, and as Chair of the Board of Directors in 2002-2004.  Prior to working at CEDEC, Mr. Buck worked in the field of finance with one of Canada’s leading consulting firms.


Mr. Buck is a Board Director on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Local Employment and Economic Development (LEED) Forum.  He is also the Vice-Chair of the Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE), and a Director on the Board of Directors of CSAE.


Mr. Buck studied at Bishop’s University, McGill University and Laurier University and holds degrees both in sciences and in business administration. He also holds a Certified Association Executive (CAE) professional designation and certificates in governance from The Institute for Corporate Directors (ICD).  Mr. Buck is also a member of the Government Relations Institute of Canada and the Public Affairs Association of Canada (PAAC).

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President, Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation

Dr. Kathleen Kevany is an Associate Professor and Director of Rural Research Collaboration with Dalhousie University, Faculty of Agriculture. Dr. Kevany is the President (2020-2021) of the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation (CRRF) and Journal Advisory Member for the Canadian Food Studies Journal.


In her book, Plant-based Diets for Succulence and Sustainability (2020), Dr. Kevany and co-authors have produced the first book on systems analysis of plant-rich living.  She is a certified counsellor, psychotherapist. Dr. Kevany did her post-doctoral fellowship with United Nations University where she worked on the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.


Dr. Kevany’s research is focused on increasing well-being, for individuals and communities, as well as strategies to foster greater health and happiness through food by co-designing sustainable diets. Dr. Kevany has been asked to lead the Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Diets due for publication in 2022.  Formerly, she was the Chief Energy Orchestrator of The Decentralized Intelligence Agency.