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Top high school students to tackle how to improve food security for all Canadians

(July 7, 2016) SHAD announced today its challenge for the best and brightest high school students from across the country to come up with new ways to improve food security as they participate in the prestigious program taking place from now until July 29 at 12 different host university campuses from coast to coast.

At SHAD, which was founded in 1980, students are immersed in an intense one month enrichment program focused on STEAM subjects: science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

During the month of July, the students are exposed to top faculty and big ideas at universities from across campus, and from visionary leaders in the community.

In one of the unique elements at SHAD, each year, youth are challenged to innovate to come up with an original product or service to help solve a current economic or social problem and this year it is food security.

SHAD youth, working in small teams, collaborate to design and engineer a new solution that addresses the problem. As part of this challenge, teams conduct market research, write business and marketing plans, and design and build working prototypes.

“With Canada on the cusp of the 150th anniversary of Confederation, the theme of food security is a serious concern,” says Tim Jackson, President and Chief Executive Officer of SHAD.

“In 1867, almost every Canadian grew their own food; currently that number is three per cent and that has brought with it some real challenges.”

SHAD has teamed up with a number of experts to help Canada’s top youth understand the multiple facets of this complex problem, including lead theme sponsor Maple Leaf Foods.

“The stark reality that one in six Canadian children faces food insecurity is one of our most pressing social issues,” said Lynda Kuhn, Senior Vice President of Sustainability at Public Affairs at Maple Leaf Foods. “Fostering innovative approaches to advancing sustainable food insecurity is one of Maple Leaf’s key social priorities. We are deeply committed to collaborating with diverse stakeholders who are working to reduce food insecurity. SHAD is doing important work by engaging young thought leaders in this important issue. We hope that their solutions will be innovative and practical. We share SHAD’s belief that exceptional Canadian youth can use their talents to tackle complex social challenges.”

The engineering challenge culminates in the SHAD- John Dobson Entrepreneurship Cup, SHAD’s annual national awards which will be handed out in Toronto on October 27.

SHAD has served as an incubator for entrepreneurship and innovation and boasts 15,000 alumni part of the impressive SHAD network including 30 Rhodes Scholars.

One SHAD Fellow, Rameez Virji designed a new way to vaccinate people using a pill rather than a needle that stemmed from the design challenge his group faced in 2010. Virji is currently awaiting patent approval.


SHAD ( is a Canadian charitable non-profit organization that helps exceptional high school students recognize and envision their full potential as tomorrow’s leaders and change makers. Each year, the SHAD program provides the opportunity for about 700 students from across Canada and internationally to attend a transformational month-long summer program at one of 12 Canadian host universities focused on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math). There are currently more than 14,800 SHAD alumni all sharing the Uncommon Purpose of the SHAD experience and able to leverage their SHAD network for life. The SHAD 2016 program will take place from July 3 to 29. Applications for the summer of 2017 will be available in the fall at


Maple Leaf Foods is Canada’s leading consumer packaged meats company, headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario. The Company makes high-quality, great tasting, nutritious and innovative food products under leading brands including Maple Leaf®, Maple Leaf Prime®, Maple Leaf Natural Selections®, Schneiders®, Schneiders Country Naturals® and MinaTM. The Company employs approximately 11,000 people in its operations across Canada and exports to more than 20 global markets including the U.S. and Asia. To learn about its sustainability program, visit

For more information or to set up an interview, please contact:

Teddy Katz

Vice President, Media Relations | SHAD | office (519) 884-8844 ext. 226 | mobile (647) 505-8095