ROUGH TIMES COOKBOOK
About the Author: Willi (Wilhelmina) A. Nolan SA
Willi Nolan’s background as a single mother on welfare and crusader for economic opportunities for low-income women gives her an unbeatable background as the author of The Rough Times Cookbook. She developed the book to share her knowledge and experiences with others who live in the kind of poverty that she now looks back on with gratitude (for the learning experiences), and some less-than-fond memories.
Nolan understands that people need good food, and that eating well when you’re poor is a major challenge. She raised two children while on and off welfare and both had food allergies. Rising to the challenge of keeping her own kids healthy, she noticed reported increases in food and environment related childhood allergies and illnesses. This sparked a life-long commitment to community wellness. Her history reflects this commitment:
Since 1998, Nolan has worked under world-renowned epidemiologist Dr. Rosalie Bertell and the International Institute of Concern for Public Health (IICPH).
In 1997, women from the Canadian “Shelter Movement” honored Wilhelmina with its Remarkable Woman Award for her particular achievement as founding President of Project Esperance Non-Profit Corporation in 1987. Esperance continues to provide housing and support services to women and children survivors of family violence in Toronto.
From 1994 to 1995, she attained the position of Vice President of the Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto. She also served as spokesperson for the Women’s CED Network of Toronto (Women’s Community Economic Development Network), an organization designed to advance sustainable financial opportunities for women of low income.
In 1993, Nolan became a co-chair of the Coalition for a Green Economic Recovery, which promotes alternatives to environmentally hazardous business practices.
In 1994, she opened “Green Clean,” Canada’s first alternative to conventional, highly toxic dry cleaning.
In 1991, Wilhelmina launched Bio Business International Inc., which marketed “terra femme” environment and body-friendly feminine care products.
In 1994, Nolan was honored with the first cross-appointment in Ontario history to the Child and Family Services Review Board and Custody Review Board by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. That same year, Willi was appointed by the Minister to the federal Environmental Partners Fund.
Using the tools of citizen action and education, she has served her community with dedication as a Board member, administrator, consultant and front-line worker for various organizations in Ontario, New Brunswick, and beyond, including:
Good Life Gathering for Youth, Elders and Community Leaders
(Big Cove) Elsipogtog Restorative Justice Initiative
Toronto’s Native Women’s Resource Center
International Institute of Concern for Public Health
Women, Environments, Education and Development Foundation (WEED)
Coalition for a Green Economy
The Emily Stowe Shelter for Women
Wilhelmina lives in community with her son in rural New Brunswick.
ROUGH TIMES COOKBOOK c/o The Backwoods Writing House
© Wilhelmina Nolan 2001, 2002, 2009