In 2018, New Hamburg business owner Jennifer Pfenning ran for a seat on Wilmot council so she could serve the community she’s called home since 1993. When she was elected to represent Ward 4, she was one of the first women on Wilmot council since 1974.

During her term as a councillor, Jenn has been a champion for the environment, social justice, and community building, focussing on trails, climate change, and reconciliation.

In her first few months on council, her passion for enhancing and expanding natural public spaces led to her successful motion to create the very first Wilmot Trails Advisory Committee. The Committee provides feedback and input for parks and trails related issues as they arise, helping Township staff and Council to make decisions that are well-informed and aligned with community needs. It has driven enhancement, development, and investment in Wilmot’s public trails system, and her proudest accomplishment is the creation of the Baden Hills trails, a labour of love that has proven to be an asset to Wilmot’s residents during the pandemic.

Sustainability in the Township’s activities and decision-making is important to Jenn, and she brought a motion for the staff-led Sustainability Committee to become a Committee of Council, with seats for a Council member and two local residents. She’s honoured to serve on the Sustainability Working Group that was formed through that motion. The group’s highlights include the declaration of a Climate Emergency, Wilmot’s new E-Vehicle charging stations, and ensuring the inclusion of total lifetime cost as a key factor in the Township’s purchasing policy.

The past few years have brought unexpected challenges: from the pandemic, to increased awareness of social injustices experienced by some members of our community and across Canada, there has been a need for a strong voice that brings people together, nurtures understanding and compassion, and builds a stronger community.

Jenn has been involved in community service throughout her life, including many years of active participation on boards and committees. She is the past President of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) Local 340 – Waterloo-Wellington, and she served on the Foodshare Toronto Board of Directors for seven years. Jenn also served on the Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable, and is the past president of the Organic Council of Ontario. She is currently the Chair of the NFU Migrant Worker Solidarity Working Group, and the Canadian representative on the Migration Collective of the international peasant movement, La Via Campesina.