Food Access, Housing Security and Community Connections: A Case Study of Peterborough, Ontario

Tuesday, October 6, 2015, Peterborough

New Report Shows Food Insecurity a Growing Concern for Peterborough

Researchers Say Now is the Time for New Approaches

A new report entitled Food Access, Housing Security and Community Connections: A Case Study of Peterborough, Ontario was released today by Carleton and Trent University academics, in association with the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at Wilfrid Laurier Universityfood insecurity

The report concludes that the community of Peterborough is doing many things right when it comes to addressing food insecurity and housing insecurity, but that the issues are not going away and may even be getting worse. It argues that it is time for some new, cross-cutting, approaches.

“Peterborough was chosen for this study because it faces challenges when it comes to both food insecurity and housing insecurity,” said Dr. Peter Andrée of Carleton University and lead author of the report. “Despite this, Peterborough is home to a vibrant collection of community-based initiatives working to address these issues alongside City and County governments.”

The report identifies household food insecurity as a growing issue in Peterborough City and County. Food insecurity research shows that 11.5% of households in the City and County of Peterborough are food insecure, an increase from the 10% reported in 2013. In 2011, 26% of households (including 48% of rental households) in Peterborough paid at least 30% of their income on housing (Statistics Canada, 2014). Because of insufficient affordable housing and low average wages, renters earning the average Peterborough wage of $18/hour had to work longer than in any other Canadian city to cover the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment.

“When people are forced to choose between food and shelter, housing is often paid for first, leaving families hungry at the end of the month,” noted Dr. Rosana Pellizzari, Medical Officer of Health and Chair of the Peterborough Food Action Network. “Clearly, the common denominator between the issues of food access and housing insecurity is insufficient income to make ends meet”.

The report concludes that all levels of government need to take the issue of income security much more seriously. It is time to take action on Living Wage and social assistance rates, and explore the potential of a Basic Income Guarantee.

Download the report [pdf 949 KB]

For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence
Communications Supervisor
705-743-1000, ext. 391

Dr. Peter Andrée
Carleton University
613-520-2600, ext. 1953


Building, defending and strengthening agroecology

…from Agroecology Now.

The Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience of Coventry University and ILEIA, the Centre for Learning on Sustainable Agriculture have produced a new publication and video that explore the meaning and politics of agroecology from social movement perspectives.

Building, Defending and Strengthening AgroecologyA movement is growing. While agroecology has been practiced for millennia in diverse places around the world, today we are witnessing the mobilisation of transnational social movements to build, defend and strengthen agroecology as the pathway towards a more just, sustainable and viable food and agriculture system. Read more

Food Trade Game

Come celebrate World Food Day 2015 by playing the Food Trade Game!

October 16th is World Food Day. To mark the occasion, on October 15th Wilfrid Laurier University’s Centre for Sustainable Food Systems is hosting a Food Trade Game.
The game is a fun way of experiencing the realities of our global food system through role-playing and simulation. Randall Coleman will be facilitating, and we will be joined by special guest Aabir Dey of the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security. If you are in or near the Waterloo area, come join us! Details and registration:

Art and the Urban Farm: Yorklands Green Hub event

We live in a time of great change in our city. As artists, we may feel moved to capture the old Guelph before it is transformed. Yorklands Green Hub would like to invite artists to the former Guelph Corrections Centre before it undergoes large-scale repurposing, for a day of…

En Plein Air

Sunday, September 27, 2015 – 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
Artists of all ages and skill levels are welcome to use any media of their choosing (wet, dry, photography, etc.) to capture the landscape of the 47 acres of heritage land of the former Guelph Correctional Centre—before it is transformed into a self-sustaining education, demonstration, innovation and research hub that will focus on the importance and practice of sustainable food production, wise water use and protection, wetland research, energy conservation and renewable energies on a heritage site.

Then, exhibit your framed work at 10 Carden Street, at the

En Plein Air Art Exhibit

from October 2nd to 8th! Read more

En Plien Air pdf (2.4 MB)

Les systèmes alimentaires territorialisés, source de diversité et outil d’intégration et de compétitivité

The Territorialized Agri-Food Systems: Source of Diversity and Tool for Integration and Competitiveness

Université Laval, Québec, 1er et 2 octobre 2015
Salle Hydro-Québec, Pavillon Alphonse-Desjardins

Le concept des Systèmes Alimentaires Territorialisés (SAT) prend racine depuis quelques années en France et constitue une matrice porteuse pour envisager des systèmes alimentaires respectueux de la diversité culturelle et biologique et à même de servir les différents aspects de la sécurité alimentaire tout en cohabitant avec le système mondialisé de consommation et de production de masse. Cette notion met l’accent sur une maximisation de l’intégration locale des systèmes, par opposition aux pratiques de l’espace géographique mondialisé. En se plaçant dans une perspective historique, on peut avancer que la mondialisation fragmente les systèmes par une division croissante du travail et un allongement des distances entre le site de production des intrants de toute nature et le site de fabrication des produits finis, mais aussi entre le lieu de production et de consommation de ces produits. Lire la suite

EC Development Program at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

This position will interest self-motivated individuals wishing to work in a dynamic team environment, seeking to make a contribution to policy development.

The employee will participate in various activities related to issues affecting the agriculture and agri-food sector.

Responsibilities may include conducting analytical and research work; monitoring and reporting on issues nationally and internationally; identifying and analyzing trends; developing strategies, recommendations and solutions to complex challenges; working collaboratively with team members from across the department and across-government, preparing papers, reports, briefing notes, and presentations. Read more

Announcing Farm 2.0 – A sustainable food hackerspace

OFN break upFarm 2.0 is a new project that explores how internet and communication technologies can be used in Canada’s sustainable food movement to optimize traditional agricultural practices, enable effective networks and facilitate policy change.

Smaller scaled organic and ecological producers are trying to build community around their farms and squeeze out a living in a landscape where farms keep getting bigger, products are more distant, retail is more consolidated and marketing is laden with ‘green washing’. These producers are being supported by ethically-minded consumers, academics and policy-makers. A diverse ecosystem of sustainable food hubs and networks, oriented toward building food systems that are more local, fair and green is coalescing in Canada.

To date, Internet and communication technologies have not figured prominently in forging food system solutions, and the intersection of technology and sustainable food is an under-developed area. One reason for this is that ecological and organic producers have historically favoured low technological, traditional, hands-on and artisanal practices.  But Theresa Schumilas, who recently joined the Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems as a Research Associate and Postdoctoral Fellow,  thinks that these  ‘low tech’ and ‘high tech’ worlds have much in common. An organic farmer herself,  Schumilas wonders if there are ways emerging technologies might open up new spaces for us to imagine and realize radically different practices and make shifts to more sustainable food systems.

Theresa is friend-raising and fund-raising to establish a sustainable food and technology ‘hackerspace’ or ‘lab’ that enables connections and collaboration between Canada’s emerging food hubs/networks and designers, programmers and technologists. She calls the project  ‘Farm 2.0’ to signal an extension of ‘Web 2.0’, which generally refers to how the world wide web has transitioned from being a collection of individual web sites with static information, to the web as a network of interactive computer platforms and applications. Farm 2.0 and Web 2.0 alike signal ethics such as democratization, empowerment, citizenship, sovereignty and protection of both the cyber and terrestrial commons.

In the last few years there has been an explosion of primarily proprietary software packages and web-based applications that are designed to help smaller scaled farmers with marketing.  Theresa has been interviewing ecological farmers about their use of these various programs and notes that their experiences are mixed.  “On one hand, farmers appreciate having help with sales logistics like inventory management and invoicing,  but at the same time,  they are looking for something more. This first generation of on-line marketplaces doesn’t seem to reflect the value placed on the commons that motivates many ecological farmers.”  When you think about it,  what has been happening in sustainable food software,  mirrors what has been happening in the seed industry. Technological ‘solutions’ have mined the knowledge built in the sustainable food movement over the past 30 years,  encoded that experience into a variety of internet-based applications, and sold it back to the farmers and food hubs who originated it. While the sustainable food movement has been focusing on seed sovereignty and building the ecological commons, its cyber commons is being privatized.

The foundation for a Farm 2.0 hackerspace that ‘saves code’ just like seeds,  already exists. Two years ago, in Australia, The Open Food Foundation (OFF) established itself  as a registered charity in order to develop, accumulate and protect open source knowledge, code, applications and platforms for fair and sustainable food systems. The Foundation focuses on bringing together farmers, food hubs and developers in a global network that facilitates open-source, non-proprietary technological innovation toward building more sustainable food systems. Their first project was the development and global launch of a technology platform called Open Food Network (OFN), that offers a way for sustainable food hubs, networks, producers and related food enterprises to link and build connections across local, regional, provincial, national and global scales. One of Theresa’s projects is to put this platform to the service of Canada’s growing sustainable food movement.

Open Food Network (OFN) is a non-proprietary, open-source, online platform. Using a set of intuitive and flexible tools, this multi-purpose software serves as a directory, communication hub and logistics platform that enables relationships among farmers, consumers, food hubs and other food enterprises. On one hand, it is an on-line marketplace. At local scales, it helps eaters find, buy, and learn about sustainable food, and helps producers and food hubs with supply chain logistics. However, the platform is more than a set of marketing tools and differs from other proprietary e-commerce platforms in important ways. OFN is a space that helps isolated sustainable food projects link, learn, and build peer-to-peer networks across scales in order to grow and strengthen a global resilient food movement. Under the oversight of the global foundation (Open Food Network), a community of coders, developers, producers, food hubs and others work to continually improve the platform and proliferate its use using charitable funding as well as reinvestment of revenues.

Since the launch of OFN two years ago, food communities around the world have been licensed and mentored by OFF to use this platform. There are now 25 networks using the platform in Australia, 20 in the UK, 2 in Norway, and teams are currently launching in South Africa, France, the US and (with this project) Canada.

theresa in front of canningTheresa will be updating the Nourishing Communities site regularly, but if you want to be involved in her research,  or if you have some ideas to share,  please email her.

Enseignant(e) Chercheur(e) en Economie Agro-alimentaire

L’ISARA-Lyon est une école d’ingénieurs de référence dans le Grand Sud-Est rayonnant aux niveaux national et international dans les domaines de l’agriculture, l’alimentation, le développement rural et l’environnement. Au-delà de son activité de formation, l’ISARA-Lyon mène également des activités de recherche finalisée et de conseils aux entreprises déclinés par enseignants et consultants.

Dans le cadre de son développement, l’ISARA-Lyon recrute un(e) :


L’enjeu est double : s’inscrire dans le plan stratégique porté par l’école, visant à transmettre, développer et faire partager des expertises techniques et scientifiques, tant du point de vue de l’enseignement, que de celui de la contribution à la réflexion sur les problématiques environnementales et de développement durable.

Au sein d’une équipe pluridisciplinaire, composée de sociologues, économistes et géographes dont le projet scientifique porte sur l’analyse des relations entre agriculture, systèmes alimentaires et développement territorial. Cette équipe est également membre du Laboratoire d’Etudes Rurales (LER) de l’Université de Lyon 2. Vous collaborerez régulièrement avec des enseignants et consultants auprès des entreprises agro-alimentaires. Lire la suite

Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference

November 4 – 5, 2015 | Belleville, ON

A conference designed to facilitate stronger relationships among local food groups, challenge obstacles to growth as well as provide technical information on key topics. Local food initiatives have been innovative in running their businesses, adapting practices and looking for partners to be successful in this rapidly growing sector. Join the ‘Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference‘ to share information, learn about success stories and gather information on innovative local food businesses, projects and best practices. For more information:

EOLFC Poster final

Fortnightly Feast

Bring Food Home: Digging Deeper

This fall, Sudbury will be buzzing with sustainable, healthy food and farming advocates, innovators, and decision-makers gathering for Bring Food Home: Digging Deeper, based at the Sudbury Radisson Hotel on November 20-22, 2015. Sustain Ontario is pleased to announce that Early Bird conference registration is now open, along with tickets for the popular Feast of Local Flavours. Read more

Community Food Projects Indicators of Success FY 2014

The Community Food Projects Indicators of Success FY 2014 report illustrates the collective impact of Community Food Project grantees from FY 2014 based on the metrics from Whole Measures for Community Food Systems. It includes metrics from the 6 areas of impact from Whole Measures: Healthy People, Strong Communities, Thriving Local Economies, Sustainable Ecosystems, Vibrant Farms and Gardens and Fairness and Justice. Read more

Agroecology as a Tool for Liberation: An interview with Miguel Ramirez, National Coordinator of the Organic Agriculture Movement of El Salvador

We say that every square meter of land that is worked with agro-ecology is a liberated square meter. We see it as a tool to transform farmers’ social and economic conditions. We see it as a tool of liberation from the unsustainable capitalist agricultural model that oppresses farmers. Read more

Lessons from the Field: A New Series for Food Hub Development

Since 2009, USDA has invested in 29,100 local food opportunities, including food hubs, small scale processing and farmers markets across all 50 states and the US territories. These investments include over 12,000 loans and micro-loans to small-scale producers who often sell products locally and over 13,000 high tunnels (low-cost covered structures that extend the growing season and make locally-grown products available later in the year). Read more

Running a Food Hub

IN RECENT YEARS, several surveys—including the 2013 National Food Hub Survey1 and the Food Hub Benchmarking Study2—have collected data on U.S. food hubs. What seems to be lacking from the current research on food hubs is information on operations and “lessons learned” from those involved in starting and operating food hubs. Read more

ClearWater at the Reed Farm

Georgina, June 25, 2015 – Council’s unanimous decision last night to lease a portion of the Reed Farm at Willow Beach to the Ontario Water Centre is the latest initiative towards a more prosperous Georgina.

The Centre will rechristen eight acres of the Town-owned property (including the historic homestead) as the “ClearWater Farm”. ClearWater will be a community-based social enterprise to stimulate jobs and the local economy, provide affordable learning opportunities, demonstrate water-wise techniques, and celebrate “field to fork” culinary arts. Read more