Scaling Up

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The Convergence of Social Economy and Sustainability

When citizens take collaborative action to meet the needs of their community, they are participating in the social economy. Co-operatives, community-based social services, local non-profit organizations, and charitable foundations are all examples of social economies that emphasize mutual benefit rather than the accumulation of profit. While such groups often participate in market-based activities to achieve their goals, they also pose an alternative to the capitalist market economy. Contributors to Scaling Up investigated innovative social economies in British Columbia and Alberta and discovered that achieving a social good through collective, grassroots enterprise resulted in a sustainable way of satisfying human needs that was also, by extension, environmentally responsible.

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Ecological Farmers of Ontario: Summer Field Days, Farm Tours and Workshops

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What a busy summer of Ecological Farmers of Ontario events, with field days and farm tours and workshops across Ontario—bees and goats and poultry and beef and seeds and potatoes and squash and grains and soil … oh my!

Read the full list, and register your support for EFO!

Food, Unincorporated.

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Sometimes the best way to fix the system is to start a new one

Here’s how it works.

  1. Search our diverse, independent shops for seasonal local food. Search by neighbourhood and food category, or whether you prefer delivery or pickup.
  2. Transform your transactions with affordable local food from diverse producers and hubs. Know the stories behind your food and the people who make it!
  3. Hang on for your delivery, or visit your producer or hub for a more personal connection with your food. Food shopping as diverse as nature intended it.

The Australian Open Food Network is the first Open Food Network!  [...] Co-founded by Kirsten Larsen and Serenity Hill the Open Food Network started as a little experiment with a van, some farmers and some friends. But right from the start they had systemic change in mind.  Instead of building for one hub, they could see the power of a network.  Instead of designing for one specific distribution model, they designed for diversity and flexibility.  Rather than centralised accreditation, they enabled transparency. Read more


Urban food policies: Markets, catering services, urban/rural connections

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International meeting / Rencontre internationale
Politiques alimentaires urbaines: Marchés, Restauration collective, connexions urbain/rural

16-18 November 2015, Montpellier (France)

The UNESCO Chair on world food systems and CIRAD, gathered together within the Surfood (Sustainable Urban Food Systems) programme, in collaboration with many partners, are organizing an international meeting dedicated to the sharing of knowledge and practices among local governments of cities and urban areas, along with research and development actors. The objective is to contribute through dialogue to a better knowledge and understanding of urban food policies in the world, their construction, modes of action and impacts.
This meeting will provide an opportunity to show that, in addition to national policies and international agreements, cities can also make a vital contribution to food security and sustainable food systems. Read more

Evaluating Community Food Hubs: A Practical Guide

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Supported by the OMAFRA-University of Guelph Research Partnership, Erin Nelson and Karen Landman have developed a practical guide aimed at helping community food hubs conduct evaluation work. The information and suggestions provided in the guide are based largely on conversations with representatives of community food hubs that have proven track-records of success – both in terms of their overall operations, and in implementing effective evaluation strategies. The insights offered by these experts in the field are complemented by information from the literature available on evaluation.

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Our Food Project from Ecology Action Centre

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The Ecology Action Centre has released its 2014-2015 report and highlights.

There you will find evidence of the impact EAC has throughout their community, including the Cost-Share CSA, the Photovoice Project, storysharing, workshops, and co-hosting   Food Secure Canada’s 8th National Assembly. Read more

Food Safety and the Impact of Regulations on Small Food Producers and Processors

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Micro and Small Business Consultation at CFIA

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is seeking input and comments on the discussion paper: Options for Reducing Burden for Micro and Small Businesses. The paper lays out the reasoning behind the Safe Food for Canadians Act, and why they are seeking additional consultations regarding the regulations that will support the Act:

  • …The consequences to public health and the economy when food safety issues arise can be severe, regardless of the size of the company. Food safety risks depend on the type of food product, the processes and management systems in place – not size of business.
  • …The CFIA would like to hear more from companies on how it can better support micro and small businesses in their efforts to produce safe food and comply with new food regulations.
  • Further, the costs and challenges that small and micro companies would face in meeting proposed new requirements needs more study. There are options that can be considered to support micro and small businesses as new regulations are developed and implemented.

To provide comments and fill out the questionnaire


Food Hubs: An Antidote to 21st-Century Food Problems?

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…from The Epoch Times, June 11, 2015

…Each model is unique because they work to address needs specific to their community. What all hubs have in common is their mission to support farmers, make fresh local food available to larger markets, and strengthen local economies while shortening the distance food travels from farm to plate.

The potential of food hubs is not only monetary, but found in the wider “values network” they bring to their communities, says Alison Blay-Palmer. [...] Food hubs also help farmers get a decent income from farming, and encourage startup farms—an invaluable benefit that contributes to local air, water and soil quality[...]. Any land that stays productive is more likely to stave off hungry developers.

“I think that people are starting to understand that eating healthier food and supporting local farmers is one thing that they can do in a world that they don’t have a lot of control over,” she says, adding that food hubs in Canada are developing “in leaps and bounds.”

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TTIP – Increased Trade for Better Living?

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European policy conference bringing together Civil Society organisations, negotiators and decision makers

Date: 15-16 June 2015
Place: Brussels

The planned free trade agreements between the EU and the US and Canada, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), have stirred heated debates among civil society organisations, which question whether these agreements can achieve their stated aims whilst protecting health. TTIP supporters and negotiators continue to reassure civil society that TTIP would not affect the member states’ sovereign right to regulate and would not lower European public health, agricultural or food safety standards. However, there are legitimate concerns about risks for standard setting and maintenance in the fields of sustainable food, agriculture, health systems, safe labour and animal welfare. Mistrust prevails towards the final outcome of the agreements, since negotiations have taken place behind closed doors and only with civil society pressure have small positive steps towards more transparency been made. Proposed instruments such as regulatory cooperation or the Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) threaten to undermine the right to regulate and the democratic development of legislation.

For conference details and to register

For the draft agenda

Measuring Impacts of Community-based Food Initiatives

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The latest ‘Metrics from the Field‘ by Ken Meter, openly available to all at the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development, speaks of ‘Two New Tools for Measuring Economic Impacts‘:

Two new publications are appearing this year that should help shed new light on the ongoing discussion of how we measure the economic impacts of community-based foods initiatives. One offers critical insight, while the second is a very practical guide to compiling an economic case for local foods work. I’ve helped write both.

The critical analysis is an outgrowth of a column I wrote for this journal in January 2011 (Meter, 2011) in which I discussed economic multipliers. I argued that economic impact analyses often are not as useful as they are perceived to be, because the data used in calculating impacts is not as precise as users think it is. Moreover, I found that many local foods initiatives do not lend themselves to analysis through the industry standard software, IMPLAN, because local foods activity is relatively small in comparison with the scale of the databases that the software relies upon. While IMPLAN can be a powerful tool when used in the right manner, I argued that in their early stages for many community foods efforts, measuring the multiplier is not the best use of one’s money. Rather, building new social and commercial linkages, and deepening established ones, within the community will help build the multiplier—which after all is one of the ultimate goals of community-based food activity. This might be a higher priority than generating a multiplier measurement. Read more