Two Ontario ministries (Agriculture and Food, and Rural Affairs) recently announced the results of their New Directions funding competition. We are pleased to tell you that a proposal led by Nourishing Communities researchers Phil Mount and Irena Knezevic was successful. The proposal, titled Feasibility Study of On-Site Institutional Food Production: Leveraging public land to grow shared opportunities, was developed in partnership with My Sustainable Canada, Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care, and Nourishing Communities researchers Alison Blay-Palmer and Karen Landman.
SOIL (Shared Opportunities on Institutional Land) is a three-year project, expected to start in September of this year, which will assess the feasibility of growing food on institutional lands through collaborative arrangements with local food producers. SOIL builds on several Ontario research projects investigating the intersection of institutional procurement and sustainable local food. Case studies will be conducted with current food production initiatives on public lands, while administrators of public institutions across the province will participate in surveys and interviews. Pilot food production projects will also be launched at a hospital, a long-term care facility, and a high school. Watch this space for more details, and an update when the SOIL project is officially launched.