Category Archives: Centre for Sustainable Food Systems

Research Assistant in Northern Food Systems

The Food Security Research Network and the Department of Health Sciences at Lakehead University are looking for up to three exceptional candidates to conduct Northern food policy research as part of the Master of Health Sciences program. The student will support ongoing research on northern food systems starting in September 2016 under the supervision of Dr. Rebecca Schiff and Dr. Charles Levkoe. A graduate assistantship of $10,000 will be matched with a SSHRC research assistantship of $5,000, pending budgetary approval, through the FLEdGE (Food: Locally Embedded, Globally Engaged) partnership grant.

Topics of study will include:

  • Policies that influence availability and accessibility of local fish to enhance community well-being and social entrepreneurial opportunities
  • Policies of food safety and agriculture as mechanisms that enhance and/or challenge food production and processing in northern Ontario.
  • Policies that influence the harvesting of forest food including berries, mushrooms, and wild rice.

Read more and apply

Local Sustainable Food Procurement in Municipalities and the Broader Public Sector

This toolkit developed by Sustain Ontario is geared towards Ontario municipalities and BPS institutions looking to initiate sustainable procurement policies and programs in their regions. By providing examples of policy language and analyzing perceived barriers to local sustainable food procurement (specifically policy and trade agreements), this toolkit equips good food advocates, industry stakeholders, and civil servants with facts and case studies to demonstrate the potential for effective, compliant procurement practices that invest in local sustainable food. In addition, we have compiled an accompanying workbook to provide useful documents to support action-planning!

Read more and download the toolkit here

PhD Position on Politics of Food in Canada

Carleton University, in partnership with the Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, is looking for an exceptional candidate to undertake PhD research on the politics of developing a national food policy/strategy in Canada. We are offering a Research Assistantship of $10,000/year for four years, in addition to a TA position and graduate entrance scholarship (typically valued at $17,000-20,000/year for four years) for a candidate interested in pursuing research related to the following questions:

What might a National Food Strategy for Canada look like? How are various actors seeking to influence such a strategy (e.g., what institutional processes are they engaging in)? What discourses (e.g. Right to Food, food security, food sovereignty) appear to be gaining traction, and to what effect? What role do Canada’s Indigenous people, the food insecure, primary producers, and food industry players have in defining a strategy? Who (and what issues) appear to left out of discussions? Who will benefit? Who may be left behind?

If these questions are of interest to you, and you would like to pursue your PhD at Carleton University in Ottawa beginning in September 2016, we would like to hear from you.

Required Qualifications: A Master’s degree in political science, geography, environmental studies or a related social science discipline. A background in the study of public policy formation and/or food movements (e.g. movements for food justice, food sovereignty, and sustainable food systems) is a strong asset.

To apply for this position, please send a letter of interest, a copy of university transcripts, your c.v. and names of two referees to Prof. Peter Andree Peter.Andree@Carleton.ca by no later than January 20, 2016. Candidates will also need to apply (by January 31, 2016) to undertake their PhD in either the Department of Political Science or the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies (DGES) at Carleton University, to be co-supervised by Prof. Peter Andrée (Political Science and DGES) and Prof. Patricia Ballamingie (DGES). This project is funded through the FLEdGE (Food: Locally Embedded Globally Engaged) SSHRC Partnership Grant based out of the Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems.

For more information on the potential co-supervisors:

https://carleton.ca/polisci/people/andree-peter/

https://carleton.ca/geography/people/ballamingie-patricia/

Master’s Position in Sustainable Food Systems

MA Student Research Opportunity in Sustainable Food Systems in Northwest Territories starting May 2016 (new student opportunity)

The Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, in partnership with Carleton University, are looking for an exceptional candidate to continue to develop their food systems research in the Northwest Territories as part of their Masters program. The student will support on-going community-based research from May-September 2016, when they will then take up their Masters program at either Wilfrid Laurier or Carleton University under the supervision of Drs. Alison Blay-Palmer (Laurier) and Peter Andrée (Carleton).

Required Qualifications: A Bachelor’s degree in a related arts discipline is needed.  Strong interest in sustainability, community development and food systems is required. Knowledge of Participatory Action Research and experience in Canada’s North will be an asset. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are also desired.

To apply for this position, please send a letter of interest, a full CV, unofficial transcript(s), and the names of two references via email to Andrew Spring (aspring@wlu.ca). Informal inquiries are welcome. The candidates will also be required to officially apply for graduate studies at Laurier or Carleton and meet the requirements. The preferred start date for this position is May 2016 and applications will be considered as they are submitted. This project is funded through the FLEdGE (Food: Locally Embedded Globally Engaged) SSHRC Partnership Grant.

Responsible Innovation

Guest Post by Kelly Bronson

On November 24, 2015, 10 “experts” from around the world gathered to inform a vision for the Norwegian governance of agricultural biotechnologies under the rubric of responsible innovation. Among the attendees were Drs. Brian Wynne (Lancaster, retired) and Sir Erik Millstone (Sussex). The workshop was funded by the Research Council of Norway and was held in Tromso—an arctic environment described by craggy mountains and dark mid-day skies.

Within a responsible innovation approach, the stewardship of innovation includes what is called “upstream” reflection on the purposes of innovation. Said differently, responsible innovation is shaped according to early consideration about what the technology is intended to do (not only what it is hoped it will not do): What are the motivations behind the innovation? Who might benefit and who not? As you can see, responsible innovation is necessarily forward-looking; it aims not just to regulate “end products,” and thus hazards that appear after the introduction of innovations. Responsible innovation emphasizes the need for care and responsiveness among scientists and decision-makers (like regulators).

At the workshop we discussed how to execute a responsible innovation framework for agricultural biotechnology governance in Europe; Norway is in the midst of applying biotechnology to the aquaculture sector. Those of us from outside of Europe also discussed how responsible innovation might be applied to agricultural biotechnology governance in North America. Unfortunately, Canada missed the boat on inclusive reflection and public deliberation over the motivations behind the development of those agricultural biotechnologies, which have existed in our food system for several decades. The purpose behind innovations like RoundupReady canola was and still is quite simple: boost farm-level productivity and contribute to a competitive biotechnology industry and economically robust agri-food sector. But what if the goal driving investments in innovation in the later 20th century had been deliberated upon by a wide variety of farmers and other stakeholders? What if alternative goals—say, environmental sustainability, local community sustainability—had surfaced over productivist ones?

Arguably, pretty serious losses have resulted from a lack of institutionally embedded deliberation on agricultural governance goals, and not just environmental and social ones. In 2005, Monsanto was forced to shelve its RoundupReady wheat because they made assumptions of need for the technology among reduced-tillage farmers, who ultimately became RoundupReady wheat’s worst critics and prevented its swift regulatory approval.

There are other ways, however, in which the responsible innovation framework could still be applied in Canada. For instance, we could adopt a precautionary approach to risk assessment (like in Europe) instead of our current backward-facing strategy that focuses on the end products of biotechnology innovation and on impacts, as they arise. Responsible innovation is, after all, about creating a responsive or flexible governance system that leaves space open for alternatives. I remain open to an alternative agri-food future.

Dr. Kelly Bronson is the Acting Director of the Science and Technology Studies program at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, NB.

Field notes for social change: a conversation with Raj Patel

Upcoming Webinar
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
12-1pm EST

Join Community Food Centres Canada for a webinar that explores how social change actually happens. In this one hour webinar, Raj Patel—an award-winning writer, activist, and academic—will deliver lessons from the frontlines of the food justice movement. He has worked for the World Bank and WTO, and protested against them around the world. His first book was Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System and his latest, The Value of Nothing, is a New York Times best-seller. CFCC’s Nick Saul will moderate the discussion.
This webinar interrogates the question: where does social transformation come from? We’ll explore successes and failures of various facets of the food movement in the global North and South, and we’ll unpack how different actors — individuals, organizations, businesses and governments — have championed change.

Register Here!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact mara@cfccanada.ca

Climate Choices Canada: Economics and Policy

February 18-20, 2016

This two day event brings together scholars, policy experts, practitioners  and students to take stock of Canada’s existing climate policies and to discuss future policy options in light of an evolving political and policy landscape.

Join us for the Climate Choices Canada conferenceFebruary 18 to 20, 2016 at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. Registration is free but tickets are going fast. Sign up at: http://www.climatechoicescanada.ca/register

Hungry for Change

The final report of the year-long Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty sets out how a fairer food system can be built that works better for people on low incomes.

Drawing on public hearings, expert testimony and the insights of people with experience of managing poverty, the Commission has uncovered a crisis of food access for many households in the UK. There are multiple cases of parents – usually mothers  – going hungry to feed their children or having to prioritise calories over nutrients to afford their weekly food shop. Many people are feeling a deep sense of anxiety from the struggle to manage serious squeezes in household budgets that arises from the cost of living rising faster than income.

… from the preface by Geoff Tansey, Chair of the Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty

We named this independent inquiry the Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty in order to broaden the debate on the connection between these two issues in the UK. People on low incomes in the UK face a new struggle to acquire sufficient quantities and adequate qualities of food. Many people are caught between the pincers of rising food prices, household bills and housing costs on one side and stagnant incomes on the other. Something has to give for these families and the only thing to squeeze is spending on food.

Recent discussion of food and poverty has been too narrow, focusing on the growth of charitable food provision, such as food banks, and the role it plays in feeding hungry people. But charitable food provision is the tip of the iceberg – the links between food and poverty extend far beyond food banks. Critically, we need to recognise that food banks and charitable food providers are not solutions to household food insecurity, they are symptoms of society’s failure to ensure everybody is sustainably well-fed.

Read more

Download the full report [pdf]

Strong #EatThinkVote campaign points to need for Canadian Food Policy Council

… from The Hill Times online, Wed Nov. 4, 2015
By Peter Andrée

Food issues are cross-cutting and complex. Who better to deliberate on them than a council that brings together the best minds from the relevant levels of government, industry, and civil society? A food policy council would consist of stakeholders and representatives from all parts of the food system.
 
In the recent election campaign, we saw a new player exerting its political muscle on the Canadian food and agricultural scene. Food Secure Canada’s #EatThinkVote campaign brought to the fore the issues of poverty-related food insecurity, the obstacles facing new farmers, and the challenges in accessing safe and affordable food faced by northern indigenous communities. The campaign represents a growing alignment of actors who are connecting around issues across the policy silos of health, agriculture, trade, environment, and more.
Read more

The Future of Food is Local

By Julie Bourassa, CFICE Volunteer

Food sustainability and climate change are increasingly urgent and intertwined issues. From the way we produce and package our food, to how much we consume, our relationship with food is not sustainable. Melissa Johnston, a Master’s student in Trent University’s Sustainability Studies program and a Research Assistant with CFICE’s Community Environmental Sustainability hub, explores a powerful solution to these issues that can be found in our very own local farmer’s markets. Read more

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Community First: Impacts of Community Engagement (CFICE), is an action research project aimed at strengthening Canadian communities by asking the question: How can community-campus partnerships be designed and implemented to maximize the value created for non-profit, community-based organizations? CFICE carries out project and research work in five areas: Poverty Reduction, Community Environmental Sustainability, Community Food Security, Knowledge Mobilization, and Violence Against Women. When it comes to community-campus relationships, we believe that together everyone achieves more.