Category Archives: Local solutions

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

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 Policy and Regional Food Systems

Opportunities for Networking across Jurisdictions

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

1:00 – 2:15 PM EST

REGISTER for the Webinar

Where does your local food policy council fit within the regional food system? Would you like to play a stronger role in both your locality and at a regional level but not sure how? Functioning with limited resources and volunteer members, it can often be easiest for a food policy council to concentrate locally. By understanding the role of local food policy councils within the context of a regional food system, groups can network across geographies to maximize impact and effectiveness of policy changes.

During this webinar, expert panelists will address a number of big picture questions local food policy councils have about regional food systems, including:

  • The role of local food policy councils within a regional network
  • When is it beneficial to connect across a region
  • How to determine your “region” and what to do when definitions vary
  • Best practices and challenges to organizing and building regional networks, including resources and infrastructure needed

These issues will be addressed to show participants how networking across jurisdictions can positively influence food system change. The webinar will also include time for participant Q&A.

Suggested participants: Food policy council coordinators and members, policy-makers, members of the local and regional food system and food system advocates.
This event is sponsored by the Institute for Public Health Innovation and the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.
Register here

Manger Local Québec

Portail de l’alimentation de proximité dans la Communauté métropolitaine de Québec

Québec, le 10 octobre 2014

Une équipe de chercheurs de l’Université Laval lance aujourd’hui le portail Celui-ci permet de repérer facilement les lieux d’approvisionnement où l’on peut se procurer ou produire soi-même des aliments de proximité, sur le territoire de la Communauté métropolitaine de Québec.

Marchés publics et virtuels, points de chute de paniers bio, fermes qui proposent des produits en vente directe aux consommateurs, jardins communautaires ou collectifs et commerces de proximité offrant des aliments en circuit court y sont répertoriés. Le site est accessible à partir d’un ordinateur, d’une tablette ou d’un téléphone mobile. Il abrite une carte interactive et un outil permettant d’effectuer une recherche par ville ou quartier.

Ce portail est issu du projet de recherche Manger « local » dans la Communauté métropolitaine de Québec: relocalisation des systèmes alimentaires et ville durable, dirigé par la professeure Manon Boulianne, du département d’anthropologie de l’Université Laval. Le projet a reçu l’appui de plusieurs partenaires.

Upcoming Webinars

Collective Impact and Community Economic Development
September 23, 12 pm Eastern

Canadian Community Economic Development Network
Increasingly, community organizations are engaging in collaboration as a means to try and solve some of the most complex issues that they face. But these challenging issues require a new approach, a new framework.

Join internationally recognized trainer and community builder Liz Weaver for a workshop that provides participants with an overview of collective impact and how this approach can enhance the impact of community change efforts. Read more


September 24th at 2PM Atlantic / 10 AM Pacific

Food Business Bootcamp – Food Secure Canada
Choosing a mobile device these days can be overwhelming, never mind selecting the best information technology system for your food business. Yet understanding both your needs and the range of options to meet them can save you critical money in both the start up and ongoing phase of your operation.
Saloni Doshi, Strategy Consultant with New Venture Advisors.
Read more


Food Hub Benchmarking Study 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014 3:30 PM – 4:45 PM ET

The NGFN Food Hub Collaboration
Food Hubs are delivering on their promise of enabling identity-preserved, primarily local and regional food to enter the wholesale market, enabling small and mid-sized farms access to buyers that would otherwise be unattainable. But aggregation and distribution of food is a very thin-margin business, and hubs take on additional expense working with smaller farmers, providing technical assistance, and other grower and community services. Are food hubs able to support themselves with their operations? What are industry-standard financial and operational benchmarks for food hub businesses? Read more


Measuring Your Local Impact

September 25th at 1-2 PM Pacific

BALLE (the Business Alliance of Local Living Economies)
Place matters, people matter, ownership matters… and how we measure them matters.
Local leaders are constantly asked to quantify their impact on their communities for funders, partners and standard reporting. The challenge is knowing the right questions to ask and having useful, accessible tools that are relevant for the New Economy.
In this free webinar, hear what BALLE is learning from our network leaders, hands-on case studies from two BALLE fellows, and an update on the Quick Impact Assessment for Localists, a new online tool BALLE is piloting in partnership with B Lab to help conveners measure outcomes among businesses in their communities. Read more


Communities Defining Quality Collective Impact

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2014 – 16:00 TO 17:00
Over 49 communities are working together through the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network to define quality collective impact. Join this online panel discussion to learn about the proven, rigorous approach these communities are using to build civic infrastructure and hear stories about how cross-sector partnerships on the ground are implementing innovative approaches to support the unique needs of every child.

Opportunity Development Co-operatives

Unleashing Local Capital (ULC)  has a food system connection.   ULC helps communities establish local RRSP-eligible investment cooperatives to support local economic development opportunities   One of ULC’s first investment cooperatives is described in this video:

Sangudo Opportunity Development Co-operative

Like many rural Albertan communities the hamlet of Sangudo was in a slow state of
economic decline. In this video, some of the community members who were instrumental in developing the Sangudo Opportunity Develoment Coop, discuss how they created the organization that raised the capital to invest in local businesses. Watch YouTube video

The Sangudo investment coop went on to make  additional investments in the abattoir, which has expanded from 1.5 staff at the takeover, to 20 staff at peak and it now has some of the most advanced meat processing technology in the province.  The group in Sangudo also invested in a new restaurant start up, which served a good portion of local food (including from the abbatoir).   We know have 8 communities with ODC with several are focused in investing in various links in the local food system.  Read more at the Alberta Community and Co-operative Association

Talkin’ Local Food with University Health Network

The University Health Network in Toronto received funding from the Greenbelt Fund to investigate short and long-term opportunities to provide more local food for in-patients in their hospital network. From interviews and an advisory panel, they have identified 3 long term challenges that they would like to submit to the community for input. They have launched an idea crowdsourcing platform where you can vote on the existing ideas, or add your own ideas for review.

Do you eat food? Then you have an opinion! Join in and unleash your ideas to better connect local Ontario food to the hospitals at University Health Network. Read more

New Working Paper Series

As frequent visitors to the site will know, the Nourishing Communities research partnership has been evolving since 2007, over the course of several projects. In response to input from our community partners, we are investigating a number of critical research issues that have emerged as potential avenues for improving the viability of community food initiatives: 1. land access for local / sustainable production; 2. innovative models of financing for community initiatives [distribution / processing / aggregation]; 3. strategies for tackling the tensions between food security and housing security; 4. opportunities to help farmers access sustainable local food markets; 5. supply management; 6. scale-appropriate regulation; and 7. institutional procurement.

Researcher Steve Piazza with corresponding authors Patricia Ballamingie and Peter Andrée have produced Food Access and Farm Income Environmental Scan, which aims to answer several questions:
What are the best strategies for tackling affordable access to local food in a way that still fairly rewards the producers of that food? How do we move beyond making local food a high-end, niche market for the rich? What are the initiatives in Eastern Ontario (or elsewhere) that do both – augment productive capacity and ensure viable incomes for farmers while also addressing access issues? Are these strategies specifically targeted at low-income groups, or based on universality (e.g. school breakfast programs)? What policies and incentives can be put in place to support these strategies at local and provincial levels? Are there policies that effectively hinder progress in this area?

Food Access and Farm Income Environmental Scan is the first in a series of working papers that will offer initial reflections on the research themes and results. These working papers will also give our community and practitioner partners and collaborators a chance to give feedback on the research, as well as some results that can be spread throughout their networks.


The Farm To Fork Launch

Guest blog:

It’s finally happening. On October 3rd, after months of brainstorming and The Farm To Fork logolearning; development and design; and community engagement and outreach, Farm To Fork is ready to launch. It’s ready to help make a difference in our community by bringing all of us together to eliminate food insecurity.We’re very proud of what the Farm To Fork team has accomplished. It’s been a labour of love shared by the co-founders, students and staff from the University of Guelph, community partners, and concerned citizens of Guelph. We hope that you’ll join us this Thursday (October 3rd) from 7-10 p.m. at Innovation Guelph and be part of a community effort to support the most vulnerable among us.Farm To Fork is about conversations. It’s about connecting people in our caring community to Emergency Food Providers (EFPs). These connections, we believe, will help change the way we talk about food security by allowing EFPs to directly communicate their needs to donors on a weekly basis. In response, it will allow donors to commit to specific contributions and then update the system in real time.

This launch isn’t the end of our journey. It’s just another milestone in our community’s effort to make life better for all of its citizens. We hope you’ll join us, share some food and drink, hear the Farm To Fork story, and do your part to help.

Thank you.

Danny Williamson & Dan Gillis

Upcoming Webinar

Farmers’ Markets in Low-Income Communities: Strategies & Best Practices

Thursday, August 29
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Pacific / 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Eastern

Across the continent, healthy food stakeholders are working to support farmers’ markets that increase access to healthy foods in low-income communities.  This webinar will discuss how incentive programs, retail strategies and policies are changing how consumers shop at farmers’ markets in their neighborhoods. Experts will share best practices and lessons learned from the field about how to implement programs to promote the sale of healthy food at these retail outlets.

Register here.

The Good Food Fight in Guelph-Wellington

Guest Blog:  Erin Nelson, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Guelph
Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship / Research Shop

On Monday, June 24th, Nick Saul – co-author of The Stop: How the Fight for Good Food Transformed a Community and Inspired a Movement – came to Guelph for the official launch of his book. The event was held at Lakeside Hope House, and was sponsored by the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition, the Guelph & Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination, the Guelph-Wellington Food Round Table, The Bookshelf, Community Food Centres Canada, and Random House.

It was a steamy evening, but more than 150 people braved the heat to come hear Nick tell the story of The Stop. He spoke passionately about shifting from a charity-based model of fighting hunger to one that recognizes the dignity of all people, and the empowering, healing, and unifying potential of food. He explained how the Community Food Centre movement can help turn that ideal into reality, by creating physical spaces for people to connect over food, by growing it, learning about it, sharing and celebrating it. He also encouraged the audience to politicize food, and advocate for food system change not just as consumers, but as citizens. Using the history of labour rights – such as the weekend – that were fought for and won as an example, he argued that we need to become “food fighters” in order to make change happen in our communities.

The message sparked an engaging Q&A session that probably could have continued all night long had it been allowed to (and had Nick not needed to get home to Toronto). The discussion was moderated by Brendan Johnson, Executive Director of the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition. Brendan is also a member of The Seed Community Food Hub Committee – a Poverty Task Force working group aiming to build a community food hub in Guelph-Wellington. The night served as an opportunity to share some of the work that The Seed has been doing over the past two years to support changes to the local emergency food system, and to introduce the group – and its vision – to the wider community.

After the formal part of the evening was over, people gathered in the Hope House café to continue the conversation (and buy signed copies of Nick’s book). Even without air conditioning the room buzzed with energy until well after 9pm, as people chatted with Nick and with each other about a wide range of topics, including what a community food hub might look like in Guelph-Wellington. Members of The Seed – including the Poverty Task Force, the Food Round Table, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, the Guelph Community Health Centre, and the University of Guelph’s Research Shop – were on hand with information about their work, and with a sign up sheet for people interested in getting involved with the initiative.  Of course there was also excellent food for everyone to enjoy, provided by local businesses Green Table Foods and With the Grain.

By the end of the evening there was no doubt that people had been inspired and energized by the talk, and by the discussions and exchange that happened afterwards. At one point during the night, Nick mentioned that he saw no reason why there couldn’t be a community food centre one day in Guelph-Wellington. Surely many of those who were in the room left thinking about the role they could play in making that happen.

If you’re interested in receiving updates about The Seed Community Food Hub Committee and getting involved in its work, please contact