Category Archives: Nourishing Communities

NEW 2016 Ontario Food Hub Survey, Infographics and Webinar

As part of an OMAFRA-funded research project that examined the role of food hubs in building food system resilience in community value chains, researchers at Wilfrid Laurier’s Centre for Sustainable Food Systems conducted two province-wide surveys of local sustainable food hubs in Ontario. We surveyed food producers, processors, and distributors to find out how they defined local food, if/how they thought food hubs added value to food chains for producers and communities, where food hub funding is coming from, what kinds of expansion opportunities they could identify across the value chain, and how food hubs might increase local sales.

Our Food Hub Survey page has been updated with the latest results from the 2016 survey. We have also added a Food Hub Infographics page, where you can find these results summarized visually. The Food Hub Infographics are an excellent tool for anyone interested in learning more about food hubs in Ontario, and we invite you to share them with your networks.

Food Hub Webinar January 31, 2017

To continue the discussion about how food hubs add value to local food systems, we will host a webinar to discuss the Food Hub Survey results and infographics with panelists Alison Blay-Palmer (Director of the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems), Katie Nolan (Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor at Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs), and Phil Mount (Associate Director of Just Food). Keep your eyes on this space for the time and log-in details!

Authors meet Readers – Nourishing Communities: From Fractured Food Systems to Transformative Pathways

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017
5:30 pm — 7:00 pm
Irene’s Pub 885 Bank Street Ottawa

About the Book: Nourishing Communities: From Fractured Food Systems to Transformative Pathways builds on existing alternative food initiatives and food movements research to describe the myriad ways community-driven actors work to foster food systems that are socially just, embed food in local economies, regenerate the environment and actively engage citizens. Drawing on case studies, interviews and Participatory Action Research projects, the editors share the stories behind community-driven efforts to develop sustainable food systems, and present a critical assessment of both the tensions and the achievements of these initiatives.

About the Author: Irena Knezevic is an Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism and Communication. She studies communication, culture, and health and is especially interested in food systems, food labelling, and the discourse of food and health regulations.

Irena will be joined by Jay Garlough, Co-founder, Hidden Harvest Ottawa; Moe Garahan, Executive Director, Just Food; and Faris Ahmed, Director, Policy and Campaigns USC Canada for a short panel Q&A.

This event is part of the Ottawa International Writer’s Festival.

Studies from the Social Economy in Northwestern Ontario

“The social economy, which places ‘people before profits’ arose from a failure of contemporary political and economic policies to provide minimum acceptable levels of economic and social wellbeing to people.”

These words, from the preamble to the Blueberry Foraging case study (Stolz, Levkoe and Nelson, 2017) help to build a platform from which these new case studies from the social and informal economy of Northwestern Ontario challenge the preeminence of profit and market competition as a motive for social organization. A community collectively selling their surplus to raise funds for youth programs; producers and consumers from across the region cooperating to build more resilient communities; a creative centre using art and gardening to build programs for therapy and rehabilitation—each of these cases identifies threads that, together, comprise the tapestry of Northwestern Ontario’s social economy.

Bring Food Home 2017 in Ottawa!

Impact Ontario’s Food System!

Bring Food Home 2017, brought to you by Sustain Ontario and local host Just Food, in conjunction with the Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference, offers a four day extravaganza showcasing the region for the first time at this biennial network gathering.BFHlogo2017-square

Experience the landscape of the region on the pre-conference tour day, then prepare to join our diverse discussions of issues, policies and challenges, from food justice to food waste. This year’s theme ‘upstream collaboration‘ will be reflected across many plenaries and panels, including the opening plenary—Decolonizing Land and Food.

With a special focus on providing a platform for diverse voices to shape policy strategies for Sustain Ontario network members, this year’s conference offers multiple policy sessions that will inform our collective strategy over the next four years—based on policy position papers prepared by some of Ontario’s leading young researchers.

Join us at Ottawa U on October 26-29, register now!!

Workshop Report

This spring, the Nourishing Communities Research Group hosted a one-day workshop in Ottawa which brought together researchers and community partners who were working on diverse food initiatives with a social or informal purpose, in diverse communities from Atlantic Canada to the Northwest Territories.

The purpose of the workshop was to think about evaluation, indicators, and metrics—ways of measuring and reporting that are useful and relevant for social and informal economy projects. These indicators would help researchers do comparative work while identifying commonalities and gaps, and help everyone to communicate outcomes in a way that would be intuitive to those without food systems background; useful to other social and informal food initiatives; and useful to influence policy-makers and funders.

Read more, and access the report

Nourishing Communities: The Book!

We are excited to announce the release of our edited collection that reflects on nearly a decade of Nourishing Communities research network’s collaborations.

Nourishing Communities: From Fractured Food Systems to Transformative Pathways 
Edited by: Knezevic, I., Blay-Palmer, A., Levkoe, C.Z., Nelson, E., Mount, P. (Springer)
https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-319-57000-6

From the publisher:

This edited volume builds on existing alternative food initiatives and food movements research to explore how a systems approach can bring about health and well-being through enhanced collaboration. Chapters describe the myriad ways community-driven actors work to foster food systems that are socially just, embed food in local economies, regenerate the environment and actively engage citizens. Drawing on case studies, interviews and Participatory Action Research projects, the editors share the stories behind community-driven efforts to develop sustainable food systems, and present a critical assessment of both the tensions and the achievements of these initiatives.

The volume is unique in its focus on approaches and methodologies that both support and recognize the value of community-based practices. Throughout the book the editors identify success stories, challenges and opportunities that link practitioner experience to critical debates in food studies, practice and policy. By making current practices visible to scholars, the volume speaks to people engaged in the co-creation of knowledge, and documents a crucial point in the evolution of a rapidly expanding and dynamic sustainable food systems movement.

Entrenched food insecurity, climate change induced crop failures, rural-urban migration, escalating rates of malnutrition related diseases, and aging farm populations are increasingly common obstacles for communities around the world. Merging private, public and civil society spheres, the book gives voice to actors from across the sustainable food system movement including small businesses, not-for-profits, eaters, farmers and government. Insights into the potential for market restructuring, knowledge sharing, planning and bridging civic-political divides come from across Canada, the United States and Mexico, making this a key resource for policy-makers, students, citizens, and practitioners.

For more information, please contact irena.knezevic@carleton.ca

Kudrinko’s: Independent Grocery as Food Hub

A new Food Hub case study of Kudrinko’s is now available.

Figure-1

This case study examines the roles that a successful food hub must play to bridge gaps in local food distribution. Two key strategies for success, diversification and the cultivation of personal relationships, align across different points in the supply chain – from production to retail. Many of the challenges raised in studying Kudrinko’s point to distribution issues in which bricks-and-mortar style food hubs primarily for distribution can be effective in solving. These include issues of: ensuring consistent supply, easing transportation and logistics, educating consumers on seasonality and the growing process, and protecting against the negative impacts of climate change and international trade. Read more

Ontario Campus Food Report Card

Student Feedback Survey
Are you a student at a university in Ontario? Here’s your chance to tell the world how you feel about campus food!
When we talk about sustainable food, we mean food that “does not compromise the environmental, economic, health or social well-being of present and future generations” (Ontario Food and Nutrition Strategy Group, 2017)
When we talk about local food, we mean food produced or harvested in Ontario, including forest or freshwater food, and food and beverages made in Ontario if they include ingredients produced or harvested in Ontario. (Legislative Assembly of Ontario, 2013)
Brought to you by the Campus Food Report Card, a project by Meal Exchange with support from the Greenbelt Fund and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Read more, or take the survey

Recorded webinar presentations now available online

Subversions from the Informal and Social Economy:

Relocating social and ecological values in food systems

The Nourishing Communities research group is conducting community-based research investigating food initiatives that operate within the social or informal economy, intended to address food security and community development; benefit marginalized communities, including low-income groups, Aboriginal people, youth and women; and provide important environmental stewardship services. We presented initial reflections and case studies from regions across Canada in three 90-minute webinars, available as recorded webinar presentations now through these links:

March 1, 2017 – Eastern Ontario [recorded webinar]

March 14, 2017 – Northwestern Ontario [recorded webinar]

March 15, 2017 – Atlantic Canada and the Northwest Territories [recorded webinar]

 

 

 

 

The Social Economy of Food and the Ontario Food and Nutrition Strategy

The webinar Strengthening Ontario’s Food System: A Collaborative Approach (March 9, 2017) is now available online (YouTube). The webinar summarizes the Ontario Food and Nutrition Strategy (OFNS), and presents the rationale and evidence for 25 priority policy options within three strategic directions: healthy food access, food literacy and skills, and healthy food systems. The webinar also provides a snapshot of programs and policies currently underway that support the OFNS, including a summary of the case studies from the Nourishing Communities research into Social and Informal Economies of Food.