…from the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City:
Record amounts of snow have depleted Boston-area grocery shelves of many food items in recent weeks. Snow-clogged streets and loading docks have resulted in delayed or erratic deliveries, making it difficult for grocery stores to replenish their stocks. In light of these recent events and the fear of future natural disasters, some cities, such as Boston, are giving increased attention to food as part of their resilience planning. Food resilience is concerned with how a community’s food system would recover from a shock such as a natural disaster. A vulnerable or disrupted food processing and distribution industry directly impacts food resilience and inhibits a community’s ability to return to normal functions.
Launch of the NWO FOODEX Crowdsourcing Contest!
We are launching a crowdsourcing contest and inviting submissions from high school, university and college students to design a local food distribution system for Northwestern Ontario – it is called NWO FoodEx.
Please see our website (foodinnovation.ca) which describes the contest and how it fits into the larger project. We also have a Facebook group, which provides a forum to ask questions, and a link to our handout which has the full details of the contest.
Rationale for the Contest
The research team includes Connie Nelson and Mirella Stroink from Lakehead University. We have been studying for the last few years the emergence of local food hubs in Northwestern Ontario. One of the realities is that the local producers and processors that are widely distributed from the Manitoba border to White River currently have no distribution network to assist them in marketing their local products across Northwestern Ontario. We need a more efficient and effective distribution system for local food in the region. Students can participate in solving a major issue for the local food movement in Northwestern Ontario!
Please Share Widely!
We are advertising the contest to secondary schools in Northwestern Ontario and to universities and colleges in Northern Ontario. We actually see this contest as applicable to many departments – Science, Geography, Environmental Science, Math, Computer Studies, and Food and Nutrition Science, etc. We would like it to be widely distributed to principals, teachers, and students.
Deadline for Submissions
The deadline for submissions is MAY 15, 2014. We encourage teachers and professors to incorporate the contest into assignments, projects and theses.
Questions about the contest can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org, the Facebook group, or the Contact Us form on the website.
Developing the Producer and Retailer/Distributor Relationship
A Panel Discussion
Saturday, April 27th 2013
Location: The West End Food Coop, 1229 Queen St W Toronto
Are you interested in finding out more about selling your farm products to a retailer/food box/food coop/distributor?
The EFAO and West End Food Coop are offering a panel discussion highlighting local growers and buyers sharing their experiences as well as buyer expectations for producers.
The panel includes:
Mama Earth Organics – Emmalea Davis
Kind Organics – Tamas Dombi
Vibrant Farms – Melissa Baer
West End Food Coop – Ayal Diner
Arrive at 1:00pm and panel to start at 1:30pm
Break and refreshments
Finish time 5:00pm
This event is for farmers who operate small to medium sized farm and would like to find out more about how their farm could start selling to retail/distributor/food box/food coop.
Please contact Karen Maitland to register at email@example.com or phone at 519-822-8606
On Monday of this week, the Ontario government re-introduced the Local Food Act. The new Bill 36, “An Act to enact the Local Food Act, 2013” (pdf) contains two provisions generating most of the response in the press: local food procurement and Local Food Week. Some have complained that the Act would replace “Ontario Agriculture Week” with “Local Food Week” -by celebrating both in the week before Thanksgiving.
Local food procurement by public sector organizations is the focus of most of the Act’s provisions, which lay the groundwork for mandated “goals or targets” for various sectors. These goals or targets are a way of addressing one of the practical constraints to encouraging procurement of local food in the public sector: metrics**. Research on Ontario’s health care sector suggests that these mandated “goals or targets” are only half of the ‘metrics’ that are required. The report’s authors found that the province must first establish clear and definitive boundaries around the concept “local food” -and how it is to be measured- and then give public sector organizations the opportunity to establish baselines. This is the approach used by the Canadian Environmental Law Asoociation’s model bill [Ontario Local Food Act 2013 – pdf], which contained -as a first step- the assessment of existing local food procurement (along with production, processing, and distribution).
**(Note: other practical constraints to public sector procurement include i) the BPS Procurement Directive
‘s non-discrimination clause; and ii) group purchasing. A recent policy report on local food procurement in Ontario health care
concluded that even allowing local food exemptions for procurement contracts under $100,000 would have little effect
, as most food services contracts (because of group purchasing) involve amounts larger than that!)