Urban food policies : markets, catering, urban/rural connexions

International meeting between urban governments, researchers and development stakeholders

An international meeting dedicated to sharing knowledge and practices among local governments of cities and urban regions from sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America, along with research and development actors…

Beyond urban agriculture… the conference will explore three strategic levers that city and urban region governments can mobilize : markets infrastructure and logistics (wholesale, retail, transportation, etc. ); catering services (school, popular restaurants, street food, etc.); the new forms of connexions between urban and rural areas (twinning, urban investment in agriculture, etc.)…

This conference is organized by the UNESCO Chair on world food systems and the French research center CIRAD  together with the French Agency for Development – AFD, the FAO – Food for the cities program, the RUAF Foundation, the Regions United Organisation (ORU- Fogar),  the Mercadis, Agropolis Fondation and the Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation for the Progress of Humankind (FPH).

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Urban food policies: Markets, catering services, urban/rural connections

International meeting / Rencontre internationale
Politiques alimentaires urbaines: Marchés, Restauration collective, connexions urbain/rural

16-18 November 2015, Montpellier (France)

The UNESCO Chair on world food systems and CIRAD, gathered together within the Surfood (Sustainable Urban Food Systems) programme, in collaboration with many partners, are organizing an international meeting dedicated to the sharing of knowledge and practices among local governments of cities and urban areas, along with research and development actors. The objective is to contribute through dialogue to a better knowledge and understanding of urban food policies in the world, their construction, modes of action and impacts.
This meeting will provide an opportunity to show that, in addition to national policies and international agreements, cities can also make a vital contribution to food security and sustainable food systems. Read more

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

Regional Food / Infrastructure Funding Opportunities

A number of funding opportunities have come across our desk in recent days and are well worth sharing.

The Ontario Catapult Microloan Fund for Social Enterprises has a fast approaching deadline (July 12). This program is designed to enable “social entrepreneurs and innovators to turn their ideas into world-changing impact by supporting promising early stage social enterprises with access to capital and [Centre for Social Innovation’s] existing programming and services.” Loans of up to $25,000 will be available to small (under 25 employees) social enterprises in Ontario. Fill out this pre-screening survey to determine if you are eligible for one of the loans. The inconvenience of the tight deadline is outweighed by the fact that, depending on your eligibility, the same application may qualify you for three other funding opportunities.

Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure has launched its Places to Grow Implementation program for 2013-14.  The fund is meant to support research, capacity building and public education in the area of growth planning. Eligible applicants include academic institutions, sector/professional organizations, non-governmental/not-for-profit organizations and municipalities / administrative organizations. There is no deadline associated with this fund. (Au francais)

Federal and provincial governments have partnered up to fund Growing Forward 2 – Helping You Reach Your Goals. This program will support “strategic initiatives” that focus on innovation, competitiveness and market development. Eligible applications will come from organizations and collaborations, and there are three upcoming deadlines – September 5, October 24, and December 12, 2013. You can find more information at the Agricultural Adaptation Council’s page (with an excellent breakdown of eligibility and application process) or at the Growing Forward 2 portal.

Fortnightly Feast – vol. 7

Community Engagement: Pedagogy, Partnership, Practices
26th Annual Teaching and Learning Innovations Conference
Jointly sponsored by the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences and the Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Keynote Speaker
Dr. Connie Nelson, Lakehead University
“Service Learning and Democratizing Knowledge”

In the past month we’ve seen a huge revival in the use of the term ‘sustainable’ in the foodosphere (that’s the ‘blogosphere’ as it relates to food) – as I tried to capture in the last Feast (vol. 6.2). Whether talking about farm insurance, food marketing, food systems, food justice, food hubs, food regulation, the future of farming, or the future of food, it’s gotta be ‘sustainable’ (again). Here is a small (but important) sample:

http://fox6now.com/2013/04/27/urban-farming-expert-promotes-sustainable-food-systems/

http://learn.uvm.edu/sustainability/food-summit/breakthrough-leaders-program/

http://www.farms.com/BASFconverstionsonsustainability/tabid/1247/Default.aspx

The Small-Minded, Small Farm Conundrum
Our ideas are not small in any way, but we end up time and time again arguing our case primarily on the basis of size.   … But size alone seems not to be the primary driver of risk.  Rather, such factors as time, distance and system complexity are the most immediate keys to controlling risk, and that would make local and regional food systems a critical part of any effective national food safety strategy. Read more

Local and Regional Food System Marketing Program Opens Up New Round of FundingThe USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has announced a request for applications for its latest round of funding for the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP).  Two previous priority categories remain for the 2013 round of grants:

  • Creating wealth in rural communities through the development of local and regional food systems and value-added agriculture; and
  • Developing direct marketing opportunities for producers, or producer groups.

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Greenbelt Fund Green Papers – Volume 6 – People: Attitudes and Beliefs
When making changes to the food purchasing process, the challenge public institutions face is that they tend to involve a long list of staff members that play a role in this process… Any one person on this long line of those directly and indirectly affected can stymie institutional change. It is therefore of utmost importance that relevant staff is engaged when initiating change. Read more

Locavesting is a call to rethink the way we invest, so that we support the small businesses that create jobs and healthy, resilient communities. Read more

… and finally, regular Feast readers will have been struck by the number of articles on the investment in infrastructure happening at a a state level in both Michigan and New York. Here’s more:

What is a food hub? Part 3: Michigan Hubs

The Michigan Food Hub Learning and Innovation Network facilitates:

  • increased learning, innovation, and profitability for participating food hubs
  • increased access to food hub financial and technical assistance, research, and education
  • increased business-to-business collaboration across food hubs.

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State approves $2.5 million for Madison County ‘food hub’
The grants from Empire State Development Corp. will help Growing Upstate Food Hub LLC, a consortium of farm businesses, build the $4.2 million shared-use facility in Canastota. Read more

Ontario’s “Local Food Act”

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).

One of Ontario’s opposition parties has suggested that the province needs more food terminals, modelled on the Toronto terminal that handles most of the current produce sold in Ontario. Regions across Ontario (from Peterborough to PerthSimcoe to Ottawa) are currently taking action on their own to establish regional food hubs that would provide aggregation, processing and distribution infrastructure to service regionally-determined needs. Anyone who follows the ‘Fortnightly Feast‘ on this page knows that, just across our borders, the state governments of Michigan and New York are investing economic development money into the construction of “food hubs” to help drive regional recovery.

 

**(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!)

 

Community Food Project Funding

While the scale of this program is tiny, it’s interesting to see the direction that “local food” funding is taking, south of the border. The USDA / National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s COMMUNITY FOOD PROJECTS COMPETITIVE GRANTS PROGRAM was recently announced,  keep reading