From Local Food to COOL Food

This winter,  Theresa Schumilas, one of the Research Associates with the Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems is launching a new on-line food market that moves us beyond ‘local’ food systems to truly sustainable food systems. The new ‘COOL’ or ‘CO2L’ market, is a bottom-up solution to help cool the planet. Rather than wait on experts to reach agreements about climate change and come up with plans, these new markets will link consumers with the small-scaled producers around the world who are already cooling the planet through their knowledge and skills.

Buying local is a great thing to do, but, it’s not enough. While it’s good to buy locally grown food for many reasons, ‘food miles’ (the distance food is transported from the time of its production until it reaches the consumer) actually make up a relatively small percentage of the overall carbon footprint of food — approximately 11% on average. In comparison, how our food is grown makes up a much larger percentage — roughly 83% of the food’s footprint. The impacts of food on climate depend less on distant travelled and more on the agronomic decisions the farmer makes. But, with the possible exception of certified organic branding, these climate critical on-farm decisions are seldom highlighted in markets selling ‘local’ foods. Consumers need a way to make clear choices about the carbon consequences of the foods they buy, but so far there is no clear marketplace identity for foods that are produced with climate mitigating methods in Canada. That’s where the new ‘COOL’ (or CO2L) comes in.

Open Food Networks dear supermarket adThis new COOL market is built on a new open source platform called “Open Food Networks”. This platform will be initiated in Canada by December, as part of Theresa’s  work to launch Farm 2.0. To do this, she is working to establish SIMPLE criteria for the COOL designation and recruiting vendors to pilot the market in early 2016.

Instead of using complicated and costly criteria and verification systems (which would end up excluding small scale farmers), the COOL market is drawing on the experiences and knowledge of small scaled farmers who have been cooling the planet for centuries.

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Together, we can cool the planet! from GRAIN on Vimeo.

 

 

They key point is that we know what the main agricultural causes of climate change are, and we know what we need to do to reduce our emissions. We need to think beyond local. We need to learn from, and support small scale farmers around the world. Together we can COOL the planet.

Read the full post here.

If you are interested in getting involved in this –  contact Theresa: tschumilas (at) rogers.com

Why New York City and San Francisco are focused on local food manufacturing and distribution

…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.

Read more

Agriculture 3.0: a New Paradigm for Agriculture

October 29, 2014 (from farmviability.wordpress.com)

Study Topic: As a 2013 Nuffield Scholar, Gayl is seeking to redefine what it really means to be sustainable in food and farming, by asking: ‘If Agriculture 1.0 is subsistence farming that uses traditional farming practices, and Agriculture 2.0 is industrial agriculture, which is creating serious health and environmental concerns in Canadian communities and communities world-wide, then what might Agriculture 3.0 look like, that offers farmers more choice and also addresses the many concerns about feeding 9 billion by 2050?

Findings:
•    Farm direct marketing is active and very much a part of a way of life for Europeans. Local food just is and does not need to be labelled, because it always has been the way of food in these countries, without having to think about it.
•    Despite poverty and employment issues, young farmers in Transylvania believe they are in the best place in the world “should something ever happen” to the global supply system. They also believe in preserving their landscape, one of the most biodiverse regions in Europe.

•    For agriculture to contribute to a healthy world, we need to go back to the basics, with a mission statement of nourishing communities, not feeding the world.

Read more

Global & Local Agro-food Systems

resilience, sustainability or transformation?

Join the Guelph Food Researchers Group on December 5th, 2-4pm, Hutt Building room 234 on the campus of the University of Guelph, for a panel featuring Dr. Manish Raizada with the Plant Agriculture Department; Brendan Johnson, who works with numerous NGO’s on food systems including Everdale Farm and the Guelph Neighborhood Support Coalition; and Tony McQuail who heads Meeting Place Organic Farm and is a longtime practitioner of holistic farming.

Through these speakers, we will get an better understanding of what resilient and/or sustainable farming practice looks like within different contexts, and how resilience and sustainability can be achieved within particular agro-ecosystems. Finally, we want to ask whether resilience and sustainability are still useful terms for understanding agro-ecosystems.

Fortnightly Feast – Vol. 5

In Ontario, Food Charters Abound

Last chance to endorse the Waterloo Region Food Charter!

York Region develops food charter
The York Region Food Charter is a vision of thriving urban and rural communities in which residents, businesses and governments are creating a resilient food system… Read more

Savour Muskoka charter to grow local food system

Food News

Environmental Commissioner of Ontario calls for province to invest in soil (and sustainability) through “bold action”

Importance of Sustainability Growing for Food Industry
… while a vast majority of companies believe sustainability to be increasingly important – 82 per cent of companies surveyed – only 19 per cent monitored the sustainability of the products they sourced. … Key drivers for addressing sustainability are meeting customer demand – 48 per cent – and saving the company money – 40 per cent.
While cost effectiveness is important, 67 per cent of respondents agreed that if they were in charge of procurement for their company, they would pay a premium for sustainably produced food or ingredients (emphasis added). Read More

A new resource for Food Systems and Food Innovation Districts
A food innovation district is a geographic concentration of food-oriented business, services, and community actiivities that are supported locally through planning and economic development initiatives. These districts can promote positive business environments, spur regional food system development, and increase access to local food. Read more

Get the guidebook Food Innovation Districts: An Economic Gardening Tool

Kwantlen Polytechnic U’s Sustainable Food Systems Working Group receives $50,000 donation from Vancity
(Metro Vancouver, BC) – On March 13, 2013, Vancity presented Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) with a $50,000 donation to the Sustainable Food Systems Working Group in support of their economic and community development study. Read more
…and a related story:
Towards a More Bioregional Food System

Funding for Local Food Initiatives
As they head into their third season, Fresh City Farms is kicking it into high gear!  Over the past two months, they’ve been using Kickstarter, a unique funding platform, to raise awareness of their formidable urban farming initiatives and resources to grow their infrastructure city-wide. Read more

Eating tomorrow – rethinking the world food system 
ETH Sustainability / World Food System Summer School (July 2012)

Save Food Newsletter, FAO

Media Food Fights: Feeding the world

God made a Farmer… but Dodge RAM channeled the Dominant Food Narrative

But Can We Feed the World?

The Domino’s Effect

When Did Healthy Food Become a Luxury Product?

Bill Gates Sees Veggie Burgers in Your Future

A Community Resilience Guide

released today, January 31, 2013:

 

Rebuilding the Foodshed

 

How to Create Local, Sustainable, and Secure Food Systems

by Philip Ackerman-Leist

Changing our foodscapes raises a host of questions. How far away is local? How do you decide the size and geography of a regional foodshed? How do you tackle tough issues that plague food systems large and small—issues like inefficient transportation, high energy demands, and rampant food waste? How do you grow what you need with minimum environmental impact? And how do you create a foodshed that’s resilient enough if fuel grows scarce, weather gets more severe, and traditional supply chains are hampered?

Read the full release