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.