Nourishing Ontario: Sustainable Local Food Systems Research Group

Ontario Case Studies

Geographic Region
(Eastern Ontario  |  Northern ON  |  Golden Horseshoe  | Southern ON)

Organizational Type
(Non-profit   |   For-profit   |   Public / Governmental   |   Cooperative   |   Multi-stakeholder)

Primary Rationale
(1) Collaborative food systems development
(2) Promotion of local food and regional development
(3) Creating viable farm income
(4) Enhanced distribution channels
(5) Access to healthy food


At some point you will find it useful to discuss examples of community food projects you could copy or build on.  As each community is different, we provide a range of different projects at the end of this toolkit.  We anticipate you would pick and choose different insights, strategies and ideas from several, or even all, of the projects to create a tailored approach that works best for your community.

To facilitate this process, we have identified case studies that capture different types of community food initiatives.  They are all Ontario-based so these stories should be of particular use to you.  Each case study begins with three to five bullet points that summarize the most important features for the organization.  This may help you be more strategic about which projects are most suitable for you to draw upon.  Each detailed project description includes an organizational overview, motivational rationale and history, organizational resources including human, physical, natural, financial, and community/social; the policy and program resources and challenges; the desired assets; constraints, challenges and solutions; successes; relevance as well as links to other projects.  We have extracted the summaries and provided them below to give you an idea about what kinds of information is available in the detailed case study reports.

Ontario farmers market

Ontario farmers market

In this section, we present nineteen case studies to give you an overview of the innovations taking place in community food systems across the province of Ontario. These were selected from over 170 interviews conducted in the summer of 2011.  While all the projects reviewed are remarkable in their own ways, the case studies presented here were selected based for their unique or outstanding combination of organizational type, motivational considerations, type of activity, scale and scope.

While we recognize that these categories can occasionally overlap, we have organized the case studies by geographic region, organizational type and primary rationale to help you navigate through Ontario’s diverse community food initiatives.