Partnership Development Grant
From the process of knowledge exchange and consultation in our earlier research, a number of critical research issues emerged as potential avenues for improving the viability of community food initiatives.
We organized these issues into overarching themes and explored these themes through three regional research nodes – with each node focusing on a different set of themes.
The Northern Research node of Nourishing Ontario focused on innovative models for financing community food-related infrastructure that is desperately needed in northern communities, particularly for those operating at small and mid-scale production levels.
The Eastern Research node of Nourishing Ontario focused on three themes:
Tensions between food and housing security;
Land access for new / young farmers; and
Assessing the opportunities for family farms to transition into local food markets
Southwestern Research node
Land access for local / sustainable production
Opportunities to help farmers access sustainable local food markets through new aggregation and distribution channels, including institutional procurement
These research nodes were each advised by regional advisory committees comprised of farmers, economic advisors, academics, and representatives of farm organizations, non-profit food groups, and local governments. While each region identified specific research priorities, there was much overlap and opportunities for comparative work. The regional teams conducted their research independently, while constant reflection and the oversight of the provincial advisory committee ensured a coherent and complementary approach, as well as inter-regional collaboration and tool-sharing.