Building Regional Food Hubs in Ontario: Fostering linked-up thinking and practice through sustainable food systems
Principal Investigator: SSHRC Public Outreach Grant
As the Principal Investigator for this project, I have the privilege to work with faculty and graduate students from eight Ontario universities, food experts from nine NGOs, officials from four government departments and colleagues at the Sustainable Places Research Institute at Cardiff University. Our common interests focus on supporting emerging and existing community food projects across Ontario. In the process we are gaining valuable insights into how community food projects work and the ways they provide solutions to the most pressing issues including better access to healthy food, social justice, improved policy and planning, and more resilient communities, ecologies and food economies.
Developing regional food hubs: Applying knowledge to increase local food purchasing through local food linkages and value chains
Co-investigator with Karen Landman, University of Guelph
This OMAFRA sponsored project has multiple goals. First, the project involves a scan to compile information about various local food initiatives across Ontario. Community groups, distribution networks, and producer associations are just some of the initiatives that are being investigated through interviews, observations, and literature review. That investigation will result in a models and best practices report as well as a toolkit intended to inform Ontario's food initiatives about resources, models, and potential obstacles. The toolkit will be tested in three communities and revised before being launched in the early summer of 2012.
Research to Revitalize Rural Economies
EDCO Regional Research Project
As part of the ‘Research to Revitalize Rural Economies’ project, Matt Murphy, Marianne Stewart and I are identifying and documenting existing and emergent innovative initiatives focused on the ‘green economy’ in eastern Ontario. The key goals of this project are to report best practices and identify existing gaps with a view to fostering synergies within and across sectors, and between institutions. In determining where organizations are currently positioned and who the leaders are in each sector, companies can benefit from improved linkages, information flows and market opportunities. This project will be rolled out to southwestern Ontario in 2012/2013 as part of a SSHRC funded research project also led by Dr. Yolande Chan at the Queen’s School of Business. Dr. Chan is the Principal Investigator for the larger research projects focused on rural economic revitalization.
SSHRC funds Food Counts
Canada's Sustainable Food Systems Report Card
The report card project is entering its third year. We have a pilot version in preparation for Canada, Prince Edward Island and all of its counties, Ontario and the Region of Waterloo. This year we also added Guelph-Wellington county. We have identified over fifty indicators to help us understand the community, environmental and economic well-being of Canadian communities. Indicators include environmental protection measures, farm incomes, extent of imported food, diabetes rates and levels of food security. We have also been working on understanding specific community stories to put a face on what the numbers tell us. For more information or to share local food success stories, please contact me.
Exploring the Feasibility and Benefits of Local Food in Ontario’s Healthcare System
University of Guelph (UoG)/Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) sponsored project
I am very excited to be working as a collaborator on this research. Sponsored as part of the Food for Health research theme, the project is exploring the options for integrating local, sustainable food into hospital meals. The research team is led by Paulette Padanyi from Marketing and Consumer Studies (UoG), with other collaborators including Vinay Kinetkar, an expert in quantitative analysis from the same department, and Linda Varangu and Tania Del Matto from My Sustainable Canada. The project runs from May 2010 to early 2013.
Models and Best Practices for Building Effective Local Food Systems in Ontario
OMAFRA, Sustainable Rural Communities project
Our project is now complete thanks to the hard work of PI Karen Landman (SEDRD at UoG) and a team of hard working grad students. The report summarizes the important factors for effective food systems, barriers to development and the current effort of respondents based on interviews with key informants from across the province. Please contact me for a copy of the report or an executive summary.
SSHRC Knowledge in Society (KIS) Grant
‘Revitalizing rural economies by mobilizing academic knowledge’
This SSHRC-funded research initiative is a multi-year project led by Yolande Chan the Director of the Monieson Centre in the Queen’s School of Business and the community partner, Prince Edward, Lennox and Addington Community Futures Development Corporation (PELA CFDC). For information about this project go to: