Laurier-led international meeting will discuss sustainable food systems around the world #FLEdGE2017

Waterloo – A Laurier-based food research partnership is holding an international meeting in Waterloo that will feature some of Canada and the world’s leading thinkers on sustainable food systems.

The Food: Locally Embedded, Globally Engaged (FLEdGE) Partnership is a research- and knowledge-sharing network committed to fostering food systems that are socially just, ecologically regenerative, economically localized and that engage citizens. The 2017 FLEdGE Meeting will be held Sept. 7-9 at the Balsillie School of International Affairs.

Through food, citizens, practitioners, policy makers and academics can understand the importance of food systems that are green, fair, local and engaging,” said Alison Blay-Palmer, Centre for International Governance Innovation chair in sustainable food systems. Local, sustainable community food initiatives reflect this growing public awareness that food can act as a vehicle for change. For example, school snack programs that purchase fruit and vegetables directly from local producers who use low-impact farming methods make the connections amongst human, community, economic and ecological well-being more explicit.

The conference will focus on how to create a food system that is truly sustainable, said Blay-Palmer, who is director of Laurier’s Centre for Sustainable Food Systems. Discussions will draw on experiences in locales ranging from South Africa to Southern Ontario to the Northwest Territories and will feature panel discussions on topics including food policy, hard and soft infrastructure, food growing, and Indigenous food systems.

Speakers include:

  • Blay-Palmer and Charles Levkoe, Canada research chair in sustainable food systems at Lakehead University, who will speak on Food Counts: A Pan-Canadian Sustainable Food Systems Report Card, which brings together existing measures of social, environmental, and economic well-being to help researchers, policy makers, and practitioners examine food systems at the national level.
  • Gisèle Yasmeen, senior fellow at the University of British Columbia’s Institute of Asian Research, who will speak on policy lessons from Canada and the Asia-Pacific with respect to economically and environmentally sustainable livelihoods in the food system.
  • Molly Anderson, William R. Kenan Jr. professor of Food Studies at Middlebury College in Vermont, who will speak on recent movement both toward and away from “right to food” policies in the U.S.

Members of the media are invited to attend any and all sessions on Sept. 7 and 8. Download a full program or see more information at