News & Events

Webinar: “Shaping Food Policies for Resilient Regions”

October 30th, 2020 | 12:00 – 1:00 PM ET

Join FLEdGE researchers for the first webinar in our Good Food Solutions by FLEdGE webinar series, which will take place over the next several months and feature our Good Food Principles.

To kick off the series, FLEdGE researchers and community partners will discuss the importance of innovative food policy for resilient regional food systems. Moderated by Irena Knezevic and featuring Sandra Mark, Anna-Liisa Aunio, Anne Marie Aubert, and Johanna Wilkes, this webinar will explore the intersections of regional infrastructure, municipal policies, and local food networks. Panelists will consider how practitioners can work across scales to imagine regional food systems that are more just, equitable, and resilient. 
The webinar will be followed by an optional informal coffee chat with the panelists.  

This webinar will be in English with French materials available afterwards.

Irena Knezevic, Carleton University

Sandra Mark, Small Scale Food Processor Association
Anna-Liisa Aunio, Dawson College
Anne Marie Aubert, Système Alimentaire Montréalais, Montréal – Métropole en santé
Johanna Wilkes, Balsillie School of International Affairs

Vegetables and Viruses: How COVID-19 is Exposing the Information Barrier Within the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program

By Courtney Jane Clause

United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Canada and Agricultural Workers Alliance (AWA), released their annual report amid the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year. UFCW and AWA support a spectrum of workers across different labour programs, industries, and legal statuses in accessing their labour rights. However, their annual report points out that enrollees under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) are an important part of their advocacy efforts, given the program’s reputation for employee abuse. Lack of information about employee rights, worker contract details, and available services within Canada is a common story among SAWP enrollees, and the situation has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic as good practices and healthcare information change daily.

About SAWP

Photo credit: credit Anaya Katlego

SAWP is a “needs-based” and “seasonal” labour program negotiated between Canada and twelve participating racialized countries to combat real or perceived labour shortages in the agri-food sector. The Government of Canada’s website explains that workers reside in Canada for up to eight months while cultivating, planting, harvesting, sorting, and packing produce. The program has had mixed reception since its creation in 1966. Scholars, activists, and community organizations have called attention to structural flaws and limited government support and oversight that often lead to excessive discretion and administrative burden on employers, leaving farm-owners to determine appropriate procedures, work environments, and accommodations. Stemming from this, SAWP enrollees may suffer through inadequate housing conditions, increased, untreated, and/or poorly treated health concerns, unsafe working conditions, and social isolation, among other things.

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Making the FLEdGE video, “Voices from the Network,” and discovering the patterns that revealed themselves

David Szanto, for the FLEdGE Blog

I tend to think that I am pretty good at putting together different pieces of content to make a coherent story. Having edited a lot of books, articles, photo collections, videos, artworks, screenplays, and wardrobes over the years, I am fairly intuitive about the process.

Early in my training as a text-based editor, I was taught that it’s all about “finding patterns” in a piece of writing, and then arranging those motifs of meaning in ways that advance the author’s message. When I started editing other media as well, I followed the same principle. Whatever the format, I want my efforts to optimize the communicative impact, but without changing the storyteller’s intent. And, when I’m done, I generally want to have been as invisible as possible.

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“Food is the great connector.” A conversation with Charles Levkoe and Irena Knezevic about teaching food studies online.

June 2020

Online course offerings in food studies have become popular in recent years, with a sharp increase in demand for online content in with the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. But how are postsecondary scholars and educators thinking about their online teaching practice, especially as they prioritize place- and community-based knowledge and local sustainable food systems? A new article in the June 2020 issue of Food, Culture & Society considers what educators might learn from online food studies courses that use food as a “connector” to engage with students across geographical and virtual space. “Serving up food studies online: teaching about ‘food from somewhere’ from nowhere,” explores how the concept of “food from somewhere” can be an important touchstone for educators looking to build on their students’ personal experiences with food to creating meaningful learning in online classrooms.

We sat down with Charles Levkoe and Irena Knezevic, two of the five co-authors of the article, to talk about their experience teaching food studies online. They told us about the discussions that led to the article and the challenges and opportunities they’ve identified for using food as a connector in online spaces. An edited version of that conversation has been reproduced below.

Continue reading ““Food is the great connector.” A conversation with Charles Levkoe and Irena Knezevic about teaching food studies online.”

FLEdGE: Works Cited

June 2020

Select Publications from Winter/Spring 2020

Free-to-Access Journal Articles

Ballamingie, P., Blay-Palmer, A. D., Knezevic, I., Lacerda, A. E. B., Nimmo, E. R., Stahlbrand, L., & Ayalon, R. (2020). Integrating a Food Systems Lens into Discussions of Urban Resilience: A Policy Analysis. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 9(3).

Bayha, M. & Spring, A. (2020). Response to COVID in Déline, NT: reconnecting with our community, our culture and our past after the pandemic. Agriculture and Human Values.

Blay-Palmer, A., Carey, R., Valette, E., & Sanderson, M. R. (2020). Post COVID 19 and food pathways to sustainable transformation. Agriculture and Human Values.

Lacerda, A. E. B., Hanisch, A. L., & Nimmo, E. R. (2020). Leveraging Traditional Agroforestry Practices to Support Sustainable and Agrobiodiverse Landscapes in Southern Brazil. Land, 9 (6).

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True urban resilience can only be achieved through food systems thinking

Food systems thinking must be brought to the fore in discussions of urban resilience, and can no longer be relegated to an afterthought. In a new JAFSCD reflective essay, FLEdGE researchers and community partners examine the Sustainable Development Goals, New Urban Agenda, and Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, to generate prescriptive recommendations and calls to action. They draw on various community-based research projects, from the Toronto Food Policy Council and Montréal’s planned agricultural zone and smart cities approach in Canada, to Kitwe city-region food system in Zambia, to Paraná state’s agroforestry and agroecological practices in Brazil.

While authors Patricia Ballamingie, Alison Blay-Palmer, Irena Knezevic, André Lacerda, Evelyn Nimmo, Lori Stahlbrand, and Rotem Ayalon conducted research and analysis for this publication before the COVID-19 pandemic, their work highlights the need for more integrated urban-rural linkages to enable just and sustainable local food systems that will prove resilient in the context of shocks, including pandemics and the climate crisis. The pandemic has brought into sharp focus the vulnerability of our food system, and the critical role of food system planning to mitigate risk.

The full article can be found here:

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