News & Events

Changing Through Food

Moving the Food Movement: Introducing Open Food Network Canada. By Theresa Schumilas

Sometimes the best way to fix a system is to build a new one. 

That’s what is happening as small scale ecological farms and food artisans in Ontario swap their pitch forks for keyboards and smart phones to help launch and test a new on-line platform that promises to “move the food movement” around the world.

Open Food Network Canada (OFN-CAN) is a newly registered not-for-profit organization that is leveling the technology playing field and empowering small scale producers, artisans and food hubs to ‘get on-line’ with a new open source platform.  The Open Food Network (OFN) acts as a directory, advertising space, online marketplace and tool for sharing information and resources about sustainable food systems. The OFN platform is layered – like an onion. You can start simple and ‘grow’ into the more powerful features.

For full article Moving the Food Movement – blog about OFN

FarmWorks Investment Co-operative Limited. By Dr. Alison Blay-Palmer

FarmWorks Investment Co-Operative Limited in Nova Scotia is bringing leadership through innovation to the Canadian food system. By integrating Community Economic Development Investment Fund (CEDIF)[1] opportunities to support emerging and existing food system entrepreneurs, FarmWorks is re-establishing and connecting the pieces needed for a more localized Nova Scotia food system. To date, FarmWorks has raised over $1.4 million in investment capital from 312 Shareholders and has used this money to support 56 food related businesses across the province.

Through CEDIFs in Nova Scotia investors are eligible for provincial tax credits of 35% for 5 years, 20% for an additional 5 years, and 10% for 5 years. PEI (35%), Manitoba (45% on investments of up to $60,000), and New Brunswick (50% credit for investments up to $125,000 per year) have also launched their own versions of the CEDIF initiative.

For full article FarmWorks Investment Co-operative Limited



2016 Foods Systems Workshop. Teaching About Food Systems: Creating a Community of Practice

Workshop Background and Overview

Many educators are working at universities on Food Systems curricula and courses. If you teach or want to teach about food systems using cross-disciplinary systems thinking at the graduate or undergraduate level, come join us as we develop a community of practice!

On July 26-27 we will gather for a full day of panels and presentations on existing work and lessons learned and a second day of active curriculum development.

The primary purposes of the event will be to 1) create a community of practice of people working on developing and implementing curricula in food systems courses; 2) review and develop materials using systems thinking frameworks in teaching about food systems, and 3) share or develop assessment tools on student learning in systems thinking.

We hope to also share methods for interdisciplinary exploration of complex, interacting elements in food systems that include but are not limited to agriculture (agronomy), anthropology, biology, ecology, economics, environmental science, human geography, medicine, nutrition, public health and sociology. For more information….

Food System and Food Security Study for the City of Cape Town. 

In 2013 the City of Cape Town commissioned a report on the food system and food security based on the following premise, “Food security or the lack thereof is the outcome of complex and multi-dimensional factors comprising a food system. Therefore, food insecurity is the result of failures or inefficiencies in one or more dimensions of the food system. This necessitates a holistic analysis of the food system that than can provide insights into the various components of the system, especially in our context as a developing world city.”

For more information

Societal support for the outcome of soil health by Ralph C. Martin

There are compelling reasons to protect water quality and to adjust our lives in order to have enough water in the future. In addition, clean air is crucial for our health and well-being. Both water and air are accepted as public goods. All citizens, including farmers, want clean air and water, now and in the future. Healthy soil is also a fundamental environmental attribute. Soil organic matter when at high levels along with soil aggregate stability and active microbial populations can moderate drought by holding water for plant roots to exploit. Similarly, soil organic matter and associated soil characteristics improve infiltration of water into soil when there is excess precipitation. Climate change is expected to be about increased volatility with too much or too little water, or temperatures that are too high or too low, at vulnerable stages of crop growth. Below is the article in full.

Societal support for soil health, July-16

Draft of the New Urban Agenda

The Draft New Urban Agenda has been prepared on the basis of inputs and negotiations throughout the Habitat III intersessional process leading to PrepCom3.

This draft will be the basis of negotiations at third session of the Preparatory Committee for the Habitat III Conference (PrepCom3), to be held in Surabaya, Indonesia, 25–27 July 2016. .

The New Urban Agenda aims to be a concise, action-oriented, forward-looking, and universal framework of actions for housing and sustainable urban development. The publication of the this draft opens the next chapter of the Habitat III roadmap. For more information please visit Habitat III New Urban Agenda Page