Guest Lecture: Food Metrics 3.0 – Unearthing Hidden Data

Thursday, March 14th, 2019
7:00pm – 9:00pm
Balsillie School of International Affairs

Since 2011, the New York City’s Mayor’s Office of Food Policy has released a Food Metrics Report which provides a snapshot of data from across City agencies on food-related programming and trends. The report has expanded every year to include the broad range of programs and initiatives that the City is doing to address food insecurity; improve City food procurement and food service, increase healthy food access and awareness, and support a more sustainable and just food system. In a review of New York City’s 2018 Food Metrics Report, Dr. Nevin Cohen and his team at the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute, identified a number of food metrics that would deepen our understanding of the food system and yet are often overlooked. These hidden food metrics—data which is collected by city agencies but often buried in low-profile documents—could be used by interested citizens, policymakers, and advocates to monitor important aspects of the food system, lobby for new resources, support effective initiatives, and design and implement complementary programs.In this talk, Cohen will discuss these hidden food metrics and what they can tell us about the food system.

The talk will be followed by a Q&A with Barbara Emanuel from the Toronto Public Health’s Toronto Food Strategy. 

Registration is required.

A reception with light refreshments will follow talk.

About the speaker

Nevin Cohen is Associate Professor at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School of Public Health, and Research Director of CUNY’s Urban Food Policy Institute. His scholarship explores the policies, governance systems, practices, and infrastructure to support socially just, healthy, ecologically resilient, and economically viable urban and regional food systems.

Current projects include a five-country analysis of urban agriculture, research on food retail access; a study of the intersections of zoning, planning, and food gentrification; the effects of social equity policies on food systems; and an evaluation of the effects of urban farms in New York City Housing Authority developments. Dr. Cohen is the co-author of a recently published book, Beyond the Kale: urban agriculture and social justice activism in New York City (University of GA Press) that examines the potential of urban farms and gardens to address racial, gender, and class oppression. He has a PhD in Urban Planning and Policy Development from Rutgers University, a master’s in city and Regional Planning from Berkeley, and a BA from Cornell.

About the moderator

Barbara Emanuel is the Manager of the Toronto Food Strategy. Led by Toronto Public Health, the strategy proposes a new vision for Toronto’s food – one that integrates health and city building. The intent is to build food connections across and within city divisions, between city government and community and between multiple food system stakeholders, with the goal of a healthy and sustainable food system for all. The food strategy builds on the strong foundation of the Toronto Food Policy Council which has operated for more than 27 years. 

Prior to her work on the food strategy, Barbara was the Strategic Policy Advisor to the Medical Officer of Health for Toronto where she worked on a range of local and global public health and environmental issues including food and nutrition. Barbara has worked for the City of Toronto for over 25 years in a variety of policy and strategic issues roles. 

Before working for the City of Toronto, Barbara worked at the Development Education Centre, an adult education resource centre dedicated to international development and capacity building issues.

Unable to attend in-person? Register to be notified when the video recording of the event has been made available.

Sustain ON tries to engage politicians with varying success

December 2018

By Harrison Runtz

This past summer I had the privilege of working with Sustain Ontario, a non-governmental organization that works on connecting the needs/policy asks of different stakeholders in Ontario’s food networks. Sustain Ontario’s main goal is to transform our provincial food systems into more sustainable, community-oriented forms. My work was specifically related to the provincial iteration of their VoteONFood campaign. VoteONFood is an election-based effort to inform politicians on crucial areas of policy that are needed to address food systems issues. While my work focused on the provincial level, the campaign is currently targeting prospective municipal politicians. This initiative, which attempts to spread awareness of issues brought forth by experts working in these fields as producers, academics, scientists, and others, highlighted the intensely difficult task of breaking down partisanship and spreading best practices. While the issues of knowledge mobilization are many, I’ll outline two challenges that seemed particularly pertinent to the work in which I was involved. Continue reading “Sustain ON tries to engage politicians with varying success”

City Region Food System Assessment and Planning Toolkit Now Available!

Guido Santini
Programme Coordinator, Food for the Cities Programme
Rural and urban crop systems (AGPML) team
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Plant Production and Protection Division (AGP)

November 19, 2018

We are pleased to announce that the City Region Food Systems (CRFS) assessment and planning toolkit, jointly developed by FAO, RUAF Foundation, and Wilfrid Laurier University’s Centre for Sustainable Food Systems in the framework of the Food for the Cities Programme, is now available online.

The CRFS toolkit aims to help local authorities and other stakeholders strengthen the understanding of the current functioning and performance of food systems in the context of a city region, within which rural and urban areas and communities are directly linked. In particular the toolkit provides guidance on assessing food systems and forms the basis for further planning to reinforce and promote the sustainability of CRFS.  It is meant to be a resource for policymakers, researchers, and other key stakeholders and participants who want to better understand their own CRFS and plan for improvements. Continue reading “City Region Food System Assessment and Planning Toolkit Now Available!”

Exploring Community Stories About “Fish as Food”

August 2018

Written by Kristen Lowitt

In May 2018, members of the FLEdGE Northwestern Ontario Research Node hosted a “fish as food” roundtable session at the Community Conservation and Livelihoods Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The session featured community stories on “fish as food” from the Northwest Territories to Nova Scotia. Collectively, the stories illustrate the importance of not seeing fisheries solely as an assortment of fish harvesters or fish stocks, but as part of larger food systems that provide for community sustenance, cultures, and economies. Co-organized by Kristen Lowitt and Charles Levkoe, the session builds on their ongoing FLEdGE research exploring the links between sustainable fisheries and food systems in the Lake Superior region of Northwestern Ontario. Continue reading “Exploring Community Stories About “Fish as Food””

Food systems are critical to urban resilience

By Patricia Ballamingie
July 15, 2018

Thanks to the international networking of FLEdGE PI Alison Blay-Palmer, FLEdGE researchers and partners were invited to present a panel on Building resilient food systems: Policy across multiple scales at the ICLEI World Congress 2018, held in Montreal, June 20-22.

Since ICLEI’s inception, urban resilience and sustainability have largely been framed in terms of climate change mitigation and adaption. But as food system scholars and practitioners know, food serves as a portal to those and so many other related socio-economic and environmental issues. And cities play a crucial role in achieving food security, optimizing health and advancing environmental sustainability. Food production and food access programs target predominantly urban populations; urban, peri-urban, and rural areas remain closely interrelated; and the municipal level proves the most effective and efficient for many food policies and programs to occur. Continue reading “Food systems are critical to urban resilience”

Report on the Fifth Annual EAT Stockholm Food Forum

July 2018

EAT Stockholm Food Fora have been held every year since 2014. As a “science-based global platform for food system transformation,” the EAT initiative partners with a range of foundations, academic institutions, organizations and companies. The underlying principle is that everybody on earth has the right to healthy diets within planetary boundaries.

For the first time, the 2018 forum, “Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone,” was co-hosted by EAT and the Swedish Ministry of International Development Cooperation and Climate Change and gathered more 600 participants from science, politics, business and civil society from over 50 countries. Continue reading “Report on the Fifth Annual EAT Stockholm Food Forum”