Review by Irena Knezevic
You probably don’t know all the facts that Darrin Qualman discusses in Civilization Critical, but even if you did, you should still read the book for its powerful synthesis of those facts. The book’s central argument is that contemporary human lifestyles rely on linear economies. We extract, consume and dispose of goods at unprecedented rates, growing the landfills and ocean dead zones. The myth of “dematerialized” information economy falls apart given the evidence that despite the growth in non-material commerce (be it services or apps) humanity’s consumption of material goods and energy continues to increase. This global “petro-industrial consumerist civilization” (p. 1) or eCivilization, to use Qualman’s shorthand, is headed for disaster. “Linear civilizations are terminal” he writes (p. 59).
Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW – Civilization Critical: Energy, Food, Nature, and the Future”
Sustainable food has been on the minds and lips of an increasing number of people in 2018. On the international stage, food has become an important part of discussions about climate change and sustainability with more attention being paid to how city-region food systems work across places and scales. Across Canada, sustainable food system researchers and community advocacy groups continue to provide input to the federal government as it develops “A Food Policy for Canada,” while at the same time working to address significant challenges within the food system at the local level.
2018 also saw substantial growth of the FLEdGE network. Our recent report, “Good Food Solutions: Building sustainable food communities for all Canadians” provides a snapshot of the work that we’ve done so far and outlines the five principles that ground our research practice as we work toward more sustainable food systems. We are delighted to be able to share the fruits of our collective research practice with you on our Resources and Results page and will continue to do so through 2019 and for the life of the FLEdGE project.
As 2018 comes to an end, we’d like to take the opportunity to wish you a very happy holiday season and send our best wishes for 2019. From all of us here at FLEdGE, may the New Year bring you health, joy, and good and sustainable food.
Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018
9:00 am – 10:30 am
Balsillie School of International Affairs, Room 142
Over the last three years various international agreements have highlighted the need for greater coordination along the food chain and increased food justice in creating urban food security. These international agreements have set the stage for new urban food policy to emerge. At this panel discussion, food system experts from Wilfrid Laurier University, Carleton University, and the City of Toronto will explore how we can use the New Urban Agenda and other international agreements (SDGs and the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact) as levers for changing the food system.
A light breakfast will be served. Registration is free but required. Continue reading “Save the Date! Levers for Food Systems Change: A Panel Discussion on Urban Food Security, Food Justice, and International Agreements”
April 6, 2017
Last year the team behind FLEdGE released the book Nourishing Communities: From Fractured Food Systems to Transformative Pathways (Springer), which documents more than a decade of collaborative work by our network of scholars, community-based partners, and practitioners interested in constructing more sustainable and just food systems.
In November, Carleton University’s Faculty of Public Affairs hosted a discussion of the book at Irene’s Pub in Ottawa. Moe Garahan (Just Food Ottawa), Jay Garlough (Hidden Harvest Ottawa), and Faris Ahmed (USC Canada) commented on the book and discussed their own work in transforming food systems. One of the highlights of this engaging evening was Faris’ response to the book in the form of spoken word. It was so good, we went back to record it!
Below you will find Faris’ performance along with a brief interview about his work at USC. You can also find the entire audio on YouTube. Continue reading “FLEdGE gets poetic: Faris Ahmed’s Fractured Food Systems Blues”
By Alison Earls, BA., MEDI.
Over the summer I was thrilled to work as a research assistant for Food Locally Embedded Globally Engaged (FLEdGE). I grew up in a small rural farming community food and food systems were a central part of my life from a young age, so getting the chance to study these systems, specifically infrastructure for Northern Ontario food systems, was a dream come true.
Although I have experience with local food and food systems research, I was a bit out of my comfort zone with the geography of the project, which took place in Northern Ontario. I am very familiar with the opportunities and obstacles that are available for food and farms in Southern Ontario but, at the beginning of the project, food and farming in Northern Ontario was new to me. Before starting the project, I would have said that the food systems in Northern and Southern Ontario have similar challenges and opportunities, however this is not the case. Continue reading “How to Improve Northern Ontario Food Systems: The 4 Next Steps”
By Laura Schreiner
Doctors attend medical school, electricians go through apprenticeships—but how do farmers learn the practical skills of their trade? There are many different pathways into farming, but they aren’t nearly as structured—nor as well understood—as those of other occupations. In an era of aging and retiring farmers, understanding how the next generation is being trained is important, but there is very little research into it as yet.
To this end, in the summer of 2017, under the supervision of Theresa Schumilas and Charles Levkoe and with the guidance of our partner organizations, the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario (EFAO) and the Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training in SW Ontario (CRAFT-SW), I conducted a scan of practical farmer training programs. Practical farmer training refers to farmer-to-farmer education that has a significant on-farm (hands-on) component. The goal was to document and then categorize the various types of practical farmer training programs across North America, to help broaden our understanding of and contextualize the variety of training program models. Continue reading “How does a farmer learn to farm? A scan of practical farmer training programs”