Ashlee Cooper, Project Coordinator, Smart Cities Office

Alison Springate
Alison Springate Guelph Smart City Office • 24 December 2020

When you’re leading a complex initiative involving hundreds of stakeholders and dozens of active projects, you need a master juggler to keep everything in order.

Meet Ashlee Cooper, Project Coordinator for Our Food Future, who makes it look easy. Juggling is among the many talents she brings to the table to help Guelph-Wellington realize its vision to build Canada’s first Circular Food Economy.

“I enjoy connecting the dots for people. A great part of the job is bringing people together and keeping them linked to the interesting work that’s happening.”

A former food justice worker and agriculture entrepreneur with a longtime interest in our food system, Ashlee has extensive experience working with nonprofits and cities to create urban agriculture strategies. A recent move to Guelph had Ashlee seeking local opportunities and this posting seemed like a great fit. Over the past year, she has found it rewarding to be part of something transformative.

“We don’t often have an opportunity to get to the future we envision. Seeing this highly conceptual roadmap of how to revolutionize a huge economic system is mind-blowing. I get to help articulate what we want, and I get to help put the pieces toward it,” says Ashlee. “I also get to help celebrate the food culture in Guelph Wellington. There is a wonderful ecosystem here, amazing ideas, so much creativity. This is who we are, and I love it!”

Five questions with Ashlee

  1. What’s the best advice you ever received?

    Joseph Campbell’s “follow your bliss,” is a motto I come back to time and time again.
  2. If you were a talk show host, who is the first guest you would book?

    Robin Wall Kimmerer. She is an indigenous botanist and university professor, and a poet. I would love to learn from her.
  3. What song do you always play at full volume?

    Anything by Stereolab, Bjork, or old house music!
  4. What television show do you drop everything for?

    Girls from Ipanema, a ridiculously fun Brazilian telenovela. I have a small obsession with Brazil!
  5. What food dish do you absolutely rock at making?

    I make amazing soup because I always have homemade broth in the fridge. With a foundation of good broth, you can make a great soup!


Connect with Ashlee


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