Dynamic Guelph neighborhood builds resilience through a collaborative food sharing network

Ami Dehne, Katherine Scott, and Seb Ramirez recognized the ongoing need and desire within the Junction neighbourhood for residents to begin to connect with each other around food. When given the opportunity to use an app to help foster these food connections, the community was enthusiastic. Local resident Jamie Miller from Biomimicry Frontiers reached out to the community and started generating interest. Together the group created The Junction Food Network, powered by Seed Voyage, that is for the community and by the community. With a wide variety of skills and resources that are already in the community, it opens the door for many collaborations and opportunities. The Junction Food Network is using Seed Voyage, a browser-based app, where residents can buy, sell, and trade their backyard produce within the neighbourhood. They launched in the fall of last year and were eager to continue the momentum into the upcoming growing season.

As Seeding Our Food Future (SOFF) supports businesses, not-for-profits, and social enterprises, The Junction Food Network knew this was the perfect opportunity to launch their community project. With the funding from SOFF, they were able to bring Allison Bell onto the project to help maintain relationships and foster peer-to-peer collaborations. They wanted to create a community of like-minded people who come together to build connections through growing and sharing food in an inclusive system. Whether someone has extra food from their garden or is looking for produce, there is something for everybody. Since the winter, The Junction Food Network has worked with their mentor at 10C Shared Space to develop a communications and marketing plan for the spring. Their goal is to encourage neighbourhood residents to operate their own businesses from their backyards through the app. With the launch of the project, people have come to the Junction and offered their skills and expertise.

For The Junction Food Network, circularity is the harmony and advancement of social, environmental, and economic processes. It is important to think of these things together instead of independent or at odds with each other. The Junction Food Network is a perfect example of how these three processes link together to build a stronger, more resilient community. Circularity can be viewed through systems thinking by considering how different inputs and processes interact with each other. Waste from one source can be a product for another. Ami thinks of circularity working like the comfrey plant. With 10ft. roots that bury deep into the earth, comfrey plants collect calcium that other plants cannot reach and stores it in its leaves. Other plants and trees benefit from the calcium in the comfrey leaves when they decompose. Ami describes this reference as “social permaculture,” where multiple parties can benefit from the waste of others.


Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash