Guelph-Wellington’s Smart Cities Office launched three action plans that laid the groundwork for long-term environmental, economic, and social gains through proven circular economy practices across the regional food system and beyond.
The three action plans provided the framework to build a sustainable model that strengthened the ongoing work. Each plan included strategic priorities based on research and experience. The Smart Cities Office led the implementation of the plans, with activation in the communities they serve, to embed the strategic priorities into systems and programs across Guelph and Wellington County.
The Our Food Future initiative was launched in 2019 to implement a circular food economy in Guelph and Wellington County after being awarded $10 Million from Infrastructure Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge.
System transformation tools
Food Security Action Plan
The Food Security Action Plan included barrier-breaking initiatives like a regional healthy food prescription program, increased local food infrastructure, and a community food growing strategy.
Circular Business Action Plan
The Circular Business Action Plan focused on building a thriving circular business foundation, commercial models that challenge status quo thinking, and creating markets for recovered materials and upcycled products.
Waste as a Resource Action Plan
Finally, the Waste as a Resource Action Plan included ground-breaking behaviour change strategies for consumer food waste reduction, and technology solutions to access real time data to further refine to these strategies.
These Efforts Are Strengthening Communities
Our Food Future gained remarkable momentum and worldwide attention including a Special Mention award from the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact Awards. Efforts by the local circular economy network, representing government, industry, academia, public health, and community agencies, have produced research and pilot projects that are guiding waste reduction strategies and winning awards. More than 200 businesses have adopted circular approaches to reduce waste and launched new services and ‘upcycled’ products.
Regenerative agriculture practices were tested on over 60 hectares (150 acres) of local farmland—an area 12 times the size of the Roger’s Centre (SkyDome), and dozens of grassroots food access projects have been funded or supported including first-in-Canada programs to tackle food insecurity.