What is Circular Economy?

Together, we are redesigning our economic system

In 2018, a group of community stakeholders imagined a food system that would recognize the value of waste, create space for businesses to grow and adapt their operations, and ensure everyone had access to healthy, nutritious food. From those discussions, Our Food Future was born: a bold initiative that aims to create a circular food economy here in Guelph-Wellington.

Now we’re making it happen, thanks to the support of Infrastructure Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge funding, local partners, and dedicated community members. Today, the City of Guelph and the County of Welington are working alongside community groups, businesses, industry associations, NGOs, post-secondary institutions, research institutes, public agencies, and utilities through Our Food Future.

Together, we are redesigning our economic system. We are mobilizing organizations towards sustainability and adapting our processes to live within planetary boundaries. We are supporting a prosperous, regenerative economy that uses innovation, data, and collaboration to drive change.

When we first started planning Our Food Future in 2018, we worked with our community partners to establish nine initial Pathfinder projects:

  • Assess the Guelph-Wellington food environment
  • Create a circular food security and health action plan
  • Establish a circular food economy innovation hub (CFE iHub)
  • Coordinate a Harvest Impact Fund funding and financing ecosystem to support circular enterprises
  • Foster new food economy skills and training
  • Develop and share circular business tools and services
  • Launch a Reimagine Food awareness campaign
  • Increase the circularity of carbon credits in the food system
  • Increase circularity in municipal waste systems to drive innovation along the food value chain

Today, that number has multiplied. In some cases, the original projects have spun off new ventures such as the Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad (COIL). In other cases, new stakeholders have joined Our Food Future and fresh opportunities have emerged that support our overarching goals.

We have grouped our projects into the strategic intervention areas listed above. Many projects have cross-cutting aspects. For example, the Guelph Farmer’s Market Refresh project falls under “Celebration & Food Culture” and also contributes to “Processing & Distribution.” Many of these programs are highlighted in this report through stories and spotlights. Learn more about our vision, focus areas and projects with this interactive project map.