Goal 1: Affordable, Nutritious Foods
Goal 1: Affordable, Nutritious Foods
Read the Action Plan
Goal 1: Affordable, Nutritious Foods
A circular food system values, shares, and celebrates a diversity of affordable, nutritious, and culturally relevant foods that support a healthy, resilient community.
View our interactive program map
- Everyone — individuals, families, and neighbourhoods — can access a diverse range of nutritious, affordable, and culturally relevant food.
- Food is valued, celebrated, and shared. People are empowered to eat well, reduce waste, and are connected to local food, producers, and the land.
- Innovative community collaborations and new circular business models are developed that support food producers/farmers who are creating sustainable livelihoods and implementing regenerative practices.
- The demand for new circular economy business models, services and products is created through the development of a circular culture.
- Urban agriculture models are supported to increase local food production capacity, food security, and resiliency.
Growing, production and land use
1.1 Increased local production of nutritious food
1.2 Improved agricultural practices that support ecological health
Access and inclusion
5.1 Increased access to affordable, nutritious food and when possible, culturally relevant
5.2 Increased availability and preference for local, nutritious foods of choice
Celebration and food culture
8.1 Increased awareness and engagement in local food (including youth)
8.2 New behaviour change strategies and interventions in the food system
Spotlights and Stories
According to Cornell University researchers, consumers make an average of 200 food-related decisions every day about what, where, when, and how much to eat. Most of these decisions are unconscious, shaped by the surrounding food environment: the physical, social, economic, cultural, and political factors that impact access to nutritious food.
This year, 10C Executive Director Julia Grady, as co-chair of the Business and Collaborations Workstream, and Toward Common Ground Lead, Sarah Haanstra, as the chair of the Nutritious Food Workstream, helped facilitate a highly collaborative exercise to allocate $100,000 through Our Food Future’s Harvest Fund. From April to August, the CoLab Action and Funding Process gathered a group of community members and organizational leaders to co-create solutions to help address food insecurity.
For farmers in Wellington County, digital technologies offer many opportunities. Fourth-generation farmer Romy Schill uses an e-commerce platform to sell sustainably produced wool. Robotic milking systems support operations at the Elora Research Station. And Bob Wilson uses RFID tags to track each of his calves over the course of their lives.
Programs by Strategic Intervention Area
Growing, Production and Land Use
Community Design Studio – Faculty and students in the University of Guelph Landscape Architecture department are connecting with the City, businesses and community members to engage in place-based design projects that centre food infrastructure, community and culture in the development of public spaces. The first project focused on how designing for food could be incorporated into plans for the Baker Street redevelopment, a major project in downtown Guelph. The second studio looked at design interventions for the lands surrounding the Guelph Farmers’ Market.
Guelph-Wellington Urban Agriculture Challenge - A call for projects and ideas in 2021 that support a circular economic recovery and accelerate food production, getting more food to the table with less environmental impact. A total of $106,000 was awarded to 10 winners spanning small community projects to transformative built-form projects. Applications ranged from augmenting existing gardens and community agriculture spaces with growing infrastructure such as fruit trees, rainwater harvesting and composters to providing unique opportunities for growing, learning and capacity building. Learn more about the winning projects and follow their implementation progress.
Guelph-Wellington Urban Agriculture Challenge funds local circular food security projects
Watch the Urban Agriculture Awards Live Broadcast
Read the Project Overview
View the Food Future Challenge Page
Indigenous Food Sovereignty – Developing relationships with Indigenous community members to better understand their worldview and recognize and promote their social and ecological wisdom is the first step in achieving the long-term goal of ensuring all Indigenous people have access to land and healthy, culturally relevant food. In addition, Our Food Future aims to support Indigenous-led and co-created projects. The four key Indigenous principles of relationality, responsibility, reciprocity and respect have much to teach Our Food Future and the broader settler community about community-centric approaches. We are committed to building positive relationships with local Indigenous communities to bring these values to life in our work and community to co-create an equitable and bountiful food system.
Regenerative Sustainable Agriculture – Applying the circular economy to farms means supporting the shift towards regenerative agriculture: a suite of best practices focused on rebuilding soil health. We conducted research and released a report on some of the climate-friendly, or regenerative farming practices in our County. We also have launched the Experimental Acres, an on-farm pilot designed to protect farmers from risk as they learn what works for their soil. This pilot is designed as an “on ramp” that builds layers of support over the growing season and includes components such as soil assessment, verification tools, a community of practice and a path to future funding. As we learn from this pilot, the findings will be shared so successes can be duplicated.
Regenerative Agriculture: Planting the Seeds for a Healthy Ecosystem
Investigating Incentives for Regenerative Farming Practices
Rural Broadband Connectivity, Knowledge and Tools – Improving the County’s rural broadband access includes advocacy with both internet service providers (ISPs) and funders; an ongoing survey of ISPs and community members to map services and gaps; discussions with existing and incoming ISPs in order to support expansion strategies; creation of a tool kit for residents; and keeping abreast of innovations and opportunities regarding rural broadband. Public workshops and on-farm visits will offer further opportunity to practise the Connected Farm Living Lab approach, matching host farms that wish to engage in real-world testing with researchers and technology.
Rural Broadband Connectivity Guidebook
Access and Inclusion
Food Environment Assessment – Our Food Future’s Nutritious Foods Workstream, led by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health and the non-profit Toward Common Ground, undertook research to understand the local food landscape to inform broad policy and programming decisions. The research included: a policy review; food retail audits; neighbourhood mapping; programming and infrastructure scans; and analysis of consumer purchasing and consumption behaviour. Surveys and focus groups with local community members were conducted to understand the resident experience and facilitators/barriers to acquiring, preparing and consuming nutritious foods. The research also identified opportunities to support residents in accessing nutritious food under both normal conditions and during COVID-19. Read the final report.
Food Security and Health Action Plan – This plan will articulate an intervention strategy (2022-23) for developing, implementing, and evaluating evidence-based programs, policies and cross-sector solutions. It will be developed in collaboration with local agencies and community groups and draw on insights from the Food Environment Assessment. Interventions will focus on promoting nutritious foods through the following areas: knowledge and skills for healthy eating, transforming food insecurity (economic access) and healthy food neighbourhoods (physical access).
Food Security CoLab Challenge – Our Food Future’s CoLab initiative gathered a group of community members and organizational leaders around a common goal — to break down existing barriers to food security within the Guelph-Wellington region. Rather than following a typically competitive and rigid granting process, these groups, led by Our Food Future collaborators 10C and Toward Common Ground, co-created a highly collaborative and equitable framework. This included a collective budgeting process to decide how to allocate funding to achieve the shared objective of community food security. The learnings of the Our Food Future Co-Lab will continue to be captured in the final months of evaluation and shared in a final report. This equitable and inclusionary funding model may support other departments, grantors, and organizations negotiate a similar place-based framework.
Enabling community-led solutions to food insecurity in Guelph and Wellington County
Emergency Food Delivery – When the pandemic first hit in 2020, The SEED — a community food project of the Guelph Community Health Centre — rapidly shifted its programs to give those most impacted by COVID-19 immediate access to nutritious food. By leveraging technology, transforming their supply systems and mobilizing a community of cooks and delivery options, The SEED distributed over 61,000 nutritious food boxes between April and October 2020, including fresh foods, frozen meals and shelf-stable goods free of charge to community members in need via contact-free home delivery.
New online food delivery project launches in Guelph
The Kitchen Table
Emergency Food Home Delivery from the SEED
Groceries from The SEED – Building on the success of local Sliding Scale Markets and the Emergency Food Delivery program, The SEED has launched “Groceries from The SEED,” a pay-what-you-choose online grocery store with a social purpose. Through the project, residents can do their regular grocery shopping online through The SEED, paying the full retail price. The profit from these purchases then goes to subsidize substantial discounts for community residents in need. With this program, The SEED aims to support 2,000 low-income residents in about 750 households.
Food from Home = Food for Home – New arrivals to Canada often come from distinctly different climates, and geographies and bring a wealth of new flavours and cuisines. This urban growing program provides gardening space and resources for newcomers to grow and distribute culturally relevant foods and share gardening practices. Located at the Westmount Farm on land near Guelph’s St. Joseph’s Hospital, it brings together local urban farmers and participants from newcomer communities with experience and/or interests in growing food. The goal is to grow and share healthy nutritious foods, including culturally relevant varieties that are often difficult to source, as well as provide meaningful connections between Newcomers and the local community.
Urban agriculture program helps immigrants grow familiar foods
Community garden project sees newcomers grow vegetables and herbs from their homelands
Greenhouse City Network – This proposed network of year-round urban greenhouses will allow both food relief agencies and community growers to efficiently grow a substantial amount of the produce they desire. The harvest will be used to feed those in our community without the resources to always access fresh, nutritious food. Produce will be distributed to local relief agencies and directly to those in need through a variety of means, including free and sliding-scale food-box programs, community markets, emergency food pantries and community meal experiences. The result will be a replicable model of governance, operations and data sharing that will best respond to community needs and increase the yield of year-round fresh food. Greenhouse City Network will build local capacity through enhancing shared agriculture infrastructure, technology, knowledge and action.
Upcycle Kitchen — This social enterprise initiative run by The SEED — a community food project of the Guelph Community Health Centre — rescues produce that would otherwise be discarded by distributors and transforms it into jams, sauces, soups, dips and other products. They also piloted an “Upcycle Kitchen Café,” providing meals made from upcycled ingredients to the Guelph Community Health Centre staff and clients.
Celebration and Food Culture
Guelph Film Festival — Tiny Food Docs – In 2020 and 2021, Our Food Future co-presented a kids’ documentary program around the theme of food as part of the Guelph Film Festival. This builds awareness and community engagement and supports nutritious food, urban agriculture, and food waste project objectives, especially for children. In both 2020 and 2021, the festival sponsorship resulted in 18 short films from Guelph-Wellington children exploring how food is a part of their daily lives.
Various Kid Directors ∙ Guelph ∙ Collection of Short Docs
Farmers’ Market Refresh – Our Food Future partnered with the City of Guelph Farmers’ Market team to design and implement a public call for ideas, proposals and potential partners to explore new opportunities to augment the continued success of the weekly farmers’ market. Through an innovative partnership that aligns with the Market’s vision, the City sought proposals from the community to strengthen and expand this vital community asset. After a successful bid and negotiations, Council signed an agreement in November 2021 that will see Our Food Future collaborator 10C assuming the management of the market building and Saturday event operation. The intention of the agreement is to co-create a multi-purpose indoor-outdoor community market that is thriving with new partnerships, enterprises and is actively used 7 days per week.
Guelph Farmers' Market officially under 10C management in new year
Kids Get Growing – Working with the YMCA-YWCA of Guelph and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Centre Wellington, we safely distributed 740 children’s gardening kits in Guelph and Fergus in 2020. Kits included soils, seeds/seedlings and educational materials to help Guelph-Wellington children learn about growing their own food. All kits were provided free of charge
An Our Food Future 10-point recovery plan project
Love of gardening continues to grow with Kids Get Growing gardening kit
Reimagine Food – This public awareness and engagement campaign (2021-22) aims to spark conversation with Guelph-Wellington businesses and residents around lighter living, food access, and the real costs of food waste. Research through this project will help us discover the diverse motivations that lead residents of Guelph-Wellington to support circular products and services, reduce food waste, and undertake lighter living actions. Findings will also help fine-tune an engagement campaign and program design to better support uptake of climate and planet-friendly initiatives, including circular products and services and food waste reduction. Using a range of digital and place-based community engagements, the initiative will use interventions to drive behaviour change and encourage residents and stakeholders to take action.