On our plate: Summer 2021

Alison Springate
Alison Springate Guelph Smart City Office • 30 August 2021

Good afternoon,

I hope you’re enjoying a relaxing summer. The Smart Cities Circular Economy team has been running at full tilt as we prepare for several exciting programs and project launches this fall.

Here are a few of the projects we’re enthusiastic about.

Looking forward to the World Circular Economy Forum


For the first time, Canada will host the preeminent international circular economy event, the World Circular Economy Forum(WCEF), from September 13 to 15. This year more than 4,000 leaders, policymakers, experts and enthusiasts will come together to focus on issues and topics that are central to post-pandemic economic recovery and the global transition towards a thriving circular economy.

Our Food Future and COIL will have a strong presence. On September 13, I look forward to participating in a panel discussion, Circular Community Transitions, which will explore taking a 360° approach when planning for circular transition that considers all community voices, intergenerational equity and the earth’s carrying capacity.

On September 15, we will lead a one hour Accelerator Session panel discussion, Driving Economic and Social Innovation with the Circular Food Economy, featuring three international experts. A side event is also coming together to explore the experiences of food companies that are participating in the R-Purpose program being led by our colleagues at Provision Coalition, and funded by Our Food Future.

Don't miss out. Register today!

Food waste flow study highlights waste hotspots


Analyzing more than 70 data sets is an impressive body of work; however, it was needed for us to have a clearer picture of waste within our regional food system. The Food and Food Waste Flow Study report released in June was the first of a three-stage project to bring more precision to our understanding of waste and explore the best strategies to reduce the impact of these hotspots. Phase two is already underway and involves a deeper analysis of key findings to define the most effective programs to help mitigate food waste and loss. Among the interventions will be increased promotion of climate-friendly farming initiatives. Regenerative farming is an important focus area with our colleagues in Wellington County: together, we had an informative discussion with a local farmer on episode 5 of the In Conversation with Our Food Future podcast.

Food and Waste Flow Study news release

Food and Food Waste Flow Study phase one report

Food and Waste Flow animation

Wellington County's current programs and initiatives

COIL launches Activate Circular Accelerator


Recently COIL introduced another major program to help businesses in the food and environment sectors move towards circularity. TheCOIL Activate Circular Acceleratoris open to existing businesses in southern Ontario that are either operating or transitioning toward circular economy business practices such as finding new uses for materials that are typically considered waste or using unique operational approaches to reduce waste and carbon emissions. The program includes extensive coaching, connection with like businesses and circular economy experts and access to funding to help business advance circular ideas.

This is a world-class accelerator program delivered by Smart Cities Office partners 10C and Innovation Guelph. Applications are open until September 19, 2021.

Learn more about Activate Circular Accelerator

County releases Connectivity Guidebook


Rural broadband requires solutions at an infrastructure level and we look forward to the province’s direction on how its new funding will be rolled out. Meanwhile, we know that we all need a common starting place for understanding the agricultural business solutions that come with connectivity. Wellington County’s new Connectivity Guidebook for Rural Ontario: Connecting Agriculture, Business and Community is a robust tool to support farmers in the region. This helps bridge the gap between some of the digital smart tools that Our Food Future and COIL are providing – another piece in the puzzle to help them make the most of these resources.

Download the guidebook

Do you know any budding filmmakers?


The Guelph Film Festival and Our Food Future are collaborating to support the Festival's annual program of documentaries made by kids called Tiny Docs By Tiny People. This year, kids across Guelph and Wellington County are invited to submit short documentaries on "food in your life" or "food stories or issues you care about". We know kids have great ideas and insights about food, and this is an ideal way to bring those stories to life!

Submissions due October 15

Growing together


I am so happy to share this story of building community around food while supporting inclusion and connection. Led by two passionate volunteers, Food From Home = Food For Home is a unique urban agriculture project, funded by Our Food Future, that is building capacity for newcomers to grow and distribute culturally relevant foods, build community, and share teaching practices.

Read more about this story

Enjoy the rest of summer – I know how fleeting it is! I am so looking forward to seeing our colleagues and collaborators this fall.

Barbara Swartzentruber
Executive Director
Smart Cities Office