Call to Action to Build a Food Systems Network for Niagara

People working in Niagara’s food continuum are developing shared understanding and common language to describe how a healthy, secure, sustainable food landscape contributes to Niagara’s social, political and economic vitality. Food Systems in Niagara is a topic that represents the cycles and interconnections of growing, distributing, eating and recycling of food.

In 2015 and 2016, Niagara Connects engaged over 100 people in the Food Systems conversation. These individuals work in: growing, preparation, consumption, access, processing, marketing, distribution, agritourism, education, nutrition, health, research, business, economic development, employment, waste/disposal, environmental sustainability, policy and government.

Eight (8) Food Systems in Niagara Building Blocks were gathered and reviewed. These include a 2015 network map that illustrates connections and lines of communication among 210 people from 143 organizations in the food continuum in Niagara and beyond.  Eleven (11) inter-connected food systems categories were identified: Agriculture; Land Use Planning; Local Food; Economic Development; Food Distribution; Retail and Food Outlets; Food Security and Poverty Reduction; Health; Child and School; Education and Research; Garden and Food Skills.

Food Systems in Niagara Map was co-created, to show the inter-connected, complex web of assets that make up our food system. Six (6) Suggested Action Steps to advance this work for Niagara were identified. The full report is available here.

Opportunities and suggested next steps include:

  • Take a Collective Impact approach to diverse food systems players sharing relevant, reliable data as a means to understand internal and external factors affecting Niagara’s food continuum, and make connections that spark innovations.
  • Convene a Reference Group of leaders that looks at local, provincial, national and international food systems, to identify components, interplay and contributing factors that benefit Niagara.
  • Better understand where food systems work in Niagara fits into, and can benefit from broader related work in the Golden Horseshoe, Ontario, Canada and beyond.
  • Explore food literacy and how it relates to Niagara health outcomes and personal and community economic prosperity. Examine how food literacy (and food skills) relate to people’s broader levels of literacy, living conditions, life experiences, and access to food and facilities.
  • Gain an understanding of vulnerabilities of Niagara’s food systems to climate impacts such as quality, quantity, accessibility and governance of water; and extreme weather conditions and events.
  • Explore food as a powerful force to draw people together to build up their capacity to experience security and prosperity. Relate this to the broader work of the #Rethink Niagara systems approach to investing in the people of Niagara.

If you see yourself and the work of your organization, network or business in this work, please join us for an April 20, 2017 shared learning and working session: Building a Food Systems Network for Niagara.

Mary Wiley
Executive Director
Niagara Connects
ed@niagaraconnects.ca

Background Information:

 

 

 

Niagara Knowledge Exchange & Community Calendar

Jan
23
Tue
Post-Stroke Depression @ Online
Jan 23 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

The prevalence of stroke is increasing with the aging Canadian population. One third of patients experiencing a stroke will develop post stroke depression (PSD).

PSD is associated with a reduced quality of life, poorer functional outcomes and increased risk of mortality. The Canadian Best Practice Recommendations for Stroke Care recommend that all stroke survivors be screened for depression. These guidelines also recommend initiating a referral process for PSD patients and offering appropriate pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapies.

This presentation will discuss the prevalence and impact of PSD, and develop an approach for the assessment and management of PSD patients.

This webinar is hosted by brainXchange.

Application Deadline: Multicultural Community Capacity Grant Program @ Online
Jan 23 @ 4:00 pm

This program provides funding to not-for-profit organizations that focus on newcomers and ethno-cultural groups for projects that promote diversity and inclusion. This is to make it easier for newcomers and ethno-cultural communities to fully participate in all facets of life in Ontario.

Eligible projects can receive $1,000 to $8,000 each. Up to $3 million is available this year. Organizations can apply for funding for one project.

Projects must address at least one of the following priorities:

  • civic engagement – facilitate community engagement, social integration and volunteerism to promote inclusion for immigrant and ethno-cultural communities
  • social connections – promote social connections and employment networking, including programs that reduce barriers and increase support for vulnerable groups
  • education and empowerment – promote intercultural understanding and break down barriers to participation in community life and decision-making
  • women’s empowerment – support empowerment by helping women of diverse cultural backgrounds to achieve their full social and economic potential
  • capacity building and partnerships – build the capacity of immigrant and multicultural organizations, and promote collaboration between service providers, to better serve newcomer and ethno-cultural communities

This grant is provided by the Ministry of Citizenship & Immigration.

Jan
24
Wed
Niagara Poverty Reduction Network Meeting @ Niagara Catholic District School Board
Jan 24 @ 9:00 am – 11:30 am

The Niagara Poverty Reduction Network (NPRN) is a group of residents, businesses and organizations that works together to improve the quality of life in Niagara. NPRN speaks with a community voice that incorporates the multiple voices of Niagara and prioritizes the voice of those currently experiencing poverty.

Topics of this meeting include:

Contact Natalie Chaumont if you need transportation assistance to attend this meeting (contact information above).

This meeting is hosted by the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network.

Brock VolunteerFEST @ Brock University - Guernsey Market Hall
Jan 24 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Brock University’s Student Life & Community Experience and Career Education is hosting VolunteerFEST on Wednesday, January 24th, 2018 from 10:00am-2:00pm.

The VolunteerFest will be taking place in the Guernsey Market Hall. The Registration Fee is $15, which includes a four-foot table, two chairs, and a parking pass.

This event is hosted by Brock University.

Lunch & Learn: The Business Case for Creating Inclusive Workplaces @ Big Marco's Italian Restaurant
Jan 24 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

Ontario’s Accessible Employment Standard requires you to make your employment practices accessible to meet the needs of employees and job applicants with disabilities. Learn how to meet the standard.

Learn about the business case for hiring people with disabilities and the requirements of the Employment Standard under the AODA. Having an inclusive workplace and an accessible organization makes good business sense.

You will learn:

  • How the Abilities Connect Fund can help you and employees needing accessible workplaces.
  • Ways to value ability employment, including the hiring and training of persons with a disability.
  • How to create ability workplace solutions, including assistive devices, training, and assessments.

This session is hosted by the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce.

Public Forum: What is Dementia? @ Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library, Rotary Room
Jan 24 @ 1:00 pm

All public forums are free to attend and suitable for family and friends of individuals living with dementia.

Registration is required. To register, call 905-687-3914.

In the event of inclement weather, please call the office for information about rescheduling.

This public forum is hosted by the Alzheimer Society of Niagara Region.

Jan
25
Thu
211: A Tool for Alleviating Poverty @ Online
Jan 25 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Reliable information is critical for solving problems and driving social innovation. By combining information about community services with cutting-edge technology, 211 is creating a powerful new form of social infrastructure. As a multi-channel information and navigation system, 211 is uniquely situated at the interface between the human needs associated with poverty and society’s policy and programmatic responses.

The support 211 provides is indispensable, particularly for people experiencing poverty and personal trauma who’s complex needs may pose barriers to obtaining help.

Now available to more than 20 million Canadians living in large cities, small towns, and rural and remote communities, 211 will expand to reach an additional 5 million people during the first half of 2018.

This webinar will explore how 211 is increasingly being leveraged by a wide range of stakeholders – people with lived experience, social service agencies, researchers and social planners, governments and other funders – to effectively address poverty.

This webinar is hosted by Tamarack.

SPONSORS

Ontario Trillium Foundation

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Niagara Knowledge Exchange is powered by a Niagara-wide network of people for collaboration, planning, learning, innovation and community action toward a stronger future for Niagara. We work hard to help foster a culture of Niagara-focused research and evidence-informed planning to support your community development innovations. To learn more about Niagara Connects, please visit our central website: www.niagaraconnects.ca or contact us: Email: info@niagaraconnects.ca, Phone: 905-688-6236
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