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

Apr
25
Wed
CONNECT 2018 – Canada’s Learning and Technology Conference @ Scotiabank Convention Centre
Apr 25 – Apr 27 all-day

CONNECT 2018 is Canada’s national learning and technology conference.

CONNECT 2018 will create a unique opportunity for educators, administrators, and technology specialists to CONNECT and engage with peers from across Canada with the goal of exploring how technology can be used to enhance teaching and learning. With over 2000 educators and administrators, as well as technology industry leaders attending this year, you will have a unique and powerful opportunity to present your teaching methods and products; showcasing new, innovative, and critical thinking, teaching and learning.

This conference is hosted by the District School Board of Niagara.

Special Lecture with Journalist Sally Armstrong – Uprising: A New Age is Dawning for Every Mother’s Daughter @ Armenian Community Centre
Apr 25 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Human rights activist, journalist and award-winning author Sally Armstrong has covered stories about women and girls in zones of conflict all over the world.

Sally will share eyewitness accounts of her experiences in many of the world’s conflict zones. Focusing on the plight of women enduring repressive regimes, Sally is an advocate for the struggle to obtain basic human rights for many of the world’s poorest populations. She’ll bring news from Iraq, Afghanistan, and South Sudan.

This is a lecture you won’t want to miss. Seating is limited to 250.

This event is hosted by Lifelong Learning Niagara.

Health Privacy Issues on Campus @ Online
Apr 25 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Clinical and non-clinical staff on campuses across Ontario support students while navigating and respecting their privacy on a daily basis. At times this can lead to questions and confusion.

This webinar will provide them with information on:

  • How The Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (PHIPA) and The Health Care Consent Act, 1996 (HCCA) apply to campuses.
  • How common campus scenarios play out play out under Ontario’s privacy and consent legislation.

Presenters:

  • Anna Tersigni Phelan (Chief Privacy, Risk, and Health Information Officer, Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington)
  • Meredith Gardiner (Director of Services, Regional, Canadian Mental Health Association)

This webinar is hosted by the Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health.

Learn@Lunch: A Social Enterprise Story: Southridge Jam Company @ Southridge Jam Co.
Apr 25 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

Join Innovate Niagara for this upcoming learn@lunch at Southridge Jam Co.’s production facility in Vineland.

Brendon Nicholson, Program Director at the Southridge Jam Company, will share their story: how and why they started, and how they’ve grown to be the thriving social enterprise they are today. Brendon has learned about social entrepreneurship while building this enterprise and will have interesting insights to share about social entrepreneurship, its impact on the community as well as some of the challenges they have faced.

This event is hosted by Innovate Niagara.

Proactive Peer Support: Protecting and Promoting the Wellbeing of First Responders @ Online
Apr 25 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

During this webinar presentation, York Region Paramedic Services will highlight key features of York Region’s Paramedic Peer Support Team including the use of a dedicated peer support vehicle.

Specifically, participants will learn about why organizations should consider implementing a peer support program as a proactive way of supporting employees that may be struggling.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear about practical on the ground experiences in implementing a peer support program, including:

  • key benefits;
  • success factors and challenges; and
  • tips for other organizations looking at implementing a similar model.

Guest Speaker:
John Anderson, ACP
Superintendent, York Region Paramedic Services

This webinar is hosted by York Region Paramedic Services.

Using HEIA to Advance Health Equity Among LGBTQ People @ Online
Apr 25 @ 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm

This webinar will describe the new LGBTQ supplement of Ontario’s Health Equity Impact Assessment (HEIA), which will be launched soon.

This companion to the HEIA tool, developed by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) and Rainbow Health Ontario (RHO), addresses the unique needs and concerns of LGBTQ populations.

In this webinar you will explore:

  • Health disparities and specific health needs among LGBTQ populations
  • Approaches to policy and program design that take into account the needs of these communities
  • How to use HEIA to identify and prevent unintended health equity impacts on LGBTQ populations.

This webinar is hosted by the Health Equity Impact Assessment (HEIA) Community of Interest.

GMOs in 2018: What’s the Latest on Biotech in our Food Systems? @ Online
Apr 25 @ 1:00 pm

Canada is the fourth largest producer of genetically modified (GM, also called genetically engineered) crops, and now Canadians are the first in the world to eat a genetically modified fish. What GM foods are we eating, and what’s next? What can we already conclude about the impacts and risks of GM crops and foods in Canada after twenty years?

This webinar will provide a run-down of where we are with the technology and its products, to provide food movement activists with some information and analysis to examine the present and future of GMOs.

Join the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network for a run down if the most relevant updates, and a brief response to industry’s key public relations messages including the argument that we need GM crops to feed the world. Bring your questions and issues to the table.

This webinar is hosted by Food Secure Canada.

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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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