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Eighteen months of research involving global sources and regional stakeholders was conducted in Phase One of the Sustainable Food Systems project.

Primary Research

The primary research consisted of 5 workshops held throughout Southwestern Ontario that attracted over 170 food stakeholders from diverse backgrounds. The participants mapped out the food system in the past and present and, given triple bottom line parameters, envisioned a sustainable food system in the future.

In addition, the research team conducted one-on-one interviews with agriculture and food stakeholders to understand sector value chains and barriers. 

Secondary Research

Secondary research was conducted into trends and challenges facing agriculture and food from global sources. The works of many innovative thinkers laid the groundwork for our understanding of the intimate and complex relationship between humans and food in the modern world. The writings of Michael Pollan, Vandana Shiva, Thomas Pawlick, Wendell Berry, Frances Moore Lappe and Marion Nestle pointed us towards a more sustainable food and agricultural system.

In addition, we would like to acknowledge the inspiration of Canadian researchers, including E. Ann Clark, Rod MacRae, Lauren Baker, Wayne Roberts, Alison Blay-Palmer, Charles Levkoe and Thomas Homer-Dixon, and the seminal studies from the Metcalf Foundation, the Value Chain Management Centre and others who formed the starting point for the research.

Summary Report

The Summary Report includes information for a number of research categories and concludes with recommendations that take a holistic and integrated approach, measured against economic, environmental and social benefits. The recommendations also identify potential job opportunities. Click here for the Summary Report.

The Centre’s database contains associated addenda and referenced studies, papers and articles. The research produced hundreds of findings that, when analyzed together, resulted in the Sustainable Food Cluster framework and many of the integrated support elements that satisfy triple bottom line outcomes.

The headings located in the side bar to the right represent the research categories and contain a selection of key findings. Addition information and references are available upon request. As you read the findings, remember for every challenge there is a great opportunity!

“Problems cannot be solved by using the same level of thinking that created them.” ~ Albert Einstein