Let's Talk About Food

In life before COVID-19, it would have been hard to imagine that temporary migrant workers, grocery store clerks, truck drivers, and farmers would be in the headlines everyday.

The challenges workers are facing on our behalf and the issues in food production, processing, distribution, retailing, and food services are complex and managing them while continuing to prioritize everyone’s health will not be simple. Rerouting, repacking, restocking with circumstances changing everyday is unprecedented in recent history. And across the supply chain many have lost their jobs.

In this letter we are highlighting some of those topics, including food security, community resilience, shifts in our supply chain, and youth nutrition. In some cases we have also lent our own voices to these topics, with insights based on research that in some cases ease concerns, and in others provide suggestions on potential next steps.

Before signing off I want to express my gratitude to those who are keeping sustenance moving across the globe and into all our hands. Thank you as well to all the healthcare workers putting themselves at risk everyday.

Wishing you good health.

- Evan Fraser, Director of Arrell Food Institute 
Arrell Food Institute will be sharing the dates of our Spring webinar series next week. For more information please visit: AFI Webinar Series

The webinars will be focused on different angles of agri-food, such as food leadership during times of disruption, featuring guests sharing their own expertise. 
Spotlight on School Food and Nutrition
A Healthy National School Food Program

In the midst of the strangest times in our recent history, and with schools closed across the country, the AFI team, Ph.D. Candidate Amberley Ruetz and Prof. Jess Haines happened to complete a focused examination of school food programs in Canada.

We hope that perhaps after preparing lunch for your own children you’ll take a moment to learn what our experts have to say about creating a healthy National School Food Program for all children in Canada.

This subject touches on many facets of our lives: home, health, economy, and culture to name just a few. Research tells us this is an effective and equitable way to improve the prosperity of children, families and our economy, yet Canada lags behind.

It is time to support all Canadians by investing in a universal, healthy National School Food Program. 

Read the Report
What We Are Reading 
Operational Change at Europe's Largest Fishing Port

The fishing port in Vigo, Spain has made significant adaptations to keep their operations going during the pandemic. In an attempt to maintain employment and production, the port has shifted to using telecommunication technology and having reduced numbers of personnel at the port, meeting physical distancing standards. 

"Amidst a crisis of this magnitude, the problems often appear insurmountable, and solidarity and a sense of community can be crucial to overcoming the challenges in guaranteeing that the food chain continues to operate."

Keep Reading

Research to Action
Upcycling for a Food Secure Community

University of Guelph researchers, including Arrell Scholar, Sabrina Rondeau, worked with The SEED in Guelph, Ontario, identified that understanding the motivations of volunteers participating in a food upcycling enterprise were vital to attracting new volunteers and supporting existing ones. Together, faculty and students researched recruitment, motivations and interests of volunteers at the SEED to support the project.

Their work found that volunteers at the organization are primarily motivated by meaningful expression of personal altruism and alignment with the SEED’s mission statements.

Read the Article

What We Are Hearing
Food Farm Talk 

This radio show is a true cross campus (and beyond!) collaboration. Producers include Abdul-Rahim Abdulai, Emily Duncan, Paul Smith and Cameron Ogilvie.

FoodFarm Talk is an interactive show that offers insight on what is happening in rural and agricultural communities, innovative research, and student learning experiences on topics related to agri-food. Listeners are sure to be hooked on the fascinating stories that are shared from farm-to-fork.  

Listen Here

Agri-Food and COVID-19 News and Resources
  • Production Uncertainty: Agriculture's Labour Force. While temporary workers are legally allowed to cross the borders, there is growing uncertainty if there will be enough workers for the planting season. Read the Full Article
  • Shocks to Canada's Dairy Market. Prof. Mike Van Massow offers his thoughts on the recent challenges that the Dairy Sector has faced. Read the Op-ed
  • Update on Canada's 2020 Food Prices. The Canada Food Price Report team, which includes researchers from the University of Guelph and Dalhousie University crunched the numbers again for the 2020 report to include the impact of COVID-19. Read the Report
  • Tips on Safe Grocery Shopping. Prof. Jeff Farber offers his expert advice on how to shop safely amidst COVID-19 and debunks some myths around transmission. Watch Here
  • How Secure is Our Food Supply? Prof. Evan Fraser weighs in on the robustness of Canada's food supply chains. Listen Here
Who We Are Following 
Elizabeth Shantz

Knowledge mobilization is a big part of what we do here at Arrell Food Institute and we are always looking for new ways to communicate research and connect it to those working in agri-food.

Shantz is a knowledge mobilization expert and works at the
Research Innovation Office at the University of Guelph, connecting academia, industry, and government to turn ideas into solutions. She has led RIO's partnership with AFI on the Spotlights.

Thank you for staying connected with us and for sharing recipes, stories, research, and ideas about food. 
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Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph · 50 Stone Road East · Guelph, Ontario (CAN) N1G 2W1 · Canada

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