Season for Change  
Planting season is an exciting time in Canada.

You can notice an extra step in farmers' walks this time of year, as they are busy working through one of the best parts of farming - putting seeds in the ground.

This season, may look different for many as the impacts of the pandemic have touched nearly every aspect of our food system. Many Canadian farmers have had limited access to labour due to challenges in bringing in temporary foreign workers for fruit and vegetable production, and others have experienced turmoil due to shifts in demand for dairy and potato products. Livestock farmers and meat processors continue to overcome the challenges from bottlenecks in the supply chain, and dropping ethanol prices have left many crop farmers concerned about their prospective incomes this year. Despite these hard and disruptive challenges, those working throughout our food supply chains have and continue to face, we are amazed by their ability to respond, adapt, and continue to ensure we have food in our shops and on our tables. 

These challenges and disruptions do not stop at the farm gate as they ripple throughout the supply chain, from farm to fork, and back.

Now is a critical time to explore how these ripple effects of disruption started, how far they reach, and how to mitigate them.

In this newslett
er, we highlight research and expert perspectives that are bringing insight to these challenges and disruptions. We are also sharing further details about our project, Growing Stronger. This project is in partnership with the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI) and it aims to create a space for dialogue and action to build a more resilient food system. 

Wishing you good health.

- Evan Fraser, Director of Arrell Food Institute 
Our third webinar, in partnership with Food from Thought and the One Health Institute at the University of Guelph looks at Social Impacts on Rural Communities.

Helen Hambly Odame, Abdul-Rahim Abdulai, Ryan Gibson, and Jacqui Empson Laporte and moderator, Phil Loring cover topics including rural connectivity, labour, service access, and mental health.

If you missed our first two webinars, recordings are available 

 In a post-COVID-19 world, how do we build a resilient Canadian agri-food system?
Where did we succeed? What must we fix?

The pandemic has effected everyone from farmers to consumers, revealing unexamined vulnerabilities and bottlenecks in our food system. We must examine these exposed shortfalls, and where the system persevered, to prepare for future known and unknown disruptions to our food supplies. The Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute and Arrell Food Institute are convening actors across the system to analyze where we should direct our energy to ensure a safer, healthier and more sustainable future.

Interested in sharing evidence and your perspective on how COVID-19 has impacted Canada's food system? Click here to be a part of the dialogue.

Spotlight: Community Food Security
A viable community food system provides people with more than food

Around the world, work is being done to improve community food security; but increasingly, challenges such as climate change are scaling-up the problem, centring the discussion on global issues and actions.

Nevertheless, many of the opportunities we have to make our food systems more sustainable, climate resilient, and socially just, require action at the community level. Re-focusing the lens of food security on the community can empower people to collectively enact change.

Read the Report
Supporting Rural Recovery & Resilience After COVID-19
Rural communities across Canada will all experience the crisis differently

The Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation (CRRF) is investigating how the pandemic is affecting rural communities and how they plan to recover. CRRF is sharing the results and outcomes from this research through a series of reports called Rural Insights. These insights are developed from survey responses and recent research analyzed and produced by University of Guelph co-authors including Sara MinnesRyan Gibson, and Ashleigh Weeden

Read the First Report of the Rural Insight Series
Agri-Food and COVID-19 News and Resources
  • Emerging Food Habits. Prof. Simon Somogyi comments on how some food businesses are innovating in response to food system disruptions. Read the Article
  • Automation in Meat Packing. Prof. Shai Barbut shares his thoughts on the potential increase of automation due to outbreaks at meat packing facilities. Read the Article
  • Applying AI to Detect Outbreaks. Prof. Rozita Dara comments on the initial barriers in using AI technology to mitigate the spread. Read the Article
  • It's Time to Pivot. Profs. Evan Fraser and Lenore Newman discuss the need to re-think what a resilient food system looks like. Read the Op-ed
  • Adapting Restaurant Service. Prof. Jeff Faber comments on the challenges that restaurants with buffets may face in re-opening. Read the Article
Who We Are Following
Deb Stark

Stark was deputy minister in the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. She held several senior positions in government including chief veterinarian for Ontario and assistant deputy minister of environment.

Currently, Stark serves on the Board of Governors, University of Guelph and Board of Directors, CAPI.

She is a leader and an advocate for Canadian agriculture and we are delighted to share that she is a co-Chair for our project with CAPI, Growing Stronger.
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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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