Food Systems Amidst Disruption

There is a lot going on in the world right now.
It can be overwhelming, stressful, and in some cases provoke panic. But, it can also be a pivotal time for communities to come together digitally and for us to reflect on how we operate to achieve our mission. While we may be facing many distractions and challenges in our new work environments, this time has motivated us to examine what we can do differently in our day-to-day operations and still contribute to elevating food to improve life.  

In having these discussions we have come up with a few small ideas to start. We have added a new
webpage to AFI's website that is devoted to sharing online resources that spark conversations about food, for you or for your teenagers at home. You will also find information that is important at this time and materials that we find interesting, which we will keep adding to as things evolve. In this newsletter you will find a few highlights of those resources.

We hope that you stay healthy and safe. 

- Evan Fraser, Director of Arrell Food Institute 
What We Are Reading 
Seasonal workers caught up in COVID-19 border closure

The recent developments of global travel restrictions has serious implications for Canada's agricultural sector.

Seasonal workers play a significant role in ensuring the volume and quality of Canadian agricultural production is maintained each year. With mounting uncertainty around their ability to come to Canada this Spring, there are growing concerns on where producers should look to for labourers and resources. 

The federal government is now exempting temporary foreign workers from the travel ban, as long as they self quarantine for two weeks after arrival. However, there are logistical challenges that lie ahead in getting the workers safely to Canada. Complications include limitations in air travel and closures of other borders including the US and Mexico border, and those in the Carribean and Central America. 

This story is evolving and subject to updates. 
What We Are Watching
Wasted: The Story of Food Waste

Due to the importance of social distancing at this time, Feeding 9 Billion's Peer Helpers have cancelled what was sure to be an excellent event on food waste featuring the screening of the film, Wasted: The Story of Food Waste. While you cannot watch it with the amazing University of Guelph community right now, you can watch it in the comfort of your own home. 

The film features the late, Anthony Bourdain, and other celebrity chefs, who seek to address issues related to food waste.

Watch Here

In Fall 2020, Feeding 9 Billion Peer Helpers are planning to host an event with a panel of food waste experts and an extended version of this film. Stay tuned!

Is Take Out Food Safe During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
How it is cooked, handled, and delivered matters

Food Safety expert from the University of Guelph, Lawerence Goodridge weighs in on this emerging topic suggesting that, "minimizing contact with the delivery person by paying over the phone, rather than exchanging cash or pulling out a credit card. After all, that same delivery person who is accepting your payment is in contact with many people every day, some of whom may be quarantined at home due to the virus."

Read More Here

Building Resilience
Coronavirus: The perils of our ‘just enough, just in time’ food system 

Evan Fraser, Director of Arrell Food Institute, reflects on what times of disruption, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic reveals about our food systems, a lack of resilience.  

"We live in a wondrous age when global supply chains seamlessly link farmers and consumers using the principles of “just enough, just in time.” For years, companies have worked hard to keep inventories low, timing shipments to balance supply and demand using knife-edge accuracy.

In many ways, this system is a miracle. Low-cost food is one outcome. And if there’s a problem in one part of the supply chain, the global system is good at finding alternatives." 

Keep Reading

One Health Approach to COVID-19
University of Guelph Research on Disease Modelling

A multidisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Guelph are offering their expertise to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. They will be working to identify where greater attention is needed to improve infectious disease responses and to make informed recommendations based on data collected. 

Research to Action 
Conservation of Change: PubCast

Connecting researchers and communities is no small task. Arrell Chair, Philip Loring who is the Principal Investigator at Conservation of Change and his research team are exploring innovative ways to share their research findings in accessible and meaningful ways.

One way they are doing this is by breaking down peer reviewed literature in a 'PubCast' format that enables people to access academic research by listening to the authors discuss the outcomes of their work and share a few stories too. 

Pictured: Postdoctoral Fellow, Hannah Harrison engaging in participation observation research with a hatchery in Ontario. 
Educational Resources
Illustrated Video Series on Food, Agriculture and Hunger

It's March Break, you are home, you may have kids at home, and you have exhausted the Netflix, Disney+, and every other streaming services' content.

Look no further! the Feeding 9 Billion Lab has created video illustrations that are interesting and educational about emerging topics in agri-food from the future of meat to the digital revolution in agriculture.  

Watch Here
Who We Are Following 
Abdul-Rahim Abdulai, Arrell Scholar and newly minted PhD Candidate!

Abdul-Rahim recently passed his qualifying examine with flying colours, changing his title from Student to Candidate. 

He is scheduled to travel back to his home country, Ghana, this summer to begin his field work on the social implications of adopting precision agricultural technologies. 

The 'A Bite' Archives
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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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