Our Food Future

Our Food Future logo

The County of Wellington and the City of Guelph are working together on the federally-funded Our Food Future project, which envisions a technology-enabled Circular Food Economy for our region. For details about the entire project, including the Grow Back Better 10-point plan, please visit www.foodfuture.ca.

What is a Circular Food Economy?

At its simplest, a Circular Economy means that a byproduct from one user can be useful to another user, and that we have ways to make that connection. If even the waste from one process has value elsewhere, we are gaining resilience and sustainability.

Inspired by the planet's natural cycles, a Circular Food Economy eliminates waste from the systems that feed us. Through collaboration and the use of new technologies, we can design the concept of waste out of our food system altogether, regenerating natural systems, strengthening our local economy, and increasing access to nutritious food.

For the farms and food businesses in Wellington County, this project offers opportunities to address and improve some problem areas. It’s clear that a technology-enabled circular food economy can’t happen without internet, but our rural broadband isn’t up to the job on many farms. This means using digital agriculture equipment to its fullest can be challenging. Here are some ways we can help:

Broadband

Rural broadband has been underserviced, but things are changing quickly. Many local Internet Service Providers have expanded their networks this year. See our Internet webpage or open the list below for help finding a provider near you.

Local Internet Providers

One way to check for local providers is to use the Government of Canada’s Internet Coverage map. Enter your address in the search bar, and then click on the Area Information tab:

Government of Canada’s Internet Coverage map

You will see a list of companies working in your vicinity, arranged by the type of service connection they can provide.

Some of the companies who are providing service to many of our residents include:

The County of Wellington does not support any particular ISP and cannot guarantee service availability at your location.

Have internet but it is too slow? Help us gather data about whether we’re getting speed with our service. Record your speed to 'map the gap': CIRA test.

Even with local service expansion, it can still be a struggle to find a good broadband connection.

Do you have some coverage, but it’s not up to the job? Maybe your autosteer quits in one corner of the field, or the data download from your cloud dashboard takes too long. The Smart Cities Office would like to hear if your farm has machinery which cannot work to its full capacity because of weak connectivity.  If you are in an area where there is not a strong enough connection for your equipment to work effectively, we may be able to visit your farm with some boosting equipment in order to test ways of making the signal better.  We will also track problems spots in order to advocate for better service.

Broadband on Farms Survey

To help us understand common issues or areas of poor broadband coverage, please fill in the Broadband on Farms survey. County of Wellington staff may use your contact information to follow-up with you at a later date, but your personal information will not be shared with any outside organizations.

Broadband on Farms Survey Coming Soon

On-Farm Pilots

Many farmers are already adopting smart technologies, but digital agriculture equipment can sometimes come with a steep learning curve. We are looking for farms who would like to be pilot sites:

  • Do you have Digital Agriculture equipment but find the data and reports frustrating?
    We invite you to participate in a pilot study. Our Food Future will be partnering with researchers from the University of Guelph Computer Science department for a project focusing on farm data. The goal of this pilot is to make the farm data more accessible and easier to understand without compromising privacy and security.  Interested farms would be asked to share some of their time and access to equipment and data, with the research team being flexible around your farm’s schedule.
  • Are you interested in hosting a real-world trial of new equipment?
    The County of Wellington and other Our Food Future partners would like to match interested farms with companies and researchers who have pre-market digital equipment to test. This could be anything from a batch of new sensors in a working greenhouse to a weed-controlling small ‘robot’ for field crops. By building a network of Living Lab hosts, we can continue to attract resources and strengthen the digital infrastructure we need.

We are proud of our local agricultural business, and want to ensure they have what is needed to thrive.  If you are interested in getting involved or learning more, please email the Wellington County Smart Cities office or call 519.837.2600 x2540

collaboration logo: City of Guelph, County of Wellington, Government of Canada Smart Cities Challenge

© 2020 County of Wellington, 74 Woolwich St. Guelph, Ontario N1H 3T9, T 519.837.2600, TF 1.800.663.0750, F 519.837.1909