Our Food Future

Our Food Future

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.

To understand how our food region can become circular, we also have to know what producers and processors feel is working and not working right now. A Food Hub Feasibility Study is underway to help us understand our foundation and envision the path forward.

 Food Hub Feasibility Study

Wellington County has strong roots in farming and food, and our current partnership in the Our Food Future project offers an opportunity to learn what our growers, processors, and manufacturers need to move forward sustainably.  We’ve partnered with Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGEN) to contract for a Food Hub Feasibility and Circular Food Manufacturing Capability Model.

Through a review of local food production, processing and distribution, we’ll have a better understanding of how our region gets food from farm to factory to fork. This study launched in April 2021 and will be approaching stakeholders this summer.  If you would like to provide input, please use the Contact Us link below.

Climate Friendly Farming

This winter, the Smart Cities Office worked with a group of six Masters of Environment and Sustainability (MES) students in the Centre for Environment and Sustainability (CES) programme at Western University. The student team surveyed our farmers and produced a report on some of the climate friendly, or regenerative, farming practices in our County. Findings from this report will help us align both the Our Food Future work and our County’s Climate Change Mitigation Plan.

 Regenerative Agriculture Report

Farmers have always cared about their soil health, and are in many ways already engaged in circular economy practices. Yet when you look at measures of environmental footprints, agriculture is pointed to as a large source of emissions. Animals used for meat and dairy have high embedded greenhouse gases, but we also know that animal fertilizers are a vital part of the lifecycle of healthy soil. So how do we begin to understand what counts?

Looking at what land management practices are used is a critical piece of information, because the particular ways you build sustainable soil health can begin to mean the difference between farmland as an emitter of GHGs or farmland as a carbon sequestration tool. We also have to understand how to support farmers as they learn what works on their land.

The Investigating Incentives for Regenerative Agriculture report surveyed local farmers to find out who is trying some of these climate-friendly approaches to soil health, and what supports were most useful to them.

 

Read the full report

Broadband

It’s clear that a technology-enabled circular food economy can’t happen without internet, but our rural broadband has been underserviced and isn’t up to the job in some areas. However, things are changing quickly. Many local Internet Service Providers have expanded their networks this year. 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:

picture of how to navigate Government of Canada's internet 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.

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 x 2540.

partner logos for Our Food Future project: City of Guelph, County of Wellington, Government of Canada, and Smart Cities Challenge

© 2021 County of Wellington, 74 Woolwich St. Guelph, Ontario N1H 3T9, T 519.837.2600, TF 1.800.663.0750, F 519.837.1909