Our Food Future

Our Food Future

Food Future Logo

The County of Wellington and the City of Guelph have worked together on the federally-funded Our Food Future circular economy project since 2020. For profiles of all the project components and links to all documents, please visit our legacy site at www.foodfuture.ca

View Seeding Circularity in Communities, our final annual report:

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The Experimental Acres Farm Pilot

We know that farmers are interested in Regenerative Farming practices but there can be barriers to getting started. in 2022 we launched the Experimental Acres pilot, providing supports to farms for an experimental year of trying something new on a small scale. The goal of the pilot is to backstop any risk, develop a community of support, and assist in capturing the business case that can demonstrate what will be worth repeating.

Please see the Experimental Acres webpage for more details.

What is a Circular Food Economy?

At its simplest, a Circular Economy means that nothing is wasted: a byproduct from one process can be an input somewhere else, and we have a system which helps make those connections. This means we are not relying as heavily on newly extracted resources.

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, regenerate natural systems, strengthen our local economy, and increase access to nutritious food.

Food Hub Feasibility Study

To better understand how our food region can become circular, we needed know what producers and processors feel is working and not working right now. The Food Hub Feasibility Study helped us understand our foundation and envision the path forward.  We partnered with Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGEN) to contract a report from Michael Keegan and Associates and Pollinate, who reviewed local food production, processing and distribution with a goal to understand how a food hub model could further strengthen our region.

Read the full report

 Wellington Soil Webinar

In March 2022 we held a webinar discussing soil health and livestock nutrition. 

Sessions included:

  • Growing your Herd from the Ground Up. Gary Zimmer of Midwestern BioAg, in conversation with Janet Harrop of Harrcroft Acres and Jonathan Zettler of Fieldwalker Agronomy.
  • Local Resources. A brief review of how and where to find support.
  • Getting started. A panel discussion with local farmers sharing the hurdles and supports they have encountered as they shift practices. Moderated by Mel Luymes of Headlands Ag-Enviro-Solutions
  • Closing remarks. A message from Senator Rob Black.
 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.

In 2020, 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 about some of the climate friendly -- or regenerative -- farming practices in our County. The result is the Investigating Incentives for Regenerative Agriculture report:

Read the full report

It’s clear that a technology-enabled circular food economy can’t happen without internet, but our rural broadband has historically been underserviced and isn’t up to the job in some areas. However, things are changing quickly; many local Internet Service Providers are now expanding their networks. To learn more, please see the County's internet resource page: www.wellington.ca/internet

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

© 2023 County of Wellington, 74 Woolwich St. Guelph, Ontario N1H 3T9, T 519.837.2600, TF 1.800.663.0750, F 519.837.1909