CFICE Community Food Security Hub Research Projects 2012 - 2013

The CFICE Community Food Security Hub is a collaboration between Carleton University, Food Secure Canada and many community partners. The overall research goal of the CFS hub is to try to make sense of the many models that currently exist and to articulate “best practices” in the areas of community-engaged teaching and community-based research in the context of furthering Community Food Security in Canada. 
2012-2013 Research Projects

Goal: To determine the workforce multiplier effects of local food production and processing in Northern Ontario. To determine the opportunities and challenges to equitable access to local food in Northern Ontario.

There were two pieces to this project, both executed at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay in collaboration with the Food Security Research Network. These were:
1. To engage the students and instructor in a marketing class with the Food Security Research Network and the North Superior Workforce Planning Board to investigate the workforce multiplier effect of local food production in northwestern Ontario. Specifically, the project looked at the current local food production supply, demand, and its multiplier effect on the workforce throughout the economy in three districts (Thunder Bay, Rainy River and Kenora) of northwestern Ontario. The study also helped to provide a forecast of the socio-economic impact of local food production throughout northwestern Ontario for the next 10 years.
2. To engage the students and instructor in a social work theory class focused on community capacity-building with the Food Security Research Network along with community members, including local food producers and processors. The goal was to explore how to enhance the assets and strengths of community organizations and local food producers and processors to ensure equitable distribution of local foods while also ensuring the economic viability of local producers and processors.
Read The Workforce Multiplier Effect of Local Farms and Food Processors in Northwestern Ontario Report (published Feb. 2013) here.


Goal: To describe and compare two models of community university collaboration that work within Waterloo Region to advance the same vision of a healthy community food system. To provide an opportunity for others to learn about these two models and to consider replication of a given model or aspects of a given model.

This project described and compared two models of community university collaboration in Waterloo Region.  In the first model, the community university collaboration was sponsored by an academic department within an academic institution. The case for this project was a fourth year course taught by Dr. Steffanie Scott, a professor in the Faculty of Geography and Environmental Management at the University of Waterloo, in which students conduct fieldwork on the local food system. This field work took the form of research/evaluation projects that helped reach student learning objectives and were requirements of the course curriculum. Dr. Scott consults each year with civil society food system stakeholders as she creates a research/evaluation agenda to ensure it reflects their needs. In the second model a civil society organization was the hub for community university collaboration rather than an academic institution. This project looked at the Healthy Eating and Active Communities Team (HEAC Team) at Region of Waterloo Public Health. Students from a wide range of academic disciplines from several academic institutions are recruited each year to carry out in-house practicums under the guidance of members of the HEAC Team. In addition, the HEAC Team works in collaboration with Opportunities Waterloo Region on key initiatives. These respective models took place within two distinct institutional settings and employed different ways of engaging students and reaching out to civil society food system stakeholders. 
This project provided an opportunity for others to learn about these two models and to consider replication of a given model or aspects of a given model. Both of these models evolved in an ad-hoc fashion; this project allowed for reflection about how they might be improved.
On June 26th, 2013, CFICE hosted a webinar about this research project entitled Working Together to Improve Regional Food Systems. You can view a description of the webinar and download the presentation here
  • Cross-Cultural Food Networks: Building and Maintaining Inclusive Food Security Networks to Support Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Communities. Core partner: BC Food Systems Network
Goal: To uncover the factors which have enabled cross-cultural dialogues and outline promising practices in academic/community collaboration based on mutual respect. To analyze the successes and challenges of building cross-cultural relationships around the unifying need for adequate, just, healthy, culturally-appropriate food.
Using a program evaluation approach, this project examined the successes and challenges experienced by members of the BC Food Systems Network and BC food movement while engaging cross-culturally between Indigenous and non-Indigenous networks, projects, organizers and agencies. This project captured stories that offered perspectives on building and strengthening strong cross-cultural relationships in the movement for food sovereignty. This project produced an evaluation of participants' past experiences with cross-cultural food networks, and included successes and challenges in the hope that it would provide both researchers and community organizers with tools and ideas for developing meaningful and effective collaborative projects.
  • Campus Food Initiative Study. Core partners: Meal Exchange and Ryerson University
    Through a series of qualitative interviews with students involved in campus food systems initiatives, one project - a partnership between Meal Exchange and Ryerson University – looked at how these student-led campus food systems initiatives started, how to maintain them, and how community partnerships participate during this process. The study’s research objective was to provide an analysis of alternative food systems projects on six Canadian university campuses in order to highlight successful project elements and identify common project challenges. Case studies included the gardens at Ryerson University, the University of Toronto, and Vancouver Island University, as well as farmers’ markets at Simon Fraser University, McGill University, and the University of Northern British Columbia. To learn more about this project, read the final report.