Guelph-Wellington chosen for international food study

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A reputation for food innovation and environmental sustainability has garnered Guelph-Wellington international attention

Guelph, Ont., June 11, 2018 – The City of Guelph and County of Wellington has been selected to collaborate with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation – headquartered in the UK with recent expansion into North America – as a part of the Foundation’s Cities and the Circular Economy for Food initiative.

The initiative brings together a diverse group of food system stakeholders to rethink our approach to food production and consumption for a more regenerative, effective global food system.

This type of food economy will enhance access to nutritious food, turn “waste” into resources, and create new jobs and economic opportunities. The Foundation is collaborating with selected cities to investigate the potential for regional circular food systems built on the principles of a circular economy.

“To be selected as a focus city for this initiative is a huge honour and a testament to Guelph’s innovative spirit and the collaborative relationship of the City and County. We’re proud of the opportunity to represent Canada and help carve a path for other cities interested in a circular food economy,” said Derrick Thomson, Chief Administrative Officer, City of Guelph.

Scott Wilson, CAO, Wellington County added: “Food is the heart of many of the world’s most pressing conversations concerning our future. This project brings the smartest minds to tackle some of the biggest issues, and provides an opportunity to commercialize those results. We are certainly thrilled to collaborate with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to do so.”

Guelph-Wellington is already recognized as a global leader in solving food problems. The coordinated and collaborative work of community food leaders to-date in the agri-tech, food science and agriculture sectors are already helping individuals to live sustainable, healthier lives.

Clementine Schouteden, Lead of the Cities and the Circular Economy for Food initiative at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, explains the important role cities play in addressing challenges linked to our global food system: “With its Smart Cities application, Guelph-Wellington is making a firm commitment to leading the change, opening the way for more cities to follow. We are looking forward to working with both the City and the County on this initiative.”

Participation in this initiative comes at a perfect time: Guelph-Wellington is placing its circular food economy vision at the heart of their joint proposal for the Smart Cities challenge. The proposal was selected on June 1 as one of ten awarded $250,000 to further develop its bid. The Guelph-Wellington initiative aims to increase access to affordable, nutritious food by 50%, create 50 new circular businesses and collaborations, and increase circular economic revenues by 50% by recognizing the value of “waste” — all by 2025.

The City of Guelph and County of Wellington will be the focus of the Foundation’s analysis over the coming months. Analysis will take place from June to October 2018, with the aim of better understanding the regional food landscape and identifying opportunities with the most potential for shaping a circular food system.

About the Ellen MacArthur Foundation

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation was launched in 2010 with the aim of accelerating the transition to the circular economy. Since its creation, the charity has emerged as a global thought leader, establishing the circular economy on the agenda of decision-makers across business, government and academia. The charity’s work focuses on five interlinking areas: insight and analysis; education and training; business and government; systemic initiatives; and communications.

Further information: ellenmacarthurfoundation.org | @circulareconomy or visit the Cities and the Circular Economy for Food program page.

About the circular economy

The current “take, make and dispose” extractive industrial model is inherently wasteful and relies on the consumption of finite resources. The circular economy offers a positive way forward, by redefining growth to focus on positive society-wide benefits. It entails redesigning material flows and production systems to eliminate the concept of waste. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural and social capital. Such an economy is built on three principles: rebuild natural capital; keep products and materials in high-value use; and design out pollution and waste.

The circular economy is gaining growing attention thanks to the opportunities it offers businesses willing to capture new value from existing operations and resources, for example by redesigning products and business models, building new relationships with customers, harnessing technology to increase the utilisation of assets, and switching to renewable energy. View the animation.

More information about the Guelph-Wellington circular food economy proposal and how to join the discussion can be found on guelph.ca/foodinnovation.

Media Contacts

Cathy Kennedy
Manager of Policy and Intergovernmental Relations
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2255
cathy.kennedy@guelph.ca

Jana Burns
Director of Economic Development
County of Wellington
519-837-2600 extension 2525
janab@wellington.ca