The City of Guelph and the County of Wellington join forces with Queensland, Australia to harness circular economy synergies and tackle global food challenges

Australia announces support for Guelph-Wellington’s circular food economy Smart Cities application and establishes a new circular food lab in Queensland

Guelph, Ont., February 25, 2019 – Today, Queensland, Australia’s Department of Innovation announced its commitment to provide a letter of support for the City of Guelph and County of Wellington’s Smart Cities Challenge application. At the same time, Leanne Kemp, Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur, Department of Innovation, and the Hon. Minister Enoch MP, Minister for Environment, announced the establishment of a new circular economy lab in Queensland, opening today.

With the support of the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph, the two cities have come together to form the Sister Cities Initiative for Circular Economy to capitalize on shared practices, data and technologies.

The Sister Cities Initiative for Circular Economy will enable businesses in Queensland and Guelph-Wellington to:

  • access information on pioneering manufacturing and circular economy practices through global networks;
  • explore opportunities to improve business efficiencies, with a focus on circular economy, smart cities and sustainability;
  • be encouraged to establish pilots and scale production to improve supply chains, with a focus on the circular economy model, rather than the traditional linear model;
  • implement technology solutions by harnessing Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“The interest shown from the State of Queensland and the City of Brisbane proves the work we’re doing to turn Guelph-Wellington into a living lab can be replicated across countries and continents,” said Scott Stewart, Deputy CAO, Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Services, City of Guelph. “We’re turning Guelph-Wellington into a living lab and working with partners, tech, and big data to build Canada’s first circular food economy. This latest development elevates our work to the global stage and enables us to connect with like-minded organizations around the world.”

Re-imaging the current food system, which has precipitated the partnership with Australia, has been made possible through the collaborative efforts of the City of Guelph, the County of Wellington, community partners including Canada’s Food University, the University of Guelph, residents, stakeholders and entrepreneurs. Together we have developed a bold vision with ambitious targets to increase access to affordable nutritious food by 50%, create 50 new opportunities for circular business and collaborations, and increase circular economic revenue by 50%. In turn, the 50x50x50 by 2025 goals, which form the basis of the Smart Cities application, present an exciting opportunity to develop Canada’s first circular food economy.

Guelph-Wellington is one of ten Smart Cities finalists vying for $10 million in additional funding. The City and County agree Queensland’s support comes at a critical time as the final proposal submission deadline is March 5, 2019. Today’s announcement is expected to help fortify the case worldwide for moving from the current take-make-dispose food system to a circular food economy.

“Reciprocal and synergistic support with the City of Guelph and County of Wellington provides incredible opportunities to connect Queensland businesses into the global conversation and, moreover, pioneering practices, that are being undertaken around the globe as part of the Circular Economy,” said Ms. Kemp.
Like Guelph-Wellington, Queensland has a rich history in agriculture. Guelph-Wellington is known nationally and internationally as an established technology sector hub and innovator in the agri-food arena.

Queensland has established the Circular Economy Lab (CE Lab) in collaboration with the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur. The CE Lab harnesses the progressive mindset of its people, businesses, academia and government to accelerate the development of tangible and commercial circular outcomes.

Guelph-Wellington has created worldwide networking capabilities through the Circular Food Economy Innovation Hub (CFE iHub) and through its links to emerging resources from local agri-food accelerators and businesses. The CFE iHub will share what it learns as open source tools and public domain information and will participate in a global community of like-minded groups.

Visit for more information about Guelph-Wellington’s circular food economy.

Click here to read about Australia’s first circular economy lab.

For more information

Barb Swartzentruber
Executive Director, Strategy, Innovation and Intergovernmental Services
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3066