Our Food Future and University of Guelph theatre students collaborate to tell local food stories
Guelph, Ont., August 8, 2023—The University of Guelph and Guelph-Wellington’s Our Food Future initiative are excited to launch Future Food Visions, a series of nine audio experiences that will be available to download or stream starting Saturday, August 12 on Driftscape or at reimaginefood.ca/visions.
These experiences, developed, written, and recorded by University of Guelph theatre students, tell stories about Guelph’s food history and of food insecurity in the Guelph-Wellington community. The stories highlight the excellent work of local food organizations, community groups, and cultural communities helping residents respond to challenges of food access and equity.
The project is a collaboration between Our Food Future, 10C, CFRU, the Guelph Community Health Centre, The Arrell Food Institute, the Food System Resiliency Table, and the University of Guelph’s School of English and Theatre Studies.
“We’re always looking for ways to connect artistic work at the university to the broader Guelph community,” says Kimberley McLeod, associate professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies. “For this project it was great to collaborate with Our Food Future and have members of the local food community come into class, tell their stories, and help students create this series of audio experiences. The results are extremely creative. I hope these experiences will help community members get a different perspective on the local food system we all share.”
Theatre studies student Meagan Downes remarks, “Being a student on this project has been such a rewarding experience. It introduced a whole new way I could share stories. It’s a mode of performance where I feel I can introduce a listener to a place they already know and look at it from a new perspective. That’s the main reason I was so interested in Future Food Visions. I saw it as an opportunity to learn from and hopefully connect with community members and new spaces. I can’t wait for people to experience it!”
Ashlee Cooper, manager of Food Equity and Community Resiliency in the Guelph-Wellington Smart Cities Office notes, “We’ve been working since 2020 to help members of the community learn about the circular food economy that’s growing in Guelph-Wellington, including through our Reimagine Food campaign. Artistic expressions like these audio experiences are an amazing way to do that.”
Cooper also noted that the project is accessible at no cost to anyone in Guelph or beyond who wants to check it out. “Anyone with a mobile device can easily scan a QR code posted at identified locations listed on the website, or click a link from the comfort of their own home and learn something new about how others in the community think about food. I hope everyone will get a chance to check out these amazing experiences.”
She notes the recordings are best experienced at s including Downtown Guelph or the University of Guelph. Suggested locations for listening are shared at reimaginefood.ca/visions along with links to the recordings, audio transcripts, and additional resources including children’s activities. After listening, users are encouraged to share their reactions to the experiences through social media using the hashtag #futurefoodvisions or by email to [email protected]. Feedback can also be shared in person at either Shelldale Family Gateway (20 Shelldale Crescent) or 10C (42 Carden Street).
The project officially launches on August 12 at the Guelph Farmers’ Market with a special one-day only audio experience from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. University of Guelph students and community collaborators who helped develop the project will be on hand for the launch to talk about the project with the community.
The first 100 people to listen to the audio experience will get a special food item.
This project is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Ashlee Cooper, Manager, Food Equity and Community Resiliency
Smart Cities Office, Office of the CAO
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3544
Kimberley McLeod, Associate Professor
School of English, and Theatre Studies
University of Guelph
About Our Food Future
Inspired by the planet’s natural cycles, a circular food economy reimagines and regenerates the systems that feed us, eliminating waste, sharing economic prosperity, and nourishing our communities. In Guelph-Wellington, we are working to build Canada’s first tech-enabled circular food economy that will achieve a 50 percent increase in access to affordable nutritious food, create 50 new circular economy businesses and collaborations, and a 50 percent increase in circular economic benefit by unlocking the value of waste.
Our Food Future demonstrates one of the ways the City of Guelph and the County of Wellington are contributing to a sustainable, creative, and smart local economy that is connected to regional and global markets and supports shared prosperity for everyone.