Over the past year, Greening Niagara invited community partners to collaboratively examine food security in Niagara, through the lens of environment and climate impacts. Niagara Connects supported the community engagement and knowledge exchange aspects of this work. The Ontario Trillium Foundation provided funding support.

Over 80 people gathered for a November, 2015 forum hosted by Greening Niagara, to learn about the future of food security in Niagara, related to environment and climate aspects. The evidence shows that access to enough (adequate) local, sustainable, healthy food is at the center of food security. Forum participants expressed a desire to advance this important conversation, with an emphasis on education and knowledge-sharing.

At the forum, we learned where environmental aspects of food security fit into the broader picture. “Food Systems” refers to a complex topic that represents the cycles of growing, distributing, eating and recycling food. In the 2014 Niagara Connects report, Niagara Food Systems: Who is Doing what in Food Systems in Niagara and Beyond, twelve Food Systems Categories are identified; Food Security and Poverty Reduction is one of those. Food security is described as a broad-scope topic, which includes components of both household food security and community food security.

In the weeks following the forum, Greening Niagara hosted a total of five focus groups, held in December, 2015 and January 2016. Focus group participants identified opportunities for action in the areas of: collaboration; education; building food production capacity; and valuing farms and farmers of all types.

Suggested action steps arising from this collaborative work to describe food security in Niagara through the lens of environment and climate impact include:

  • Engage people in gathering additional information to support action planning for an urban agriculture center in Niagara.
  • Continue to connect this work with the overall work to advance a common vision for Food Systems in Niagara, facilitated by Niagara Connects.
  • Support efforts to gather additional data to describe food systems and food security in Niagara, and engage a broad range of participants to strengthen action planning.
  • Acknowledge and continue to support the value in the process of diverse players working and learning together to strengthen food security in Niagara.

If you are interested in learning more, read the Examining Food Security in Niagara: Through the Lens of Environment and Climate Impacts, full report or one-page summary, or contact Nate Smelle (ed@greeningniagara.ca)

Nate Smelle
Executive Director
Greening Niagara

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