Project Spotlight: Best Practices in Municipal Agrifood Systems Initiatives
Host organizations: Sustainable Peterborough
Students: Matt Dutry, Marina Taskovic and Carly Davenport (Environmental Science)
The project: In 2014, the FF&F Working Group put out a report documenting how local activities aligned with the 'AMO Best Practices in Local Food Guide for Municipalities' entitled 'Peterborough in Context'. The research conducted by Matt, Marina and Carly provided an updated report after evaluating what had changed in Peterborough County's local food system since the aforementioned report was released.
Research questions: What has changed in Peterborough County's local food system since the 2014 report? What are the strengths and weaknesses within the food system? What are the current sustainability initiatives? What practices from other regions can be adopted successfully in Peterborough County?
Methods: Matt, Marina and Carly conducted qualitative research through semi-structured interviews designed to solicit insight into changes that have occurred within the Peterborough local agrifood system since the publication of the original report. They also conducted semi-structured interviews with other key informants identified.
Findings: The research revealed that there is an urgent need for processing and storage facilities to support producers who want to sell product locally. In addition, not-for-profits are currently being negatively impacted by recent $10 million Ontario Trillium Funding Cuts.
They also determined that since the 2014 report, the Peterborough Agricultural Roundtable formed to connect producers and bring Junior Farmers and 4H clubs into discussion and there has been a successful expansion of community gardens and community kitchens throughout the county.
Impacts: Through the research conducted by Matt, Marina and Carly, they were able to identify several areas where increased research is needed relating to Peterborough County's local food system. Additionally, They were able to provide insight into how well Peterborough County's local food system integrates the 'Peterborough in Context' report and where improvements can be made.
In March 2019, Matt, Marina and Carly's project won the TCRC Poster Award at our Celebration of Community Research. Congratulations, Matt, Marina and Carly!