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Arrell Food Summit 2019

December 3, 2019 – Toronto, ON

At the Summit we heard from both speakers and attendees that the food system challenges we’re all facing are incredibly complex. Climate change and its devastating impact on production, the weaponization of trade, inequality, colonialism and a lack of resources invested in the food system all stood out. But as we are sure the attendees will agree, it was not a conversation filled with gloom. There are also opportunities to meet these challenges. Canada can be a world leader in the production of safe, healthy and sustainable food. We heard about how technology can reduce agriculture’s environmental footprint and how institutions, communities and individuals can be agents of change. Overwhelmingly, we heard that collaboration and cooperation are the way forward and we hope you will all join us in making these ideas a reality.

Learn more about the sessions below.

Opening Keynote

“Our trade system should make food more affordable, accessible and available for all. We also cannot neglect the sustainability of trade systems while negotiating agreements.”

Darci Vetter
Vice Chair, Agriculture, Food and Trade, Edelman North America

Strategies for Feeding the Future

This interactive session featured the Arrell Food Innovation Award winners and explored the strategies needed to to develop food systems capable of feeding the world’s growing population in a sustainable, healthy and equitable way.

“You have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and listening to each other,”
– Andy Du Plessis

“You have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and listening to each other”

Dr. Leon Kochian

Planetary Health and the Public Plate

Hayley Lapalme, Associate Director at Nourish lead a panel discussion featuring Andrew Boozary, Executive Director of Health and Social Policy at the University Health Network, John Stoddard, Healthy Food in Health Care Coordinator for Health Care Without Harm and Kelly Gordon, Community Dietitian of Six Nations Health Services, on the opportunity for institutions to lead in a transition to more sustainable food systems – for people and planet.

“Our food is so much more than what is on the plate, it’s our culture, it’s our agency, it’s our life.”
– Hayley Lapalme

Spotlight Talks

The breakout Spotlight talks covered many topics including school nutrition, community food insecurity, consumer behaviour, ecosystem services, food safety, food integrity, emerging diseases, digital transformations in agriculture, and circular economy. They were done in a PechaKucha style, a storytelling format where a presenters show 20 images for 20 seconds of commentary each.

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What is Canada’s Role?

David McInnes, Canada 2020 fellow, lead this session exploring Canada’s role in becoming an agri-food leader. He was joined by Deborah Wilson, Chief Industry Engagement Officer, TrustBIX Inc., Michael Graydon, CEO, Food & Consumer Products of Canada, and Tiffany Stephenson, CMO, Protein Industries Canada.

Illustration produced during the Arrell Food Summit by Alex Sawatzky. The illustration asks, “Is Canada’s food reputation a strategic priority? Are we engaging in global dialogues? Are we leveraging metrics? Are we tapping into our diversity?” The conclusion is that if we built a food system from scratch it would have explicit accountabilities, shared leadership, shared data, improved collaboration, better evidence and improved transparency.

Youth, Training and the Next Generation of Agri-Food Leaders

John Stackhouse, former Chief Editor and the Globe and Mail and Senior Vice-President at RBC spoke to the impact of technology on skills and training in the sector as a follow-up to RBC’s recent Farmer 4.0 report. The session closed with Mr. Stackhouse interviewing dairy specialist Ashley Knapton, Arrell Scholar Sugandha Raj, and Chef and owner of The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette restaurant, Daniel Hadida about their thoughts on the future of work.

“We need generation C – a nation of collaborators and communicators.”
– John Stackhouse