What are you looking for

The Future of Food

The global food system is pressured by demands of a growing population, and we need to find and implement solutions to feed our population while protecting our planet.

The fifth annual Arrell Food Summit brought together more than 300 perspectives remotely and in-person to dig deeper into what these challenges are and how we can address them together.

This is a summary of what we heard.

Food System Transformation with Hannah Tucker

The Summit opened with a presentation from thought leader Hannah Tucker who described the global forces that are affecting food and the possible scenarios our planet could be faced with as a result of these pressures. Hannah described the shift from an industrial system to modern system and the changes that we could expect with innovations, technology, regenerative and circular economies. Participants came away with research-based insight about what is happening to our food resources and what role they can have in the future of food.

The Future of Protein

In this conversation participants heard from a diverse set of perspectives on the future of animal and plant based proteins. The panelists shared views on the topic including consumer interest, impact on climate and ecosystems and the role of policy and change. The panel was moderated by Sylvain Charlebois, Professor and Senior Director, Agri-food Analytics Lab, Dalhousie Univeristy and featured:

  • Joseph Shawana, Educator and Chair, Indigenous Culinary Association Nations
  • Lenore Newman, Director, Food and Agriculture Institute, University of the Fraser Valley
  • Fawn Jackson, Director of Policy and International Relations, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association
  • Francis Lo, Co-Founder, Yoso

The food on our plates may look different in the years to come and this panel was a chance to explore this further.

Food Sovereignty’s Role

Understanding food sovereignty’s role has the power to help shape the future of food.

In this panel, moderated by Philip Loring, Arrell Chair in Food, Policy and Society, we uncovered issues that affect people’s right to food. We learned more about Indigenous food sovereignty and were encouraged to consider our relationship to the land we live on and our food. The discussions also emphasized the issue many people have, especially marginalized communities, with accessing food and that decision makers and all of us must do more to ensure people in Canada and across the world can access food they need.

This panel featured:

  • Hansel Igbavboa, Filmmaker, Photographer and Right to Food Campaign Coordinator, FoodShare and Black Youth Farming Collective
  • Loren Cardeli, Co-Founder and Executive Director, A Growing Culture
  • Adrianne Xavier, Acting Director of the Indigenous Studies Program, McMaster University

This session also included an interview with Michelle Week, Owner, x̌ast sq̓it (Good Rain) farm.

Investing in the Future with Alison Sunstrum

In this interview hosted by Malcolm Campbell, Vice-President, Research at the University of Guelph, Alison Sunstrum gave us a view into the world of investing in agriculture technology. Alison shared stats about business development in Canada, how this country compares to others and explained the importance of investing in technology and new ventures to create change. The future of food depends on innovation and money, and this session provided us with more insight into how we can support major changes in our food systems and make Canada a leader on the global scale.

Thoughts from Future Leaders

To conclude the program we heard from future leaders to get a sense of what the emerging priorities are. In addition to technology and innovation playing an important role, the panel also covered the importance of access to food and what food means to community. This panel, moderated by Arrell Food Institute’s Jeanna Rex, included:

  • Syma Habib, Foodfit Special Projects Manager, Community Food Centres Canada
  • Mariline Mailhot, Director Marketing, Innovation & Product Develoopment – Ice Cream, Argopur Dairy Cooperative
  • Brett Schuyler, Owner, Schuyler Farms

This group inspired our participants and gave thoughtful views as to what could be the most significant priorities in the years to come.

About the Arrell Food Summit

Hosted by Arrell Food Institute, the Arrell Food Summit is an annual event that brings together agri-food leaders and experts to exchange ideas and learn more about topics that are crucial to global food systems.