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Become a Community Partner

Community engaged projects prepare our students to become tomorrow’s leaders in the agri-food sector through experiential learning, while providing partner organizations with a dedicated, multi-disciplinary team to work through a challenge identified by the partner.

2019-2020 Projects

The City of Guelph Our Food Future: Creating Canada’s First Circular Food Economy

The City of Guelph/County of Wellington is the successful winner of a $10M grant to implement a bold vision to create Canada’s first circular food economy. The graduate team is developing an inventory of criteria that will inform the definition of circular food business. Identifying and developing criteria will inform what data will need to be collected throughout measurement and evaluation to ensure Our Food Future is meeting its performance outcomes.

Semex Inc.: Sustainability through Efficiency in Livestock Production

Semex is an international company that provides high quality semen from carefully selected elite sires for the dairy and beef industries. The graduate team is conducting market research and technology development services to propose a course of action for Semex in predicting the desired genetics for each region.

The SEED Fresh Food Rx Pilot: Addressing Food Insecurity

The SEED is a community project of the Guelph Community Health Centre whose goal is to eradicate food insecurity in Guelph by increasing food literacy and access to healthy food. The graduate team is participating in the pilot of the Fresh Food Rx Pilot by conducting surveys and interviews of potential clients. They are also supporting the pilot in data analysis, community and policy advocacy and future study design.

Culinary Tourism Alliance: Measuring the Environmental Impact of Agritourism

Through a series of case studies, the graduate team is examining environmental impacts of agritourism, including impacts due to overtourism. This information will aid CTA in determining how destinations prioritize environmental sustainability and how tourists value environmentally-friendly practices.

10C Nourish: Food Waste

The graduate team will be a part of a larger pilot study to test the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary impact of a Food Waste Reduction Toolkit for families. This project will involve developing intervention messages (ie text messages) to support food waste reduction, primary data collection from families, recruitment of families, facilitating parent /child cooking nights and education sessions, data analysis, and creating a variety of knowledge mobilization tools.

Ripple Farms: Food Innovation to Increase Sustainability

. Ripple Farms is an Aquaponics Farm system balancing sustainability and innovation to grow high quality crops and Toronto’s freshest seafood and greens 365 days a year. The graduate team is conducting a market feasibility study involving qualitative market research in order to produce convincing communications.

Oreka Solutions: Food Waste and Food Sustainability

Oreka Solutions' mission is to harness the power of the black soldier fly to transform animal feed. The graduate team will support Oreka Solutions through mapping and identifying food waste streams in Guelph/Wellington area, and informing the creation of a management and tracking software system to track input at all levels (retail, processors, farmers, and brewers),

Partnership Requirements

To ensure a mutually beneficial experience for the partner and for the students, projects must fit the following guidelines.

The challenge has the potential to create a project that results in some demonstrable output by April 2020 (report, new product, event, demonstration, toolkit, etc.)

The project is of appropriate scope (4-5 students committing ~8-10 hours per week for 6 months).

Topic of the challenge is in agri-food and relates to the following goals and objectives:

Global scale – to transform agriculture’s impact on biodiversity
Landscape scale – to sustainably intensify food production
Micro-scale – to enhance food safety and livestock health

The partner organization has a “point-person” who is interested and dedicated to working closely with the student team. This person will be able to commit to regular check-ins with student team, and with the AFI Education Coordinator.

For more information, please contact:  Jeanna Rex, Education Coordinator at

Students walk towards a barn across a pasture.

Community Partnership Projects 2019-2020

Each year Arrell Scholars and their HQP peers are paired with an organization or business to build new skills through experiential learning.

The Arrell Food Institute logo

Community Partnership Projects 2018-2019

Watch how students tackled agri-food problems with their community partners.

Group of students poses in apple orchard

Yearbook: 2018-2019

The 2018-2019 cohort were an interdisciplinary group who tackled five big issues through their community partnership projects: climate change, food literacy, food waste, food security and protein sourcing.