Feb 21, 2018 Initiative

Food and Agri-Business Diversification Initiative

Edmonton is an entrepreneurial city with strong agricultural roots and a bold passion for ingenuity and creativity. That’s why I believe that we have the potential to position ourselves as global leaders in our capacity to mitigate climate-related impacts on our food supply.

By responding to the increasing local and international market demand for healthy food and focusing on research and development, education, and value-added production, the City of Edmonton can become a hub for both innovation and self-sufficiency.  Through the creation of this Council Initiative, I will work to build on our vision and create an achievable plan that will put our city on the path to success, now and into the future.

The Initiative’s Goals include:

  • Transitioning the Edmonton region into a global food hub and supplier in anticipation of the new food economy.

  • Collaboration with other levels of government, educational institutions, and industry to draw more agri-business (value-added growing, processing and technology development) into the region.
  • Develop sustainable food systems that are inclusive, resilient, safe and diverse, that provide healthy and affordable food to all people in a human rights-based framework, and that minimize waste and conserve biodiversity while adapting to mitigating climate and environmental-related impacts.

2This new initiative will provide vision and resources to foster sustainable local food sources and a diversified food industry as part of a thriving economy in the Edmonton region.

Terms of Reference passed in Council on March 20, 2018:

Terms of Reference: Food and Agri-Business Diversification Initiative

Council Term: 2017-2021 Council Term
City Council Sponsor: Councillor A. Paquette

City Council will anticipate and respond to emerging challenges and opportunities by fostering the development of sustainable local food sources and a diversified food industry as part of a thriving economy. This will be driven by local and international market demand with a focus on innovation, education, capacity building, climate change adaptation and value-added production in agri-business and food processing.

Outcome #1: Leverage triple-bottom line drivers to improve long-term food-security by supporting a transformation of the Edmonton Region into a global food processing and supply hub.
Secure new and continued investments to drive innovation, research, infrastructure and local food security.
Develop and support a network of stakeholders and partners to create value-chain investment, new market exports and employment opportunities in the food economy.
Collaborate with the region, including the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board, to progress investment activities for Edmonton’s food sector and participate in/support the Regional Agricultural Master Plan (in preparation).

Outcome #2: Promote and incentivize research, technology development, innovation, energy efficiency strategies, and diversification in the development of the regional food and agricultural sectors to adapt to expected climate changes.
Build partnerships with community organizations and local educational institutions to develop new programs, interim solutions, and access to educational opportunities around food production, processing, preserving, and entrepreneurship to transform Edmontonians’ food literacy and support community-level food programs, startups, and initiatives.
Review and monitor the risks and opportunities from climate change to Edmonton’s food system and engage with stakeholders and citizens to define prioritized actions necessary to prepare the food and agricultural sector for changes to Edmonton’s climate.
Explore and develop opportunties for synergies to diversify the use of different energy sources for production to increase efficiencies and reduce waste and emmissions.

Outcome #3: Enable and execute actions to prepare local food systems for adaptation, resilience, sustainability, and accesibility.
Explore scale-up and capacity building opportunities for local businesses in food economy.
Integrate meaningful, cost-effective community food assets into the planning and development of Edmonton’s existing and future neighbourhoods. Build on community strengths and capacity to play a role in developing human-centred solutions to support Edmonton’s most urgently food insecure populations.