Student Research Reports

Revision State: Published
Most recent version: Yes

The reports below are organized in terms of their relevance for people working for change within the0:

Reports

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    Analyzing the Potential for Local Food in Convenience Stores in Waterloo, Ontario. Moore C. and Nicolardi, E. 2010.
    • The purpose of this paper is to determine the feasibility of selling local food in existing convenience/corner stores in the city of Waterloo. The research aims to identify the barriers surrounding this development within the food system and to recommend how convenience stores can be integrated into the emerging local food system.
       
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    The Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable: The Next Steps and Best Practices for the Waterloo Region. Stokes, J.; Gage, M.; Wisnicki, E.; Lombardo, S. and Mthombeni, N. 2010.
    • This paper profiles the six food system priorities established by the WRFS Roundtable. It examines case studies and innovative ideas, and presents suggested "best practices" and "next steps" for the Roundtable and Region to adopt in promoting a sustainable food system for the Waterloo Region.
       
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    Agritecture: Woven Lea Farm. Duynisveld, K. 2008.
    • This thesis about sustainable agriculture and architecture reviews the agriculture community and looks at how architecture can influence sustainable agriculture for peak oil farm production. It's a look at the food system from a different point of view of the producers.
       
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    Perspectives of Alternative Food Consumers in Kitchener-Waterloo. Bishop, E.; Van Huis, R. and Goetz, Z. 2011.
    • This report examines the perspectives of alternative food consumers in the Kitchener-Waterloo area through primary data collection. This paper specifically addresses what the terms "organic," vs. "natural," vs. "local" mean to the alternative food consumer, their thoughts on the mainstreaming of organically-grown foods, as well as the underlying factors that motivate consumers to purchase organics within this region.
       
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    Barriers and Opportunities in Up-Taking Agricultural Co-operative Business Models in Ontario. Brash, C. and Schering, J. 2016.
    • Twentieth century trends towards large-scale agriculture have caused losses to economic, social and ecological diversity. Agriculture co-operatives can be an efficient way to create an environment that encourages and sustains small-scale, diverse agriculture practices. This study investigates the barriers to starting and maintaining agricultural co-operatives, based on a review of existing literature and a survey of key informants in this sector. Our study also identified gaps in existing research and potential solutions to expand agriculture cooperatives in Ontario.
       
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    Barriers to the Use of Emergency Food Programs by Low Income Populations in Waterloo Region. Brennan, C.; Herod, M. and Swanson, D. 2011.
    • This paper analyzes the barriers to citizens with low incomes using Waterloo Region's current emergency food systems such as soup kitchens and food banks. It surmises that barriers such as social stigmatization, lack of awareness and education of the programs, transportation issues and eligibility restrictions all play a major role in limiting the positive effects that emergency food systems have on the lives of those that need them. The Waterloo Region food system as a whole could benefit from reducing these barriers and promoting cohesion for all aspects of the system including those designed for low income populations.
       
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    Compensating our Stewards: Paying Farmers for Ecosystem Services. Broadfoot, A. and Martin, B. 2010.
    • This paper outlines the problems that face the current agri-food system, and the potential for Payment for Ecosystem Service (PES) Programs to address these issues. In order to examine this question, two local programs - Norfolk's Alternative Land Use Services Program and the Waterloo's Rural Water Quality Program - and additional international PES Programs are compared and contrasted.
       
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    Small Farms, Big Impacts: A Case Study in the Development of a Sustainable Farming Livelihood for Direct-Marketing Farmers in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. Bumbacco, Amy. 2015.
    • Direct-marketing farms play an important role in fostering healthy communities in an era of rapid climate change and unsustainable global agro-industrial practices. Direct-marketing farms offer social benefits such as a sense of community and food education, as well as environmental benefits through sustainable farming techniques. Without a feasible business model to foster a more systainable livelihood, farming in such a way will never become widely adopted - despite its many benefits. This thesis explores the most useful business strategies to be employed on direct-marketing farms to procure sustainable livelihoods.
       
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    The Diverse Economies of Food Systems in Waterloo Region: An Inventory. Calamai, M.; Weichel, S. and Woods, C. 2016.
    • This study considers the ‘diverse economies’ of Waterloo Region’s food systems with a purpose to categorize the various markets, labour and enterprises that exist outside of the normal, capitalist structure. We analyse the markets, labourers and enterprises found within the region, and close with a comprehensive inventory of all our collective findings. It is our hope that this inventory can inform local citizens and policy makers and can promote a change towards a more sustainable food network.
       
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    Barriers and Supports to Expanding Ontario’s Organic Sector. Côté, B.; Sheppard, K. and Zalmay, H.H. 2016.
    • Using organic farming methods requires a set of skills and knowledge about the ecological processes in order to maintain productivity and sustainability of an organic farm. This report found that social/education, financial and governmental limitations are three main barriers that are preventing the expansion of Ontario’s organic sector. There is a lack of financial support in Ontario for farmers to farm organically which decreases the likelihood for farmers and consumer to transition to organic. Our study recommends greater government attention given to support groups for organic farms to get established and to flourish.
       
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    Climate Change and Agricultural Production in the Region of Waterloo. Fuchs, C.; Lam, S.; McLean, A. and Spanton, A. 2016.
    • This report examines the potential impacts of climate change on agriculture in the Region of Waterloo and identifies risks and vulnerabilities facing the region. Local projections are used to inform the identification of climate risks and vulnerabilities for the Region, and two local farm cases, Oakridge Acres and Brian Domm Farms Ltd, illustrate farm-level vulnerability. Government policies are analyzed to identify how governments are supporting agricultural adaptation within the region.
       
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    Agroecology: Technology Transfer to Ontario. Garcha, A.; Khan, S. and Wong, E. 2016.
    • Agroecology incorporates environmentalism, sustainability, ecological principles, local Indigenous knowledge, and agricultural science into a holistic practice. This report draws on lessons from both the Global South and the Global North to understand how to change our food system to improve ecological impacts and food security in Ontario. The variety of successful agroecological practices reflects the diversity of natural ecosystems, human innovation, and the power to overcome barriers, with much potential to be inspired by technology from the Global South to improve Global North farming practices.
       
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    Developing a National School Food Program in Canada: A Comprehensive Approach. Jakobsen, W.; Nureddin, N. and Chin, L. 2016.
    • There remains a ground-breaking opportunity for the Canadian government to employ a national school food program built upon our current understanding of food systems. From its conception, a national program in Canada can immediately establish the structure and dynamic of sustainable relationships between consumers, producers, and distributors. This report aims to outline the the benefits, challenges, and best management practices which may be successfully administered to create a comprehensive and feasible national food program in Canada.
       
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    A Portrait of Agroecological Approaches in the Waterloo Region Food System. Moore, K.; Selliah, N. and Virdee, A. 2016.
    • Agroecology is a farming concept based on the principles of recycling nutrients and energy within a farm system, integrating multiple crops and livestock to increase biodiversity, while enhancing natural interactions between species to benefit success of the whole system. Waterloo Region has a growing network of farmers, producers, and organizations that are striving to incorporate agroecology into their operations. This study examines the agroecological approaches, experiences, and initiatives taken by local farmers, producers and organizations, who are working in conjunction with the region’s municipalities toward the implementation of a healthy food system in the Region of Waterloo. This paper builds a portrait of the successful alternative initiatives within the community, documents arising challenges, and identifies steps to be taken in the future.
       
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    Potential of the Local Food Economy in the Region of Waterloo. Phillips, O.; Vogtenberger, J. and Lang. C. 2016.
    • What are the successes and barriers experienced by those participating in the local food sector in Waterloo Region, and what is the future of the local food economy this region? This study focuses on three organizations operating in the local food economy in this region: Bailey’s Local Foods, Open Food Network Canada, and Local Line, highlighting each organization's perspectives and practices. With a focus on access, sustainability and innovation, we analyze these three cases and provide recommendations for further expanding the local food economy in the Region of Waterloo.
       

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    Edible Landscapes in Business Owned Green Spaces. Thompson, M. and Sokolowski, S. 2016.
    • This study aims to capture the barriers and opportunities for edible landscaping within businesses in the Kitchener Waterloo region. Through 4 interviews with local people involved with edible landscaping at multiple scales we found 3 main challenges to incorporation that can be focused on in the region. Additionally, we included recommendations and solutions that companies and organizations can adopt to make this sustainable landscaping approach a more renowned opportunity in the business realm.
       
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    The Impacts of Modern Food Systems on Canadian, Northern Indigenous Communities: A Case Study of the Algonquin Wolf Lake First Nation. Van Schie-Copol, J.M. and Oliver, D.J. 2016.
    • This study assesses the impacts modern food systems have had on northern Indigenous communities, through a case study of Wolf Lake First Nation (WLFN) in northern Ontario. Over the past 150 years, due to colonization, the vast cultural knowledge in production, harvesting, processing and using local plants, medicine, herbs and other traditional foods that sustained Indigenous people has decreased to the point of near extinction in many first nation communities. We explore the impacts of these dietary, health, and cultural changes, and identify solutions that WLFN and other First Nation communities have integrated to address some of these issues.
       
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    University of Waterloo Campus Food Initiatives Research. Zwier, E.; Al-Lababidi, N.; Hager, M. and Norton, R. 2016.
    • There have been an increasing number of campus-scale food production initiatives across North American universities and colleges. Such initiatives have helped to improve campus sustainability, educational opportunities, student engagement and food security. Within the context of the University of Waterloo, food production initiatives such as the University of Waterloo Campus Market Garden (UWCMG) are still encountering challenges and unrealized opportunities for increased production and impact. Through an online survey and semi-structured interviews, this study identified the challenges and opportunities of the University of Waterloo Campus Market Garden and several other campus garden projects.
       
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    From farm to waste: Addressing the problem of farm level food losses, case study Waterloo Region, Ontario. Gravely, E. 2015.
    • Over twenty percent of fruits and vegetables are estimated to be wasted before leaving the farm. This study explores the characteristics of fruit and vegetable waste on farms and the factors that can facilitate a more sustainable production process.
       
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    Gleaning in the 21st Century: Urban Food Recovery and Community Food Security in Ontario, Canada. Marshman, J. 2015.
    • This study explores the motivations of the volunteers who make up today's gleaners, who harvest food from where it is grown that would otherwise go to waste. In five case studies of Ontario gleaning groups, including 16 semi-structured interviews and an online survey with 14 volunteers, group leaders and urban farmers, three top motivators emerged: 1) concerns about food waste, 2) community building and support, and 3) free food.
       
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    A Student-Focused Marketing Strategy on Local Food. Chen, C.; Chen, J.; Lei, L.; Ding, Y. and Qian, Y. 2014.
    • The report was commissioned to examine students’ attitudes towards local food in order to identify the barriers to the adoption of local food and to inform future marketing campaigns to increase acquisition and sustainable consumption of local food on campus.
       
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    Leveraging Waterloo Region’s Alternative Food Sector: The need for economic development support (PDF). Ross, S. 2014.
    • An extensive case study of Waterloo Region’s economic development officials (EDOs) and local food sector found minimal awareness of the unique dynamics of this growing industry segment and the economic opportunities it presents, particularly amongst urban EDOs. Although agriculture remains a central component of the Region’s rural economies, the lack of a robust forum for comprehensive regional economic development discussion has prevented economic developers from leveraging existing leadership and potential inter-municipal synergies.

    • Foodlink, the Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable, and the Region’s food businesses provide a wealth of leadership, marketing, and infrastructure assets for emergent regional alternative food networks. Despite this capacity in civil society and the business community, support for alternative food in the Region remains minimal and uncoordinated. The development of regional economic development body presents the ideal forum to collaborate with and leverage these existing assets in the Region’s alternative food networks and leverage nascent opportunities to improve talent attraction & retention, promote business expansion, develop further employment opportunities, while increasing local expenditures and value-added.

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    Addressing Barriers to Urban Agriculture in Waterloo Region. Marshman, J. 2013.
    • This thesis reviews existing policies and bylaws in Waterloo Region and offers a comparison of these with bylaws in Vancouver, BC, where urban agriculture (UA) has been a key policy priority. A survey of 48 residents indicates that Waterloo Region continues to support UA stewardship, but more resources and policies could be put in place to continue this momentum. While efforts aimed at improving and increasing community gardens in the region have been successful, an UA action plan is needed to help promote and support UA at the household level throughout the region.
       
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    Investigating the Role of Food Charters in the Canadian Food Justice Movement: A Case Study of Waterloo, Ontario. Metzger, M. 2013.
    • This paper considers the role of the food charter in the grassroots movement of food system reform, using the Waterloo Region Food Charter as a case study. It suggests that food charters play multiple roles in the food justice movement: providing a unified vision; promoting awareness of food issues; enabling further activities of the food justice movement; enabling further policy developments and political support for food justice initiatives; and promoting broader systemic changes to the food system.
       
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    Informal Economies: Feeding Ourselves in Kitchener-Waterloo. Beyond Regulated Economic Food Systems. Cann, H. 2012.
    • Neoclassical economics and formal monetary systems persist as dominant forms of social organising. However, the notion that formal structures are not meeting peoples' needs has become increasingly widespread in the public consciousness. Through relevant literature reviews and conversations with Kitchener-Waterloo residents, this report presents informal economic food systems as alternative sites for building community resiliency.
       
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    Is Local More Expensive? Challenging Perceptions of Price and Investigating Availability in Local Food Systems. Donaher, E. 2012.
    • This research examines price and availability in the local food system to 1) identify whether the perception that local is more expensive is justified and 2) explore opportunities for improving access to local food. Using a quantitative analysis of produce sold in Waterloo Region, the study shows that the relationships between value-laden qualities such as local and organic and the tangible factors of price and availability are complex and present both challenges and opportunities for food system development.
       
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    The Fight for Food Choice Freedom: Moving Toward a Regulatory Framework for Unpasteurized Milk in Canada. Gottvald, B. 2012.
    • Unpasteurized milk is in Canada's legal limbo; it is legal to consume it, but illegal to sell or distribute. If unpasteurized milk is to be legalized, Canada needs a regulatory framework with technical guidelines to ensure that production and distribution is safe and clean. This paper attempts to provide those technical guidelines and describes the reasons for them.
       
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    Cultivating Community: Connecting community gardens and crime prevention. Herod, M. 2012.
    • This research investigates the role of community gardens within a neighbourhood as a crime prevention mechanism. Through document analysis and key informant interviews, this study demonstrates that community gardens foster a sense of community, empower individuals and physically beautify vacant areas that might otherwise act as sources for illicit behaviour, therefore, decreasing crime in disadvantaged communities and creating healthier and safer places to live.
       
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    Urban Livestock: Barriers and Opportunities Faced by Homesteaders in the City of Waterloo. Cann, H.; Lenton, D.; Mader, C. and van Overbeeke, J. 2011.
    • This paper explores the opportunities and barriers associated with urban livestock rearing. The paper draws on experiences from elsewhere as well as Waterloo Region, and examines barriers including cost, sanitation, and legal issues, as well as misconceptions and fears.
       
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    Mainstreaming "Local": Potential of Integrating Local Food into Supermarket Chains in the Kitchener-Waterloo Region. Chiu, J.; Graham, A. and Chen, D. 2011.
    • Through semi-structured interviews with local producers and independent grocery stores, this paper examines the challenges and opportunities for food retailers in Waterloo Region to sell more local food. With their centralized distribution structures, it is difficult for supermarket chains to integrate local foods. Local producers often have smaller capacities, and the distribution centers are designed to work more efficiently with fewer, larger shipments of produce, rather than many, smaller shipments. We argue that the integration of local food, with its numerous benefits for local farmers, grocers, and customers alike, is a more viable opportunity for smaller-scale grocery stores.
       
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    'X' Marks the Spot: Mapping the Way to Improved Farm Connectivity in Waterloo Region. Damini, T., Tadgell, A. and Blake, K. 2011.
    • There is no up-to-date research on the application of a mapping approach and its effect on direct farm sales and sense of community within a local food network. This study assesses how the Foodlink Waterloo Region Buy Local! Buy Fresh! Map has impacted farmers' perception of connectivity to consumers as well as fellow producers, and whether the Map achieves its intended purpose.
       
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    The Diggable Communities Collaborative: The power of partnership in strengthening community gardens in the Region of Waterloo. Ha-yon Jung, J.; Keys, C. and McCarthy, K. 2011.
    • This paper addresses the various accomplishments and functions of the Diggable Communities Collaborative (DCC) in relation to community food security. DCC is a partnership between Opportunities Waterloo Region, Region of Waterloo Public Health and the Community Garden Council of Waterloo Region that seeks to create new community gardens and to strengthen existing ones.
       
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    Stakeholder Perceptions of Community Supported Agriculture in the Waterloo Region. Sonego, S.; Dierx, N. and Ding, E. 2011.
    • An investigation of CSA member and operator values, and regional innovation in Community Supported Agriculture within the Waterloo Region. Based on interviews and survey responses, the study found that operators were interested in the economic, environmental, and social benefits of the program, while consumers were interested in supporting local agriculture and receiving fresh, local produce.
       
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    How should a Food Charter be specified for the University of Waterloo?. Vistoli, J. 2011.
    • This project establishes background information on food charters and brings forth some of their benefits and potential drawbacks through key informant interviews. A case study is conducted to outline possible charter principles for the University of Waterloo. Food Charter principles from other ratified documents and those discerned specifically for the University are tested with a sustainability criteria to ensure their adherence to a known outline of sustainability. A draft charter for the University of Waterloo is created as a result, with recommendations it be put through a stakeholder consultation process to remain a democratic document.
       
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    Pilot Study for Mapping Food System Organizations in the Waterloo Region. Gautam, T. and Ballinger, F. 2010.
    • This research paper seeks to create a method of profiling and mapping some of the direct and indirect involvement of food system organizations within the Waterloo Region.
       
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    The Inclusion of Ethnic Produce in Waterloo Region Food System. Gunst, J.; Jaques, G.; Jurjens, B. and McDowell, T. 2010.
    • The supply of 'ethnic vegetables' is not only a valuable resource for integration of new immigrants in Waterloo Region, but growing these vegetables locally is a potentially rewarding venture. This paper examines the current status of ethnic vegetables in the Kitchener-Waterloo food system, in terms of their consumer demand, production, distribution, and the challenges and benefits to having ethnic produce part of the Waterloo Region food system.
       
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    Urban foraging. McConnell, L. and Inthavong, B. 2010.
    • With the threat of environmental change looming, it can be important for urban residents to find alternative sources of food. This paper develops a map of wild foods on the University of Waterloo campus and outlines possible barriers and benefits of urban foraging.
       
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    Finding the relationship between designing of community gardens and issues of local economic development. Mohammed. S. 2010.
    • This paper identifies design features of physically and culturally accessible of community gardens that can enhance the gardens' productive capacity and their impact on the economic development of the surrounding neighbourhood.
       
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    Regional Economic Development and Alternative Food Network Governance: A Waterloo Region Case Study.