Guelph-Wellington is working to become Canada’s first technology-enabled Circular Food Economy (CFE), reimagining an inclusive food-secure ecosystem that:
- increases access to affordable, nutritious food by 50%, where “waste” becomes a resource,
- creates 50 new circular businesses and collaborations, and
- increases circular economic value by 50%.
A key component of this living lab is the CFE iHub at Innovation Guelph.
The CFE iHub supports the creation of new businesses and collaborations that contribute to a circular food economy through the development of circular food solutions. Led by Innovation Guelph, it links multiple business support organizations in Guelph-Wellington, creating a “no wrong door” model to ensure easy access across the region. These organizations, known as CFE iHub Front Doors, include:
Two Connectors have been engaged to strengthen connections and share information among the Main Doors, across the broader network of Our Food Future collaborators and out into the community. To maintain a focus on rural-urban integration, the Connectors are based at Innovation Guelph.
The CFE iHub contributes to the development of a sustainable regional food ecosystem by facilitating collaborations between businesses and by fostering circular economy principles. It engages with stakeholders across the rural-urban ecosystem to support the discovery, assessment, and analysis of problems in the current food system, especially as they relate to waste, inefficiency, and information gaps. In working towards a Circular Food Economy, the CFE iHub and Connectors facilitate problem surfacing-solution generating activities and in-depth challenge, idea lab and hackathon events that engage the Guelph-Wellington community (see Full Circle Model).
What is a Circular Food Economy?
Inspired by the planet’s natural cycles, a circular food economy reimagines and regenerates the systems that feed us, eliminating waste, sharing economic prosperity, and nourishing our communities.
What is a Circular Food Business?
A for-profit, not-for-profit, or social enterprise that contributes to or creates solutions within the circular food economy through the development of new business models, technologies, products or services that design waste out of our food system, reduce emissions, expand access to affordable and nutritious food, and regenerate natural systems.
What is a Circular Food Collaboration?
symbiotic interaction between two or more individuals, businesses, and organizations that contributes to the circular food economy through a new business model, technology, product, or service.
The aim of the CFE iHub is to foster and help coordinate innovation in the food system that enhances sustainability and activates circular, regenerative practices. Together with the other elements of Guelph-Wellington’s Our Food Future initiative, the CFE iHub will cultivate a rural-urban living lab where entrepreneurs, researchers, social innovators and community members generate and implement novel solutions to complex challenges within the food system.
A Rural-Urban Living Lab approach enables CFE iHub partners to leverage existing partnerships, resources, and programs, while facilitating collaboration and communication across many interconnected projects and opportunities. The CFE iHub works alongside the Our Food Future Smart Cities Office, the Front Doors, and supporting project partners to further connections. The CFE iHub has one County Connector and one City Connector that will help navigate the project and identify opportunities for businesses. The Connectors continuously establish the appropriate connections based on which sector the interested business is a part of.
COIL Activate Circular Accelerator
The COIL Activate Accelerator helps Southern Ontario agri-food businesses to scale provincially, nationally, and internationally.
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