The Food Co-ops: Coming Together roundtable was a continuation of the State of the Nation: Food and Farming Co-operatives roundtable at the Canadian Association for Studies in Co-operation conference in Montreal June 24 - 27, 2012.
Glenn Valliere, Purchasing Manager at the Ontario Natural Food Co-op and board member of the Ontario Co-op Association, was our gracious host for the Food Co-ops: Coming Together discussion, and kicked it off with an introduction to David Daughton, Co-op Developer and Executive Director of the Co-operative Enterprise Council of New Brunswick. David gave a great overview of the co-operative projects across Atlantic Canada, as well as some of the terrific network platforms for co-ops out East. One unique example of co-ops involved in networking is the Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network, which "aims to enhance the viability and growth of the Atlantic Canadian organic agricultural community through a unified regional network." Browse through his slideshow below.
Simon Berge, research analyst at the Ontario Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Guelph, followed next, with a presentation that pinned the conversation on some theoretical concepts and frameworks. This grounded the panel in some theory, while also offering Simon the opportunity to discuss his upcoming research on the use of the co-operative model as an alternative means of local food distribution in Ontario. Simon's slideshow is below.
Last but not least, I gave an overview of Ontario's newly emerging network of food and farm co-operatives, under the Local Organic Food Co-ops Network umbrella, illustrating different models and methods of 'coming together' from hubs and clusters to constellations and networks. The conversation focused on the Ontario Food and Farming Co-ops' rationale for and use of the network model, as well as the network's development, involving a quick overview of some of the innovations taking place through co-operative models and co-operation among co-operatives. The presentation follows below.
Food Co-ops Coming Together - Hannah Renglich CASC Presentation
Many thanks to Nathan Payne for use of his beautiful food and market photography, some of which is featured in this slideshow.