Program at a Glance

Time Description
8:30 AM – 9:00 AM Registration + Breakfast
9:00 AM – 9:15 AM Welcome Address
9:15 AM – 10:00 AM Morning Keynote
10:00 AM – 10:30 AM Morning Break
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM Plenary Panel
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM Lunch + Keynote
1:30 PM – 4:45 PM Concurrent Panels and Workshops (with break in between)
4:45 PM – 5:00 PM Symposium Wrap-Up and Closing Remarks
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM Networking Reception & Student Poster Competition


Workstream 1 Workstream 2 Workstream 3


Program Download: Click here to download the detailed program as a PDF.


montage of images from the 2016 OCC climate change symposium



WORKSTREAM 1: Sustainable Energy in the Agri-Food Supply Chain – Challenges, Opportunities and Key Success Factors

Description of the Workstream: The overall objective of the workstream was to identify and address economic, regulatory, and social barriers for the integration of sustainable energy technologies into land-use practices, business models and value chains of the GGH region’s agri-food sector, and to help foster collaboration between researchers, public policy makers, and industry actors.

The workstream combined panel presentations, discussions and interactive work in breakout sessions. The panel presentations introduced the context for renewable energy in the agri-food sector, including existing business cases, initiatives, tools, technologies and policies. The breakout sessions addressed drivers, obstacles, solutions and tools.

Key Questions for the Panel: What current best practices should we scale-up, and what additional system characteristics should we be cultivating to support the renewable energy generation in the GGH region’s agri-food supply chain? What role can agri-food sector renewable energy generation play in the Ontario climate change strategy and Long-term Energy Plan?

Speakers and Presentation Topics

  • Alfons Weersink, University of GuelphEnergy Crop Potential under Different Climate and Economic Scenarios, and Available Market Options (Energy and Beyond)
  • Dimple Roy, International Institute of Sustainable DevelopmentLake Winnipeg Bioeconomy – Watersheds of the Future
  • Jennifer Green, Canadian Biogas AssociationClosing the Loop – A Primer for Municipalities, Food Processors and Fleets on Using Renewable Natural Gas
  • Tim Faveri, Maple Leaf – Bioenergy in the Food Processing Industry

Moderator: Kirby Calvert, University of Guelph



alfons_weersinkAlfons Weersink, University of Guelph, Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics (FARE)
Dr. Weersink’s research focuses on the effect of technology and government policy on the decisions made by farmers and the resulting effect on agri-food markets and structure. He has been invited to participate as part of the “Sustainable energy in the agriculture and food supply chain” workstream because of his leadership in the “Economics of the Bioeconomy” research project. The overall goal of the project is to examine the economic, environmental and land-use impacts of green policies on the agri-food sector, with an emphasis on Ontario. There are a number of individual sub-projects ranging from specific farm-level evaluations of green technology to global market assessments of biofuel policies.

dimple_roy3_hiresDimple Roy, International Institute for Sustainable Development
Dimple Roy represents the International Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD) where she has worked for the past 10 years and is currently Director of the organization’s water program. She has been invited to present the IISD’s work on developing bioeconomies at the watershed scale, which has been based in the Lake Winnipeg watershed in Manitoba. In this region the IISD has developed a collaborative research project involving the City of Winnipeg and other municipalities to address phosporous pollution through the harvesting of cattails, which are then used for bioenergy applications. She will share the lessons learned from this project – particularly those related to the building of partnerships across sectors – and stimulate a discussion around how such an approach could be developed here in the Greater Golden Horseshoe Region.

jennifer_green_biogasJennifer Green, Canadian Biogas Association
Jennifer Green is the Executive Director of the Canadian Biogas Association. Having worked for many years as an environmental engineer in private consulting, Jennifer shifted her focus to the agricultural sector by offering nutrient management consulting services to farm producers. Jennifer applied her project management skills to a biogas system built in 2009 at Ledgecroft Farms, her family dairy operation located in Seeley’s Bay. Jennifer has been working with the Biogas Association in the capacity of a former Board Member and staff person to the association. Her contributions towards membership, communications, advocacy and promotion of the biogas sector have helped to grow the Biogas Association.

FAVERI-TimTim Faveri, Maple Leaf Foods
Tim Faveri is Director, Sustainability and Shared Value for Maple Leaf Foods, where he is responsible for leading the company’s sustainability initiatives and activities.. Prior to joining Maple Leaf, he was accountable for sustainability strategy development and execution for the iconic Canadian company Tim Hortons, one of North America’s largest publicly-traded restaurant chains.

kirby-calvertKirby Calvert, University of Guelph, College of Social and Applied Human Sciences
Dr. Calvert brings to this symposium his research background into the land-use and governance implications of renewable energy development. This includes the development of spatial decision-support tools to integrate local/regional land-use planning and energy supply planning. As a geographer by training, Dr Calvert is uniquely positioned to help guide a discussion around the land-use implications of renewable energy development in Ontario’s agricultural and rural communities.



WORKSTREAM 2: Exploring Pathways towards Low Carbon and Climate Resilient Agriculture in the GGH Region

Description of the Workstream: The overall objective of this workstream was to highlight cutting-edge research as well as innovative initiatives mobilizing a wide range of stakeholders in three key areas: (1) agricultural soils, (2) the livestock sector and (3) crop production methods.  The workstream also identified and addressed economic, regulatory, and social barriers to scaling-up synergistic actions in the GGH region’s agriculture sector, and helped foster collaboration between researchers, public policy makers, and industry actors.

The workstream combined panel presentations, discussions and interactive work in breakout sessions. The panel presentations introduced current research and innovative examples of on-the-ground implementation (including existing business cases, initiatives, tools, technologies and policies). The breakout sessions addressed drivers, obstacles, solutions and tools and will lead to a public report that will be disseminated to relevant decision makers in the public and private sectors.

Key Questions for the Panel: What would a radical transformation towards low carbon and climate resilient agriculture look like in the GGH region? What are some current examples of best practice should we scale-up, and what additional system characteristics should we be cultivating to support the transformation? What are the key economic, regulatory and social barriers that need to be overcome to support the transformation?

Speakers and Presentation Topics

  • Claudia Wagner-Riddle, University of Guelph –Managing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Agro-Ecosystems under a Changing Climate
  • Peter Tyedmers, Dalhousie University  Lifecycle GHG Assessments of Food Systems
  • Alan Fredeen, Dalhousie University – Pasture-based Livestock Management to Reduce GHG Emissions and Improve Resilience
  • Blake Vince, Innovative Farmer’s Association of Ontario – Cover Crops for Soil Health and Carbon Sequestration

Moderator: Ralph Martin, University of Guelph



claudia_wagner_riddle_uofgClaudia Wagner-Riddle, University of Guelph, School of Environmental Sciences
Dr. Wagner-Riddle’s research studies the effect of agricultural activities on the atmospheric environment. Her research activities are focused in quantifying and understanding greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. Recently Dr. Wagner-Riddle’s research activity has been concentrated on the following topics: 1) modelling of nitrous oxide emissions from soils, 2) mechanisms of nitrous oxide production in and emission from soils during spring thaw as affected by management practices, 3) effect of best management practices on nitrogen losses from field crops. Her expertise in the area of GHG mitigation measures for soil management and the dairy will be a critical element of setting the broad context for climate change mitigation and adaptation in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region’s agricultural sector.

peter_tyedmersPeter Tyedmers, Dalhousie University, School for Resource and Environmental Studies (SRES)
Peter Tyedmers is an ecological economist whose research primarily explores the biophysical sustainability of food production systems through the lens of life cycle assessment. Major ongoing research interests include the energy and environmental performance of food production systems. Recent projects with students and colleagues have employed life cycle assessment (LCA) to evaluate alternative dairying systems, and Nova Scotia wine and apple production and distribution systems. Prior to undertaking his Ph.D., Peter received a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Earth Science from the University of Waterloo and an LL.B. from the University of British Columbia Peter is a Professor and Director of the School for Resource and Environmental Studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

alan_fredeebAlan Fredeen, Dalhousie University, Plant and Animal Sciences
Dr. Alan Fredeen is a noted Canadian expert on the environmental impacts of livestock management, and on alternative ecological based approaches. His research topics include the environmental impacts of dairy production and the challenges confronting pasture- based milk production. Dr. Fredeen’s perspectives on ecological ruminant production approaches, and on the challenges posed by making a shift to such approaches at the regional scale, will be an important context-setting element to the afternoon’s breakout discussions.

E-Blake-VinceBlake Vince, Innovative Farmer’s Association of Ontario
Blake Vince is a fifth-generation farmer and Canadian Nuffield Scholar from Merlin, Ontario, Canada. He also serves as a Director of the Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario. Working with his father, Elwin Vince and uncle, Tom Vince, they currently produce commercial corn, soybeans and winter wheat on 1300 acres. Their farm management practices are centered on soil health and they are considered to be no-till pioneers in their corner of Canada, where they adapted to no-till farming techniques in the early 1980’s. Knowing that soil is not an infinite resource and working with the objective to leave his farms in better condition for future generations, Blake has been using a multi-species cover crop blend to protect and enrich them. His practices are in stark contrast with others in his area of Southwestern Ontario where more and more farmers are reverting back to conventional tillage.

ralph_martinRalph C. Martin, University of Guelph
Ralph C. Martin grew up on a beef and hog farm in Wallenstein, Ontario, where he learned the essentials of agriculture from his grandfather. His formal education includes a B.A. and M.Sc. in Biology from Carleton University and a PhD in Plant Science from McGill University. In 1990, he began teaching at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and in 2001 founded the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada. In 2011, he was appointed Professor and given the Loblaw Chair in Sustainable Food Production at the Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph. He is currently conducting research on reducing food waste, adapting agriculture to climate change and preserving farmland while improving soil.



WORKSTREAM 3: Planning for Climate Resilient and Sustainable Local and Regional Food Supply Chains in the GGH – Municipal and Provincial Roles

Description of the Workstream: This session explored the value of short food supply chains in the Greater Golden Horse Region for supporting progress on interrelated climate change mitigation, adaptation, economic development and food security objectives.  It featured a panel discussion that looked at issues including local and regional food production and processing capacity, food distribution and storage systems, institutional food procurement, and food access among the region’s vulnerable populations. After the panel, session participants engaged in facilitated breakout discussions around some of the core themes raised during the panel sessions.

Key Questions for the Panel: What current best practices should we be looking to scale-up, and what additional system characteristics should we be cultivating to support the GGH region’s transition to short food supply chains in the context of climate change?

Speakers and Presentation Topics

  • Franco Naccarato, Greenbelt Fund  Local Food Strategies and Institutional Procurement
  • Sally Miller, City Region Food Systems Project – Supply Chain Assessment and Resilience in the City Region Food System Assessment Project for Toronto and the Greater Golden Horseshoe: An International Collaboration
  • Alison Blay-Palmer, Wilfred Laurier University Centre for Sustainable Food Systems – Building and Reinforcing Resilient Regional Food Networks in Canada and Beyond
  • Barbara Emanuel, Toronto Food Strategy – Exploring the Role of Municipal Policy Tools (e.g. zoning) in Promoting Food Access Amongst Vulnerable Urban Populations

Moderator: Rod MacRae, York University



franco_naccaratoFranco Naccarato, Greenbelt Fund
Franco Naccarato is a program manager with the Greenbelt Fund. He has more than 20 years of experience across the food supply chain, including work in retail, restaurants, and distribution with start-ups in both government and not-for-profit organizations. He has been invited to share his experience working with municipalities and public institutions to support local food procurement, as well as agri-food-processing business to build regional capacity and infrastructure.

Sally Miller, City Region Food Systems Project
Sally Miller has worked in sustainable food and agriculture for almost 20 years both in Canada and in the U.S. She has extensive experience as a consultant and manager in a variety of organic and natural food and agriculture co-operatives and enterprises (including the Ontario Natural Food Co-op, Organic Meadow in Canada, and Greenstar Co-op and Finger Lakes Organic Growers’ Co-op in the U.S.). She was a founder of the Fourth Pig Worker Co-op in 2007, a natural building worker co-op, and the West End Food Co-op in 2009. She is the Project Coordinator for the Regional Food Hub Project at the Local Organic Food Co-ops Network, and is currently the Research Coordinator for Toronto in the international City Region Food System Assessment Project (a FAO/ RUAF joint project).

Alison-Blay-PalmerAlison Blay-Palmer, Wilfred Laurier University Centre for Sustainable Food Systems
Alison Blay-Palmer is an Associate Professor and the founding Director of the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at Wilfrid Laurier University. Alison works in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies where she does research on resilient food systems and sustainable communities. Her edited themed issue in the journal Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability, “Sustainable, Local Food Spaces: Constructing Communities of Food,” and her books, Imagining Sustainable Food Systems: Theory and Practice and Food Fears: From Industrial to Sustainable Food Systems, explore pressures and opportunities related to food system sustainability. Alison has held several grants, including the most recent Social Sciences and Humanities Research Partnership Development to explore and support sustainable food community initiatives. This project is linked to an Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs grant.

barbara_emanuel_100Barbara Emanuel, Toronto Food Strategy
Barbara Emanuel is the manager of the City of Toronto’s Food Strategy Team at Toronto Public Health (TPH). The Toronto Food Strategy team’s role is to support a healthier and more sustainable food system through research, facilitation, partnership building and, most of all, implementing specific, tangible projects. Under Barbara’s leadership Toronto’s Food Strategy was updated in 2015 to reflect a system’s approach that leverages connections to other health, social, economic and environmental initiatives. While climate change isn’t explicit in the strategy, core themes of “food access”, “infrastructure/supply chain”, and “improving the food environment” have clear connections with climate change objectives. As such, Barbara has been invited to as a panel speaker on workstream 3 to share the lessons learned working collaboratively with other municipal departments, non-profits and private sector actors to scale-up food systems change.

rod_macraeRod MacRae, York University, Faculty of Environmental Studies
Rod MacRae is a food policy analyst, focusing on programs and policies to support the transition to low carbon sustainable food and agriculture systems. Rod’s research focuses on creating a national food & agriculture policy for Canada, and the set of coherent and comprehensive programs required to support such a policy. He writes extensively on these themes in the academic and popular press, consults to government, business and NGOs, and teaches at York University as part of the Faculty of Environmental Studies. Rod is the Senior Policy Advisor for Local Food Plus and is the President of the Canadian Association of Food Studies. He was the founding manager of the Toronto Food Policy Council and has a PhD from McGill University.