In a period of intensifying globalization and interconnectivity, cities in both developed and developing contexts are increasingly relying on global supply chains to meet their food requirements. Simultaneously, rapid processes of urbanization are swelling many cities and shifting the locus of poverty from rural to urban spaces, which only puts further pressure on already unsustainable food systems. In struggling to adequately supply safe and nutritious foods for all urban dwellers in sustainable ways, cities around the world are in need of new policy visions that ensure the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of our food systems.

On June 9th and 10th, the University of the Fraser Valley’s Agriculture Centre of Excellence hosted the event “Cities and Food”. The event comprised of a field trip (June 9th) and a conference (June 10th) that brought together a consortium of academics, industry professionals, government officials, NGOs, funders, partners, and students to discuss the ways in which urban food systems can be developed securely and sustainably. With such a diverse group of stakeholders coming together to discuss the urban food security crisis, discussion was crosscutting, interdisciplinary, and thought provoking. The event also showcased research being conducted by UFV Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholars (QEScholars) in East Africa that is examining both formal and informal food systems in the region.

Director of Communications Dave Pinton moderates the ‘Global Ideas Hard Talk’ session.

For a full event summary, you can read the following report: Cities and Food- Event Summary. For more information on the EAI urban food systems project, you can read the AKF – In Brief Report. You can also find photos of the field trip and conference HERE.

A big ‘thank you’ goes out all who participated at the “Cities and Food” field trip and conference. Speakers and attendees brought with them a wealth of knowledge that contributed to engaging and interdisciplinary dialogue and for that we are truly grateful.

We would also like to thank Global Affairs Canada and Aga Khan Foundation Canada for their contributions in funding the East African Institute’s urban food systems project and UFV undergraduate research internships through sub-project 11 of the Institutional Partnership for Human Development. Furthermore, undergraduate research at UFV has been greatly supported by Universities Canada, the Rideau Hall Foundation, and the Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship program under the funding granted to projects associated to “Urban Food Systems in Dar es Salaam, Nairobi and the Fraser Valley: Capacity Building for Policy and Planning.” This event was also made possible through the collaborative support and help from host institutions Ardhi Regional University and the East African Institute at Aga Khan University, as well as UFV’s Agriculture Centre of Excellence.

In no particular order, we would also like to thank those who contributed to organizing this event:
Patricia Magala (Event Registrar)
QEScholar Josh Rempel (Logistics Coordinator)
QEScholar Curtis Finley (Logistics Coordinator)
QEScholar Aneesha Dhillon (Media Coordinator)
QEScholar Sydney Raison (Media Coordinator)
QEScholar Lisa Harrington (Internship Coordinator)
QEScholar Sierra Nickel (Photographer)
Robin Pittman (IT Support)
Melissa Kendzierski (Graphic Recording)

Last, a special appreciation and thankfulness goes to UFV professor and internship supervisor Cherie Enns, whose passion and dedication towards applied learning and the internationalization of UFV is changing the way we think about an undergraduate education.

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