Guelph-Wellington is a finalist for the Smart Cities challenge. Through the collaboration and bridging between the urban centre of Guelph and the rural, farming, local manufacturing and distribution hub of Wellington, we are finding innovative ideas to become Canada’s first technology-enabled circular food economy. Circularity is the ability to preserve, restore and regenerate natural, social and financial capital. The goals that this challenge has created are to cultivate access to nutritious food within the community, create new circular collaboration partners, businesses and jobs and to find value in and repurpose the outputs that the current system treats as waste. Through this circular food economy, the access to affordable and nutritious food will increase by 50%, 50 new circular businesses and collaborations will be created, and circular economic revenues will increase by 50%: 50x50x50 by 2025. The vision for a circular food community will measure success based on the balanced quadruple bottom line of outcomes being prosperity, planet/environmental stability, people/greater social equity and purpose of having an inclusive green economy of the future. OAFT is a key stakeholder in this project chairing the data/ tech subcommittee and serving on the steering and advisory committees.
The Smart Cities Challenge was initiated by Impact Canada to empower communities across the country to address local issues their residents face, through new partnerships. The Smart Cities challenge involves achieving meaningful outcomes for residents through the use of data and connected technology. The goals of the Smart Cities challenge are to realize outcomes for residents, empower communities to innovate, forge new partnerships and networks and to spread the benefit to all Canadians. Smart Cities also aims to encourage innovation through competition, transparency, outcomes, experimentation, inclusiveness, empowerment and knowledge sharing. The challenge heavily values openness, integration, transferability and collaboration, just like OAFT!