Creating Canada’s First Circular Food Economy
with Our Food Future
Our Food Future is Guelph-Wellington’s smart cities initiative to create Canada’s first circular food economy: reducing food waste, increasing access to food and creating more sustainable solutions to food systems.
This mission-driven community brings together nutritionists, farmers, businesses, government and citizens by giving them a platform for connecting, collaborating and creating change.
Read Our Food Future’s story below.
“We imagine a food system where everyone can access nutritious food, nothing is wasted, and the impact on our environment is minimal. We imagine a system where food experts and entrepreneurs come together to tackle our most complex food challenges”
– Our Food Future
Our Food Future’s Challenges
Making it Simple for People to Connect
Switch to a Single Platform
With Open Social, Our Food Future wanted to create a simple centralized platform to replace:
- The original foodfutures.ca website used to distribute project information
- Their online community hosted on another platform
There was a need for a dynamic, customizable and attractive platform that could unify their informational website and online community.
Connection & Collaboration
Spark Stakeholder Collaboration
To achieve their aims, Our Food Future wanted a platform that would bring a wide range of stakeholders together and create opportunities for them to engage and collaborate on sustainability issues facing the food economy.
Their community stakeholders include:
- Government agencies
- Chamber of Commerce
- Food relief organizations
- and more
Drive Community-led Change
To create real-world impact Our Food Future needed a platform where they could create opportunities for the community to get involved and take action.
The platform needed to:
- Help promote initiatives
- Foster internal collaboration between members
- Create connections and knowledge exchange
Open Social’s Solution
Our Food Future Community Platform
When Our Food Future launched on Open Social, the organization migrated the project website, as well as its existing online community, to a single platform. This allowed Our Food Future to create a unified and easy-to-managed platform, resulting in a much more cohesive experience of its community members.
An Informational Homepage
Using the flexible Open Social landing page builder, Our Food Future turned their platform homepage into an information-hub where visitors could find information and news about the project.
An Entry-point to Community Engagement
The homepage also offers a seamless entrypoint into the community space called Kitchen Table. Visitors can easily sign-up, while existing members can log in and join Groups, Challenges and Discussions in the Kitchen Table space.
Easy to Manage & Maintain
Open Social’s easy-to-use content creation and management tools simplifies the management and maintenance of the Our Food Future platform.
A Management Dashboard also gives Our Food Future a clear and complete overview of the site content and community activities.
“The transition to the Open Social platform has been simple. It’s easy to create and adjust the homepage to meet our changing needs allowing us to highlight our latest project or draw attention to an area of work that could use community support. For the end user, the overall look is clean, modern and attractive.”
– Alison Springate, Strategic Communications and Program Advisor for City of Guelph
Our Food Future built a town square where stakeholders can connect and start having conversations around sustainable food industries and practices.
With the large amount of different stakeholders on the platform, flexible groups offer an opportunity to create dedicated spaces for different members:
- Members can join public groups to get acquainted with new food-related projects or topics
- Secret groups are used for closed conversations where researchers and nutritionists can have focused conversations
Our Food Future lets the community take ownership of the spaces and interact, collaborate and build community organically:
- Potluck allows members to share how they are contributing to the circular food economy
- Workstream Groups allow members to collaborate with organizations on three central workstreams
- Challenges allow members to pitch Food Future ideas or support community projects.
- Discussions provide a space to share news, blogs and start conversations with food leaders across the region.
Letting the community take ownership of the platform creates a richer experience for all members.
With an online community, Our Food Future can launch community challenges and driving real impact.
Using Open Social’s Crowd Innovation extension, Our Food Future hosts online community Challenges. These challenges allow:
- Community members to submit ideas for thematic projects
- Generate conversation and idea-sharing
- Members to vote on and promote new initatives
- Create new streams of funding procurement for organizations and businesses
- Allow small and large initiatives to get public and institutional support
Challenges give members a chance to directly contribute and help get important projects realized.
Reaching beyond Guelph-Wellington
The problem of food waste and lack of sustainability in the food industry is a global issue.
Having an internationally accessible and open online platform allows Our Food Future to involve international stakeholders and organizations in its mission.
An internationally accessible and open platform also allows organizations across the world to get inspired by Our Food Future and replicate it in other countries.
“For this to last and make an impact, we need a much broader community. It needs to go beyond just us. It needs to be a movement. And that is what really brought us to Open Social as a platform.”
– David Messer, Manager, Circular Opportunity Innovation Network at the City of Guelph
Our Food Future Milestones
The City of Guelph receives a government grant to start Our Food Future and create Canada’s first circular food economy.
Our Food Future migrates to Open Social and launches their new online community.
Our Food Future uses Challenges to facilitate the Transformative Urban Agriculture Challenge and award $70, 000 to support initiatives that contribute to circular economic recovery and accelerate food production.
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