December 6, 2023

Food City

The Best Darn Food City Uou Can Get

Funds available to support innovation in food security

Our Food Future provides $50,000 to accelerate local projects designed to improve food access as part of a circular regional food system

Guelph, Ont., May 4, 2022 – Guelph-Wellington’s Our Food Future program is looking for ready-to-implement ideas from the community that will help improve local access to healthy food and support the circular regional food system.

Up to $50,000 is available in Spark Grants funding for small-scale food access initiatives. The deadline to submit an idea is June 3, 2022.

“This is an opportunity for applicants to share a ready-to-implement idea that improves local access to nutritious food using the principles of a circular food system,” says Jonathan McNeice, manager of Our Food Future. “Successful projects will get access to funding and be able to leverage input from community members to help set them up for success.”

Jess Haines, associate professor in the Family Relations and Applied Nutrition department at the University of Guelph and co-chair of the Nutritious Foods Workstream adds, “Most people make around 200 food-related decisions every day from what to eat and where to when and how. Our local food environment—including physical access to food and financial barriers, food preparation skills and nutritional knowledge, and even how food is marketed—shape these decisions.”

Interested individuals, groups or organizations in the City of Guelph or Wellington County should visit the project website before submitting an idea for consideration. Shortlisted projects will be announced on June 17. Full proposals for shortlisted projects are due July 15 and funded projects will be announced by August 15.

Successful submissions will increase economic and physical access to nutritious foods, and support nutrition knowledge and food preparation skills, or the promotion of nutritious options.

As well, community input and ideas will contribute to a far-reaching Guelph-Wellington Food Security and Health Action Plan. This plan, to be released in 2023, will include research and learnings from a Food Equity Summit happening this fall. The summit will explore food access that’s culturally appropriate for people living in Guelph and Wellington County. More details about the event will be released this summer.

Local food assessment finds average household throws away one quarter of edible food purchased

Sparks Grants funding aligns with the release of early findings of the Guelph and Wellington County food environment assessmentThe assessment brings together local data and past research to provide a snapshot of food access in Guelph-Wellington.


  • One in seven Guelph households and one in 10 households in Wellington County identified as food insecure with fewer than one-quarter of them accessing emergency food services despite the study mapping 39 food access programs in the local region.
  • On average, local households throw away 25 per cent of the edible food they buy, nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables.
  • There are far fewer retail choices for consumers to buy nutritious options compared with processed foods that are high in salt, sugar or fat.
  • Eighty per cent of advertising near schools promoted ultra-processed food choices, while in retail environments there are three displays that promote unhealthy foods for every one that promotes nutritious choices.
  • The research identified four townships in Wellington County and six neighbourhoods in Guelph as priority areas for actions to improve access to nutritious foods.

“These findings help us focus work and funding where its needed; these Sparks Grants, aimed at improving access to nutritious food and reducing food waste, are one example. Overall, our collective efforts are creating a circular food economy that is good for the community, social enterprise, and the environment,” says McNeice.

About Our Food Future

Inspired by the planet’s natural cycles, a circular food economy reimagines and regenerates the systems that feed us, eliminating waste, sharing economic prosperity, and nourishing our communities. In Guelph-Wellington, we are working to build a regional circular food economy that will achieve a 50 per cent increase in access to affordable nutritious food, create 50 new circular economy businesses and collaborations, and a 50 per cent increase in circular economic benefit by unlocking the value of waste.

Our Food Future demonstrates one of the ways the City of Guelph and County of Wellington are contributing to a sustainable, creative and smart local economy that is connected to regional and global markets and supports shared prosperity for everyone.


Food Environment Assessment – Highlights Infographic

Media contacts

Jonathan McNeice, Manager, Our Food Future
Smart Cities Office, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
[email protected]

Danny Williamson
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health
1-800-265-7293 ext. 4376
[email protected]