A recap: We Are All Foodies No. 1


Thanks to those who joined us at our very first We Are All Foodies gathering on Thursday August 15th. Below is a bit of a recap.

The Conversation

A discussion around our relationship with food can be a broad one - and that it was at WAAFoodies No. 1. While we have been getting to know many of our neighbours in Guelph - we wanted to create some space for Guelphers to gather and discuss what was on their minds when it comes to the relationship we have with food. Some of where the conversation went, mirrored what we have gathered from connecting with Guelphers over the past few months, listening to those who have been willing to share their achievements, concerns, challenges, problems they are looking to solve and what their dreams are for Guelph - and beyond. While, the topics are those that also exist in communities outside of Guelph, we wanted to create space for local perspectives - especially as we are not Guelph natives ourselves (we are newer to the area).

It is important to know that of all that exists within the one ecosystem we share, what relationships/connections people in communities make with their food. And beyond indicators such as where governments are investing, political agendas and what academic research is telling us. But through community engagement and direct human interaction.

Some of the topics that were brought up included:

  • The need, challenges, considerations and risks of food labelling

  • Restaurants and the role they play in education

  • Challenges related to land access, urban development, gentrification

  • Hospital food nutrition and design, past and present

  • The role food guides play, limitations and missing perspectives

  • Public health considerations

  • Profit driven vs. Mission-driven

  • What academia can do to share knowledge towards action

  • Reclaiming what food and “foodies” mean

  • How food ties in to monopolies and commodification

  • Small businesses as activist media

Within 10 minutes in to the conversation, it was made evident that there were many with stories, experiences and insights to share. We may have only gotten through 5 questions - and truthfully, we could have continued the conversation all night. Every piece of insight someone brought up could have been an entirely different discussion on its own. While we weren’t able to bunk up in 10C for the night for an all nighter slumber party, we hope that the couple of hours was enough to activate perspective expansion, investigate new considerations, prompt some action and build connections.

We are deeply inspired by the individuals and communities who are taking action. There are many initiatives that others can learn from. And so, we have some ideas on how to create more opportunities for knowledge transfer at our next WAAFoodies gathering - and to help others gain skills to further contribute to improving food systems in their respective communities.

Who was there?

From nurses, food marketers, community builders, food entrepreneurs, farmers to educators we had a variety of perspectives in the room to reflect more of the ecosystem that exists. We all have blind spots, biases and perspectives shaped by our own experiences, environment, cultures and communities. We have some thoughts on who else we would like to include in these gatherings.

Those who attended also gave us some things to think about when answering a question we asked after our discussion, “Who is missing from these types of conversations / who do we need to hear more from?”:

  • Politicians

  • Restauranteurs

  • Farmers

  • Youth

  • Educators

  • More black people, POCS (people of colour) and indigenous peoples

As we continue to build connections with individuals, communities and organizations from all over the world - it reminds us that we have more that connects us, than divides. And we think food is capable of bringing us all together. In fact, this is not new knowledge. Our ancestors knew this. And so, perhaps this is another reminder of the importance of roots.

What’s next?

It is no surprise that topics on food are emotional, delicate or “touchy”. Food is personal because it connects to everything. Past, present and future - there is not one thing it does not feed in to or is not an output of food - whether we are aware of it or not. As for what we are unaware of - that knowledge gap is precisely something we hope to help close.

We will be hosting WAAFoodies No. 2 in the Fall season and we would love to have you participate. Join our mailing list - if you haven’t done so already to make sure you are made aware. Also, if there is anyone you think more people can really learn from - consider nominating them as a featured guest or educator here.

Until then, here are some things WAAFoodies No. 1 participants shared with one another that you might want to consider:

”What resources would you like to share with others?”

“ Something I can commit to doing is…”

  • Individually: Eat vegan one day each week, Eat vegetarian until dinnertime, Eat most meals at home, Invite a neighbour for dinner

  • Organizationally: Commit to buying direct from farmers

Special thanks to…

Ivan Wadgymar, Lynn Broughton and Sarah Duignan for helping to get the conversation going - and for demonstrating that there are different ways to tackle challenges in our food systems and to help strengthen our relationship with food. We encourage you all to check out their respective initiatives, Maizal Tortilleria, Taste Detours Food Tours and AnthroDish Podcast.

Everyone who contributed to the discussion.

10C for being our Guelph home. Special shout out to Jordan for helping us with logistics.

Those who volunteered to help everyone feel welcome and to set up/tidy up.

The DIG Team


About We Are All Foodies

We Are All Foodies is one of the ways DIG is calling in individuals, communities and organizations to share, learn, and improve our relationship with food. We want to create spaces where those who represent players in the ecosystem can contribute to critical discussions that shape our knowledge and innovation within food systems.

Learn more at www.WeAreAllFoodies.com

Carolyn VanComment