Creating a ‘Silicon Valley’ for Food in Ontario

University of Guelph’s Dr. Evan Fraser (Left) talks with Real Agriculture’s Bernard Tobin at the recent Farm & Food Care Ontario annual meeting.

Around the globe, agriculture and food systems produce about 2,850 calories per person per day. That’s enough to feed the world explains University of Guelph professor Evan Fraser, but unfortunately we still have 800 million people who are undernourished. Even more perplexing is the fact that we have 2 billion people who struggle with being overweight or obese.

Solving this inequity is one of our greatest challenges, says Fraser but there is hope for change. He believes Canada, and Ontario specifically, is well positioned to lead a future food revolution that could help feed the 9 billion people expected to inhabit the earth by 2050.

Speaking at the recent Farm & Food Care Ontario annual meeting, Fraser explored the global forces that contribute to the world’s food challenge. After his presentation he spoke with Real Agriculture’s Bernard Tobin about the potential for Ontario to become the world leader in creating and managing food production systems.

“Toronto, Guelph, and Waterloo’s innovation corridor has all the ingredients to push the pedal down on this in agriculture. All the bits are here to create a Silicon Valley for food,” says Fraser. He notes that the region is home to the country’s largest food processors and retailers, has access to agricultural leadership from the University of Guelph and also benefits from the computing and technical expertise centred at the University of Waterloo.

“We could be the global leader in digital agri-food technology with investment in infrastructure and some policy cohesion,” says Fraser who has been named director of the newly formed Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph. In the interview he also shares his thoughts on how the Institute will seek to influence agriculture and food research, policy, practice and behaviour.

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