Thank You Better Planet Project

The University of Guelph: Changing Lives. Improving Life.

The University of Guelph: Changing Lives. Improving Life.

The University of Guelph‘s Better Planet Project launched several years ago with the goal of raising 200 million dollars; money that would be used to change lives and improve life locally, provincially, nationally, and around the world.

To date the project has raised over $170 million and has helped support countless projects at the University of Guelph. Supported projects have crossed disciplines and have been as diverse as the students, staff, and faculty who call the university home. From saving the Elm Tree, to developing the Barcode of Life DNA project, to preparing a million meals for impoverished nations, the Better Planet Project has already had an immediate and lasting impact around the globe.

Community, Environment, Food, Health, Teaching & Learning – the pillars of The Better Planet Project – go to show that the work that happens at the University of Guelph is more than academic, it is work that drives real-life solutions to the many challenges we face right now.

It’s with this in mind that the Farm To Fork team is proud to acknowledge the support of The Better Planet Project, and the College of Physical and Engineering Sciences (CPES) at the University of Guelph. Of course, their support wouldn’t be possible without donations from alumni and friends who recognize our combined ability to change lives and improve life.

The funding we’ve received through The Better Planet Project and the CPES will be used over the winter semester to support student development of the next stages of the Farm To Fork project – making it easier for donors to provide the foods that are needed, and ensuring that everyone has access to nutritious food.

Thank you University of Guelph, thank you CPES, thank you Better Planet Project, and thank you to the generous alumni and friends who have donated to and believe in the Farm To Fork project. Together we will eliminate food insecurity – in our community and beyond.

If you’d like to know more about the Better Planet Project click here.

If you’d like to contribute to the Farm To Fork project, you can do so through the Better Planet Project (and all donations are tax deductible). Just let us know and we’ll connect you to the awesome people who know more about this sort of thing than we do.

Thank You

Farm To Fork launch party - October 3, 2013

Farm To Fork launch party – October 3, 2013

It finally happened. After more than a year in development the website officially launched on Thursday, October 3. To celebrate, we gathered at Innovation Guelph with community members to enjoy a night of great food and drink (provided by several amazing local vendors). Hosted by co-founders Dr. Daniel Gillis and Danny Williamson, the night began with a welcome by MPP Liz Sandals. Liz, whose history is linked with the University of Guelph‘s School of Computer Science, spoke about the importance of geek power for social justice. This was followed by a keynote presentation by Dr. Ralph Martin, the University of Guelph’s Loblaw Chair in Sustainable Food Production.


The night also included presentations by Linda Hawkins of the Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship, Marg Hedley of the Guelph Wellbeing Initiative, Randalin Ellery of the Seed Community Food Hub, Kate Vsetula of the Guelph-Wellington Food Round Table, Stacey Dunnigan of TasteReal, and Tina Brophey of Community Voices.


Of course, the Farm To Fork project and the launch event couldn’t have happened without the amazing work of a lot of people, the contributions of many local businesses and community members, the students, and the experts in our community who spent countless hours making what it is today. Thank you to everyone who came out to the event. Thank you to those who have already signed up as donors. And thank you to all of the people involved in making tonight possible.


  • To the volunteers: you are amazing. Thank you for stepping up, setting up, picking up, and cleaning up. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to make the launch event the success it was. Without you, the launch could not have happened.
  • To the speakers: your thoughts, reflections, and expertise made the night more than just a launch event; it was an experience. You helped put a face on the problem of food insecurity. You identified how all of us are capable of helping. And you demonstrated that Guelph is on the leading edge of thinking differently.
  • To the local businesses: thank you for all of your support, be that in the form of food, money, or space to work. You truly define the Guelph spirit. Thank you to 39 Carden Street, The Albion Hotel, Alliance Roofing, Atmosphere Café, The Babelfish Bistro, Baker Street Station, Belatech Innovations, The BookShelf, Cassoulet Catering, Chudleigh’s, Clear Path Chiropractic, Evolve Nutrition, The Joint Café, Lunarstorm Technologies, Merbridge Networks, Meridian Credit Union, Planet Bean, Portions, Secret Weapon Media, TasteReal, Wellington Cakes, and The Woolwich Arrow.
  • To the University of Guelph: thank you to the School of Computer Science, and to the College of Physical and Engineering Sciences for supporting this project since it started.
  • To our community partners: thank you for your time, your patience, and your expertise. Guelph has an amazing group of people who are fighting the good fight. Farm To Fork wouldn’t be the project it is without your advice, knowledge, and guidance. Thank you to all of our local emergency food providers, thank you to the Guelph-Wellington Food Round Table, the Food Access Working Group, and the Distribution Working Group. Farm To Fork is what it is because you cared enough to be engaged.
  • To the community: thank you for supporting this project from day one. It really didn’t surprise us that the community embraced the Farm To Fork project. Guelph has always been an engaged and socially conscious community. This is what sets our community apart. This is what makes Guelph amazing.
  • To our students: where to begin? You are absolutely amazing. Thank you for the time and energy you eagerly threw into this project. Thank you for being leaders. Thank you for thinking differently and working towards something for more than just grades. We are infinitely proud of what you have done. Your work will make a huge difference in our community, and around the world.


If you haven’t done so already, become a member of the Farm To Fork project. Sign up by clicking here.

The Big Day Draws Near


In a few short weeks the Farm To Fork team will officially launch the Farm To Fork website. Of course, between now and then we have much to keep us busy. Beyond putting the final touches on the website, there are a lot of other behind the scenes things we need to do.


Regardless, we are happy to announce that the launch event (scheduled for Thursday October 3rd) will include several short talks about food insecurity, a selection of local food, a presentation by Taste Real, and a preview of phase II of the Farm To Fork project. We’re extremely excited, and hope you’ll be able to join us.


Tickets for the event will be made available in the next few days. Stay tuned for an official announcement by the end of the week.


For those of you who have asked, if you weren’t able to donate to the Farm To Fork project during the Microryza fundraising campaign or wish to do so now, you can donate directly through the University of Guelph‘s Alumni website. Just follow the link below, and be sure to fill out the necessary information identifying Farm To Fork as the recipient of your donation. Instructions are provided below.


Twenty-five more days and counting!



Donating to Farm To Fork


Read all of the instructions below before clicking here.


Box 1


  1. In the first drop down box (see box 1 in the image below) labeled Available Programs, scroll to the bottom of the options and select Write-In Option.
  2. Click I prefer to support an area that is not listed above.
  3. In the box labeled Area of Interest write Farm To Fork.
  4. In the box labeled Amount enter your donation amount.
  5. In the box labeled Contact Information write Sonia Mancini and Daniel Gillis.
  6. Under Gift Type click One-time gift (unless you wish to make multiple donations).


Box 2


  1. Once all of the items in Box 1 (above) are filled in, click the Calculate button.


Box 3


  1. Fill in all of the relevant contact information requested in Box 3.


Box 4


  1. Click the Next button to complete your donation.


How to donate to Farm To Fork via the University of Guelph's Better Planet Project

How to donate to Farm To Fork via the University of Guelph’s Better Planet Project

A More Sustainable Food System

Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship

Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship

Guest Post: By Dr. Erin Nelson

Today’s blog post is written by Dr. Erin Nelson. Erin has a PhD in Rural Studies from the University of Guelph, and has worked extensively on issues of food security and rural development in Canada and Latin America. Currently, Erin is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Guelph’s Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship/Research Shop, coordinating its sustainable food system work.

It can sometimes be challenging for a university and its surrounding community to feel connected to each other. The University of Guelph’s Research Shop meets that challenge head on, bringing campus and community together to do research that contributes to positive social change. Research Shop projects cover a wide range of topics related to poverty, social justice, the environment, community health & well-being, and sustainable food systems. Specific research questions are developed in conversation with community partners (such as the Guelph & Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination, Transition Guelph, the Wellington-Guelph Drug Strategy, and the Guelph-Wellington Food Round Table), and projects are carried out collaboratively by graduate student interns (who come from many departments across campus and volunteer for 5 hours/week), Research Shop staff, and partner organizations.

For the past three years, one of the Research Shop’s most active partnerships has been dedicated to the issue of community food security. Working with the Food Round Table’s Food Access Working Group, the Poverty Task Force, and those coalitions’ member agencies, the Research Shop has published reports on emergency food service provision in Guelph-Wellington, eligibility requirements for emergency food access, and service users’ experiences and opinions. Research results have helped clarify some of the food security challenges facing the Guelph-Wellington community, as well as some possible solutions. In particular, results have highlighted the growing momentum for a holistic, social justice-oriented approach to community food security that would include the development of a community food hub.

In the midst of this process of community-based research on food security in Guelph-Wellington, Dr. Dan Gillis and Danny Williamson approached the Research Shop for some advice. They were interested in doing a project that could use Dan’s position as a Computer Science professor and Danny’s marketing expertise to help address a community problem. The trouble was, they weren’t exactly sure what community problems most needed addressing. After a very lively brainstorming session about community priorities with Research Shop Director Linda Hawkins and staff, it was decided that focusing on food security would be a good fit. Specifically, Dan and Danny seemed well-positioned to help tackle one of the shortcomings plaguing local emergency food services – a chronic lack of fresh food in food banks and pantries. The lack of fresh food availability had been identified as an important gap in service by research with emergency food providers. One possible means of reducing that gap had been explored by another Research Shop project, which was done in collaboration with FarmStart and assessed models for increasing connections between farmers and food banks.

Taking that information as a starting point, Dan and Danny decided to focus their efforts on the question of how to get more fresh food to community members who need it by facilitating communication between food growers and emergency food providers. The Research Shop set up a meeting to connect Dan and Danny to the Food Access and Distribution Working Groups of the Guelph-Wellington Food Round Table, who were both eager to play an advisory role on the project. And Farm To Fork was born! In those early days, it would have been almost impossible to predict how much enthusiasm the project would generate. Today, Research Shop staff, students, and community partners who have been involved in food security work in Guelph-Wellington are eagerly anticipating Farm To Fork’s official launch this coming fall, and looking forward to seeing the changes it might bring to the community!