OCC Symposium Stimulates Discussion on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Systems

From the presentations, to the student poster competition, to the formal and informal conversations that took place throughout the day, the Ontario Climate Consortium’s 2016 Ontario Climate Symposium on May 5 exceeded all expectations.

Hosted by University of Guelph, the OCC symposium brought together more than 20 expert speakers for a day-long exploration of the issues related to building climate-resilient food systems in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe region. Through keynote presentations, plenary sessions and workshops, stakeholders from a wide variety of backgrounds brought their knowledge to bear on strategies for helping the agricultural sector reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate.

Ontario Climate Consortium 2016 OCC symposium on climate change with Dr. Evan Fraser
Evan Fraser, Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security, University of Guelph, addresses the 2016 Ontario Climate Symposium

As OCC Project Manager Ian McVey sums up: “Our 2016 OCC Symposium clearly communicated the importance of protecting and enhancing remaining farmland in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region, while also highlighting divergent pathways forward for the local agri-food sector: Will we march farther down the path of industrial-scale agriculture, relying on advanced technologies and larger farms to increase production of cash crops such as corn, soy and wheat for the global food market, or will we choose to favour local and regional food systems, and look to diversify production and ownership models?”

OCC has posted a wealth of resources from the symposium to its website, including the speaker presentations and the submissions featured in this year’s student poster competition. The final summary report is slated for publication soon.