We’ve Moved!

Food Systems Lab has moved across the country! Our Director of Research and Co-Founder, Dr. Tammara Soma, has joined the School of Resource and Environmental Management (REM) at Simon Fraser University as an Assistant Professor. Over the next year, we will continue our research work in Toronto on food waste reduction and awareness campaigns while planting seeds to start up Food Systems Lab in British Columbia.

News release from Simon Fraser University:

The School of Resource and Environmental Management (REM) is pleased to announce that Dr. Tammara Soma will be joining REM on December 1, 2018 as Assistant Professor in Planning. Dr. Soma holds a Ph.D. in Planning (2018) from the University of Toronto. She is currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto, a Research Fellow at the University of Guelph, the Co-founder / Director of Research at the Food Systems Lab (a Canadian Social Innovation and Research Lab) and is leading the Food Equity Initiative as a Lecturer with the Department of Equity Studies at New College’s New One Program (University of Toronto). She has published her work in the journals Local EnvironmentBuilt EnvironmentIndonesia (forthcoming), Journal of Agriculture, Food System and Community Development, and in the books Conversations in Food Studies (University of Manitoba Press), and Learning, Food and Sustainability (Palgrave McMillan). She is a co-editor with C. Reynolds, J. Lazell, and C. Spring of the upcoming Routledge Handbook on Food Waste. Beyond academic publications she also writes for the Huffington Post, Policy Options, Alternatives Journal, and is frequently interviewed by media such as the Toronto StarGlobe and Mail, CBCTVO The Agenda and more. Her current research projects are funded by the Weston Foundation “Seeding Food Innovation” grant and she is leading a tri-country team (U.S, Mexico and Canada) on a Commission for Environmental Cooperation project to develop toolkits for youth engagement in food loss and food waste reduction. She is a 2014 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Doctoral Scholar, a Joseph Armand Bombardier SSHRC CGS Doctoral Fellow, an International Development Research Centre Doctoral Award recipient, and a SSHRC Top 5 Storyteller finalist.

Dr. Soma’s area of research complements REM’s interdisciplinary approach to resource management, and she will bring SFU and REM, new courses and expertise in food systems planning, food waste, waste management, and social justice implications within each of these areas.  In Spring 2019, Dr. Soma will be teaching her first course at SFU, REM 363 Special Topics:  Building Sustainable Food Systems. Stay tuned for more information later in the Fall 2018 semester!

Friends of Champions 12.3

Food Systems Lab is proud to now be an officially part of Friends of Champions 12.3, a network of companies and organizations that are contributing to the worldwide momentum to halve food loss and waste.

Champions 12.3 started after the 2015 United Nations General Assembly adopted a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Target 12.3 under SDG 12 (“ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns”) is to cut in half per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer level, and reducing food losses along production and supply chains (including post-harvest losses) by 2030.

Champions 12.3 is a group of executives who would champion the cause of achieving SDG Target 12.3. As one of the Friends of Champions 12.3, we are showing our support!

We’re at A Food Policy for Canada Summit!

A Food Policy for Canada: Let's build it together


Our own Tammara Soma is representing the Food Systems Lab at the Food Policy for Canada Summit in Ottawa June 22 to 23. June has been quite the adventure, having completed our third workshop and the Closing the Food Loop hackathon this month. In the midst of all of that, we also wrote a discussion paper on policy considerations for food waste reduction based on the findings from our research and workshops.

Closing the Food Loop Challenges

On June 10, Food Systems Lab will be co-hosting Closing the Food Loop, a hackathon to work on innovative solutions to reduce food waste and create a circular food system in the Greater Toronto Area.

We are pleased to announce the challenges for this hackathon that our teams will work on throughout the day. The winning team will receive a $300 cash prize. We also have a $200 second place prize and $100 third place prize.

Tickets are available for $15. Lunch and snacks are included with the ticket price.

New Event: Closing the Food Loop – June 10

Photo by Simon Chen

Food Systems Lab is co-hosting the first ever Open Source Circular Economy Days (OSCEdays) event in Toronto!

Closing the Food Loop is a one-day ideas hackathon to work on innovative solutions to reduce food waste and create a circular food system in the Greater Toronto Area. This event is part of the global OSCEdays community that uses open source resources to create a shift to a sustainable circular economy. Participants will be working on challenges pitched by a range of start-up businesses, entrepreneurs, national associations, and others. Using transparent, open source methods, we will generate and test new ideas, prototypes, products, and designs.

Early bird tickets (before May 15) are only $10 and include lunch/snacks!

Date: Saturday June 10, 2017
Time: 9am to 5:30pm
Location: Sidney Smith Hall, 100 Saint George St, University of Toronto Room 5017
Website: goal12.org/oscedaysto

Food Systems Lab at the North American Workshop on Food Waste Reduction and Recovery

On February 28, the Food Systems Lab had a secret mission to complete at the North American Workshop on Food Waste Reduction and Recovery: audit the food waste from lunch. We succeeded.

The solid food waste that we found from plate scrapings at lunch. Photo by Tammara Soma.
The waste audit results. Most of the waste was actually liquids (tea, coffee, juice). We also didn’t weigh the food that was left behind on the buffet table, since we don’t know how much is saved, reused or donated.

Following our secret mission, we presented the results  of the waste audit and introduced the Food Systems Lab to more than 80 workshop participants from across North America. It was the last presentation of the day, and Tammara (with her boundless energy) filled the room with excitement and enthusiasm. Download the full presentation PDF.

Tammara Soma speaking to a room full of representatives from Canada, Mexico and the United States about the waste audit and Food Systems Lab. Photo by Belinda Li.