Sustainable Food & Community Development
A strong food movement has emerged in recent years that is building positive community-based food systems. Dr. Alan Warner has been investigating education and community facilitation efforts that can enable citizens to work together to transition to a community food system that promotes sustainability and wellness, relative to the current industrialized system with its detrimental impacts on the health, economy and environment of local communities. Working with students and faculty colleagues, he has designed, implemented and documented a community adult education program called Great Meals for a Change. It involves community members hosting a sustainable meal and a series of interactive activities that help participants reflect on their local food system and purchasing habits, including how they can take steps to becoming more active and sustainable food citizens. This action research has been shared through community, professional and academic presentations and through program descriptions and academic publications.
This work has included several student research projects. Currently Jessica Wall is doing action research to assess the Wolfville Sustainable Food Bucks program in which individuals and families using the Wolfville Food Bank receive food coupons to enable them to purchase food at the Wolfville Farmers Market. This supports both food security and local agriculture. This research is assessing how best to structure such a program in order to make recommendations for a provincial model for Farmers' Markets Nova Scotia. Previously, Jenna Khoury Hanna examined how participatory food costing may bear fruit as an educational process through which consumers can reflect on their purchasing values and habits. IStephanie McGlashan worked with the Our Food Project in Halifax to identify best practices through which community organizations can facilitate positive food environments at the community and policy levels. Alan is on the Advisory Board of the Acadia Farm and the Our Food Project, and is working with students and administrators on campus to facilitate engagement in sustainable food opportunities and choices on campus.