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Understanding Food Sovereignty and Policy Through a Community Lens: Food Systems in Rural and Indigenous Canada

rplc, rdi, brandon university2pm to 3pm Central Time

The concept of food sovereignty and its connections with diverse rural and Indigenous communities have, until very recently, been underappreciated and unrecognized in government policy. This webinar reviews the concept of food sovereignty and its history, central tenets and contentions. Challenges with institutionalizing food sovereignty are considered, including the challenges in and contributions by diverse rural and Indigenous communities. 

Register for Understanding Food Sovereignty and Policy Through a Community Lens

The current development of A Food Policy for Canada and the case of Nishnawbe Aski Nations are presented as opportunities to apply rural and Indigenous lenses to questions about how principles of food sovereignty might be recognized and supported by public policy. Policy recommendations that reflect food sovereignty principles and rural and Indigenous priorities are suggested with a focus on the need for democratic engagement, attention to place and power, and value driven actions for food providers, people and nature. Finally, action-oriented, community-driven future research related to the articulation, operationalization and measurement of food sovereignty is proposed.

Transitioning to the New Rural Cannabis Economy

rplc, rdi, brandon university2pm to 3pm Central Time

June 19th, 2018 marks a historic day in Canada – it’s when the Senate approved Bill C-45, The Cannabis Act. The act states that recreational cannabis will officially be legal to cultivate, produce, distribute, retail and consume on October 17th 2018. With four months to prepare for legalization, provinces and local governments appear to be scrambling to create policy that aligns with the legal Federal requirements.

Up until now cannabis has played an important, but hidden role in the socioeconomic fabric of southern rural regions of British Columbia. As B.C. rural areas prepare to address the incoming act, there is a recognized challenge posed by the lack of available best practices resulting from the sector’s newly legalized status. There is both a need to understand social implications related to cannabis legalization, and a desire to advance economic opportunities of this emerging industry.

Register for Transitioning to the New Rural Cannabis Economy

Resource-tasked governments who are required to respond to this momentous policy change within tight timelines, and with many unknowns, such as long-term consequences of cannabis legalization, are lacking policy innovation. To date, provinces and local governments are mostly adopting existing policy (such as that for alcohol and tobacco) and applying it to cannabis. This strategy is problematic for a variety of reasons that will be discussed in the webinar. Results from a preliminary data gathering exercise that elicited rural residents’ opinions of legalization will also be shared. 

Ultimately, my research project aims to explore the socioeconomic impacts of legalization, focusing on the challenges and opportunities unique to rural areas of British Columbia

Youth Program Manager

Do you want to work with new and interesting people around the province, learning new skills and put your existing skills to the test? Our client, a co-operative, is looking for an individual to join their team on a permanent basis in Saskatoon Sk. The Program Manager is responsible for delivering youth programs to engage youth in activities and development opportunities that promote and contribute to the sustainability of the co-operative model as a mechanism for community and economic development.

28 Sep 2018

Putting Rural on the Agenda: The Prominence and Priority of Rural Issues and Opportunities in Policy Making

Rural Policy Learning CommonsPanelists from Canada, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom will explore how different jurisdictions bring attention to rural within their policy making processes. Dr. Jackson-Smith will present on the changing symbolic and material importance of ‘rural’ places in governance and policy across different levels of government in the United States. Norman Ragetlie will outline the challenges with rural policy in Ontario, Canada due to a lack of a comprehensive, government-wide strategy with goals and strategic directions which stakeholders and government agencies might monitor together. Professor Sally Shortall will outline findings from her work on rural policy in the United Kingdom. These presentations will be followed by a robust facilitated discussion and question period. This session will be hosted by the Rural Governance Network of the Rural Policy Learning Commons.

Register for Putting Rural on the Agenda


Dr. Douglas Jackson-Smith is a Professor and Assistant Director of the School of Environment and Natural Resources at the Ohio State University in the United States. He is the outgoing president of the Rural Sociological Society. His own research focuses on drivers and impacts of technical and structural change in the food and agricultural system, rural land use change, and interdisciplinary and engaged approaches to improving water sustainability in urban, rural, and agricultural landscapes.

Norman Ragetlie is currently Chief Executive Officer with the Rural Ontario Institute. He served for eight years from 2010 to 2018 as Director of Policy and Stakeholder Engagement with the Institute. In that role he engaged with many types of stakeholder organizations and led collaborative projects and studies on matters relevant to rural communities. From 2000 to 2010 Norm was with the provincial Ministry of Ag. Food and Rural Affairs supporting rural community economic development. In the previous decade Norm was a Senior Policy Analyst with regional municipal government. He began his career in the non-profit sector managing a food cooperative as well as coordinating environmental advocacy campaigns. He holds a Master of Science degree in Rural Planning and Development from the University of Guelph. He has been active in a variety of voluntary roles including Chair of the Ontario Farmland Trust from 2011 to 2017 and with local community projects.

Professor Sally Shortall took up post as the Duke of Northumberland Chair of Rural Economy, Newcastle University in October 2016. She is interested in rural development policy and practice, the role of women on farms and in rural development, social changes in farming practice and the links between evidence and policy.

Building Your Success Formula

Micro Finance Webinar Series7:00pm to 8:00pm

We will explore Dr. Fraser’s work and success in economic development. His work in launching one of the largest entrepreneurial networking initiatives, Frasernet, and how the power of relationship building, and networking can help you take your business to the next level.

Register for Building Your Success Formula

About the Guest Speaker:

Dr. George Fraser is the Chairman and CEO of Fraser Net Inc. He founded almost 30 years ago with a vision to lead a global networking investment company that brings together diverse human resources to increase opportunities for people.

This webinar is facilitated by David Cohen of the David Cohen Group

For more information please contact microfinance at

The Micro Finance Webinar Series is offered through Alterna Savings


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