Fostering Healthy Local Food Systems Garners National Attention for Lakehead
Lakehead University’s Food Security Research Network (FSRN) has been nationally recognized for its dedication to community-service learning.
The FSRN received the 2012 Community Service-Learning (CSL) Award from the The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation – an organization committed to building a more innovative, inclusive, sustainable, and resilient society.
Lakehead’s FSRN is a collective of students, community members, and University faculty and staff committed to creating sustainable food systems in Northwestern Ontario. Since 2004, the FSRN has used community-service learning to get students involved in promoting local food marketing, production, and distribution initiatives that positively impact the social and economic health of Northwestern Ontarians.
learning takes students out of the classroom and allows them to contribute to
their communities in tangible ways. Community members, faculty, and students
learn from each other and work together to strengthen the local food system.
“Community-service learning courses provide opportunities for our students to empower people to grow, harvest, and store their own food,” says Dr. Connie Nelson, FSRN Director, and a Professor of Social Work at Lakehead. “The courses engage students in projects such as marketing studies for a local chicken abattoir and chickpea products, supporting collective kitchens, examining food systems policy issues, promoting boreal food sources, assisting First Nations in food self-sufficiency, and developing social enterprise initiatives like a local blueberry cooperative.”
Dr. Nelson recently returned from the McConnell Foundation’s National Awards Ceremony in Saskatoon where she accepted the $7,500 CSL prize on behalf of the FSRN. The celebration also included the premiere of a video highlighting the FSRN’s projects and achievements.
The money will be used to
fund FSRN social enterprise initiatives in collaboration with community
organizations, not-for-profits, and charities. Nelson says that
immediate needs include a mobile poultry abattoir and storage facilities for
extended access to local foods and processing facilities.
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Media: For more information, please contact Tracey Skehan, Communications Officer, at (807) 343-8372 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for a multidisciplinary teaching approach that emphasizes collaborative learning and independent critical thinking. Over 8,700 students and 1,850 faculty and staff learn and work at campuses located in Orillia, and Thunder Bay, Ontario, which is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. Lakehead University promotes innovative research that supports local and regional socio-economic needs. In Orillia, development continues on building a campus that meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) standards.
Last updated June 04, 2012