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U of G Food Institute to Promote Innovation, Action

Already recognized as Canada’s “food university,” the University of Guelph has established a new institute to tackle the world’s most important food issues through research, innovation, commercialization and action.

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Already recognized as Canada’s “food university,” the University of Guelph has established a new institute to tackle the world’s most important food issues through research, innovation, commercialization and action. A search will begin this week for an interim executive director.

“We’ve built an international reputation as the place for solving food-related problems,” said U of G president Alastair Summerlee.

“Few places in the world can match our depth of research, training and teaching expertise. We need to apply that knowledge and experience to do more, both nationally and internationally.”

The Food Institute is believed to be the first such group covering global issues in all aspects of food — production, safety, security, and the impact of food on culture, economies and the environment.

The institute connects the University’s strengths in food education and research with industry, food producers and processors, consumers, partners (international, national, local) and non-governmental organizations.

Guelph experts will work with other research institutes around the world, and include faculty and researchers from all seven U of G colleges and graduate and undergraduate students.

“Most people now recognize that food is not just about feeding people,” Summerlee said. “While world hunger is a huge issue, it’s only part of the global food challenge.”

Besides being a powerful economic force and cultural symbol, food raises issues in environmental sustainability and consumer health, he said.

“The Food Institute is a place where all of those issues can be addressed in tandem, with people exchanging ideas, innovations and information.”

The interim executive director will help determine how the institute will be governed, including establishing an international advisory panel to be led by Rob Gordon, dean of Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College.

“Few institutions are as prepared as Guelph to address the food challenges facing the world,” Gordon said.

“For nearly 150 years, we have excelled in research related to food production, processing and delivery. It is a natural evolution for us to take a broader and more inclusive approach by engaging people across the University, across Canada and beyond to create and extend new knowledge and to make a difference.”