Water is life, water is food, is the theme of this year’s World Food Day, a United Nations annual event that promotes action on the future of food.

With the aim of raising awareness about the profound impact of water in our agri-food systems, University of Guelph and Arrell Food Institute researchers working at the intersection of water and food will help highlight stories of hope and success at the official North American World Food Day 2023 event, to be held Monday, Oct. 16 at Simon Fraser University. 

The event will be streamed to a global audience on YouTube. 

Water is essential to life on Earth and the foundation of our food system. While hundreds of millions of people who rely on aquatic food systems face challenges of pollution and ecosystem degradation, there are still successes to celebrate. 

Partnerships in ocean governance 

Dr. Jennifer Silver
Dr. Jennifer Silver

Dr. Jennifer Silver, professor in the Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics within the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences, will take part in the panel discussion “Cultivating the Connections for Research and Partnership.” She will share how partnerships with communities and organizations active in seafood and ocean governance have shaped her research. 

Silver, who specializes in ocean governance and fisheries management, examines the importance of fishing in coastal and Indigenous communities and looks at how industrial fishing, aquaculture and state-led fisheries management practices impact coastal peoples’ access to marine resources. 

Silver is involved with the Clam Garden Network, a group of people whose goal is to support and accelerate the revitalization of Indigenous shellfish management, harvest and ceremonial practices in the Pacific Northwest. 

She also conducts research that interfaces with Fisheries for Communities and their work to push for fisheries policy reform. 

“Much of the research that I do today is informed by partner insights and experiences,” Silver says, “and this would not be possible without consistent work at cultivating research relationships that are meaningful, balanced and productive for all involved.” 

Intersection of water and agri-food

Four people sit in a row in a test kitchen for a panel discussion
Drs. Evan Fraser, Lawrence Goodridge, Hugh Simpson and Tongzhe Li

Arrell Food Institute director Dr. Evan Fraser will moderate a panel of U of G experts at the intersection of water and agri-food to discuss the latest research and best practices in their fields. 

The panel discussion will be livestreamed from the Anita Stewart Memorial Food Lab in the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics and feature:

  • Dr. Larry Goodridge, director of the Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety and professor in the Ontario Agricultural College’s Department of Food Science, who will discuss research in detecting and treating waterborne pathogens that can impact the food system.
  • Dr Tongzhe Li, professor in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics (FARE) and the inaugural Arrell Family Chair in Behavioural and Experimental Economics, who will share insights from research conducted on consumer preferences toward growing fresh foods using recycled irrigation water.
  • Dr. Hugh Simpson, researcher at the Morwick G360 Groundwater Research Institute, who will discuss private water wells and their importance to local food. Simpson is currently working on a project with U of G researchers to examine the needs of the rural community for guidance about private water wells for agricultural, business and domestic purposes. 

This World Food Day 2023 event is organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, in partnership with: 

  • Food Tank 
  • Driscoll’s 
  • WholeChain 
  • University of British Columbia  
  • Simon Fraser University  

 and in collaboration with:  

  • International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) 
  • U of G and the Arrell Food Institute  
  • Compass Group Canada 

Register on Eventbrite for a virtual ticket to attend the livestream.