Sustainable Farming and Food Futures Cluster

The Connecting Communities Toward Food Sovereignty (CCFS) team (PI Sharma) within the Sustainable Farming and Food Futures (SF3) Cluster (joint co-PIs Isaac & Sharma) enables UTSC scholars to collaborate with community organizations and racialized groups to claim food sovereignty: the right of peoples to determine their food systems, and access affordable, tasty, culturally appropriate, and healthy foods, produced sustainably.

CCFS is researching innovative solutions through which local communities can “build back better,” evaluate the impact of those local solutions on sub(urban) resiliency and neighbourhood food security and assess their wide applicability. Our agenda builds on long-nurtured relationships between grassroots communities and academic experts in several fields. Those connections underlay our mission to research local food innovations, support implementation, and study their impact and scalability.

This CCFS team unites academic excellence, social commitment, racial and cultural diversity with members drawn from five UTSC departments, two UTSC labs, two research centres, and several graduate units. Over three years, this team will: (a) support the implementation of innovations regarding food micro-entrepreneurship and community marketplaces, in close collaboration with stakeholders on data-based projects (currently, the Scarborough Food Network, CICS Canada, Vision Quest Events Management/Scarborough-Courtyard-Toronto Farmers’ Markets, Market City TO, National Zakat Foundation, Coalition for Healthy School Food, and the Economic Development & Culture Division/City of Toronto ); and (b) assess the social, political, cultural, economic and technical dynamics of systemic neighbourhood actions undertaken to enhance health equity and healthy food access.

This CCFS team will also liaise with the regional, national and international stakeholders linked to these connected, funded projects (Sharma PI, unless listed otherwise).

SSHRC Connection Grant: Connecting and Building the Capacity of Rural to Urban Food Sovereignty Organizations in Ghana (2023-2024) (Sharma Co-PI with Vercillo PI) – International.

SSHRC Connection Grant: Voices from the Food Frontlines (2022-2023) – Regional & International – GTA, New York, Manchester.

SSHRC Insight Development Grant: Urban Food Security in a Global Marketplace: Tracking produce supply chains to assess food security and food equity in Toronto and region (2021-2023) (Sharma co-PI, with PI Elton/Food Health Ecosystems Lab/X University) – Regional & Diasporic.

SSHRC Partnership Development Grant: Resilient Urban Communities & Local Food Systems beyond COVID-19: Developing Knowledge Partnerships Through & Beyond the Pandemic (2021-2024) – Regional & International – Canada, Egypt, Ghana, India, Sri Lanka, UK, USA (city networks include Cairo, Chennai, Delhi, Los Angeles, Manchester, New York, Peterborough, Scarborough, Tamale, Toronto, Thunder Bay, and Twin Cities)

UTSC Working Groups: Examining Urban Food Sustainability: COVID-19 Pandemic & Beyond (2021-2022) – Local.

UofT-Manchester Collaboration: Urban Food Security and Sustainability in Times of Crisis (and Beyond) (2021-April 2022) – International.

TCAI/ Connaught: Feeding the City: Pandemic & Beyond (2020-April 2022) –Local & Regional.

AHRC/GCRF – UK: Forgotten Food: Culinary Memory, Local Heritage and Lost Agricultural Varieties in India (Sharma/Culinaria Project Partner with University of Sheffield) (2019-Fall 2022) –International.