Guelph-Wellington’s a Smart City, as Pitch Passes First Round of Competition

In April, the City of Guelph and Wellington County revealed their submission for the Federal Government’s Smart City Challenge: the creation of the Canada’s first circular food economy. As luck would have it, the selection committee liked what Guelph and Wellington are offering, and now we’re off to round two.

At the Federation of Canadian Municipalities meeting in Halifax this morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the first round of successful pitches for the Smart Cities Challenge. Guelph-Wellington is one of 10 municipalities in our population category to win $250,000, which will be used to further refine the pitch to go for the grand prize of $10 million.

“This is a huge step on our road to becoming Canada’s first circular food economy,” said Mayor Cam Guthrie in a statement. “It’s a testament to the incredible talent and expertise in food and agriculture that exists in our region. I want to thank all the partners who helped us make it to the finals, and I look forward to working together in the months ahead to clinch the $10 million prize. Guelph will then be truly living its motto – the City that makes a difference, locally and globally.”

“Our community has the expertise and experience to create a food economy that is more efficient, more productive, more sustainable and more equitable for everyone,” added Dennis Lever, Warden of Wellington County. “We are eager to solve a complex social problem and the Smart Cities Challenge is a critical element of a solution.”

“I look forward to continuing to champion Guelph-Wellington’s Smart Cities Challenge, which combines our local and regional food expertise in a way that meets the Government of Canada’s goals of sustainability, support for vulnerable people, investing in science, and promotion of Canada as a source for innovation that solves local, national, and global challenges using data and connected technology,” explained Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield. “An already excited and committed group of people will be all the more determined to put a plan together that will be world leading.”

Guelph-Wellington’s pitch for the circular food economy is a three pronged endeavour that combines the cultivation of nutritious food that’s accessible and affordable, with efforts to eliminate or reduce the environmental impact of food waste, and the creation of new collaborations to achieve the two by bringing together business, technology, government and academic leaders.

The vision statement reads: “Guelph/Wellington will become Canada’s first technology-enabled Circular Food Economy, reimagining an inclusive food-secure ecosystem that increases access to affordable, nutritious food by 50 per cent, where “waste” becomes a resource, 50 new circular businesses and collaborations are created, and circular economic revenues are increased by 50 per cent: 50x50x50 by 2025.”

You can read the City’s full award-winning pitch here.

Here’s Prime Minster Trudeau’s announcement via Mayor Guthrie’s YouTube channel:

Here’s Infrastructure Canada’s video announcing the finalists:

And here’s the Guelph Politicast episode with the City of Guelph’s Manager of Policy and Intergovernmental Relations Cathy Kennedy, and Executive Director of Strategy, Innovation and Intergovernmental Services Barbara Swartzentruber, who led Guelph-Wellington’s winning bid:

You can check out the details of the other finalists and their challenges here.

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