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Shaping pathways of “real world” systems change requires BSV to focus its activities on sectorial contexts that require urgent action and for which we have the capability to play a role in catalyzing change. We have identified the agri-food system in Canada as an ideal candidate for our work.

The agri-food system spans diverse supply chains, from meat and fish to dairy, eggs, crops and produce. Each supply chain involves a variety of stakeholders from farmers, processors, distributors, retailers and consumers that operate at local, provincial, national and even international levels. This system has major linkages with critical sustainability challenges:

1. Climate Change

Food production, transportation, processing and storage contribute roughly 16% of total GHG emissions in Canada.

2. Social Inequity

Food insecurity has been highlighted as an increasing concern: based on the latest data from Statistics Canada’s Canadian Income Survey, 5.8 million Canadians, including 1.4 million children, lived in food-insecure households in 2021. Health problems connected to malnutrition are disproportionately affecting the poorest in our country.

3. Biodiversity Loss

With 6.5% of Canada’s land utilized for crops and grazing, agriculture is a major force of biodiversity decline across all classifications of organisms (World Bank 2022). As we tackle inequalities, we also must work towards the development of agri-food systems that are harmonious with nature.


BSV also has deep existing expertise in agri-food. Our scholars have worked in agri-food for many years, across multiple projects, and have developed important partnerships with organizations within and outside Canada.

For the next three years, the Centre will apply systems tools and approaches to analyse the systemic challenges and opportunities of the agri-food sector. As we understand the challenges and opportunities, we will bring a broad set of stakeholders together to innovate solutions. We aim to establish methodologies and a set of tools and approaches that will be subsequently applied to other systems and sectors, such as energy and the built environment.

If you are interested to know more about BSV's work in the agri-food sector, please contact

Project Spotlights

People sitting around circular tables in a classroom

Collaborative innovation for healthy Canadian soil

In Canada, only about 7% of the landmass is suitable for agriculture. This is why Innovation North is deploying their Compass tool to engage stakeholders of all types in improving Ontario's soil health. Collaboration with the University of Guelph resulted in a full-day soil health workshop.

People farming in a field

Regenerative agriculture: transforming farming toward sustainability

Regenerative agriculture is a sustainable approach to farming that focuses on greater harmony between agricultural production, ecosystems, and the climate. An Ivey research project led by Dr. Jury Gualandris – Towards a Climate-Smart Food System – is exploring how Canada can more widely adopt regenerative agriculture. 

Abstract city highlighting a glowing roundabout with nature surrounding

Canadian circular supply networks in the agri-food sector

A groundbreaking research project led by the Centre for Building Sustainable Value’s Circular Economy Lab is exploring the formation of ‘circular clusters’ (mini circular supply networks) and their potential to reduce food waste and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 

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