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About Us

About Us

The Sustainable Food Systems project was created in February 2011 through a strategic partnership between the Southwest Economic Alliance (SWEA) and the London Training Centre to conduct research into trends and challenges facing agriculture and food, and to posit a sustainable food system model for Southwestern Ontario. Click here to Meet the Research Team.

The research involving regional stakeholders and global secondary sources was completed in October of 2012. It resulted in an innovative framework (Sustainable Food Cluster/Network) with the potential of creating tens of thousands of permanent, rewarding jobs in the region while maximizing positive economic, environmental and social outcomes. 

The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems was established by SWEA in the fall of 2013 to operationalize the framework through on-going, collaborative discussions and to further SWEA’s economic development focus on agriculture.

The initial planning and implementation team was established in Elgin County in the spring of 2014 to create the first Sustainable Food Cluster.


Southwest Economic Alliance

SWEA was established in 2006 with the mission to build Ontario’s economy in the Southwest through strong regional leadership and cooperation. It is a membership organization of fifteen counties in Southwestern Ontario, their cities and lower tier municipalities.

Supporters believe the region’s businesses, communities, municipalities, and public sector institutions can achieve more by working together than they could ever achieve individually. By developing a highly motivated and organized economic area, our region will be in a better position to seize opportunities, attract private and public investment, improve public policy and strengthen the conditions that generate economic growth and prosperity.

SWEA has formed several working groups focused on key elements necessary to seize economic opportunities such as improved passenger transportation and broadband access. Resolving these types of higher level issues through cooperation, planning and policy development will help support economic development across many sectors including manufacturing, agriculture and tourism.

To further improve the economy of Southwestern Ontario, a permanent research chair in regional economic development is being established. The research chair is a joint initiative of the Southwest Economic Alliance (SWEA) and the Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph. Once endowed, the chair is expected to be a hub for leading information related to economic development in Southwestern Ontario and to be recognized as a champion for development in rural and small urban regions.

For more information on SWEA, please go to