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How it Works

How it Works

The Framework

Each county develops a Sustainable Food Cluster that grows, processes, aggregates and distributes as many different types of food as possible for consumption within their local food shed. The challenge is that growing conditions have created geographic concentrations of food types; for example, Pork in Perth, Tomatoes in Essex and Livestock in Grey.

To provide a full complement of different types of food in each county, unique and excess, primary and processed foods need to be distributed throughout the Network of Sustainable Food Cluster within Southwestern Ontario.


Institutional and commercial food purchasers want to buy from local sources but are faced with a long list of challenges:

  • Time and resources required to move food from multiple suppliers to multiple purchasers.
  • Lack of basic minimal processing.
  • Consistency of product quantity and quality.
  • Time and cost issues associated with safety and traceability requirements.
  • Seasonality.
  • Packaging needs.
  • Purchasing policies and commercial inventory management and transaction systems.
  • Competitive pricing.

In addition to stakeholder challenges, there are many economic, social and environmental challenges to overcome.

Technical Support Solutions

Based on challenges reported by stakeholders, work has started on solutions:

  • Fully automated end-to-end safety and traceability platform that significantly reduces manual paperwork and increases visibility.
  • Commercial transaction and inventory management platform related to aggregated food distribution systems.
  • Scalable SMART Food DistributionTM platform that optimizes the use of renewable energy and reduces the cost per calorie of food delivered within and between food clusters.
  • Concurrent, alternative currency to keep wealth and prosperity within the region.

Sustainable Food Cluster Network

Sustainable Food Clusters that are networked together, provide new market opportunities for agriculture and food entrepreneurs across Southwestern Ontario.

As Sustainable Food Clusters are created, a collaborative regional team will be established to plan distribution between the Clusters (and beyond the SWO region), and to identify the optimum location and size of regional scale-networked processing/storage facilities as needed.

“Large-scale problems do not require large-scale solutions; they require small-scale solutions within a large-scale framework.” ~ David Fleming