Waterloo Sustainable Development Group (WSDG) Chief Strategic Officer, Ian Chow, and MoU partner Affecting Change Inc, CEO, Sandra Lester, visited Ripple Farms to explore further cooperation in strategic implementation of food security.
Ripple Farms, an aquaponics social enterprise founded by Co-Owner Steven Bourne, focuses on enabling access and strengthening food security for low income families in the Global North and the Global South. The meeting took place on location at Ripple Farm’s aquaponics facility, at Evergreen Brickworks in Toronto. Chow and Lester were given a tour by Bourne, who underlined the importance of creating this self-sustainable food production system, which also reuses recycled materials to reduce other ecological impacts.
Bourne emphasized the need for innovative approaches in addressing global hunger and stressed that through their aquaponics system and unique approach for food access, they aim to contribute to strengthening global food security.
Aquaponics is a technique that combines both aquaculture and hydroponics together. It uses affluent from the fish, which is turned into nitrates through a natural process, to provide nutrients for the plants. This process is organic and produces no externalities of CO2 emissions or run offs as it is in a self contained system.
Such food production systems directly serve UN Sustainable Development Goal number 2, which aims to “End hunger, achieve food security, and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”, in the Global South and the Global North.
At present, conventional agricultural practices and food access have left more than 790 million people worldwide without regular access to adequate amounts of dietary energy. Additionally, nearly 1 in 4 children under the age of 5, an estimated total of 159 million children worldwide, suffer from nutrition-induced stunted growth. This has, as clearly stated out in the Report of the United Nations Secretary-General, “Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals”, produced a need to end “hunger and malnutrition [which] relies heavily on sustainable food production systems and resilient agricultural practices”.
Collaboration between WSDG, Affecting Change, and Ripple Farms can push forward the mandates of the UN by establishing partnerships in target countries for best sustainable agricultural practices that would empower and increase the capacity of local communities. Chow, Lester and Bourne agreed to explore further collaboration in strengthening food security through implementing such innovative food access projects.