Economic development


Governments and economic actors are focused on throughput, without much attention to the economic qualities of the output.  This can be found in GDP measures, which often don't distinguish between "good" and "bad" economic activity, those dimensions that contribute to sustainability,  health and equity, and those that do not, and get in the way.  Expenditures on treating preventable illness and conditions, for example, essentially show up as a positive on GDP accounts, while preventing such illnesses would barely register. Similarly, the depletion of biodiversity and natural resources, and activities that accelerate climate change appear as GDP positive. This demonstrates the perverse nature of the account.

“Safe and Just Space” or “Doughnut  Economic” framework (Raworth, K. (2012). Comment A Doughnut for the Anthropocene: humanity ’ s compass in the
604 21st century. Lancet Planet Health, 1(2), e48–e49.; Raworth, 2017) an emerging area of research into meeting human needs for wellbeing with  sustainable resource use (Fanning, A. L., O’Neill, D. W., & Büchs, M. (2020). Provisioning systems for a good life within planetary boundaries. Global Environmental Change, 64, 102135.; Dearing, J. A., Wang, R., Zhang, K., Dyke, J. G., Haberl, H., Hossain, M. S., Langdon, P. G., 459 Lenton, T. M., Raworth, K., Brown, S., Carstensen, J., Cole, M. J., Cornell, S. E., Dawson, 460 T. P., Doncaster, C. P., Eigenbrod, F., Flörke, M., Jeffers, E., Mackay, A. W., … Poppy, G. M. (2014). Safe and just operating spaces for regional social-ecological systems. Global Environmental Change, 28, 227–238. The Doughnut Economic Framework adopted by the City of Amsterdam (Charlton, E. (2020). Here’s why the world’s recovery from COVID-19 could be doughnut shaped. World Economic Forum.

The problems of the import - export economy

Rural community challenges

"Canada’s rural regions (officially defined as being areas with fewer than 1,000 inhabitants and apopulation density below 400 people per square kilometer (1,041 per square mile), and in which 6.3 million Canadians live, making up 18.9 percent of

the national population) (Statistics Canada, 2012a) are undergoing dramatic changes, including low rates of business creation; boom-bust natural resource cycles; out-migration; loss of agricultural land; fewer and more capital-intensive farms; the decline of domestic food production; growing concentration and consolidation in supply, processing, and food retail distribution networks; depressed farm product prices induced by global commodity pricing and trade issues; consumer demand for the cheapest food regardless of its origin or cost or conditions of production; chronic under- and unemployment nationally;"Cameron, G., & Hanavan, L. (2014).

Re-imagining rural cooperation in Atlantic Canada. Journal of Agriculture, Food Syst
ems, and Community Development, 4(3), 29–45.
Regional economic development theory
The demise of local food system infrastructure

Small scale abattoirs have been disappearing resulting in capacity limitations.  SK, for example, has no federally inspected plant since 2010 and there are only a dozen plants for the entire province under provincial inspection programs (Briere, K. 2021. Producers call for processor incentives.  WP July1, p. 46).

Part of this is loss of food processing from cities.

"Regina is surrounded by crops and livestock. We might expect that much of that
food would flow toward the city, however, that is not the case. ... Even if a cow or
pig or bushel of wheat is raised a dozen kilometres from downtown, in order to get
to a Regina table, those agricultural products are usually trucked away from the
city.... A key reason is that food processing plants, once numerous in and around
Regina, have been shut down, with production concentrated in a few very large
plants, mostly in other provinces [or cities].... These ... plant closures have re-
patterned food flows and severed Regina from its surrounding foodshed...."

Darrin Qualman et al., “Environmental Scan: Conventional and Indigenous Food Systems and Gaps in the Regina Area, SK. Regina Community Food Systems Steering Committee, 2013

Redundant trade and coercive and convenient economic relations
The failings of current ED approaches (Michael Shuman)

The beneficiaries and the marginalized in the dominant approach

Farmers and fishers as price takers
The challenges of SME food and fish processors and meeting local needs

Hansen Sterne, R., & van Duren, E. (2019). Supply management and the business activities of Ontario meat processors. Canadian Food Studies / La Revue Canadienne Des études Sur L’alimentation, 6(2), 26–50.

Vulnerabilities related to processing inputs such as carbon dioxide, used for stun guns, fruit and vegetable post-harvest handling, carbonation.  Disrupted by border closings, natural gas price hikes (often a side production from fertilizer manufacturing).

Retail concentration and difficulties for independent retailers
Chain restaurants
Remote, northern and indigenous communities

Legislative, regulatory and programmatic measures that support the import-export economy

The fragmentation of the milk economy
Food safety for export
Whole foods and localization
The dominant innovation approach: superclusters, grant programs and the R&D agenda
Increasing the focus on diversity: SMEs and a wide range of socio-cultural actors in all the sectors (inputs, farming, processing, retail, food service)

Canadian Venture Capital Association and agtech startups in AB and SK.  Provincial RandD spending support. SK ADvnatage Technology Fund, SK Technology Startup Incentive, MB Small Business enture Capital Tax Credit and INNOVation Growth Program


Local currencies and market bucks

Culinary tourism

Optimizing second hand markets

Complexity of modern machinery has helped collapse second hand machinery markets   Other factor is slow dispearance of mid size farmers what were stalwarts of the xecond hand market.  How to keep equipment from being obsolete, how to keep updating the electronics, often the first thing to go.  Alot of expensive orphaned iron. trade every 3-5 years?  That's alot of second hand machinery.  Cycle may be lengthening now. Lyseng, R. 2020. Can farm equipment be sustainable?  Jan. 3 WP p. 31.


Subsidizing restaurant transition - adapt COVID recovery program, cross-compliance

Subsidizing consumer restaurant bills

as done in the UK during COVID, Eat Out to Help Out, covers 50% up to  10 pounds of the bill / customer and generated a 60% increase in bookings when it started from the same period a year earlier. Reimbursements every week to help with cash flow. Some 84000 restaurants had participated.  Government program evaluation?  Waldie, P. 2020. UK program to coer half of restaurant bill proves appetizing. G&M Sept. 3, A5.  How long did it last.  Cost gov about 500 million pounds?

SME grants and investments for marginalized peoples and communities

Stephens, P., Knezevic, I., & Best, L. (2019). Community financing for sustainable food systems. Canadian Food Studies / La Revue Canadienne Des études Sur L’alimentation, 6(3), 60-87.

Mundler, P., & Laughrea, S. (2016). The contributions of short food supply chains to territorial development: A study of three Quebec territories. Journal of Rural Studies, 45, 218–229.


Financing the transition