Future Food Visions project animates local food locations through audio experiences

GUELPH – The University of Guelph and Guelph-Wellington’s Our Food Future initiative have launched Future Food Visions, a series of nine audio experiences now available to download or stream on Driftscape or at reimaginefood.ca/visions.

These experiences, developed, written, and recorded by University of Guelph theatre students, tell stories about Guelph’s food history and of food insecurity in the Guelph-Wellington community, states an Aug. 8 press release. 

“The stories highlight the excellent work of local food organizations, community groups, and cultural communities helping residents respond to challenges of food access and equity,” the release states.

The project is a collaboration between Our Food Future, 10C, CFRU, the Guelph Community Health Centre, The Arrell Food Institute, the Food System Resiliency Table, and the University of Guelph’s School of English and Theatre Studies.

“We’re always looking for ways to connect artistic work at the university to the broader Guelph community,” says Kimberley McLeod, associate professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies.

“For this project it was great to collaborate with Our Food Future and have members of the local food community come into class, tell their stories, and help students create this series of audio experiences. The results are extremely creative. I hope these experiences will help community members get a different perspective on the local food system we all share,” McLeod adds.

Theatre studies student Meagan Downes commented, “Being a student on this project has been such a rewarding experience. It introduced a whole new way I could share stories. It’s a mode of performance where I feel I can introduce a listener to a place they already know and look at it from a new perspective. That’s the main reason I was so interested in Future Food Visions. I saw it as an opportunity to learn from and hopefully connect with community members and new spaces. I can’t wait for people to experience it!”

Ashlee Cooper, manager of Food Equity and Community Resiliency in the Guelph-Wellington Smart Cities Office notes, “We’ve been working since 2020 to help members of the community learn about the circular food economy that’s growing in Guelph-Wellington, including through our Reimagine Food campaign. Artistic expressions like these audio experiences are an amazing way to do that.”

Anyone with a mobile device can easily scan a QR code posted at identified locations listed on the website, or click a link from the comfort of their own home and learn something new about how others in the community think about food, officials state.

The recordings are best experienced at sites including Downtown Guelph or the University of Guelph. Suggested locations for listening are shared at reimaginefood.ca/visions along with links to the recordings, audio transcripts, and additional resources including children’s activities.

After listening, users are encouraged to share their reactions to the experiences through social media using the hashtag #futurefoodvisions or by email to kimberley.mcleod@uoguelph.ca. 

The project officially launches Aug. 12 at the Guelph Farmers’ Market with a one-day only audio experience from 8am to 1pm.