top of page
Depositphotos_158753096_XL copy.jpg

The Durham Food System Report Card

What is the Durham Food System Report Card? 

The Durham Food System Report Card is a comprehensive report that uses a Food Sovereignty framework to compile key metrics for success across all sectors of Durham’s local food system.

The aim of the Report Card is to create an accessible overview of the food system in Durham Region—and to provide a baseline for the current state of Durham Region’s food system. This helps advance the regionally endorsed Durham Food Charter, a citizen-defined vision for a just and sustainable local food system founded on strong policy, local agriculture, community partnership, and foundations for health. 

Food Sovereignty Pillars of the Report Card

Pillar #1 – Food is Sacred

Pillar #2 – Food for People

Pillar #3 – Values Food Providers

Pillar #4 – Works with Nature

Pillar #5 – Localizes Food Systems

Pillar #6 – Puts Control Locally

Pillar #7 – Builds Knowledge and Skills

Why a Food System Report Card?

The Durham Food System Report Card may be used to track and promote the health of the Durham Region food system over time by: 

  • reflecting priority action areas 

  • drawing attention to gaps in available data 

  • pointing to areas for further research and examination 

  • informing the development of a food system strategy for Durham Region


The Report Card could be updated in future years to report on progress over time on the implementation of a food system strategy or other collective action related to food justice and sustainability in the region.


Background on the Report Card

The idea of a Food System Report Card for Durham Region emerged in the 2013 Durham Food System Environmental Scan report. The intention was to develop a tool that could be used to monitor progress in action areas that the Scan had identified.  In 2019 DFPC enlisted students from Trent University to research models for a food system report card. DFPC decided that the Report Card would follow the example of other jurisdictions, identifying key indicators that are measurable with available data, and that can be used to track progress on food system planning goals in Durham. 


How We Did the Research

The Report Card’s development was supported by two research partnerships between DFPC and other organizations. Student researchers hired by DFPC with support from Mitacs, Toronto Metropolitan University, Carleton University, the Region of Durham, and The Nourish and Develop Foundation largely focused on gathering Durham food system stakeholders’ input on potential uses of the Report Card. This input was used to develop an appropriate structure for the Report Card and identify indicators and metrics of interest to the local community.

Meanwhile, a researcher hired by DFPC and Feed the Need in Durham undertook a new Durham food system environmental scan, which yielded much of the data and other information presented in the Report Card. Though initially intended to be separate projects, these two research projects ultimately involved a great deal of collaboration and can be viewed as a single research process underlying the Report Card’s development. This research process included:

  • a broad literature review

  • an internet asset scan to identify previously unencountered data sources and assets such as projects, programs, places, or actors that contribute to food sovereignty

  • interviews with representatives from social service organizations, farming, media, and nutrition

  • online events such as a roundtable and symposium for stakeholders with participant discussion

  • an online consultation form for input on the structure and content of the Report Card

  • an online survey on Durham residents’ experiences within the local food system

  • inquiries to specific contacts by email, phone, or video call

bottom of page