U of G Food Institute Gets Funding Boost

May 06, 2013 - News Release

Two new donations worth $700,000 will help a new University of Guelph institute tackle the world’s most important food issues through research, innovation and action.

The donations from Longo Brothers Fruit Markets and Darcy and Cathy Rector will support the U of G Food Institute. The gifts were made through the BetterPlanet Project, the University’s $200-million fundraising campaign for teaching and research in food, environment, health and communities.

“We are grateful for these critical foundational and leadership gifts,” said president Alastair Summerlee.

“They will allow Guelph experts from across the disciplines to engage with other bright minds worldwide in addressing our global food challenges.”

Besides being a powerful economic force and cultural symbol, food affects environmental sustainability and consumer health, Summerlee said.

Spanning all seven colleges at U of G, the Food Institute is believed to be the first such group addressing global issues in all aspects of food production, safety and security, as well as the impact of food on culture, economies and the environment.

The new institute will help the University to share its strengths in food education and research with food producers and processors, consumers, non-governmental organizations and other partners locally, nationally and internationally. It will involve faculty experts across campus as well as undergraduate and graduate students.

Longo’s $500,000 gift will establish the Longo’s Food Retail Innovation Fund and help create a research team to study grocery retailing and food service, technology, and health and wellness. The fund will be overseen by the College of Management and Economics.

"This unique opportunity to support new innovation in the food and grocery retail industry is very much in line with our own values of food, family, health and community,” said Anthony Longo of Longo Brother’s Fruit Markets Inc.

“We are very excited to be able to establish this new fund to support the new Food Institute, Guelph’s students, and, ultimately, the betterment of our communities."

A $200,000 contribution from Darcy and Cathy Rector is the first private gift to the Food Institute’s Founder’s Fund.

Darcy Rector is a successful food industry entrepreneur and an “ambassador” for Canadian food production and handling. He founded Rector Foods in Brampton, Ont., in 1978 before selling the company to Kerry (Canada) Inc.

“Cathy and I are excited to be part of a concept with the potential to realize a strong positive impact on our students as well as the Canadian food industry,” he said.

“The Food Institute represents a new way of looking at things – of sharing and collaboration, co-operation and problem-solving between the best minds in science, business and other vantage points.”

The Food Institute will include an international advisory panel to be led by Rob Gordon, dean of Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College.

Its scientific director will be food science professor Rickey Yada, holder of the Canada Research Chair in Food Protein Structure and former scientific director of the Advanced Foods and Materials Network, previously based at U of G.

A business plan under development for the new institute will reflect fiscal challenges facing the University and the higher education system, said Rene Van Acker, OAC’s associate dean (external relations). “It’s important that we establish the institute with a sustainable business plan. It’s intended for the long term.”

About Longo’s
A family-owned Canadian organization, Longo’s first opened its doors in Toronto in 1956 and now operates 21 traditional stores, four small format, “The Market” by Longo’s, and GroceryGateway.com, the leader in online sales of home delivered groceries. Longo’s employs more than 4,600 team members across the GTA .

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, lhunt@uoguelph.ca; or Kevin Gonsalves, Ext. 56982, kgonsalves@uoguelph.ca.

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1