AFC Executive Director Selected for Social Innovation Residency

AFC Executive Director selected to participate in social innovation residency focused on strengthening communities 

Bryanna Kumpula chosen as one of 28 Canadians participating in the Social Innovation Residency at The Banff Centre 

EDMONTON, AB – The Getting to Maybe: Social Innovation Residency program designed to support social entrepreneurs and system leaders. The social innovation residency will connect a diverse group of corporate, government, and community leaders as they look at ways to make communities better places to live. For 28 days this summer, participants will integrate learnings from systems research, the environment, Indigenous knowledge, and the arts on a foundation of social innovation theory.

For the program’s inaugural year 28 participants were recruited into the social innovation residency through a nomination/application process designed to ensure that each cohort is a diverse group of individuals from across Canada. Each participant was asked to submit an innovate project that was ready for significant refinement and development.

“The challenge for the food system is immense and complex. For most people in Alberta a variety of foods are readily available at a reasonable cost, however we tend to choose a diet that is far less balanced and less nutritious than what we need. During this program I have chosen to look at how we change the model of the food and health systems and use a systems perspective to present relationships between agriculture, food, eating, and health.

Led by academic experts in social innovation affiliated with the University of Waterloo and expert faculty and thought leaders from the Peter Lougheed Leadership Institute, the collaboratively designed program brings together the strengths and experience of the University of Waterloo and The Banff Centre across a range of important focus areas.

"Governments, the private sector and the not for profit sector increasingly realize that they need to develop innovators - leaders and entrepreneurs with the skills to identify innovative opportunities in intractable and complex problem areas like the degradation of environmental services, mental health, poverty, the difficulties confronting aboriginal communities and disadvantaged youth among others," said Dr. Frances Westley, J.W. McConnell Chair of Social Innovation and Director of the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience at the University of Waterloo. "These skills are not taught in our universities, and investment in these skills is urgently needed if we are to address 21st century problems. This program will provide that support and hopefully build on the emerging network of system leaders across Canada."

“This is truly an exciting opportunity to learn and apply social innovation theory and techniques to work that I am truly passionate about – agriculture & food,” said Bryanna Kumpula, Executive Director, AFC. “An opportunity exists to ensure that health considerations are incorporated into future agriculture and agri-food policies and initiatives. As well, the food industry has an opportunity to capitalize on accruing economic value from innovative approaches that help address current and future health challenges.”

For more information and to follow Bryanna along this journey at the social innovation residency, visit agfoodcouncil.com/blog.

Organizational Summaries 

AFC is an industry lead non-profit society (est. 1994), comprised of members from across Alberta’s agri-food industry. Acting as a catalyst which encourages growth, sustainability, competiveness and innovation.

Suncor Energy is Canada's leading integrated energy company. Suncor's operations include oil sands development and upgrading, conventional and offshore oil and gas production, petroleum refining, and product marketing under the Petro-Canada brand. A member of Dow Jones Sustainability indexes, FTSE4Good and CDP, Suncor is working to responsibly develop petroleum resources while also growing a renewable energy portfolio. Suncor is listed on the UN Global Compact 100 stock index and the Corporate Knights' Global 100. Suncor's common shares (symbol: SU) are listed on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges.

Suncor Energy and the Suncor Energy Foundation (SEF) have a proud history helping build sustainable communities through collaborative partnerships that enhance the quality of life in key operating areas. Over the past 10 years, Suncor and the SEF have invested more than $137 million in charitable and non profit organizations across Canada and internationally. The SEF is a private, charitable foundation established to receive Suncor's contributions and support registered Canadian charitable organization. For more information about Suncor Energy and our community investment program, please visit our website at suncor.com/community.

The Peter Lougheed Leadership Institute is part of The Peter Lougheed Leadership Initiative, a partnership with the University of Alberta announced in September 2013. Honouring former premier Peter Lougheed, the Initiative will provide students and leaders with an innovative learning experience that enhances their skills and inspires positive change for the future. At The Banff Centre, the Leadership Institute's global summits, interdisciplinary programs and incubation residencies will leverage Banff's creative environment to develop innovative educational, social and business practices.

Supporters of the Institute enable operating, administration and programming components of the Institute. They provide essential working capital in the short term to establish the Institute as well as access for community leaders, and longer term to build for its sustainable impact. The Peter Lougheed Leadership Institute is seeking a number of Founding Supporters and other donors from the private sector to ensure the Institute can realize its potential as a globally renowned facility for greater social change.

At the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience (WISIR), we are committed to generating trans- and inter-disciplinary knowledge about social innovations and the social innovation process (the dynamics of learning, adaptation and resilience). Our approach is to pursue collaborative research and projects that bridge University of Waterloo departments, involve researchers from around the world, and engage those beyond academia. WISIR seeks to mobilize this knowledge through a range of new curriculum offerings and training opportunities focused on building the conceptual and practical skills of social innovators and system leaders - both within and outside of a university setting.