Arrell Food Innovation Awards logoThe Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph has announced the winners of its 2020 Innovation Awards.

Each award recipient has a substantial history of expanding the capacity of their respective communities, work that has become even more critical during the COVID-19 pandemic, said Prof. Evan Fraser, director of the institute.

Established in 2018 and judged by an international adjudication committee, the awards  program recognizes food leaders in two categories: research innovation and community engagement innovation. Each winner will receive $100,000.

The winners are as follows:

Community Engagement Innovation Award – Appetite for Change

Based in north Minneapolis, Minnesota, Appetite for Change uses food to help improve community health and social justice. The organization operates urban farm plots, runs workshops in food skills, trains youth and facilitates networking for activists. The organization focuses on helping community members generate wealth, including providing certified kitchen space for local food entrepreneurs to develop products.

Community Engagement Innovation Award – Community Food Centres Canada

Through 13 centres across Canada, Community Food Centres Canada provides access to healthy meals, teaches food skills and provides culturally appropriate and safe respite for community members. The organization’s affordable produce markets help more people access nutritious food. The organization generates awareness of and encourages action in food security through events like the Big Social, taking place online this year.

Research Innovation Award – Dr. Rattan Lal

Rattan Lal is a leading soil scientist whose extensive published work is used by students around the world. A Distinguished University Professor at Ohio State University, Lal has spent more than 50 years in the field and has worked on six continents. His award-winning research, focused on a soil-centric approach to agricultural sustainability and prosperity, has become even more vital under climate change mitigation and adaptation.

“In a disruptive year, community organizations and innovative researchers have become more vital than ever in not just answering people’s immediate food needs but using their insights to advocate for a system that will better serve everyone,” said Fraser. “The Arrell Food Institute is thrilled to be able to support this important work and amplify the learnings they uncover in the hopes it benefits the food systems we all depend on every day.”

The awards are judged by a global panel of food leaders, including Christine Daugherty, vice-president, global sustainable agriculture and responsible sourcing, PepsiCo; and Maria Andrade, principal scientist of the International Potato Center.

For more information, please visit the Arrell Food Institute online.


Maggie McCormick
Arrell Food Institute