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FSRG talk – The evolution of Canada’s international food assistance policies

October 24, 2018 — 

A joint seminar presented by the Food Systems Research Group & the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences. We invite you to join us and be a part of the discussion

Our fall FSRG research knowledge sharing series continues with the seminar “The Evolution of Canada’s International Food Assistance Policies” by Dr. Ryan Cardwell, Associate Professor of the Department of Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics. Join us Wednesday, October 31 at 3:30 pm (refreshments at 3:00) in the Carolyn Sifton Theatre, 130 Agriculture Building.


According to the International Food Policy Research Institute’s Global Hunger Index, 13% of the world’s population is undernourished. Over the past 13 years, Canadian food assistance expenditures have accounted for an average of 3.6% of Official Development Assistance expenditures (OECD, 2018). Most of these funds are donated to the World Food Programme for use in projects targeted at improving food security. Winnipeg’s Canadian Foodgrains Bank also receives a matching grant of up to $25 million per year.  Canada’s food assistance contributions complement existing food security programs, including projects to improve agricultural productivity and to reduce the incidence of micronutrient deficiencies.

Dr. Ryan Cardwell will discuss international food assistance policies, focusing on a major shift in Canadian food assistance policy. Prior to 2005, the Canadian government required that cereal food aid be procured from Canadian sources. This restriction was relaxed in two stages, in 2005 and in 2008, allowing food-assistance practitioners flexibility in where cereal food assistance is procured. Dr. Cardwell will discuss how the untying of food assistance can affect the efficiency and effectiveness of international food assistance. He will present results from his current research that estimates how the transition to untied aid has affected Canadian food assistance shipments.


Dr. Cardwell’s interest in Canadian food aid policies began as a PhD student, when his supervisor was contacted by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank during their lobbying efforts to untie Canadian food assistance. Today as an Associate Professor, his research focuses on international trade policy, development economics, and food policy. He is affiliated with multiple professional and research organizations including the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society, Canadian Development Economics Study Group, and International Association of Agricultural Economics.


Each month during the regular session will feature a presentation and discussion on a select research topic, creating an opportunity for our UofM research community to learn from each other about the breadth and diversity of food systems research happening across our campus. The location of the session will vary depending on the host Faculty. 


  • Nov 28 – Shortcuts, mixes, and the transformation of American home baking;  The Pillsbury bake-off and the promotion of convenience foods, 1949-1969 – Sarah Elvins, Associate Professor, History, Faculty of Arts (409 Tier Building)
  • Jan 30 – Organic and ecological agriculture research and teaching at the University: Building on 27 years of exploration – Martin Entz, Professor, Plant Science, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences (130 Agriculture Building)
  • Feb 27 – An offering: Lakota Elders contributions to the future of food security – Mary Kate Dennis, Assistant Professor, Indigenous Knowledges Program (MSW-IK), Faculty of Social Work  (409 Tier Building)
  • Mar 27 – Protecting Canada’s crops using next generation molecular fungicides – Mark Belmonte, Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science (Location TBD)


What is the Food Systems Research Group? The FSRG is an umbrella group fostering creation of multi/trans-disciplinary collaborative research to advance the theme of Safe, Healthy, Just and Sustainable Food Systems.

To receive future notices from the Food Systems Research Group send an email to to join our mailing list.


Sara Poppel is an economics student in her second year, currently helping with communications with the Food Systems Research Group and the National Centre for Livestock and the Environment.


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