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[lofo List] title + milestones for NSERC SPG
I have some thoughts about the NSERC SPG application, its
title and milestones. If you (who are on the "To:" list of this
message) can see yourself taking on some of these issues (by adapting
them as necessary), please let me know -- I really hope that there is
a way to include you. If you would like to proceed as a co-applicant,
I will need an NSERC CV (Form 100) from you (ideally by April 7).
Everyone is welcome to comment on what I've outlined here. There
are some gaps -- which I hope you will point out. This e-mail is
intended to encourage discussion as well.
I've read a paper called "Civic Agriculture and Community
Problem Solving" by Lyson (from Cornell) in the journal Culture
and Agriculture and his definition of civic agriculture fits well
with what I think can be accomplished in our project:
"Civic agriculture is the embedding of local agricultural
and food production in the community. Unlike conventional
or mainstream agriculture, which is primarily concerned
with producing as much food as possible for the least cost,
civic agriculture eschews the market model in favour of a
more pragmatic approach to food and farming. Civic agriculture
rests on a biological paradigm best described as "ecological"
[...] not so much to increase output or yield as to identify
and moderate production processes that are optimal within a
set of geographical and historical constraints. [...]"
so I propose "Information technology in support of civic agriculture"
as the title for the project. Thoughts?
I see it as fitting in the "Healthy Environment and Ecosystems /
and Modelling of Ecosystems" strategic area.
Here are a few points that I will try to capture for the summary:
- consumers would like to act in a responsible way, but they are
about the quality of information that is available (on the web) - and
what should be prioritized.
- civic agriculture is related to bioregions/ecosystems and sustainable
development must reflect this link.
- need to provide an integrative resource for consumers so that they
can properly assess their choices and this resource needs to work
in a bottom-up fashion. Democratize peoples' access to this
Consumers articulate their values and search on that basis. Where
values do not serve the needs of environment, the system will
- databases will include contributions from community members:
Here are some potential milestones that I have identified (with help
from Tim Maciag):
* identify 1-3 products to include in pilot project. I've said up
to 3 here since we might include 1 crop, 1 livestock, and 1 vegetable
(since vegetables were a part of our discussion on Friday). These
also be value-added products. Choice based on all available
to maximize impact. (But not also maximize work: this is why 1
* collect information and conduct lifecycle impact analysis on chosen
product(s) and competitors in product group(s).
* gather requirements for interface development. Include data
with respect to values, issues related to food purchasing --
safety, and others (fair trade, GHG emissions, humane treatment,
Could employ conjoint analysis and repertory grids.
* collect, create, and integrate GIS data to display bioregions, show
historical production, natural resources, transportation, population
information, etc. Have information available by bioregions, postal
code forward sorting areas, and even rural municipalities. [this
go under the heading of ecosystem modelling]
* food safety/bioregion assessment and monitoring.
* Develop a rating or index system for food products (along the lines of
* develop scalable and extensible database organization, which includes
consideration of query processing speed.
* mining of interactions with directory, indicating industry development
opportunities (for example).
* assess impact of current management practices on level of bioregions,
rural municipalities, (postal code forward sorting areas?) - how well
the land use matches the bioregion [this could go under the
ecosystem management]. Also possible here is a link to adaptation
climate change: how well does management of the ecosystem/bioregion
match climate changes.
* pilot project evaluation with consumers.
* larger scale implementation based on results of pilot evaluation.
* develop models and methods for contribution and review of data. How
integrity of database will be addressed and what interfaces will
this to be taken up by regular folk (wiki interfaces are a bit
for the undecided, I think -- so this needs to be better).
* establishment of health impact assessement framework
* evaluation of policy alternatives (and/or connecting the effect
of policies with ecosystem management/biogregion match). Perhaps
cost analysis attributed to various sources (policy decisions).
* create resource for comparisons in other research.
* evaluation of next stage implementation.
Comments are very welcome.
Daryl H. Hepting, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor * Computer Science Department * CW 308.22
University of Regina * Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada S4S 0A2
email@example.com * http://www.cs.uregina.ca/~hepting
tel: (306) 585-5210 * fax: (306) 585-4745
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