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How do we feed

9 billion people without degrading

ecosystem services?

The University of Guelph research initiative Food From Thought is an ongoing research program to redefine agriculture for future generations. Through developing more sustainable farming practices, the research done by the Food From Thought research team will help us to better feed a growing population without damaging valuable ecosystem services. 

Working with world-leading researchers from multiple disciplines, the Food From Thought initiative will establish Canada as a global leader in agri-food and sustainability.  

Food From Thought Logo

Food From Thought has three missions ranging from global initiatives to crop-scale: 

To transform agriculture's global 
impact on biodiversity via collaboration with the International Barcode of Life. 
To sustainably intensify local 
To use big data analytics to enhance farm-wide food
and livestock health 
Food From Thought

Research Themes


Food From Thought crop research aims to increase yield, production, and resiliency of agricultural production. Overall efforts are to refine precision agriculture.


In collaboration with Ontario farms, Food From Thought research will lead to solutions for remediation of degraded ecosystems, increased ecosystem health and reduced damage to ecosystems. 

Food Safety

Using big data, Food From Thought will prevent zoonotic disease, enhance livestock health, and prevent illness and death in humans. Ultimately preventing economic loss due to livestock culling and food recalls. 


Using DNA barcoding, Food From Thought will analyze the biodiversity of species and measure agricultural impacts on ecology, evolution and genomics. 


Food From Thought livestock research will lead to improved productivity, reduced environmental impact and increased health and welfare.


To produce more food in an environmentally sustainable manner, Food From Thought brings together departments and colleges from multiple fields to facilitate integrated research.


"We want to increase the capacity, sustainability and safety of food production systems without undermining environmental health, ecosystem services or livestock health and welfare.                                                   - Food From Thought Mission Statement "

Through the integration of agriculture, technology, and big data analytics, Food From Thought will analyze trends in agricultural practices and their resulting impact on biodiversity. Clarifying these relationships  will revolutionize the way future generations will approach both agriculture and ecosystem management.

Aligned with Food From Thoughts mission's, the Ecosystem Services Team is composed of researchers from Guelph and McGill University. The Ecosystem Services team conducts research to better understand how agriculture practices affect biodiversity and ecosystem services.


The Ecosystem Services Team

Dr. John Fryxell is the executive director for the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO) and professor and researcher at the University of Guelph. 


Dr. Fryxell is testing how ecosystems respond to rapid environmental change using experimental ecosystems at BIO.

John Fryxell
Biological Science_DoIB_version2_Full Co
The Team

The Projects

The Projects

Terrestrial Ecosystems

By understanding the impact of farming practices on ecosystem services we will be able to identify the most sustainable farming methods.

Aquatic Ecosystems

By using quantitative data we will be able to better understand how agricultural practices affect water quality and nutrient levels. 



The Ecosystem Services team will test empirically-motivated theory and technologies in controlled laboratory settings.



By combining theory and application, researchers from Guelph University and McGill University are working to understand the relationship between food production and ecosystem services health.  


The Ecosystem Services team has been able to collaborate with local farmers in southern Ontario through the efforts of ALUS Canada. This partnership makes the Ecosystem Service research unique, as it allows new conservation strategies to be tested out in real-world settings on local farms.

ALUS logo with link to ALUS site
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