The research investigated emergent trends in rural/agricultural real estate and migration within the Algoma region since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to determine what types of impacts these will have on different facets of the local agri-food sector. It was hypothesized that a combination of factors such as labour shortages, heightened real estate prices, and a sudden increase in demand for local food has been putting unforeseen pressures on the agri-food sector which could create conditions less conducive to capital investment and business expansion.
Perspectives from a variety of stakeholders, including those from the Anabaptist farming community, commodity growers (e.g. cash crops, cattle), food processors, planners from local municipalities and townships, as well as small farms that provide for specialty/niche markets were taken into consideration.
This research shows multiple areas that can be attended to in order to increase the localization of profits, to increase efficiencies in the local agri-food sector, and to thus increase the development and building of a stronger local economy that will also then be more sustainable.
Lauren Moran, David Thompson, and Dr. Laura Wyper
NORDIK Institute was contracted for the Soup Kitchen Community Health Centre project with three deliverables: to complete and submit an application to the Sault Ste. Marie Community Development Corporation (CDC) Local Initiatives Fund (LIF); complete and submit an application to the Ontario Trillium Foundation; and to start a community engagement strategy. The CDC LIF awarded the Soup Kitchen $10,000 based on the strength of the application and the engagement strategy saw the commencement of a pre-feasibility study, as well as the development of organizational by-laws, policies and a comprehensive strategic plan.
The Sault Ste. Marie Public Library and NORDIK Institute collaborated together to determine the Social Return on Investment (SROI) of the Public Library on the City of Sault Ste. Marie. The study demonstrated that the Sault Ste. Marie Public Library branches respond to the neighbourhoods in which they are located and are highly valued by community members, businesses, and service organizations. The research shows that the Sault Ste. Marie Public Library creates almost 100 jobs, generates more than $4.5 million in economic returns to the community through its programs and circulation, and is valued at $603 for every open hour. The Library supported the overall health and well-being of the community through early childhood development; increased literacy; and decreased social isolation for all strata of society.
Dr. Gayle Broad, Amanda Parr, Adela Turda
In summer 2009, the NORDIK Institute approached the Sault Ste. Marie & District Labour Council to conduct a research study on the impacts of Sault Ste. Marie trade unions on the social economy of Sault Ste. Marie. The purpose of the project was to explore the nature and extent of labour’s involvement in the social economy of Sault Ste. Marie, as a way of celebrating and making more visible the major contribution that the labour movement has made to the City of Sault Ste. Marie. Unions are an integral part of the community, and continue to contribute positively to the social economy through their relationships with community groups and organizations, as well as through the activities of their membership. These contributions have transformed leaders in the labour market to act in solidarity with others in the community. Labour’s contributions highlight similar principles to the cooperative movement, which include solidarity, democratic decision-making, skills building, and the prioritization of people before profit.
David Thompson, Dr. Gayle Broad, Arnie Harnish, Al Fraser
The Neighbourhood Resource Centre (NRC) located on Gore Street in Sault Ste. Marie, provides person-centred and accessible services, for a wide variety of needs, and a safe space for socialization. Agencies through the NRC, work collaboratively, respond quickly and create opportunity for connection with community members accessing the Centre. However, The research demonstrated deficits in awareness of the specific services and /agencies attending the NRC and the need to improve deliberate, on-going outreach needs to be improved upon. Perceptions of the police presence was also a concern and community member/business relationships will need more time and effort to improve.
Lauren Doxtater, Dr. Gayle Broad
This report presents the calculation for Sault Ste. Marie’s living wage, determining the 2019 amount to be $16.16 an hour. A living wage is the hourly wage a worker needs to meet their necessary expenses and enjoy a decent standard of living beyond poverty. It is calculated with a consideration of community-specific family expenses and includes basic costs such as food, rent, clothing, childcare and transportation, as well as items such as extended health care, recreation and a modest family vacation. This hourly wage reflects an adequate income for a family of four (two full-time working adults and two children) to cover their reasonable needs and participate socially in their community
Tamanna Rimi, Sean Meades, Jude Ortiz
This evaluation of Sault Ste. Marie’s homelessness initiatives was designed and executed with the goal of bettering the services provided to community members under precarious living conditions. A continuum of care model was used to identify gaps in the delivery of community services to address both crisis and long-term needs of homeless individuals. Recommendations included consistent data collection that reflects service goals and objectives; the establishment of a street-level service outreach; the expansion of the Mobile Support Worker program; the development of more affordable housing; and permanent, ongoing funding to homeless shelters, amongst others. This research provided a glimpse of the strong network of agencies within the City of Sault Ste. Marie which provide support to the homeless population.
Meghan Boston, Dr. Gayle Broad
This action research joined the experiences and opinions of residents, business or and property owners, service providers and other diverse stakeholders towards the building of a vibrant, economically healthy downtown district in Sault Ste. Marie. Over the period of one year, more than 1000 participants, passionate about the future of the city’s downtown core, drew attention to its strengths, potential, and areas for improvement. Among the projects that emerged from this work are the Graffiti Reframed project and the Neighbourhood Resource Centre. Of the many valuable partnerships that contributed to this research, the SSMPS provided the much-needed backbone support to the large-scale change envisioned by the participants in the Downtown Dialogue in Action project. It recommended a series of strategies to strengthen social cohesion, foster a healthy downtown economy, address the needs of “at-risk” neighbourhoods and people, and to increase access to the necessities of life, with oversight by a coordinating committee that brought together all levels of government, civil society and business.
Dr. Gayle Broad, Sean Meades, Tom Green, Dana Chalifoux, Jessica Bolduc
This research profiled Sault Ste. Marie’s low wage earners and the impact of precarious work on their lives. This interactive study revealed many accounts of hardship and near-desperation; it also revealed that people are living courageous lives, full of hope and the determination necessary to support and care for their families and their community. While poverty comes in many forms, it is perhaps least recognizable in the face of the working poor. Self-advocates and supporters are bolstereds by this report’s recommendations for further collaborations and public awareness initiatives to raise the status of the city’s low wage earners.
Dr. Gayle Broad, Steffanie Date
This research evaluated the impact of the Community Corner in Sault Ste. Marie, a family preservation model designed to provide community-based family support programs for at-risk families. NORDIK carried out interviews and focused groups to compile information on user’s and stakeholders’ experiences of this service. These, in addition to a comprehensive literature review, brought forward a better understanding of the strengths, gaps and opportunities for further development for the program. The result of this research makes possible the application of this community partnership model to other neighbourhoods and rural areas. This work also facilitated the development of relationships between service providers, bringing forward opportunities to engage new skills and/or increase their capacities.
Meghan Boston, Dr. Gayle Broad