EPI and Grenfell Faculty and Students attend Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation Conference, 2017 in Nelson, BC

Students and faculty of the Environmental Policy Institute and Grenfell Campus participated in the 29th annual Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation Conference. Organised by the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation, the conference was co-hosted by Selkirk College’s Applied Research and Innovation Centre in Nelson, British Columbia September 19-23, 2017. Faculty members, Dr. Kelly Vodden (AVP, Research and Graduate Studies) and Jacqueline Walsh (Business Program); MA candidates, Mohammed Nazrul Islam, Leanna Butters, Abdul-Rahim Abdulai, Vincent Chireh, Ayotunde Omosule, as well as Interdisciplinary Ph.D. candidates, Brennan Lowery and Sarah Minnes were all present for the three-day event. Student participation was generously supported by the Rural Policy Learning Commons (http://rplc-capr.ca/), EPI and Dr. Kelly Vodden.

Dr. Kelly Vodden (middle) with EPI students Leanna, Abdul-Rahim, Vincent, Nazrul, Brennan and Ayotunde (left to right)

The conference, named “Different by Design – Exploring Innovation for Rural Prosperity” focused on exploring the potentials and “many possibilities that exist in rural places” was organized around four themes: Workforces of Tomorrow, Our Changing Environment, Creating Connections, and Communities of Opportunity, which are important development agendas. These cross-cutting themes attracted both local and international participants. The conference also had a unique structure, with a blend of participation of rural development scholars as well as practitioners. This culminated in an exciting and engaging conference which saw oral and poster presentations, panel and capacity building sessions, which the crew from Grenfell actively took part in.

Dr. Kelly Vodden and Leanna Butters were key panellists and organizers of a two-part panel discussion (Dependency at a Distance: Implications of Workforce Mobility for Community Resilience), highlighting issues around Employment-Related Geographical Mobility, which forms part of a current project by Dr. Kelly Vodden and other researchers. The session was webcast and will be available on the RPLC (http://rplc-capr.ca/) and the On-the-Move (http://www.onthemovepartnership.ca/) websites

Sarah Minnes, a CRRF Board member, was an organizer of the conference and presented in the session Rural Governance Team-Network: Join the Movement! There were also oral presentations by Brennan Lowery and Abdul-Rahim Abdulai. The former presented on The Use of Sustainability Indicators in Governance Decision Making, while the latter focused on Community-Based Food Security Interventions and Their Manifestations in Newfoundland and Labrador. Also, posters were presented by Dr. Jacqueline Walsh (in conjunction with PhD candidate and co-author Ken Carter) – Mapping the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in a Peripheral Region of Newfoundland; Vincent Chireh – Regional Approaches to Drinking Water Management: Implications for Rural Newfoundland and Labrador; Mohammed Nazrul Islam – Nature of Comanagement in Communityowned Renewable Energy Project: A Comparison between Canada and EU countries; and Ayotunde Omosule – Water Insecurity in Canadian Indigenous Communities.

In all, it was a successful conference as all participants from the Environmental Policy Institute and Grenfell Campus expressed their delight for being a part of such a conference. Participants also expressed willingness to participate in future CRRF conferences and look forward to the 30th annual event scheduled for October 2018 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Script by Abdul-Rahim and Vincent

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