Regeneration, Reciprocity & Relationships

“While the Western mainstream economy is geared toward monetary transactions as a source of exchange, the Indigenous economy is based on relationship. Indigenous economies are the original sharing economy, the original green economy, regenerative economy, collaborative economy, circular economy, impact economy, and the original gift economy. The Indigenous economy is the original social economy.”

– Dr. Carol Anne Hilton, author Indigenomics

The circular economy is not a new idea. 

Indigenous communities and traditional cultures have sustained societies circular economies over millennia leading with the values of regeneration, reciprocity and sustainability.  Advancing a circular agenda means centring these communities and learning from those original values and practices. 

Food security is a serious public health issue for Indigenous people living in Guelph-Wellington and throughout Canada. Food security challenges faced by Indigenous communities are both unique and poorly understood. Access to land, traditional food acquisition and sharing, as well as community solutions for food systems change are some of the critical issues that need to be addressed to improve food access in a meaningful, sustainable way.  Although Indigenous communities experience widespread marginalization and generational food insecurity, many still find strength to resist colonial structures by restoring cultural traditions and defending Indigenous rights.  

The path toward a circular food economy must be by, with and for Indigenous communities and equity deserving groups. 

Here are some of the Indigenous thinkers that are inspiring us to Reimagine Food differently.

Dr. Carol Anne Hilton

Carol Anne Hilton, MBA is the CEO and founder of the Indigenomics Institute and the Global Center of Indigenomics. She is a dynamic national Indigenous business leader, author, speaker and senior adviser with an international Masters Degree in Business Management (MBA) from the University of Hertfordshire, England. Carol Anne is of Nuu chah nulth descent from the Hesquiaht Nation on Vancouver Island. She is also is an international award winning, best selling author of ‘Indigenomics- Taking A Seat at the Economic Table.’

Gather – film –

Gather is an intimate portrait of the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political and cultural identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide.

Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness – What is Indigenous Science?

This is a fun and accessible podcast unpacking a critical topic.  Indigenous peoples represent about five percent of the world’s population—and sustain nearly 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity. Dr. Jessica Hernandez joins Jonathan to discuss the principles of Indigenous science, Indigenous land stewardship, and what it will take to heal Indigenous landscapes.

Towards Braiding – Elwood Jimmy, Vanessa Andreotti, and Sharon Stein 

This book explores the dynamics of settler-indigenous relations in the Canadian context, and offers elements to consider when an organisation seeks to engage with indigenous communities or individuals. More details, purchase information, and a free download of the book can be found at this link here.

Dr. Robin Wall-Kimmerer

Robin Wall Kimmerer a Potowotomi professor who is known for her scholarship on traditional ecological knowledge, ethnobotany, and moss ecology.  Her book, Braiding Sweetgrass is about the role of Indigenous knowledge as an alternative or complementary approach to Western mainstream scientific methodologies.  It explores reciprocal relationships between humans and the land, with a focus on the role of plants and botany in both Native American and Western traditions. 

Learn more about the Circular Economy

Claire Potter – Welcome to the Circular Economy

Claire Potter is a circular economy designer, researcher, lecturer and author based in Brighton, UK. She teaches Product Design at the University of Sussex, and runs her own award-winning circular economy design studio.  We were super inspired by her approachability and creativity in her book Welcome to the Circular Economy – the next step in sustainable living.  *Note connection to self assessment and booth when necessary.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation –

The backbone of the global circular economy movement, this is a charity committed to creating a circular economy.  They have a range of resources for different audiences and are a great entrypoint to seeing with world with a circular economy lens.

Think like a circular designer

What Design Can Do

What Design Can Do highlights the power of design and creativity to transform society. Money, governments or science can’t solve complex global issues on their own and we need fresh ideas, alternative strategies and provocative thoughts.  

The Biomimicry Institute

Biomimicry Frontiers

Biomimicry looks to nature and natural systems for inspiration, using nature-inspired strategies for improving design. Through adaptation and evolution, nature spends millions of years tinkering its way out of problems, ending up with some mind-boggling innovations. Inefficiency doesn’t last long in nature, and human engineers and designers often look there for solutions to modern problems.  Biomimicry is an inspiring way to reframe how we design our world.

Permaculture Design

Permaculture is the design and maintenance of agriculturally productive systems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It aims to seamlessly integrate the landscape with people providing their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.


ReLondon is an initiative of the City of London, UK.  Their mission is to address the climate emergency via reducing consumption-based emissions – which means we need to reduce waste, increase recycling and improve resource efficiency. Their resources make the case for a massive reduction in emissions by transforming how we make, use and dispose of ‘stuff’ via a global shift to a circular economy.

Love Food Hate Waste

The Love Food Hate Waste started in the UK and has become a world-leading program for preventing food from being wasted. Their resources are accessible and aim to unite, motivate, and inspire citizens to keep food out of the bin and on their plates.  Underpinned by robust research, they work with strategic partners to build and deliver insightful campaigns for eaters in practical, achievable ways.