Alberta HUB at a Glance
- Member Communities 31
- Area 38,110 km2
- Population 94,758
- Major Projects Value $12.7 billion
- Number of Businesses 3,964
- Key Industries Aerospace, Agriculture, Defence, Energy, Industrial Hemp, Tourism
- Website AlbertaHub.com
Source: Government of Alberta, Alberta HUB
Canadians are fortunate to live in a resource-rich country and have benefited from the forces of economic globalization. But the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically demonstrated the vulnerabilities of our interconnected world, resulting in disruptions to supply chains and shortages of resources and goods, even in regions as abundant as Alberta. Perry Phillips, executive director with Northeast Alberta Information HUB (Alberta HUB), says, “the pandemic has reinforced the responsibility and opportunity that REDAs like Alberta HUB have to identify barriers and support local resources that address this fundamental challenge.”
Alberta HUB is tackling it head on.
In particular, it is addressing food insecurity, which has grown more urgent during the pandemic, by partnering with key regional stakeholders to spearhead a local food initiative. Connect For Food operates on a model of advocacy and engagement that prioritizes community empowerment and enablement to mobilize groups, individuals and businesses to contribute to the local food economy. “On demand fresh produce is perhaps no longer a reasonable expectation, especially beyond the pandemic. Local food is secure food,” says Phillips.
Alberta HUB is also looking beyond its communities to overcome the limitations the pandemic has put on its ability to connect with the world. “Promoting a region or a community’s assets and opportunities from a distance has never been more important,” says Phillips.
In an environment where in-person campaigns are not feasible due to health and safety considerations, and especially when you’re tackling ambitious projects like Connect For Food, the optimization of a digital presence, combined with robust regional collaboration and innovative approaches to resource distribution, is essential. So is a solid commitment to optimizing local investment in Alberta’s own resources. “We need to be the investors we seek,” says Phillips.