David Siegel, director of the Niagara Community Observatory, holds the observatory’s latest policy brief.Brock’s Niagara Community Observatory (NCO) is set to launch its latest policy brief, which looks at issues affecting local food availability in Niagara.Findings from the eight-page brief, “Niagara Food: It’s Nutritious, Delicious, and Available But We’re Not Buying It… Why Not?”, highlight local food distribution and its availability. It also discusses environmental and economic factors.“This brief gives residents ways of being consciously aware of these factors, and ways to access local food,” said David Siegel, NCO director. For example, the Niagara Culinary Trail group suggests not only that eating local allows for interactions between farmers and consumers, but that if Niagara’s 435,000 residents spent just $10 of their grocery budget on local food each week, there would be a $226-million influx into the local economy each year.The brief is available on the Observatory’s website: www.brocku.ca/ncoThe NCO will host a community forum and panel discussion on March 18 to mark the launch of the brief.The panel includes: David Alexander — Councillor, City of Welland Lynn Ogryzlo — food writer, author and culinary activist Terri Donia — project manager, Region of Niagara Integrated Community PlanningThe event will be at the Keefer Mansion in Thorold. For more information, call 905-688-5550 x3481 or email [email protected] The NCO conducts Niagara-specific research so that its findings can be a catalyst for discussion and action on the challenges and opportunities facing the region. The group conducts in-depth academic research and community-oriented analysis on a wide range of local cultural, economic, environmental and social issues.