NouLAB Academy 2015/16

Food Lab –

The Food Lab team brought together community leaders in food security, the National Farmers Union in NB and the Department of Agriculture. We looked at many ways to get more local food in the hands of New Brunswickers and ultimately came to see that we really need an increase in new farmers and food production to make this a reality. Our idea is to launch a good food and farming accelerator by next year, bringing together new farmers and new entrepreneurs who are interested in building a strong local food system for NB. 

Rebuilding Rural NB Lab–

The rural communities our team members work with lack the agency, voice, and resources to address the challenges they face. Our team focused on addressing the issue of rural entrepreneurs who want to work from their land being unable to do so without exploiting and degrading local natural resources, and being unable to take the risk of innovating new approaches to business development that were both environmentally and economically sustainable. Our solution uses our 700 acre farm and forest as both a site of- and platform for rural innovation. Our current and future projects on the property, such as carbon offsetting and the polyculture orchard, are prototypes for rural enterprises that combine environmental sustainability and economic viability.

Newcomer Employment Lab–

The Newcomer Employment Lab team is concentrated on improving the retention of immigrants in New Brunswick by developing innovative pilots that increase labour market attachment and employer/community capacity for integration.

Adult Literacy Lab–

Almost all everyday activities require basic literacy skills, but in the province of New Brunswick the international studies over the past 30 years demonstrate that our adult literacy levels have not improved, to the detriment of our economy, the health of our citizens and our social welfare. This is a complex problem that has not been resolved by tinkering with the education system, and the lack of a learning culture in N.B., compounded by the general attitude that a fundamental basic academic education is not important, are contributing factors to the problem, which, together with the minimal resources devoted to resolving the major issues, are some of the factors to be addressed if we are to enable those thousands of older youth and adults with low literacy levels to become functionally literate citizens. Towards the end of the various NouLAB workshops we confirmed that we would work on a local (south-east New Brunswick region) prototype that would create awareness of the importance of literacy in the lives of all ages so that there will be a greater participation in literacy programs.

Social Housing Lab 

The Housing Lab is changing the way the government manages the supply of social housing. By working more closely with those who have benefited from social housing to help them transition to market housing, families and individuals in greater need can also benefit from social housing as they too make the transition to greater self-reliance.

Policy Approaches to Wellness Lab -

Our Lab was designed to gather diverse opinions and expertise to inform the development of a government action plan. The vision is that the plan will include policies from multiple departments that will contribute to reducing obesity and tobacco use; through the creation of environments that enable all New Brunswickers to be healthy. The work is being led by the Department of Social Development. Through the lab, a strong productive relationship was developed with the Department of Health (Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health) which has led to joint leadership. We also developed strong collaborations with our non-governmental partners such as the NB Food Security Action Network, Healthy Eating / Physical Activity Coalition, and the NB Medical Society.  Since completion of the lab, the partners have continued to collaborate and contribute on the development of the action plan. 

Healthy Aging Lab -

We want to assist communities in unpacking the variables that empower (or disempower) a community to action by creating and offering a readiness assessment tool kit - a prototype that guides communities in understanding their present reality, and assists them in mapping where they want to go by leveraging assets they already have. These will be unique to each community based on historical, socioeconomic and cultural factors. Once these are understood at the local level, communities can begin the process of meeting the most important challenges first, which will go a long way in defining the way residents wish to live and age well in their community. For more  information on the healthy aging lab or to learn about New Brunswick’s Collaborative for Healthy Aging and Care, please visit, or find us on social media CHAC / CVSS or @CHACCVSSNB.