As a continuation of a previous blog post on tips to support your business community, this blog offers mental health strategies on navigating through COVID-19. Due to the uncertainty business owners are currently facing, it can be extremely difficult to manage stress levels while working through economic setbacks. Although, there are several significant unknowns, it is important to ensure that mental health and self-care is a top priority for yourself and your business community during these challenging times. It is not uncommon to experience feelings of anxiety, isolation and stress.
Below are some key insights from mental health experts on practicing good self-care for yourself and your employees.
Continue reading Tips for Creating a Calm and Supportive Workplace during COVID-19
On March 5th, 2020, the Agriculture Economic Development and Planning Community of Practice hosted a webinar on planning for agriculture. This webinar fostered a discussion between the audience and the speaker, Dr. Wayne Caldwell, on the impact and opportunities for land use planning and near-urban agriculture. Potential challenges and opportunities were addressed, along with ten methods to create a more viable agricultural sector through planning practices.
As Ontario’s population grows, urbanized and highly populated areas are expanding into agricultural areas. While there are certainly opportunities for agriculture in proximity to urban markets, it can also pose some risks and challenges.
Continue reading Planning for Agriculture Requires Balancing Growth and Compatibility
Businesses in all sectors will be impacted by COVID-19 in some manner. In order to support them effectively, economic developers will need to do some outreach and consultation to assess these impacts and determine the needs of the businesses in their communities.
This will be particularly difficult at this moment, as businesses struggle with various priorities. Here are some tips to connect with your businesses effectively.
Business Retention & Expansion (BR+E) is a concept that can be activated for times of crisis. It is a structured and community-based approach to business and economic development. It helps communities learn about issues facing local businesses and sets priorities to address these needs where possible to help strengthen the economy. It is important to recognize that few communities can do everything they would like to do to support their existing businesses.
Continue reading Effective business outreach during COVID-19
Developing new markets closer to home can add value and cut costs. Beef Farmers in Northern Ontario working with Local Food and Farm Co-op Ontario developed a new brand called Northwest Beef, focused on accomplishing those two objectives and adding value to the agriculture industry of Northwestern Ontario.
With some aid from federal and provincial funding, The Local Food and Farm Co-op was able to bring together beef farmers from Thunder Bay, Rainy River, and Kenora districts to look at producing and marketing beef in a new, innovative way. Consumers in the three districts were surveyed to find out what the determining factors for purchasing beef were. The results provided a basis for the farmers from the Northwest. Collectively, the farmers agreed on a brand, production practices, and a marketing strategy. A co-op of participating farmers from the three districts was formed. Each district has a processing facility for harvesting the animals and storing the meat.
Continue reading Building the Brand Northwest Beef
Business Retention & Expansion (BR+E) is a structured, action-oriented and community-based approach to business and economic development. The data and knowledge obtained from business interviews is used to address issues and opportunities facing employers.
BR+E best practice suggests that interviews should ideally be conducted in-person because face-to-face interactions can offer beneficial results. However, there are some potential challenges to be aware of.
Continue reading Tips for Improving BR+E Business Interviews
UPDATE: SIAL Canada has recently released the following about this event: “SIAL Canada, as an industry leader, has been following the evolution of the COVID-19 crisis very closely. In light of recent developments in the ordinances announced in Quebec, we have decided to postpone the event to August 5-7 at the Palais des Congres.”
SIAL Canada is an annual international food and beverage trade show that offers a complete range of products, equipment and technologies designated specifically for the food industry. This year, SIAL Canada will be held in Montreal, Quebec at the Palais des Congres, on April 15-17, 2020.
SIAL Canada will feature an Ontario pavilion, presented by OMAFRA comprised of Ontario food and beverage processors. There are still limited spots left to exhibit with the Ontario pavilion. With over 25,000 visitors, SIAL Canada is the perfect springboard for your product. Booth spaces are limited and filling up fast! Don’t miss out on this opportunity to meet the industry’s major players!
Why exhibit at SIAL Canada?
- There will be 25,000 visitors from more than 60 countries. Your clients will be there! And if not, you will receive free invitations for your clients as part of your exhibitor package.
- An average of 350 contacts per booth which offers you the opportunity to develop your business around the world.
- Attend exclusive conferences to keep you informed of the biggest market trends, food innovation and growth opportunities.
Continue reading Exhibit with the Ontario Pavilion at SIAL Canada 2020!
Sobeys Ontario held two Local Supplier Partner Roadshows to help their suppliers grow their businesses on February 4th in Ajax and February 5th in Hamilton. Over 372 people from local Ontario agri-food businesses attended each event.
The Local Supplier Partner Roadshows were composed of:
- Presentations by Sheri Evans, Sobeys Local Development Manager who provided an overview of the Sobeys Local program, and;
- Interactive panels who answered questions about working with the Sobeys stores and growing their brands.
Continue reading Sobeys Helps Local Suppliers Expand Their Business
The Restaurants Canada (RC) Show is Canada’s largest annual foodservice and hospitality trade-show held in Toronto, Ontario. The RC Show is dedicated to creating networking and sales opportunities between vendors and buyers within the food service industry. The RC Show is being held on March 1-3 at the Enercare Centre, Toronto starting at 10am.
The show will offer three days of non-stop business-building action including a dynamic trade show floor with seven stages hosting over 150 speakers, six competitions, three leadership conferences and four networking events. With 20,000 industry professionals in attendance, this annual event provides thought leadership and education, boasting 250,000 square feet of the latest product innovation and culinary events designed to inspire and motivate by showcasing cutting-edge products, pioneering influencers and transformative ideas.
Continue reading RESTAURANTS CANADA SHOW 2020
If your community is looking for ways to support your local agriculture sector; plan on attending the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) online Agriculture Economic Development Training.
The course is split into two sessions (April 8, 10am- 12pm and April 22, 10am-12pm). Click here to register.
This interactive training will:
- Share key agriculture economic development concepts
- Introduce the range of agriculture economic development activities your community can explore
- Give you tools to develop a plan for agricultural economic development in your community
- Provide an overview of the Agriculture Economic Development guide and its three stages: plant, grow and harvest.
Continue reading Online Agriculture Economic Development Training
I started 2020 by doing something I never thought I would do: travelling to Spain to learn about agriculture and rural communities. This once-in-a-lifetime learning experience from January 7-18 was a part of the Advanced Agriculture Leadership Program (AALP), offered by the Rural Ontario Institute. AALP is an executive professional development program for those working in careers related to agriculture, food and rural communities.
Our trip began in Madrid, then did a circle around the southern half of the country, hitting eight major cities and several smaller communities along the way. The history, culture, music and architecture were fascinating parts of the trip, but for today, I want to focus on the agriculture.
Continue reading A First-Timer’s Guide to Agriculture in Spain