Municipal Agriculture Economic Development and Planning Forum: Navigating Agriculture Economies


On October 4th 2018, OMAFRA and Wellington County held the Municipal Agriculture Economic Development and Planning Forum. The forum was an opportunity for those involved in municipal and local economic development or planning to network and share success stories.


Wayne Caldwell, from the University of Guelph, was the  key note speaker presenting on Revitalizing Rural Economic Development.  He outlined the process used to select rural research priorities and demonstrate how we can use this research to enhance our own community work. He also presented several  recent projects pertinent to agriculture economic development and rural Ontario, for example the Enhancing Local Food in Northern Ontario initiative

Attendee’s listened to a panel presentation that focused on Local Economic Development Initiatives – “How are Municipalities Supporting Agriculture and Local Food.” The panelists included:

They discussed how local initiatives develop and evolve and what communities have experienced during the process and the results of these local initiatives.

Three counties then talked about how they are attracting the much needed talent they require for rural economies and communities to thrive. Speakers included:

The panel discussed how the labour shortage is a widespread concern among rural businesses, and how there is work to be done to ensure that communities are welcoming to newcomers, both New Canadians and those moving from other regions.

Following the panel was a session called, Planning + Economic Development: Tips for a Successful Journey. This session involved a discussion on ways to help local entrepreneurs turn their creative ideas into reality through education and collaboration. The audience heard from:

Jackie Fraser, shared her experience with the local food business Fraberts Fresh Food, a family-run local fresh food market. After a working within the non-profit sector, she is now focusing full time on Fraberts Fresh Food and her presentation One Entrepreneur’s Perspective, reflected on her experiences behind the boardroom table and now on the front line of the local food movement.

The last panel presentation was called “Legalizing Cannabis and Emerging Opportunities”, examined cannabis from the perspective of land use planner, an economic developer and educators and operator in the legal cannabis industry. Panelists included:

To view all the presentation decks visit

To view the video from the day visit

0:00:12 Opening Remarks – Crystal Ellis, County of Wellington

Welcome: Warden Dennis Lever, County of Wellington

Welcome: OMAFRA, Regional Economic Development Branch, Director



Keynote Presentation: Revitalizing Rural Economic Development: Wayne Caldwell, University of Guelph


Panel Presentation: Local Economic Development Initiatives. How are Municipalities Supporting Agriculture and Local Food: Christina Mann, Taste Real Guelph Wellington Bonnie Wrightman, Clarington Board of Trade Zach Gable, Haldimand County Philly Markowitz, Grey County
2:25:00 Day One Tour Highlights by Jessica Kelly
2:54:50  Welcoming Newcomers to Rural Communities: Kristin Crane, Huron County Jacinda Rudolph, Grey County and Making Grey Bruce Home Tom Lusis, Wellington County
4:41:00 Planning + Economic Development: Tips for a Successful Journey: Andrew Payne Kelly Maloney, Kawartha Lakes Mat Vaughan, Norfolk County
5:29:00 Running a Local Food Business: Jackie Fraser, Fraberts Fresh Food
6:03:00 Panel Discussion Legalizing Cannabis and Emerging Opportunities: Bonnie Wrightman, Clarington Board of Trade Al Unwin, School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies, Niagara College Joanne Hickey Evans, City of Hamilton Jack Krosinski, Krosinski Enterprises Ltd.
7:13:41 Introduction of Host for 2019 Forum – Leamington, Final Comments and Adjournment



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