Highlights from the 2021 North & Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference


The North & Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference has officially ended. This year, hundreds of attendees from regions across Ontario attended the virtual conference to learn about topics such as agri-tourism, farming, greenhouse production, and more from experts and small Ontario businesses. Following the theme of local food, two chef-led lunches were hosted to encourage people to support Ontario farmers by purchasing local Ontario produce.

Session 1: “Local Food More Than Ever” – March 10

The first session of the conference focused on the big picture. Diverse speakers discussed lessons learned about our food system’s strengths and vulnerabilities from the COVID-19 crisis, and how we can use this knowledge to create a more resilient local food system. Watch the full Session 1 recording here.

Session 2: “Navigating Agri-Tourism During a Pandemic” – March 17

The second session featured agri-tourism businesses and organizations who spoke about the unique challenges their sector faced and the innovative solutions they made to adapt to the new “normal”. The presentations were followed by a chef-led lunch guiding participants in preparing a French Cassoulet with all local Ontario ingredients. Watch the full Session 2 recording here.

Session 3: “The Resilience of Local Food” – March 24

The third session focused on the resiliency of local food in Ontario. Small family owned farms and online food markets discussed their business models and marketing strategies to better connect with customers in a virtual environment. Watch the full Session 3 recording here.

Session 4: “Innovations in the Local Food Frontier” – March 31

The last session featured informative presentations from specialists in greenhouse production, vertical farming, aquaculture and aquaponics. To conclude, a chef-led lunch was hosted guiding participants in preparing a cedar smoked pickerel with local Ontario ingredients. Watch the full Session 4 recording here.

The conference was hosted by the County of Renfrew, and the Northern Ontario Farm Innovation Alliance in partnership with OMAFRA staff. All four sessions were recorded and presentations can be accessed through the North & Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference Google Drive.


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