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
Planning a 2-day regional local food event is no easy task, especially when it includes:
- three separate culinary tours
- a local food reception, and
- a full day program that with a dozen sessions and thirty-seven speakers
The planning process takes time, an incredibly skilled and committed team, and fantastic host communities.
Luckily, this year’s Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference had all these elements, resulting in an ambitious, inspiring program that was delivered to over 200 attendees. The event took place on November 13 and 14, and was co-hosted by the City of Cornwall and the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. The theme, “Growing Communities Together”, was demonstrated through the program, which included French and English resources, and topics that integrated Canadian-newcomer and Indigenous perspectives. Continue reading Food, fun and friendship at the 2019 Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference
There are thirty-five speakers coming to share their knowledge and passion for local food at the 2019 Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference, November 13-14 in Cornwall.
And I dearly wish that I could tell you about each and every one of them. Because they are incredible. Unfortunately, this blog is not a novel, and I can’t possibly do them justice here. So, I have the horrible task of choosing just a few to tell you about. Here it goes… Continue reading Speaker Line-up You Won’t Want to Miss at the Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference!
The Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference is the premier regional event focused on supporting and celebrating the local food sector. This year local hosts, the City of Cornwall and the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry (SDG), are preparing a phenomenal event to inspire, motivate, and feed you. It takes place on November 13-14 in Cornwall. Continue reading Attend the 2019 Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference!
It seems simple, right? Interview a bunch of businesses, and then do what they told you to do. There! A Business Retention + Expansion (BR+E) project!
BR+E projects are complex, multi-stakeholder efforts with many moving parts. They need a strong foundation, good partnerships and a healthy dose of flexibility.
At the Ontario East Municipal Conference, three economic developers shared their hard-won wisdom about managing a successful Business Retention + Expansion project. All three had recently completed county-wide BR+E projects with various levels of involvement from lower tier partners. Continue reading Zen and the Art of Business Retention and Expansion
In October 2017, I drove to Guelph to attend my first seminar as a participant in Class #17 of the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program. This program, run by the Rural Ontario Institute, is a 19-month executive leadership development experience for people who want to shape the future of agriculture and food industry and make a positive difference in rural communities across Ontario. The curriculum includes a series of eight seminars across the province, a North American Study Tour, and an International Study Tour. Study topics include government and political systems, marketing and economics, environmental impact, national and international trade, communication and organization skills, decision making, consumer and social issues, media relations, agri-food trends and society and globalization and the dynamics of change. Continue reading Advanced Agriculture Leadership Program: An Opportunity Like No Other
Small communities have particular needs and assets when it comes to building strong economies. This was the topic of conversation at the June 28-29 Teeny Tiny Summits, which drew over 200 volunteers, staff, local councillors, and support organizations.
Participants were treated to an inspiring dialogue with keynote speaker Peter Kenyon, a social capitalist and community enthusiast. Over the last four decades, Peter has worked with more than 2000 communities all over the world seeking to facilitate fresh and creative ways that stimulate community and local economic renewal. Continue reading Teeny Tiny Summits Create a Big Impact!
The first-ever “Teeny Tiny Summit” was held on March 30, 2016 in Seeley’s Bay. The summit was dedicated to community economic development in Ontario’s smallest places and was coordinated by the Township of Leeds and 1000 Islands, and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
Teeny Tiny Places have the following characteristics:
- Rural geography
- Villages or hamlets with populations under 1000
- No economic development staff
- No strong drivers of economic growth
- Stable or declining population
Continue reading Three Things We Learned From The Teeny Tiny Summit
You’re a small community in rural Ontario. You have a stable or declining population, no downtown core, no economic development officer and no strong drivers of economic activity. Give up, right? Not so fast…
Economic development is a means to an end goal, which is community well-being. And Teeny Tiny Places can improve community well-being as much as any other place. They simply work on a different scale and with a different toolkit. Continue reading Too Small for Economic Development? 5 Strategies for Teeny Tiny Places.