Category Archives: Agricultural Development

Registration open – Selling Food to Ontario Training Workshop

Registration is now open for the FREE Selling Food to Ontario Training Workshop, brought to you by collaboration between OMAFRA, York Region, and the Town of Georgina!

Looking to learn more about different sales channels, how they work and how to decide which channel(s) may be best for business? This webinar will help you create new opportunities for your farm or food business by learning how to expand into new markets such as farmers’ markets, restaurants, food service, and food retailers.

This webinar is best suited for farmers, producers, food & beverage start-ups, small food & beverage manufacturers and food business retailers/restaurants.

The webinar will take place on Thursday, November 5th, 2020 (8:45am-12:30pm), and participants will hear from expert speaker on the topics of:

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Register Now – 2020 Virtual Municipal Agriculture, Economic Development & Planning Forum

Registration is now open – select one of the following registration links below to sign up for the Forum

The 12th annual Municipal Agriculture Economic Development & Planning Forum is being hosted virtually by Huron County on November 18-19, 2020. Two half days of sessions will be supplemented with a virtual tour of Huron County and some of its most exciting agricultural and rural projects.

If your portfolio includes rural planning, economic development or any aspect of the agriculture sector – food, farming, ag value chain businesses, workforce attraction, or agricultural innovation you won’t want to miss the 2020 Forum. The Forum will be of interest to municipal economic developers, planners, council members, CAO’s, and supporters of local economic development initiatives. The Forum looks at leading edge collaborations and innovations to grow the ag sector and your community. Two days of sessions cover a wide range of timely topics including:

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Recap: Always in Season Community of Practice Session

On August 20, 2020 the Agriculture Economic Development and Planning Community of Practice webinar highlighted the new Always in Season Toolkit. Participants heard how different communities have introduced initiatives to help strengthen their agri-food sector.

The Always in Season toolkit is designed to help guide communities through potential activities, key performance metrics, funding opportunities, and ways to collaborate to support the agri-food sector. The toolkit is available in both French and English and provides resources for community organizations and municipalities to help them strengthen the role of local food in the community. The toolkit shows users how to:

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Teeny Tiny Summit Goes Virtual! Big Ideas for Small Places: A celebration and Exploration of Small-Town Possibilities

In 2020, Teeny Tiny Summits will be moving to a virtual format featuring a series of three webinars. The virtual Teeny Tiny webinars will shine a light on creative ideas and people in small communities that have made the most of the past few months. The webinar series will be sharing ideas and actions from community leaders in small communities of all kinds for informative and inspiring sessions.

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Stories That Demonstrate Rural Renaissance

The Rural Ontario Institute has created a Rural Rebound sharing platform that showcases encouraging stories and positive examples drawn from across rural Ontario. This online platform offers case studies about creative solutions from community and non profit organizations, businesses, and entrepreneurs. These stories share a common theme of effective leadership and collaboration. The platform is also a source of reliable up-to-date information on local and regional government efforts, funding and grant opportunities, research findings, webinar links and more.

Below are a few great case studies shared on the platform:

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Feeding Your Future – Connecting Ontario’s Agri-Food Workforce: Online Community of Practice Webinar

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) recognizes the unique workforce challenges and opportunities agri-sector employers are faced with. Through Canadian Agricultural Partnership funding, OFA is rapidly developing a support system for agriculture and food employers from field to fork, to feed Ontario’s future. This project will help employers seek qualified candidates for planting, harvesting, processing, marketing, researching, and selling Ontario’s healthy, high-quality food, beverage and agri-products.

Enhancing agri-food workforce readiness along the value chain will help strengthen the Ontario agri-food sector during COVID-19 and beyond. This project will address agri-food labour supply and training challenges through the inclusion of:

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Growing in a COVID-19 World

Guest blog written by Emily Potter, Executive Director, NOFIA

With the current COVID-19 situation changing daily, challenges that farmers were facing prior to the outbreak have escalated, and new challenges are being presented week by week. While the general public are expressing  concerns about the food supply, farmers want the public to know that they will not stop producing safe and healthy food for them to consume. Despite mounting challenges, Ontario’s agriculture and agri-food industry is resilient and innovative.

Industry organizations everywhere have been working hard to provide up-to-date information and create tools to ensure farmers and producers can continue to meet the country’s demand. Whether this be releasing practical tools and information, developing support programs, or working with the government to ensure the supply chain is maintained.

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Young Rural Change Makers Program

page_00017_Rural_Ontario_InstituteThe Rural Ontario Institute has created a Young Rural Change Makers pilot program that invites young adults to develop their community leadership capacity to make a difference in their rural community. This program is open to individuals ages 18-29 that currently reside in rural Ontario.

Up to 30 motivated young adults will be selected by application to join the program. The chosen individuals will participate in a series of developmental training webinars that will foster online connections for a customized, experiential event. This will support them to take action on a challenge/opportunity that they have helped their community to select. Additional personalized coaching will take place, as-needed, either in-person, phone or via email.

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Planning for Agriculture Requires Balancing Growth and Compatibility

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.

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Building the Brand Northwest Beef

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.

NWO+beef+logo+draft+3-03With 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.

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