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
Continue reading Highlights from the 2021 North & Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference
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.
Continue reading Growing in a COVID-19 World
Predation by wildlife is a year-round problem in rural Ontario with two peak periods in spring and late summer. OMAFRA has developed the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program to help farmers who lose livestock due to wild animals killing or injuring their stock. This resource offers training materials and suggestions for farmers to help discourage wildlife from attacking.
Recently a farmer from northern Ontario demonstrated the effectiveness of a couple of these methods. There was an incident in which a pack of large grey wolves were attacking beef cattle on the farm. The producer had contracted a trapper but the attacks continued. The farmer called an OMAFRA advisor asking for help. The advisor suggested using a combination of flashing lights and noise to discourage the wolves as demonstrated in the video below.
Continue reading Methods to Reduce Predation in Ontario
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