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Growing the Agriculture and Food Innovation Ecosystem

Join the Agriculture and Economic Development Community of Practice on May 11 from 10 am – 11:30 am to hear about Ontario’s growing agriculture and food innovation ecosystem including presentations about several provincial and regional innovation initiatives including:

Economic development officers, planners and those involved in community economic development should join in and share how the agriculture and food innovation ecosystems can help your agriculture and food industry.

Ontario’s agriculture and food industries strive to meet an ever-increasing global demand for agricultural products. Ontario agriculture and food innovation projects are evolving and expanding to help people make new business ideas become reality.

Register for this Zoom meeting at: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZArcOigrjgpGNCn-GbheDGA6MmmYql6LR9f After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) have coordinated the Agriculture and Economic Development Community of Practice – a free, online network to bring together economic development and planning professionals across Ontario interested in agricultural issues. The quarterly meeting topics will be based on relevant municipal policies, procedures and programming impacting the agricultural sector.

OMAFRA Business Consultants Can Help You Grow Your Food Processing Business -Meet Marg MacDonald

What is your role in Business Development Branch? 

I’m a Business Development Consultant and the Sector Lead for the Confectionery, Snack and Frozen & Prepared Foods categories. My role is to be a trusted resource for Ontario food processing companies to help them to succeed and grow their business.

What initiatives or projects are you currently working on?

My work engages companies from multinational companies to small firms across a range of topics including supports information and advice for new expansion or equipment investments, making connections and navigating within government and the Ontario food sector and providing advice and supports about opportunities to expand their sales markets. My colleagues and I offer industry and government level insight and provide confidential and complimentary services specific to the need of our clients.

What do you most like about the work you do?

I enjoy working with a such wide range of clients and companies across the province. Ontario is the leading food processing jurisdiction in Canada and there are so many innovative products developed and produced here in Ontario which makes for interesting work.  I appreciate the opportunity to work with food companies to help them achieve their goals.

Professional background or How did you become involved with Business Development?

Before joining OMAFRA I was in the private sector working in agribusiness.  I started out with a large Canadian company as an inside sales person where I was responsible for two production facilities, scheduling, inventory management and export documentation.  I leveraged this experience and co-founded a trading business that brokered ingredients and services in the animal feed and petfood sectors.

What trends are you seeing?  

Trends across multiple sectors are in health and wellness as well as sustainability. Consumers today are well informed and are seeking unique and trusted products as well as clean labels.  They are also concerned about the planet which is driving many manufacturers to address their sourcing practices and environmental footprint.

How has COVID-19 impacted the work you do?

Pre-Covid I spent a lot of time on the road meeting clients in person and touring plants.  Covid has changed that, but it has also opened up a lot of other doors to meet with people “virtually”. Thanks to platforms like MS Teams and Zoom, I can have a meeting with someone across the street or across the globe.  It has also allowed me to work more closely with colleagues across the province.  I can still “drop by their cubicle” virtually.

How do people contact you?

I can be reached via the OMAFRA website or via LinkedIn.

Webinar: Exporting Food and Beverages to the United Arab Emirates for Export-ready Ontario Food and Beverage Manufacturers and Sellers

Join OMAFRA in collaboration with the Canadian Trade Commissioner Services in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for this complimentary webinar on exporting to the UAE for Ontario’s food and beverage suppliers on January 18th, 2022 at 9:30 am to 10:45 am Toronto time.

Ontario’s food and beverage manufacturers who are export ready or thinking of exporting to the UAE will be introduced to consolidators, importers, prominent retailers, and trade commissioners who are involved in the Middle East market.

The UAE represents a growth area for Ontario food exports. Growing expat populations and fast-paced economic development along with shared interests in trade agreements are driving increased demand for high value food and beverage products.

Continue reading Webinar: Exporting Food and Beverages to the United Arab Emirates for Export-ready Ontario Food and Beverage Manufacturers and Sellers

Save the Date: ‘Infection, Prevention and Control’ Webinars

As Ontario continues the fight against COVID-19 and its variants, we are providing valuable information on infection, prevention and control measures to support the agri-food sector.

OMAFRA is hosting a series of province-wide free webinars for producers and food and beverage processors to help them guard against the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

This webinar will provide the latest information on what you need to know as an employer during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants will learn more about:

We have invited experts from Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour and the Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS).

Note:

  • Producers webinar will be held on January 6 and January 18, 2022
  • Food and Beverage Processors webinar will be held on January 11, 2022

To register, please visit: ‘Infection, Prevention and Control’ Webinar.

Register for the webinar today!

Recap: Growing Agri-Tourism Initiatives in Your Community

On August 19, 2021, the Agriculture Economic Development and Planning Community of Practice hosted an online webinar where participants had a chance to learn more about recent agri-tourism research and initiatives across the province.

Two main initiatives discussed in the webinar were:

Continue reading Recap: Growing Agri-Tourism Initiatives in Your Community

Save the Date: Agri-Food Forum 2021 – Innovation and Resiliency in the Agri-Food Sector

On November 3-4, 2021, the 13th annual Municipal Agriculture Economic Development & Planning Forum is taking place! The forum is co-hosted by The Regional Municipality of York and OMAFRA. 

The forum theme is “Innovation and Resiliency in the Agri-Food Sector”. Two half-day sessions will be filled with speakers and panel presentations on enabling innovation and a resilient agri-food system within Ontario and at the local level. Virtual tours of York Region’s agri-food assets, the Holland Marsh growers and York Farm Fresh members will allow participants to explore York Region.

Continue reading Save the Date: Agri-Food Forum 2021 – Innovation and Resiliency in the Agri-Food Sector

Exhibit with the Ontario Pavilion at PLMA Chicago, January 30th – February 1st, 2022!

The Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) is hosting an in-person event in January 2022 for experienced and export-ready food and beverage manufacturers who have an interest in starting or growing their private label products export to the US.

PLMA is a worldwide organization of more than 3,200 manufacturers and marketers of private label products, which includes food and non-food products. The annual PLMA trade show in Chicago is the cornerstone private label show in North America, and historically, more than 1,500 companies from 40 companies exhibit their products, including 25 international pavilions. With 80% of Ontario’s agri-food exports going to the United States in 2020, the US is the largest and most important export market for Ontario.

Continue reading Exhibit with the Ontario Pavilion at PLMA Chicago, January 30th – February 1st, 2022!

Grocery Innovations Canada Show 2021: Live Online

Grocery Innovations Canada’s (GIC) annual food service and hospitality trade event will take place virtually this year from October 26-28, 2021.

The GIC show is a leading industry event connecting the food and beverage retail sector. The event is attended by key decision makers – such as Presidents, Vice Presidents, General Managers, Directors and Buying/Purchasing Managers – that are keen on purchasing new products for their retail shelves.

Continue reading Grocery Innovations Canada Show 2021: Live Online

Webinar: Exporting Food and Beverages to The Philippines

On September 14, 2021, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) in cooperation with Canadian Trade Commissioners Services in the Philippines is hosting a webinar for Ontario’s food and beverage suppliers. The webinar will discuss opportunities to export food and beverage products to the Philippines.

Participating Ontario food and beverage suppliers will learn about pertinent information in exporting to importers and retailers in the Philippines and will also have an opportunity to be introduced to consolidators, importers, prominent retailers, and trade commissioners who are engaged in Southeast Asian markets.

Increasing exports and diversifying export markets is fundamental to the competitiveness and growth of Ontario Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), as well as the overall economic health and growth of the province.

Market opportunities for Ontario include:

  • Growing populations and ongoing urbanization in Southeast Asian markets
  • Increased consumption of higher value food & beverage products because of shared interests on trade agreements
  • The growth of the Philippines’ economy and their rising incomes amongst the growing middle class
  • Ontario’s previous success in exporting to the Philippines, including CAD $50.21 million worth of agri-food and beverage products in 2020
  • The Philippines being a net importer of agri-food products in 2018, with Canada being its thirteenth largest supplier

To learn more and capitalize on these opportunities, register on the event homepage.