Welcome to the Regional Economic Development Branch Blog

Welcome to our blog.

Doug Reddick Director, Regional Economic Development Branch, OMAFRA
Doug Reddick
Director, Regional Economic Development Branch, OMAFRA

We are always looking for ways to better connect with you. Our stakeholders have taken to social media so we thought it is time we did too. This blog is designed to keep you up to date with the latest information on how you can grow your agriculture and economic development initiatives.

I joined the Regional Economic Development Branch (REDB) in January of 2015 and have been tasked with the job of leading a team of passionate and highly knowledgeable economic development specialists and advisors across the province whom are dedicated to helping you develop and advance your plans. The training, information and tools our team can provide are designed to move your economic and agriculture development initiatives in the right direction, driving prosperity in your community.

Prior to arriving here at OMAFRA, I spent 4 years with the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure (MEDEI) where I was focused on helping small and medium sized businesses grow. Many of these businesses reside in rural Ontario where retaining and expanding business was critical to supporting the economic fabric in their regions. Leveraging the experience and connections I gained while with MEDEI will undoubtedly serve me well, and the Regional Economic Development Branch here at OMAFRA too.

Having only been here a short while, I have come to understand and appreciate the hard work the folks at OMAFRA do to ensure we are working to better serve clients across the province every day. Truth in the matter though, we depend on client feedback to ensure we are helping clients where they need it most. If you have suggestions, we want to hear them. If you have concerns, please let us know.  I’m excited at the possibilities that lay ahead. My team has talent, expertise and passion for the work they do. When you succeed, we know we’ve done our job. To reach the advisor in your area, please visit our website.

Enjoy the blog and hope our paths cross in the near future.

Doug

Doug Reddick
Director, Regional Economic Development Branch

Two ways to Explore Value-Added Opportunities

CheeseIn spring of 2015, Regional Economic Development and Business Management Unit of OMAFRA, Harvest Hastings and the Small Business Centre delivered the ‘Starting or Growing your Food Business?‘ two-part series workshop in Stirling. Part one was ‘Exploring Value-Added Opportunities (EVAO)’ and part-two was ‘Market Considerations’. Continue reading Two ways to Explore Value-Added Opportunities

Too Small for Economic Development? 5 Strategies for Teeny Tiny Places.

Hastings downtown streetYou’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.

Two Takeaways for Successful Performance Measurement from PPX

Performance Measures WorkshopI recently had the opportunity to attend the Performance and Planning Exchange (PPX) Symposium in Ottawa, Ontario.  This international centre of excellence provides learning, sharing and the development of expertise in performance and planning – including its measurement, implementation, public reporting and management.  Primarily catering to a federal government audience, it was beneficial to understand the culture of performance measurement that is entrenched and how the use of evidence-based measurement drives federal transfer payments.  I was also interested to learn that the messaging they provide in their results-based management 101 course is very similar to the Regional Economic Development Branch’s Measuring Up! performance measurement resource. Continue reading Two Takeaways for Successful Performance Measurement from PPX

Growing Forward 2: What’s New!

Growing Forward 2 (GF2) offers cost-share funding assistance, free workshops and training for Ontario producers, processors, organizations and collaborations.

What’s New for GF2?Growing Forward 2

This year we’ve made it easier for clients to put together a good project application by making the following changes to the program:

  • Priorities are easily identified in the program guides
  • All projects will be assessed on merit
  • Cost-share funding will be capped depending on the project
  • Some project categories have prerequisites as a required condition before clients can apply
  • Approval of your project is needed before costs can be incurred and paid

New Dates for GF2

GF2 cost-share funding assistance application intakes for producers and processors are:

  • August 10 to August 27, 2015
  • November 16 to December 3, 2015

For more information visit: www.ontario.ca/growingforward2

Ontario Releases First Annual Local Food Report

Ontario has launched its first-ever Local Food Report, which measures the province’s progress in bringing local food to more tables across the provinceLocal Food Report Cover

In 2013, Ontario passed the  Local Food Act, 2013 which aims to increase awareness of local food, nurture local food markets and foster vibrant food-based economies across the province. The Act also commits to an annual report on the province’s local food activities, goals and accomplishments. The first ever Local Food Report highlights some of the actions taken by the province and the agri-food sector to promote and celebrate local food this year, including:

  • Setting food literacy goals to increase the number of Ontarians who know what local foods are available, who know how and where to obtain local foods and who know how to prepare meals made with local food.
  • Providing a tax credit to farmers for making food donations to food banks and student nutrition programs.
  • Piloting  a fundraising initiative that helps the province’s schools to fundraise by selling Ontario-grown fruits and vegetables to families.
  • Distributing more than 800,000 copies of Foodland Ontario’s local food recipe calendar in 2014.

The inaugural report will help the
province track future progress in meeting its local food goals.

Regional Economic Development Branch blog focusing on agriculture and rural economic development for Ontario