Agri-Food Innovations Recognized at Award Ceremony in Aurora

The Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence recently recognized some of the province’s most innovative leaders in the sector! We’d like to introduce some of these innovations to you.

On November 9, 2015, a regional event in Aurora showcased the award recipients from in and around the Greater Toronto Area including Haldimand County, Hamilton Region, Muskoka District, Niagara Region, Peel Region, Toronto and York Region.

Aqua Greens – Mississaugaphoto-original

Craig Petten and Pablo Alvarez have transformed their Mississauga-based aquaponics operation from one storey to four, quadrupling production without adding to its carbon footprint. Continue reading Agri-Food Innovations Recognized at Award Ceremony in Aurora

Agri-Food Innovations Recognized at Award Ceremony in Sudbury

The Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence recognizes and celebrates agri-food producers, processors, organizations and rural communities, who through their innovative ideas and projects are helping strengthen our communities, support a sustainable environment, create jobs and boost our economy.

The following are regional award recipients from Algoma, Sudbury and Timiskaming Districts.

Mill Market – Sault Ste. Marie

In many communities, farmers’ markets close up shop when the frost hits, sending the local food movement into hibernation. After all, outdoor stalls lose their appeal in sub-zero temperatures. That’s why organizer’s in Sault Ste. Marie decided to move their market indoors to keep the doors open year-round. A former fish hatchery in the city’s historic canal district was repurposed, and in 2014, the new Mill Market opened. Continue reading Agri-Food Innovations Recognized at Award Ceremony in Sudbury

A Closer Look at the 2015 Municipal Agriculture Economic Development Forum

Topics presented were:

Building a Bio-Industrial Cluster in Southwestern Ontario
One Detroit: Building an Inclusive and Diverse Entrepreneurial Community
Performance Measurement guide for Agriculture & Agri-food Organizations
Golden Horseshoe Food & Farming Alliance Asset Mapping Project
The Closure of the Heinz Plant in Leamington
Getting Results from Social Media
Agriculture as a Local Economic Development Opportunity

The seventh annual Municipal Agriculture Economic Development Forum was recently held in Chatham-Kent. The two-day event provided an opportunity for those involved in agriculture and food-related areas of economic development to network, share successes, and learn more about programs targeted to the sector. More than 70 people from across the province took part in tours that featured agri-tourism destinations, producers, manufacturers, and food processors. They were able to connect with those who have first-hand experience in the industry. Continue reading A Closer Look at the 2015 Municipal Agriculture Economic Development Forum

Staff Profile: Barry Potter, Agriculture Development Advisor

Get to know our staff. We’ll be profiling them here so you can get to know who can help you grow your ideas. Barry Potter

  1. What is your role in the Regional Economic Development Branch?

I cover all of Northern Ontario as an Agriculture Development Advisor with a Livestock specialty. I work with the other advisors in the north, and provincial teams on livestock projects.  I work closely with Daniel Tasse, fellow advisor in New Liskeard to cover general agriculture economic development questions in the districts of Temiskaming and Cochrane. Continue reading Staff Profile: Barry Potter, Agriculture Development Advisor

10 takeaways from EDAC 2015 in Whitehorse

Economic Development happens in a complex and highly competitive environment. When you’re competing for investment, labour, and other resources with literally every other municipality across the globe it can be hard to stand out in a crowded marketplace. Especially, if you’re a small rural community.

EDAC Opening Reception at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre
EDAC Opening Reception at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre

The 2015 Economic Development Association of Canada (EDAC) annual conference was hosted in Whitehorse, YT. For a change it focused on being different ‎and presenters talked about how small communities can leverage their unique assets and regional partnerships to set themselves apart. Speakers such as former Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Joe Clark, marketing specialist Chris Fields, public engagement expert Stephanie Roy McCallum, slam poet Shane Koyczan, and a host of municipal and First Nations dignitaries and staff walked delegates through how to identify unique assets, opportunities, and partnerships to leverage and set a community apart from the competition. Continue reading 10 takeaways from EDAC 2015 in Whitehorse

New Performance Measurement guide for Agriculture & Agri-Food Organizations

A new performance measurement guide has been developed for Agriculture and Agri-Food organizations. The guide takes the reader through a step-by-step process designed to to help organizations develop a performance measurement plan.111

Performance measurement is the ongoing process of collecting, analyzing and reporting results. Performance measurement has a ton of benefits and helps organizations in several different ways. For starters, it helps assess the progress an initiative is making towards a desired outcome or goal. It also helps to foster a culture of continuous improvement within an organization which ultimately leads to more successful initiatives. Finally, measuring performance helps improve efficiency and effectiveness and provide leaders with evidence to communicate success. Continue reading New Performance Measurement guide for Agriculture & Agri-Food Organizations

Population changes in Rural Ontario

According to a recent factsheet prepared by the Rural Ontario Institute entitled “Change in non-metro population 2014” less than half of the rural counties in Ontario had population increases over the last three years.  Over the same period, however,  all urban counties experienced population increases.

Ray Bollman the author of the factsheet highlights the long term importance of population change to a community:

“Population growth or decline impacts housing demand, labour markets, consumer spending levels and the need for public services such as hospitals and schools. Population growth is considered by many as an indicator of economic vitality – i.e. jobs are being created and/or that it is a desirable place to live.”

Continue reading Population changes in Rural Ontario

New $6M Investment in Local Food

The Ontario government is providing $6 million over three years to increase sales of local food by making it more widely available and building awareness of the variety of food grown and produced in Ontario.

This funding is not restricted to the Greenbelt, and is available to organizations across Ontario.  The funds will be administered by the Greenbelt Fund, through the Regional Food Grant Program. Continue reading New $6M Investment in Local Food

3 Ways Data can Support Economic Development

As I stated in my last blog post “Effective Economic Development Requires Data”, data is critical to understanding the local and regional economy. Expanding on that point, there are three main areas where data supports economic development.


Use data to inform economic development strate
gies

hastings county
Hastings County 2014 Situation Analysis Report

Data can help identify a region’s most important economic assets and conditions. The ability to identify these is important for making informed decisions about what industries to focus on for retention, recruitment, or start-up. This can also help get diverse stakeholder groups onto the same page. As a result, strategies built on data are more likely to stand the test of time because they are designed based on a commonly held set of facts, rather than being based on perception. Continue reading 3 Ways Data can Support Economic Development

E-Learning: Building Organizational Capacity – The Importance of Effective Governance

Screenshot from Board Governance Module

An effective governing body is an essential component to any organization. Despite their importance; they can be quite complicated to understand. The Board Governance learning module is one of four new e-learning modules that focus’ on the important aspects of building an effective organization.

This interactive module covers valuable information that will help establish how a governing body can work for any organization. The Board Governance module is divided into four lessons, which are:
Continue reading E-Learning: Building Organizational Capacity – The Importance of Effective Governance

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