Intake 2 of the Rural Economic Development Program is Open for Applications

The Rural Economic Development (RED) program helps rural communities remove barriers to community economic development, through support for planning and implementation projects that benefit rural Ontario.

The program is now open and will accept applications until September 29, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. (Eastern).

As part of continuous improvement, several minor changes have been made to the RED program guidelines and application since the closure of the first intake: Continue reading Intake 2 of the Rural Economic Development Program is Open for Applications

Teeny Tiny Summits Create a Big Impact!

Small communities have particular needs and assets when it comes to building strong economies. This was the topic of conversation at the June 28-29 Teeny Tiny Summits, which drew over 200 volunteers, staff, local councillors, and support organizations.

Participants were treated to an inspiring dialogue with keynote speaker Peter Kenyon, a social capitalist and community enthusiast. Over the last four decades, Peter has worked with more than 2000 communities all over the world seeking to facilitate fresh and creative ways that stimulate community and local economic renewal. Continue reading Teeny Tiny Summits Create a Big Impact!

Budgeting for Downtown Revitalization?

Continuing with our series of blogs on the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ (OMAFRA) Downtown Revitalization Program (DR), this entry will take a look at the estimated costs a community could expect to incur, and strategies to manage the cost of the initiative.

Like all economic development activities, downtown revitalization is a long-term and ongoing process. OMAFRA’s DR program is a comprehensive four-stage process aimed at moving from foundational strategic directions and actions to tangible results in a two to three year timeframe. The first year is largely focused on the development of a strategic plan and actions for downtown revitalization. An additional one to two years is a realistic expectation for the community to see initial outcomes, monitor progress, and start making strategic adjustments as needed. This process is expected to generate two types of costs: Continue reading Budgeting for Downtown Revitalization?

What Running Has Taught Me About Setting Goals

I enjoy running … most of the time.

To help stay motivated I sign up for races. Without a race to train toward it’d be easy to skip runs on cold-rainy days. This year, surrounded by 15,0000 other runners, I ran the Ottawa half-marathon, for the second time. Races are wonderful motivators, they are hard, and they test you on so many levels. The results of a race (your finish time) are black and white, no questions asked. Continue reading What Running Has Taught Me About Setting Goals

Chairing Effective Board Meetings

Meetings are an essential part of conducting the business of any board or organization. Meetings provide the forum for discussion and making decisions on programs and initiatives. Having a structure for running meetings will minimize distractions (i.e. participants talk off topic, monopolize discussion time, have difficulty making decisions or fail to respect the contributions of others).

It is the responsibility of the Chair to ensure that: Continue reading Chairing Effective Board Meetings

Refresher for Downtown Revitalization

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) Downtown Revitalization Program takes a comprehensive four-stage approach to support the efforts of rural communities who want to revitalize their historic downtowns. As part of the program, OMAFRA provides the Downtown Revitalization Coordinator’s Manual, which is designed to support communities that have identified downtown revitalization as an economic development priority. As with many of OMAFRA’s other program resources, the Downtown Revitalization Coordinator’s Manual is now available online, at no cost,  just fill out the form on the OMAFRA website. Continue reading Refresher for Downtown Revitalization

Celebrating Direct Marketing this Local Food Week

For the very first time, the 2016 Census of Agriculture asked, “did this operation sell any agricultural products directly to consumers for human consumption?” With this simple question, we now have a glimpse into direct sales of Ontario’s local foods that we’ve never had before!

Ontario leads the country with 7,474 farms reporting direct-to-consumer sales, followed by British Columbia and Quebec with 5,667 and 5,459 farms respectively. Overall, 15.1% of Ontario’s farms are making local foods available for direct purchase by consumers.

At the regional-level, fascinating patterns emerge in the prevalence of direct-to-consumer farm sales.  Click to see maps by the number and percentage of farms reporting direct sales. Continue reading Celebrating Direct Marketing this Local Food Week

Thoughts from the Main Street Now Conference

Place seems to matter more than ever, and Main Street areas across the United States are finding ways to re-assert their economic importance despite emerging ‘disruptive’ advancements in retail (e.g. e-commerce). That was the underlying theme in many of the sessions I attended at the recent 2017 Main Street Now conference in Pittsburgh, pit 22Pennsylvania. Attended by more than 1,600 people, the annual conference brings together key private and public sector decision makers to share successes and challenges in preservation-based downtown revitalization.

After a few weeks to collect my thoughts, here are the ideas that continue to resonate with me on ways to improve downtown districts: Continue reading Thoughts from the Main Street Now Conference

Input-Output Predictive Scenario Report

AnalystUsing Analyst’s Input-Output Scenario report you can predict the expected impact of a business loss or gain in your community in terms of  jobs, sales, or wages, and how that event would impact other industries regionally. It gives you the ability to “shock” an economy and measure the impacts.

It also gives you the predictive ability to see:

  • The effect of a new company locating in the local regional economy,
  • The effect of adding jobs to an existing industry sector (such as a major company expansion)
  • The effect of losing a company/losing jobs from the local regional economy

For example, if we wanted to understand the impact of an animal feed mill’s in rural Ontario. We would go through the following steps to get the information that will help us understand the impacts.

First Step: choose a region Continue reading Input-Output Predictive Scenario Report

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