Tag Archives: Community

Building the Brand Northwest Beef

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.

NWO+beef+logo+draft+3-03With 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


The Restaurants Canada (RC) Show is Canada’s largest annual foodservice and hospitality trade-show held in Toronto, Ontario. The RC Show is dedicated to creating networking and sales opportunities between vendors and buyers within the food service industry. The RC Show is being held on March 1-3 at the Enercare Centre, Toronto starting at 10am.

The show will offer three days of non-stop business-building action including a dynamic trade show floor with seven stages hosting over 150 speakers, six competitions, three leadership conferences and four networking events. With 20,000 industry professionals in attendance, this annual event provides thought leadership and education, boasting 250,000 square feet of the latest product innovation and culinary events designed to inspire and motivate by showcasing cutting-edge products, pioneering influencers and transformative ideas.

Continue reading RESTAURANTS CANADA SHOW 2020

Planning Principles for Creating Healthy Rural Communities

According to this article published in 2016, 1 in 5 Ontario residents live in rural communities. As with larger urban areas, the health of residents in these rural areas is becoming more important as the population ages. Increasingly, municipalities, planners, and public health professionals are understanding that there are clear linkages between the built environment and the health of a community. So, how does the rural built environment and land use planning affect quality of life and health outcomes? This question is answered through first recognizing what rural planning is and the importance of rural health.

The Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI) defines rural planning as planning to improve quality of life and promote economic vitality in areas of low population density, with an expansive rural landscape and dispersed population. Planning for rural communities presents unique challenges not necessarily experienced in urban communities. Continue reading Planning Principles for Creating Healthy Rural Communities

Snapshot of 2018 Downtown Revitalization Community Report Card

Downtown Revitalization is a four-stage initiative focused on providing communities with the resources and knowledge needed to stimulate investment and reinvestment in traditional downtown districts.

Since 2005, over 70 communities across rural Ontario have used and been supported by OMAFRA’s Downtown Revitalization program and resources. Continue reading Snapshot of 2018 Downtown Revitalization Community Report Card

Food, fun and friendship at the 2019 Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference

Planning a 2-day regional local food event is no easy task, especially when it includes:

  • three separate culinary tours
  • a local food reception, and
  • a full day program that with a dozen sessions and thirty-seven speakers

The planning process takes time, an incredibly skilled and committed team, and fantastic host communities.

Luckily, this year’s Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference had all these elements, resulting in an ambitious, inspiring program that was delivered to over 200 attendees. The event took place on November 13 and 14, and was co-hosted by the City of Cornwall and the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. The theme, “Growing Communities Together”, was demonstrated through the program, which included French and English resources, and topics that integrated Canadian-newcomer and Indigenous perspectives. Continue reading Food, fun and friendship at the 2019 Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference

The benefits of accessible recreation extend beyond the playground

Our previous blog post, Why Your Community Should Invest In Accessibility, discussed why accessibility is an important economic and social consideration. Investing in accessible spaces may seem like a large undertaking. However, rural communities in Ontario are proving that building accessible community centres and parks is not only achievable, but also has significant benefits for residents and the surrounding region. The towns of Southampton and Elmira offer excellent examples of communities that have seen the social and economic benefits of investing in accessibility. Continue reading The benefits of accessible recreation extend beyond the playground

Why your community should invest in accessibility

First impressions can be tough! When getting ready for an interview, you could spend hours preparing for questions, choosing the perfect outfit and researching the organization! But what about communities? How can communities prepare to ensure that tourists, investors and potential residents have a positive impression upon their initial visit?

This two-part blog series will discuss why community accessibility is an important component that economic development professionals should consider when evaluating how their community fares for first-time-visitors. Continue reading Why your community should invest in accessibility

Speaker Line-up You Won’t Want to Miss at the Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference!

There are thirty-five speakers coming to share their knowledge and passion for local food at the 2019 Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference, November 13-14 in Cornwall.

And I dearly wish that I could tell you about each and every one of them. Because they are incredible. Unfortunately, this blog is not a novel, and I can’t possibly do them justice here. So, I have the horrible task of choosing just a few to tell you about. Here it goes… Continue reading Speaker Line-up You Won’t Want to Miss at the Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference!

Zen and the Art of Business Retention and Expansion

It seems simple, right? Interview a bunch of businesses, and then do what they told you to do. There! A Business Retention + Expansion (BR+E) project!

If only.

BR+E projects are complex, multi-stakeholder efforts with many moving parts. They need a strong foundation, good partnerships and a healthy dose of flexibility.


At the Ontario East Municipal Conference, three economic developers shared their hard-won wisdom about managing a successful Business Retention + Expansion project. All three had recently completed county-wide BR+E projects with various levels of involvement from lower tier partners. Continue reading Zen and the Art of Business Retention and Expansion

Understanding the Benefits of a Downtown Revitalization Program

Continuing with our series of blogs on the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ Downtown Revitalization Program, this entry will take a look at the potential benefits and impacts of a revitalization program.

Downtown Revitalization (DR) can be costly and time-consuming, with positive impacts emerging only over the longer-term. As the figure from the DR Coordinator’s Manual shows, economic impacts are not expected until the medium-term in a downtown revitalization program, with new market trends (e.g. e-commerce) necessitating a long-term commitment to ensure sustainability. Though time frames remain a key challenge, downtown revitalization programs also contend with the perception that their benefits are “local” to the downtown area, rather than the broader community.dr blog Continue reading Understanding the Benefits of a Downtown Revitalization Program