On March 5th, 2020, the Agriculture Economic Development and Planning Community of Practice hosted a webinar on planning for agriculture. This webinar fostered a discussion between the audience and the speaker, Dr. Wayne Caldwell, on the impact and opportunities for land use planning and near-urban agriculture. Potential challenges and opportunities were addressed, along with ten methods to create a more viable agricultural sector through planning practices.
As Ontario’s population grows, urbanized and highly populated areas are expanding into agricultural areas. While there are certainly opportunities for agriculture in proximity to urban markets, it can also pose some risks and challenges.
Continue reading Planning for Agriculture Requires Balancing Growth and Compatibility
Businesses in all sectors will be impacted by COVID-19 in some manner. In order to support them effectively, economic developers will need to do some outreach and consultation to assess these impacts and determine the needs of the businesses in their communities.
This will be particularly difficult at this moment, as businesses struggle with various priorities. Here are some tips to connect with your businesses effectively.
Business Retention & Expansion (BR+E) is a concept that can be activated for times of crisis. It is a structured and community-based approach to business and economic development. It helps communities learn about issues facing local businesses and sets priorities to address these needs where possible to help strengthen the economy. It is important to recognize that few communities can do everything they would like to do to support their existing businesses.
Continue reading Effective business outreach during COVID-19
Business Retention & Expansion (BR+E) is a structured, action-oriented and community-based approach to business and economic development. The data and knowledge obtained from business interviews is used to address issues and opportunities facing employers.
BR+E best practice suggests that interviews should ideally be conducted in-person because face-to-face interactions can offer beneficial results. However, there are some potential challenges to be aware of.
Continue reading Tips for Improving BR+E Business Interviews
Sobeys Ontario held two Local Supplier Partner Roadshows to help their suppliers grow their businesses on February 4th in Ajax and February 5th in Hamilton. Over 372 people from local Ontario agri-food businesses attended each event.
The Local Supplier Partner Roadshows were composed of:
- Presentations by Sheri Evans, Sobeys Local Development Manager who provided an overview of the Sobeys Local program, and;
- Interactive panels who answered questions about working with the Sobeys stores and growing their brands.
Continue reading Sobeys Helps Local Suppliers Expand Their Business
If your community is looking for ways to support your local agriculture sector; plan on attending the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) online Agriculture Economic Development Training.
The course is split into two sessions (April 8, 10am- 12pm and April 22, 10am-12pm). Click here to register.
This interactive training will:
- Share key agriculture economic development concepts
- Introduce the range of agriculture economic development activities your community can explore
- Give you tools to develop a plan for agricultural economic development in your community
- Provide an overview of the Agriculture Economic Development guide and its three stages: plant, grow and harvest.
Continue reading Online Agriculture Economic Development Training
The Rural Economic Development (RED) program supports activities that create strong rural communities in Ontario and opens doors to rural economic development. The program is now open and will accept applications until February 24, 2020.
Applicants are required to read the program guidelines before completing an application. The program guidelines provide detailed information on eligible applicants, project types, and costs, as well as the process for submitting an application and the process that will be used to assess the application.
In advance of the intake closing, the slide deck below is focused on providing some helpful tips to consider in completing your application.
Continue reading Tips for Completing Your Rural Economic Development (RED) Program Application.
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
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
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
Earlier this year the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) hosted several Community Economic Development workshops (CED 101) across Ontario. These sessions helped those involved in local economic development learn the basics of economic development in local communities, and how these concepts can be applied in municipal environments.
During CED 101, participants learned that Community Economic Development is a process of fostering an environment that results in the creation of wealth and well-being for the benefit of the community. CED is practiced through mobilizing economic wealth generators (e.g., investment attraction), support activities (e.g., family doctor recruitment) and community supports (e.g., infrastructure improvement).
Continue reading CED 201 Webinar – Expand Your Knowledge of Community Economic Development