A committee of local residents has come together to organise an Agricultural Summit in North Grenville for next April. The committee, headed by Councillor Jim Bertram, has decided that the focus of the summit should be: Growing Together. According to Jim: “The Summit’s focus will be centred on showcasing the importance of local agriculture as a major driver in North Grenville’s and Eastern Ontario’s local economy. Ultimately, our purpose is to increase production of local food, agricultural products and business activity in the agricultural domain”.
The committee has recognised that North Grenville is a local hub for economic activity, and is ideally located in Eastern Ontario, in proximity to the City of Ottawa and situated midway between Ottawa and Hwy 401 . Jim pointed out that North Grenville’s location “and resources make North Grenville an ideal place for agricultural production and the businesses associated with that branch of economic activity. Our Summit will emphasize and enhance the resources which North Grenville offers as a hub of agricultural activity”.
An earlier effort at making the summit an official municipal event was stalled when Councillor Barb Tobin raised a potential issue regarding insurance and bylaws. Although this had not prevented the municipality from hosting other summits and symposia in the past few years, this resulted in the committee coming together as organisers of the Agricultural Summit, which is now slated for April 7, 2018.
Councillor Bertram and committee are pushing ahead with an agenda of issues to be covered at the summit. Given the predominantly rural character of North Grenville and surrounding districts, it is hoped that the Summit will be an opportunity to learn, exchange information and network around focal points on the theme of Getting Started. Some of these topics will include: Funding and other support tools for starting or growing an agricultural business; how to start a home-based agricultural business; starting a livestock operation; innovative small scale farming methods; equipment co-ops and how working with a farmers’ market can be a secondary income source.
It has often been pointed out that North Grenville, as a municipality, has been very slow to recognise and encourage the potential of our rural regions. It is to be hoped that the Agricultural Summit will result, ultimately, in a renewal of the Agriculture Committee which existed as a Municipal Committee until ex-Councillor Tim Sutton decided it was not worth continuing.