food & agriculture – The North Grenville Times http://www.ngtimes.ca The Voice of North Grenville Thu, 12 Jul 2018 22:33:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 AMI combines New and Existing Programming in 2018 http://www.ngtimes.ca/ami-combines-new-and-existing-programming-in-2018/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/ami-combines-new-and-existing-programming-in-2018/#respond Wed, 25 Apr 2018 18:30:07 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=12216 The Agri-Food Management Institute (AMI) will be delivering a mixture of established programming and new projects under the newly launched Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The focus will be on business management, productivity enhancement, and local production opportunities for both farm businesses and food processors. Popular AMI initiatives, including Advanced Farm Management Program, Transition Smart and the […]

The post AMI combines New and Existing Programming in 2018 appeared first on The North Grenville Times.

]]>
The Agri-Food Management Institute (AMI) will be delivering a mixture of established programming and new projects under the newly launched Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

The focus will be on business management, productivity enhancement, and local production opportunities for both farm businesses and food processors.

Popular AMI initiatives, including Advanced Farm Management Program, Transition Smart and the Learning Roadshow, will continue under the new Partnership funding framework. A Beginner Farmer Entrant Workshop will also be launched this year to complement a new online resource AMI has just unveiled on its website.

New to AMI’s offering will be resources and tools to address productivity-related issues in farm and food processing businesses. The organization will also be focusing on regional opportunities for value-adding by building connections along the value chain and identifying supply chain gaps in local food production.

AMI promotes new ways of thinking about business management by developing resources, providing information and offering training opportunities for agri-food and agri-based producers and processors. AMI receives funding from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. www.takeanewapproach.ca

Doug Alexander, Chair of AMI, introduced the programs by stating: “AMI is looking forward to continuing its work in agri-food management under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership with both new and existing activities. Our research has shown the positive impact business management can have on a business’s bottom line, and we appreciate the government’s ongoing support of AMI’s activities in this important area.”

His enthusiasm was echoed by AMI’s Executive Director, Ashley Honsberger: “The AMI programs that people know and love will be continuing this year, so we encourage everyone to keep an eye out for more details on meetings and events throughout Ontario in the coming months. And, we’re excited about the opportunity to work on new initiatives that will support growth and profitability for Ontario farmers and food processors.”

The post AMI combines New and Existing Programming in 2018 appeared first on The North Grenville Times.

]]>
http://www.ngtimes.ca/ami-combines-new-and-existing-programming-in-2018/feed/ 0
Growing farmers http://www.ngtimes.ca/growing-farmers/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/growing-farmers/#respond Wed, 18 Apr 2018 18:50:12 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=12055 When thinking about agriculture, it’s logical to think about “growing” in terms of crops and livestock. There’s another “growing” concern, and that is the need to grow the number of farmers. According to the Census of Agriculture 2016, there are now 193,492 farmers in Canada, which is down 5.9% from the Census of 2011. By […]

The post Growing farmers appeared first on The North Grenville Times.

]]>
When thinking about agriculture, it’s logical to think about “growing” in terms of crops and livestock. There’s another “growing” concern, and that is the need to grow the number of farmers. According to the Census of Agriculture 2016, there are now 193,492 farmers in Canada, which is down 5.9% from the Census of 2011. By comparison, in 1961, there were almost 481,000 farmers. The (sort of) good news is that this is the lowest rate of decline in the past twenty years.

According to Stats Can, 92% of farmers have no written succession plan for the future of their farm. In the past, it was just assumed that the next generation would step in and take over the farm, but this is no longer a safe assumption. Instead, farmers have been forced to begin selling off their land, in whole or in parts, to developers or other farms, in order to recover the equity they’ve built up. For anyone looking to get into farming (and even for those who are part of an existing farming family), the cost to buy an existing farm, or even a piece of productive agricultural land, is often well beyond their reach, especially for young people.

On a positive note, there was a slight increase in the number of farmers under age 35, between 2011 and 2016, for the first time since 1991 (up to almost 25,000). This appears to be mostly driven by an increase in the number of young women now operating farms, and millennials who are motivated about small scale organic farming and local food. Though this is a positive development, the average age of a Canadian farmer is 55, and this has risen steadily for decades, with the number of farmers over 70 far exceeding those under 35.

The message appears to be clear: we need more farmers and, further, we need to support and encourage young people to enter farming. Instead of focusing on the general financial viability of farming, it might be time to shift gears and start providing direct support for young farmers. Agriculture and Agri-food Canada states that the federal government does supply some funding and loan support to young farmers for farm transitions in the form of deferred payments and interest-only payments, but it is limited.

One important aspect of providing effective support for young farmers would be the need for education and relevant hands-on training. Even with the financial resources needed to begin farming, not having an appropriate level of knowledge and training is like starting any other business without knowing anything about how to run a business and/or having limited knowledge about your chosen field. In this case, the long-term result will probably not be a positive one.

Maybe it’s time to consider offering an open, free, post-secondary education program in Ontario to potential farmers, one that requires a long-term commitment from participants (for example – participants must agree to operate a full-time agriculture-based business for a specified period). A comprehensive two-year limited entry program that incorporates hands-on training in essential topics like agricultural business finance, marketing for agricultural business, livestock basics, soil science basics, crop planning, agricultural innovations, etc., could prepare graduates for the day-to-day operations involved in farming. There are a number of organizations that offer workshop style programming for farmers throughout Ontario, but an all-in-one program would probably be a more efficient way to deliver the necessary training.

There are some limited programs available in Ontario, like the Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training in Southwestern Ontario, which is helping young people to prepare for farming by offering them internships at a network of small-scale organic farms. Unfortunately, some other similar programs that have been offered in the past have disappeared because of the lack of long-term sustainable funding.

By combining these elements: education, hands-on training, and post-program funding support for graduates, this would appear to be the best-case scenario to ensure a steady influx of new farmers that can “hit the ground running” and reduce the rate at which we’re losing farmers. Some would argue that a program like this would be too costly.

Respectfully, from a food security perspective, the more food that we produce locally, the less vulnerable our food supply becomes to negative forces beyond our control and influence. Add to that the sizable local economic benefit generated by buying locally produced food and agri-products, and one could argue that it’s an essential investment in our collective future.

The post Growing farmers appeared first on The North Grenville Times.

]]>
http://www.ngtimes.ca/growing-farmers/feed/ 0
Agri-Food Innovation applications now open http://www.ngtimes.ca/agri-food-innovation-applications-now-open/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/agri-food-innovation-applications-now-open/#respond Wed, 18 Apr 2018 18:20:10 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=12065 The Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation program encourages the development of rural communities, farms, agri-food processors and agri-food organizations by adding value to existing products, creating jobs and driving economic growth. DEADLINE TO APPLY: Friday, May 25 by 5 p.m. The top award is the Premier’s Award ($75,000), the Minister’s Award ($50,000), Leaders in Innovation […]

The post Agri-Food Innovation applications now open appeared first on The North Grenville Times.

]]>
The Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation program encourages the development of rural communities, farms, agri-food processors and agri-food organizations by adding value to existing products, creating jobs and driving economic growth.

DEADLINE TO APPLY: Friday, May 25 by 5 p.m.

The top award is the Premier’s Award ($75,000), the Minister’s Award ($50,000), Leaders in Innovation (3 – $25,000 awards), and the Provincial Award (45 – $5,000 awards.
To learn more about program guidelines and see the application form visit the OMAFRA Premier’s Award website. Applicants may also contact local OMAFRA representative Katie Nolan at 613-258-8371 or send her an email.

The post Agri-Food Innovation applications now open appeared first on The North Grenville Times.

]]>
http://www.ngtimes.ca/agri-food-innovation-applications-now-open/feed/ 0
Will gardening cool our planet? http://www.ngtimes.ca/will-gardening-cool-our-planet/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/will-gardening-cool-our-planet/#comments Wed, 11 Apr 2018 18:54:53 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=11992 William J. Langenberg, Grenville Herb Farm A lesson for North Grenville Gardeners? Canada is the highest polluter in Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the world. Canadians emit 20.1 kilotonnes of CO2-equivalent annually, on a per capita basis. We are closely followed by the Australians, who emit 18.6 kilotonnes of CO2-equivalent. The Australians, also signatories to the […]

The post Will gardening cool our planet? appeared first on The North Grenville Times.

]]>
William J. Langenberg, Grenville Herb Farm

A lesson for North Grenville Gardeners? Canada is the highest polluter in Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the world. Canadians emit 20.1 kilotonnes of CO2-equivalent annually, on a per capita basis. We are closely followed by the Australians, who emit 18.6 kilotonnes of CO2-equivalent. The Australians, also signatories to the December 2015 Paris Agreement, however, decided to take immediate action to reduce GHG emissions by joining the “4 per 1000: Soils for Food Security and Climate Initiative”. This initiative consists of a voluntary action plan under the Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA), backed up by an ambitious research program.

Most signatory countries agreed that the immediate solution in reducing global GHG emissions and to stop global warming is found in farming and gardening. So far, 36 of the 197 countries that have signed the Paris accord have committed to measures that will increase the levels of carbon stored in soils by investing in and scaling up regenerative agriculture, horticulture and other land-use practices.

This regenerative land-use practice is a bold plan. If it is adopted, and implemented on a large scale, it will give Canada the power to participate in helping to cool our climate and feed the world. If we, as farmers and gardeners, increase by 0.4% a year the quantity of carbon contained in our soils, we can halt the annual increase in CO2 in the atmosphere, which is, as we all know, the major contributor to the greenhouse effect, global warming, and climate change due to human activities.

If we do nothing, as is the case in Canada today, we will face disastrous consequences, because Global Warming will become irreversible in the not too distant future. “More than half a million people could die as climate change impacts human diet”, headlines an article in the British “The Lancet”. New research shows that global warming has a direct effect on the quality of food available and, as a result, more than 500,00 people would die annually around the world by 2050. Climate change is already judged by doctors as the greatest threat to health in the 21st century, due to floods, droughts, and increased infectious diseases, with the potential to roll back 50 years of progress, according to the Guardian, March 3. 2016.

We, as local residents, need to consider seriously starting a garden and reducing our demand on non-local food supply. We also need to consider increasing organic carbon stock in our soils around our homes. We need to cut back on lawn mowing as well, as we need the grass blades for photosynthesis.

I remember growing up on a sustainable mixed farm in Holland during the fifties. Life was a lot different than as it is today. This year, on April 4 I saw an editorial cartoon in one of Ottawa’s daily newspapers: Justin Trudeau and Catherine McKenna, Minster of Environment and Climate Change, with the caption, “Just a little carbon tax mixed with a little greenhouse gas.. and the environment will balance itself!”

We have to become more proactive. That’s why we have our North Grenville Sustainability Fair. Hope to see you there.

The post Will gardening cool our planet? appeared first on The North Grenville Times.

]]>
http://www.ngtimes.ca/will-gardening-cool-our-planet/feed/ 1
New Guide launched to help Ontario Food Start-Ups http://www.ngtimes.ca/new-guide-launched-to-help-ontario-food-start-ups/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/new-guide-launched-to-help-ontario-food-start-ups/#respond Wed, 11 Apr 2018 18:30:02 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=11989 The Agri-Food Management Institute (AMI) launched ‘The Food Entrepreneur’s Journey’ today, to help budding food manufacturers with practical step-by-step advice on how to build a thriving business from idea to commercialization. “There are many opportunities in Ontario’s food industry, but it’s tough to break into and tougher to succeed,” said AMI Executive Director Ashley Honsberger. […]

The post New Guide launched to help Ontario Food Start-Ups appeared first on The North Grenville Times.

]]>
The Agri-Food Management Institute (AMI) launched ‘The Food Entrepreneur’s Journey’ today, to help budding food manufacturers with practical step-by-step advice on how to build a thriving business from idea to commercialization.

“There are many opportunities in Ontario’s food industry, but it’s tough to break into and tougher to succeed,” said AMI Executive Director Ashley Honsberger. “To ease the process, we’re offering this free guide that’s full of tips on business planning, avoiding pitfalls and finding the resources that are available to assist entrepreneurs along the way.”

The guide takes the reader through all the activities that need to be performed in five basic stages: idea, proof of concept, product and business development, pre-commercial trials and sales, and finally commercial sales.

Included are knowledge and experiences words of wisdom from product developers, chefs and other industry experts as well as owners who have already gone through the experience of starting up. Fran Kruz, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Founder of Not Yer Granny’s Granola, in Barrie, described her process:

“This is not a linear model – at least not in my experience. The process continues to be very organic, multi-directional, and in some cases, it’s one step forward and two steps to one side, three to the other side, one back and a leap forward… I guess you could call it a dance!”

A Food Entrepreneur’s Journey was also developed as a source of food industry information for advisory staff in federal, provincial, municipal and other organizations that help business start-ups across the province.

The guide is now available online at the AMI’s website at: http://takeanewapproach.ca/news/ and will be available at trade shows throughout the year.

The Agri-Food Management Institute promotes new ways of thinking about agribusiness management and aims to increase awareness, understanding and adoption of beneficial business management practices by Ontario agri-food and agri-based producers and processors. AMI is funded by Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

Contact: Ashley Honsberger, Executive Director, 519-822-6618. ashley@takeanewapproach.ca.

The post New Guide launched to help Ontario Food Start-Ups appeared first on The North Grenville Times.

]]>
http://www.ngtimes.ca/new-guide-launched-to-help-ontario-food-start-ups/feed/ 0
The Future of Farming http://www.ngtimes.ca/the-future-of-farming/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/the-future-of-farming/#respond Wed, 21 Mar 2018 18:54:40 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=11530 There was a very interesting article published online recently by the Globe and Mail. It was titled, “The future of farming is female”. The author, Trina Moyles, also authored the book “Women Who Dig: Farming, Feminism and the Fight to Feed the World”. The author states that women who are involved in agriculture are always […]

The post The Future of Farming appeared first on The North Grenville Times.

]]>
There was a very interesting article published online recently by the Globe and Mail. It was titled, “The future of farming is female”. The author, Trina Moyles, also authored the book “Women Who Dig: Farming, Feminism and the Fight to Feed the World”. The author states that women who are involved in agriculture are always assumed to be the farmer’s wife, instead of the farmer themselves. The 2016 Agricultural Census demonstrated why that assumption may still be out there. Only 28% of farms in Canada are operated by women, but that is a 1% improvement from the census in 2011. Greater change appears to be on the horizon, with British Columbia having the highest percentage of female farmers at 37.5%. There is even a growing trend in Atlantic Canada that the number of female farm operators is on the rise.

In post-secondary education, men are still holding the majority of the teaching positions in agriculture. That also appears to be about to change, as women students are outnumbering men in agricultural and natural sciences post-secondary education programs. Even alternative agriculture workshops on subjects like permaculture are now dominated by women.

The census also says that more young people are farming now, which is very good news, because it seemed that more farmland was being sold off because of a lack of interest on behalf of the next generation in taking over the family farm. The number one reason for the decline had been that it was difficult for farms to make money. Rising costs of raw materials, equipment, etc., was outpacing farm revenues, making it harder to build equity and keep debt ratios low on the family farm.

In her article, Trina asserts that, over the past several years, she is witnessing a new generation of young women who are motivated to farm despite the social, economic and psychological odds that are stacked against them. Women in agriculture seem to be relying on innovation, imagination, and a certain amount of risk-taking to be successful. In her book, Trina wanted to look beyond the statistics and document stories of women who were not only fighting gender inequality, but who also want to revolutionize how food is grown in Canada.

One of her subjects was Dawn Boileau, an Alberta farmer who operates a small 12-acre organic vegetable, fruit and edible flower farm in Onoway, Alberta. Dawn and her wife, Kate Hook, take a variety of vegetables to the Strathcona Market in Edmonton every week. The produce may include crops like microgreens, butternut squash, wheatgrass, and Nantes carrots, which are all grown by hand without any machinery. Dawn likes to grow food vertically which, she says, maximizes her yield and requires less land.

Her willingness to experiment has been a key to her success. In 2009, she pivoted away from only growing field crops to delving into indoor cultivation of wheatgrass, other microgreens, radishes, sunflower, and pea shoots. Today, these niche products generate half of her income, but require only a fraction of the labour and space of crops such as carrots and squash.

Dawn believes that “society does not encourage girls to pursue careers that involve heavy work”. “But women can accomplish just as much on the farm as men by working smarter, not necessarily harder.” It appears that, to be a farmer in today’s agricultural world, you need courage, resourcefulness, imagination and inner strength. The future of farming may lie in the hands of women.

The post The Future of Farming appeared first on The North Grenville Times.

]]>
http://www.ngtimes.ca/the-future-of-farming/feed/ 0
When One Door Closes http://www.ngtimes.ca/one-door-closes/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/one-door-closes/#respond Wed, 28 Feb 2018 19:08:45 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=11217 The local food community received some disturbing news recently with the announcement that the Two Rivers Food Hub in Smiths Falls was shutting down its distribution operations. This means that Two Rivers will no longer distribute local food products made by small to midsize farms and food processors to area restaurants, stores and institutions. This […]

The post When One Door Closes appeared first on The North Grenville Times.

]]>
The local food community received some disturbing news recently with the announcement that the Two Rivers Food Hub in Smiths Falls was shutting down its distribution operations. This means that Two Rivers will no longer distribute local food products made by small to midsize farms and food processors to area restaurants, stores and institutions. This will leave a number of farmers and local food businesses looking for alternative ways to get their products into the hands and mouths of consumers.

Two Rivers will continue to rent commercial kitchen space to farmers and food processors, as well renting space in their long-term freezers and cool storage facilities. This institution has provided a much-needed link in the local food system by allowing small to mid-size farmers a way of selling their products outside of places like community farmers’ markets. Quite often, these farmers aren’t able to produce the large quantities required to be able to sell at the reduced cost that is demanded by the large wholesalers, who currently dominate the distribution channels to almost all restaurants, large food retailers and institutions across Canada.

Rather than look at the announcement as a “doom and gloom” scenario, maybe this creates an opportunity for another group, private company, or organization to learn from the Two Rivers experience. If someone else stepped forward with a different business model, or perhaps with more private money, this story could have a happy ending for all. Food hubs are best described as initiatives that support the local food value chain (system) by creating a direct link between smaller scale local farmers and customers in larger markets who are interested in the kind of delicious, nutritious, high-quality foods that these smaller producers can deliver.

The upcoming announcement of the acquisition of the former Kemptville College by the Municipality of North Grenville pops into mind. Is a local food distribution centre a good fit for the new Kemptville Campus? There’s an industrial kitchen there in the main cafeteria that could be used, and a number of unoccupied buildings that could be adapted as short-term or long-term storage. The Kemptville Campus is closer to potential producers in Grenville County and neighbouring areas like Dundas County and the rural areas of the City of Ottawa. The close proximity to the 416, the 401, and the US border could allow for easier access to major markets like Ottawa and beyond to Montreal and the US.

There are enough potential pieces to begin a food hub on the Kemptville Campus, but it’s doubtful that there is enough local food capacity right now to support two food hubs within thirty minutes of each other. However, even if the Kemptville Campus option just did local food distribution, it would go a long way towards preserving the trail blazing work done over the last three years by the group at Two Rivers. There appears to be potential in this area with Two Rivers having distributed over $1 million in food since it began limited distribution activities in 2015. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has been very supportive of the Two Rivers operation, so it would be logical that they would continue that support at Kemptville Campus. This could go a long way towards gaining access to grant money for the new operation.

With a door closing in Smiths Falls, could one open in Kemptville?

The post When One Door Closes appeared first on The North Grenville Times.

]]>
http://www.ngtimes.ca/one-door-closes/feed/ 0
Local Agri-food Expo survey results http://www.ngtimes.ca/local-agri-food-expo-survey-results/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/local-agri-food-expo-survey-results/#respond Wed, 10 Jan 2018 20:17:30 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10497 The North Grenville Times recently conducted a survey intended to seek input from residents on the types of topics that they would like to see discussed at the upcoming Local Agri-food Expo that is scheduled to happen on Saturday, April 7. The Expo is being organized to encourage people in the region to start an […]

The post Local Agri-food Expo survey results appeared first on The North Grenville Times.

]]>
The North Grenville Times recently conducted a survey intended to seek input from residents on the types of topics that they would like to see discussed at the upcoming Local Agri-food Expo that is scheduled to happen on Saturday, April 7. The Expo is being organized to encourage people in the region to start an agri-food business of their own, or expand their existing small scale agri-food business. Agriculture and local food represent significant potential opportunities for economic growth in our area and the organizers want to encourage everyone to get involved.

The first question asked about various formats for the Expo. The results were: Workshops: 31.4%; Moderated discussion panels: 22.09%; Keynote speakers: 33.7%; Breakout sessions (small group discussions): 24.4%; Watching a video as part of a large audience: 7%; and A mix of the above formats: 54.7%. In the comments section, most of the comments were based around ways to (and the importance of) engage people to get them interested and keep them interested.

When asked, “What topics would you like to know more about or like to see discussed at this event?”, the results were: How to start a home-based agricultural or local food business: 43%; Which funding options are available for starting or expanding an agricultural or local food business: 58%; Which health regulations do I need to know about for starting an agricultural or local food business?: 46.5%; Where can I get help for creating a marketing plan, business plan or feasibility study?: 36%; The same percentage chose How can working with a farmers’ market help to provide a secondary income, and “How to tell which soil type I have and which plants grow best in that soil type.

Other options were: How do I get started in raising livestock (chickens, beef, pork etc.)?: 15%; How can I organize my garden to maximize my yield of the space?: 37%; How can I get access to space to grow food if I can’t afford to buy a piece of property?: 14%; What are the latest small scale farming methods that I could use to grow food?: 41%; What are the municipal zoning options available to allow me to start or expand an agricultural or local food business?: 35%; How to start a local co-operative to provide a service to the agricultural community: 23%; and What is involved in setting up an agricultural or local food social enterprise and what are the benefits and differences compared to a regular business model?: 28%.

In the comments section, some alternate topics mentioned were “permaculture”, “engaging youth”, “creating edible gardens for schools and other institutions” and “connecting local food networks and finding ways to collaborate on different community projects and initiatives.”

When asked: how much would you be willing to pay for a full day event like this (bring your own lunch)?, it was clear that people understood the value of an event like this, as most respondents chose the highest price, $25.

The other questions provided options for post-Expo dinner, with or without wine. Naturally, people preferred the cheapest option in each case.

Thank you to everyone that took part in the survey, it will be very helpful for the event organizing committee so that they can have the type of information and discussion focused on what you want to learn about. There will be information released soon giving the details on the event and the committee hopes that everyone will come to the event and be inspired to start or expand an agricultural or local food business.

The post Local Agri-food Expo survey results appeared first on The North Grenville Times.

]]>
http://www.ngtimes.ca/local-agri-food-expo-survey-results/feed/ 0
Is social enterprise the key to the future of local food? http://www.ngtimes.ca/social-enterprise-key-future-local-food/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/social-enterprise-key-future-local-food/#comments Wed, 20 Dec 2017 20:05:14 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10324 Recently, at the Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference in November, there was one breakout session that was of particular interest to this writer. It was a session on “The Role of Social Enterprise in Developing Sustainable Local Food Systems”. It was described as “this panel will profile the importance of social enterprises in building a […]

The post Is social enterprise the key to the future of local food? appeared first on The North Grenville Times.

]]>
Recently, at the Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference in November, there was one breakout session that was of particular interest to this writer. It was a session on “The Role of Social Enterprise in Developing Sustainable Local Food Systems”. It was described as “this panel will profile the importance of social enterprises in building a sustainable local food system by showcasing innovative business models and the impact they create”.

Three specific examples were introduced by a founder, a marketing executive, and an executive director. The first enterprise to be showcased was called Klink Coffee. It was created by the John Howard Society of Toronto, a not-for-profit organization. What’s unique about Klink, explained Mark Kerwin, is that it provides jobs and skills training for people returning from the criminal justice system. These people would normally find it very difficult to find employment with a criminal record. They currently sell their different blends of coffee online, but hope to expand to a café and storefront in 2018.

The second organization featured was the YWCA of Hamilton. Executive Director, Denise Christopherson, told the over-capacity crowd about turning around a café that was losing money for the YWCA. She outlined how her organization closed the café and opened a catering business called “At The Table”. It quickly became successful, so using the catering proceeds, they renovated and then re-opened the café. They almost exclusively employ women who are staying at the YWCA. The women gain work experience, employment skills, and small business experience, so that they can eventually go out to pursue their own careers, or open their own businesses.

The final presentation was from Brandon Hebor of Ripple Farms Inc., who had a unique process of aquaponics to tell everyone about. They use a metal shipping container filled with water and Tilapia (yes the fish) to somehow provide the energy needed to grow leafy vegetables in a greenhouse on top of the shipping container. It’s a truly remarkable process, and his organization has been asked to make presentations around the world about it. Brandon believes that, by using this process, there would, potentially, no longer be a need to ship produce thousands of kilometres, but instead it can be grown right here on Canadian soil using this system.

Most people are unaware of it, but the Two Rivers Food Hub in Smith’s Falls is a social enterprise that is managed by Kemptville resident Bruce Enloe. A fine example of the social enterprise model for local food, Two Rivers’ mandate is to support small and medium-sized farmers in and around Lanark, and Leeds and Grenville counties. Two Rivers offers a wide range of facilities and services for farmers and producers, such as a commercial kitchen for food processing, storage for root vegetables, and wholesale services (where they sell to restaurants and institutions what they buy from local farmers and producers) to name just a few.

With such a successful example as the Two Rivers Food Hub just down the road, and various other examples of successful and innovative social enterprises, it’s not difficult to imagine the significant impact that they could have in creating, solidifying, or enhancing a thriving local food system. What’s your idea?

The post Is social enterprise the key to the future of local food? appeared first on The North Grenville Times.

]]>
http://www.ngtimes.ca/social-enterprise-key-future-local-food/feed/ 1
AMI Agri-food Workshop http://www.ngtimes.ca/ami-agri-food-workshop/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/ami-agri-food-workshop/#respond Wed, 13 Dec 2017 19:47:10 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10224 On December 6, the North Grenville Municipal Centre was the site of a special agri-food workshop hosted by the Agri-food Management Institute. When asked, several people involved in local food and agriculture couldn’t remember the last time that a workshop like this was hosted here. According to their website, the Agri-food Management Institute (AMI) “promotes […]

The post AMI Agri-food Workshop appeared first on The North Grenville Times.

]]>
On December 6, the North Grenville Municipal Centre was the site of a special agri-food workshop hosted by the Agri-food Management Institute. When asked, several people involved in local food and agriculture couldn’t remember the last time that a workshop like this was hosted here.

According to their website, the Agri-food Management Institute (AMI) “promotes new ways of thinking about agri-business management and aims to increase awareness, understanding and adoption of beneficial business management practices by Ontario agri-food and agri-based producers and processors”. The organisation is based in Guelph and funded by Growing Forward 2, a federal, provincial, and territorial initiative.

The workshop itself was a full-day event, launched by AMI Executive Director Ashley Honsberger, who was not only the facilitator, but also spoke about exploring the possibility of growing new types of crops, and gave the audience of fifty a number of tips and strategies when contemplating trying something new. Some of the other presenters were: Anna Crolla from OMAFRA, Colleen Acres from Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA), Ruth Vogel from the local chapter of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), and Len Davies of Davies Legacy Planning.

Some of the highlights of the day included: Kemptville resident, and OMAFRA specialist, Katie Nolan, speaking about the Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference and the Two Rivers Food Hub. Jessica Kelly, also from OMAFRA, who is a Direct Farm Marketing Specialist, provided some very helpful information about getting started with on-farm sales and value-added products. Bruce Kelly, from Farm & Food Care Ontario, gave an amusing and informative presentation on “Conveying the Story of Agriculture”. He outlined some of the challenges of being a livestock farmer and dealing with animal activists and their activities, both on the farm and at large-scale agricultural events.

It’s unfortunate that the workshop was not better advertised in the area, because some local foodies were disappointed that they hadn’t heard about it. The workshop provided information that would have been useful to both local food producers and agricultural business owners. Jim Beveridge, of B&H Grocery Store, said that he hoped that this workshop was the first of many of these types of educational opportunities to be hosted in North Grenville. Does this mean that the upcoming purchase of the former Kemptville College by the Municipality of North Grenville is making waves in the agri-food community, and alerting people that North Grenville is ready to become a player in agri-food?

The post AMI Agri-food Workshop appeared first on The North Grenville Times.

]]>
http://www.ngtimes.ca/ami-agri-food-workshop/feed/ 0