Category Archives: economy

Sliding scale market brings fruits and vegetables to all

By Lisa McLean

Guelph – Hundreds of varieties of fruits and vegetables grow in Ontario each year, but many Ontario residents still face barriers to accessing those foods. Now, an innovative food accessibility program in Guelph is making it easier for its community members to buy fresh produce.

The SEED – a community food project that delivers community programs to address food insecurity – offers weekly, affordable fresh food markets with items priced on a sliding price scale. The markets, running a few hours each week now in two neighbourhoods in Guelph, offer a large selection of fresh fruits and vegetables to residents who may face income, transportation or other barriers to eating well.

“When people come to the market, they choose what they want to pay,” says Becca Clayton, community food markets coordinator at The SEED. “On the reduced end of the scale, we price items as low as we can offer while still covering our costs. The upper value of the scale is retail value. Customers can pay the retail end or the reduced rate, or anything in between — no questions asked.”

While the community market has been operating in a downtown location at the Guelph Community Health Centre for less than a year, the program is already expanding. A second site, in a so-called “food desert” (located a significant distance from grocery stores) in Guelph’s east end opened in April 2018. Continue reading

Growing Forward 2 supports northern Ontario agriculture

This week’s story comes to us from the Agricultural Adaptation Council

By Lilian Schaer

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New Liskeard – There’s a world of difference between farming in northern and southern Ontario. The climate, soils, and available infrastructure in the north mean farmers have different innovation and research needs than their more southern neighbours.

The Agricultural Adaptation Council (AAC) recognizes the unique challenges and opportunities of northern Ontario farmers. Through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative, AAC has secured cost-share funds for five northern-focused innovation projects headed by the Northern Ontario Farm Innovation Alliance (NOFIA).

“There is a major difference not only between northern Ontario and rest of the province, but also between the regions of northern Ontario, which is geographically huge,” explains NOFIA Administrator Steph Vanthof. “This is one of the reasons it is so important to maintain agricultural research and innovation for the north.” Continue reading

Building the bioeconomy in Ontario’s North

WoodPellets

By Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

North Bay – A new centre is driving development of the bioeconomy in northern Ontario. The Biomass North Development Centre – Biomass North for short – was formed this past summer after Nipissing University withdrew its support from the Biomass Innovation Centre it had established in 2009.

The focus of the new not-for-profit is research, innovation, and growth in clean technology and the bioeconomy, mostly centred around forestry, as a way to stimulate economic development and job creation in Ontario’s North.

“We have a robust bioeconomy emerging in northern Ontario that needs the type of support that Biomass North can provide,” explains Project Director Francis Gallo. “That includes providing news and information to our members, marketing and technical support, as well as opportunities for business and development.” Continue reading

New centre to build local food economy in Eastern Ontario

Building from outside - webBy Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Northumberland County – A new food hub in Eastern Ontario is opening for business and local officials have high hopes about what it might accomplish for the region.

The Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre (OAFVC) will boost rural, food-based entrepreneurship and offer local training opportunities to help keep people in the area, says Northumberland County’s agricultural manager.

The state of the art centre, which is available for rent by the day or half day, is fully equipped with the technology needed to add value to raw agricultural products – from flash freezing and cold pressing to canning, short term cold storage, and hot kitchen recipe development. Continue reading