By Eleanor Renaud, Director, Ontario Federation of AgricultureFarmers don’t depend on special occasions to celebrate our industry, but we certainly appreciate when the bounty of the harvest is shared with everyone during events like Ontario Agriculture Week and Thanksgiving.October 2 – 9 is Ontario Agriculture Week this year. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) uses this distinctive week to visit Queen’s Park, meet with MPPs to talk about the importance of our industry, outline the many ways agriculture and food support our economy, raise regulatory concerns impacting farm businesses, and share a story or two about the great things going on back home on our farms and in rural communities. It’s a time to remind our political leaders of just how big our industry is, with more than 200 agricultural products grown right here in the province and more than 70% of those products staying right here to feed Ontarians.OFA uses the occasion of Ontario Agriculture Week to highlight Ontario farm interests. This year we concentrated on Producing Prosperity for Ontario. We’ll continue with this theme in the lead up to the 2018 provincial election to demonstrate how agriculture, food and rural Ontario can drive and produce prosperity in the province with sound government investment to help in distributing economic development. Distributing economic development across the province will benefit all Ontarians with relief from the urban housing and transportation crisis, smart growth and sustainable farms, new opportunities for good paying jobs and revitalized non-urban communities.The week’s celebrations are capped off with Thanksgiving weekend, a celebration of food, and of our farming heritage and productivity. No matter where you are in the province, there’s sure to be a celebration to enjoy – with your own family, at a local fall fair, a pumpkin patch or corn maze or a drive through rural Ontario to enjoy the scenery and fall colours.Ontario Agriculture Week and Thanksgiving are a time to work for a bright and sustainable future but also a time for farmers to pause and enjoy the bounty of the harvest already completed and that yet to come this season.
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