Farming and economic organizations have partnered on a project to educate and promote opportunities in the industry
By Jackie Clark
Advocating for agriculture necessitates a team approach, and that strategy is exemplified in a new undertaking by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), the South Central Ontario Region Economic Development Corporation (SCOR EDC), and commodity groups from across Ontario. These partners have come together to produce an online video series including Focus on Food and Focus on Livestock to inform the public about career options in the ag sector.
The video series is part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership-funded Feeding Your Future initiative.
SCOR EDC is a non-profit, jointly owned by the Counties of Elgin, Brant, Middlesex, Norfolk and Oxford counties. 15 per cent of the OFA’s membership lives in this region, Kim Earls, executive director of SCOR EDC, told Farms.com.
The organization was “established essentially to encourage, and promote and advocate for prosperity and economic development opportunities in the region that our municipalities represent,” Robert Chambers told Farms.com. He’s the chairman of the board of directors of SCOR EDC, as well as a councillor and farmer in Brant County.
SCOR EDC does this work “in various sectors, agriculture being one of the more predominant and important ones,” he explained. Agriculture is “one of (the) main pillars of what we do. We are a predominantly rural, agriculturally based economy with other sectors contributing as well. The municipalities have always worked closely at the OFA.”
Acting in allyship with other organizations with the common goal of economic development allows for the success of projects such as this video series.
Focus on Food and Focus on Livestock will “provide additional opportunities for education and training, support and promotion of the various sectors in agriculture,” Chambers said. “The videos are meant to be informative, educational and promotional.”
The online video format allows “people to access information in a non-traditional way,” he added.
SCOR EDC values the partnership with OFA and commodity groups on this project.
“Partnering is what we do, it’s the essence of what we are,” Chambers said.
The commodity groups involved include Beef Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Pork, Grain Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Apple Growers and Ontario Berry Growers.
Those groups “came to the table with all the internal knowledge, expertise and the details that are so important to agriculture and how it’s portrayed, and the opportunity to build capacity and share information,” Earls said.
The organizations also partnered with local farmers to film the actual videos, she added.
The goal of this specific initiative dovetails well with the mandate of SCOR EDC.
“We were incorporated to stretch resources and serve our communities and we’re certainly thankful to be included in this project,” Earls said.