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Building stronger connections across Ontario’s agriculture sector

The Municipal Agriculture Economic Development & Planning Forum, hosted annually by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), was held outside southern Ontario this year for the first time – and the Bioenterprise Canada team was excited to be part of the event. 

The purpose of the three-day forum was to bring together people from across the province who are interested in rural planning, economic development, and other aspects of the agriculture sector, including food, farming, and worker attraction and retention. 

“Our goal as a participant was to connect with economic development staff from different regions of Ontario with an interest in the agri-food sector and learn about what their priorities are and where we may find common interests,” says Emily Nanne, Bioenterprise Canada’s Relationship Development & Advancement Manager who attended the event. 

About 80 people attended the event online and in person in City of Temiskaming Shores, with 60 people participating in a bus tour of agri-food businesses in the host municipality.  host municipality of City of Temiskaming Shores. 

“It was a pleasure for the City of Temiskaming Shores to host the forum in partnership with OMAFRA to highlight the thriving agri-food sector in the Timiskaming District. We had attendees from regions all across Ontario represented by regional economic development professionals, private industry, not-for-profits and government,” says James Franks, Economic Development Officer with the Corporation of the City of Temiskaming Shores. “It was an exciting opportunity to highlight the economic contributions of the agri-food sector in the region which might have previously been unknown.” 

Among the participants were Bioenterprise Canada partners Link North, Timmins Economic Development Corporation and University of Guelph, as well as broader innovation network participants Northern Foodways Development Network, Local Food and Farm Co-op, Invest Durham and the Northern Ontario Farm Innovation Alliance. 

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