The Glengarry News - - Front Page - BY RICHARD MAHONEY News Staff

Money and mem­bers are be­ing sought to con­tinue the ground­work started by a group pro­mot­ing lo­cal food pro­duc­tion.

A min­i­mum of $125,000 would be re­quired to im­ple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Corn­wall, Stor­mont, Dun­das and Glen­garry, and Ak­we­sasne Food and Agri­cul­tural Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil (FAAC).

The funds would be used to em­ploy two full-time staff who would help de­velop bet­ter sup­port for lo­cal farm and food busi­nesses, ad­dress gaps along the agri-food value chain, and pro­mote food lit­er­acy and culi­nary tourism across the re­gion.

“Hav­ing syn­the­sized a list of rec­om­men­da­tions, the FAAC is now seek­ing new mem­ber­ship, sus­tain­able lead­er­ship, and the nec­es­sary funds to be­gin work. Sev­eral pre­sen­ta­tions to mu­nic­i­pal coun­cils, busi­nesses, and com­mu­nity part­ners have been sched­uled for March, with the pri­mary goal of es­tab­lish­ing a per­ma­nent Food and Agri­cul­ture Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil for this re­gion,” says the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

The FAAC was es­tab­lished in June 2017 as a short-term ini­tia­tive un­der the All Things Food (ATF) and So­cial De­vel­op­ment Coun­cil (SDC) um­brella to in­ves­ti­gate op­por­tu­ni­ties for strength­en­ing our lo­cal food econ­omy and com­mu­nity. Ini­tial fund­ing for the work was se­cured through the Eastern On­tario De­vel­op­ment Fund with lever­aged con­tri­bu­tions from sev­eral com­mu­nity part­ners.

Ma­jor el­e­ments con­sid­ered by the FAAC in­cluded in­creased sup­port for small-scale pro­duc­ers and farm­ers, the need for in­creased in­fras­truc­ture for pro­cess­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion, re­gional brand­ing and mar­ket­ing strat­egy, in­te­gra­tion of agri-tourism into re­gional tourism ef­forts, lo­cal food pur­chas­ing by the broader pub­lic sec­tor, de­vel­op­ment of lo­cal post-sec­ondary cur­ricu­lum for agri-food busi­nesses, and data ag­gre­ga­tion on em­ploy­ment, busi­ness, and train­ing for the sec­tor.

“The FAAC stems from years of work, re­search, and part­ner rec­om­men­da­tions from the ATF net­work and com­mu­nity part­ners,” says Car­i­lyne He­bert, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the SDC. “We were very ex­cited to in­cu­bate the project and see it de­velop into an in­cred­i­ble strate­gic work­ing group for our com­mu­nity.”

The FAAC con­nected with a di­verse group of lo­cal stake­hold­ers em­ployed in the food pro­duc­tion and pro­cess­ing, re­tail and hos­pi­tal­ity, and tourism sec­tors. The work in­cluded fo­cus groups, pilot projects, ed­u­ca­tional cer-

tifi­ca­tion sem­i­nars, and net­work­ing events cen­tred on food sec­tor pri­or­i­ties for the re­gion. Some un­ex­pected high­lights from the project in­clude the Sprout­ing New Con­nec­tions work­shop se­ries, a visit by Jim Kelly, Am­bas­sador of Ire­land to Canada in Septem­ber, the first re­gion­ally hosted On­tario Culi­nary Tourism Al­liance net­work­ing event in Oc­to­ber, and a new part­ner­ship with Agri-East Low­lands which aims to ad­vance agri-tech­nol­ogy, tourism, and ed­u­ca­tion in Eastern On­tario.

“I at­tended sev­eral of the events hosted by FAAC and was im­pressed with the ex­cel­lent guest speak­ers, gen­eral or­ga­ni­za­tion, and pro­fes­sional at­mos­phere,” says Ta­mara Lang of Langview Farms. “This project has made great head­way for the re­gion by help­ing our area make strides into emerg­ing mar­kets. I look for­ward to see­ing the FAAC ful­fill its fu­ture goals.” To get in­volved, con­tact Car­i­lyne Hébert at [email protected]­c­corn­, or 613-9300211.

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