by: Brent Royce
Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture
Every community across Ontario has dreamed up, created and carried out interesting programs and events to support their local agri-food sector. These local initiatives are powered by volunteers, and anything that helps get these ideas and projects off the ground saves valuable time and energy.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) has created a new online resource to give communities and local municipalities a head start on their next project. It’s an idea bank full of existing projects, programs and tools that any community can access to help with a local initiative. The Agri-Food Initiatives Ontario Directory was created to encourage the pay-it-forward premise – sharing resources to encourage others to get a great idea off the ground. By sharing, you can avoid duplication, avoid pitfalls or challenges, and use limited resources more efficiently.
The new directory includes more than 700 resources available to the public in an interactive directory including zoning bylaws, local food studies and funding programs. The directory is designed to help connect ideas and information between communities across Ontario. If you have an idea for a new event or program in your area, chances are that somebody has already done some of the legwork for a project somewhere else in the province. The directory is the link that can help avoid duplicating some of the planning and execution around an idea by connecting communities with resources that already exist from a similar activity.
There were three key drivers for OFA to pull this directory of resources together. To support economic development activities by sharing best practices across the province. To showcase the work communities are doing to promote and support their agri-food sector. And to provide examples of projects that will support the work done by local county federations.
There are more than 400 municipalities in Ontario, and OFA has already catalogued more than 700 initiatives that might be just what your community needs to get the next agri-food event or project underway. The new directory of existing resources encourages greater collaboration between communities and will build more capacity for agricultural activities across Ontario to showcase our innovative and dynamic sector.