Kawartha Lakes - Economic Development
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Agriculture Programs

Kawartha Lakes Agriculture is Growing Success! 

Resulting from a year long consultation with the agricultural industry (primary producers, processors, suppliers, and retailers) a Kawartha Lakes Agricultural Action Plan has been charted to guide the sector through the coming years.  Included is a vision of a vibrant, competitive industry that is recognized as being a critical part of the community and economic fabric of the City of Kawartha Lakes.


"The agricultural community of farms and agri-businesses in the City of Kawartha Lakes is a dynamic, economic, social and environmental driver. Agriculture is an integral component of the City; one that successfully optimizes resources and people to achieve a community that is innovative, diverse, balanced, sustainable and prosperous, and has the world as its market."

The Actions are laid out in a series of short and long term initiatives, as well as continuing and ongoing supports provided not only by all levels of governments but also the many local associations and organizations serving the agriculture community.

Agri-Tourism and Kawartha Choice FarmFreshImage of Kawartha Choice FarmFresh logo

Kawartha Choice FarmFresh is a partnership between the Greater Peterborough Area Economic Development Corporation (GPA EDC) and the City of Kawartha Lakes (CKL). Through promotions such as a website, buy-local guide map, and events, KCFF strives to educate consumers on the benefits of buying locally and to demonstrate how easy it can be to source local products.  To learn more about buying locally or about membership with Kawartha Choice FarmFresh, visit www.kawarthachoice.com.

Renewal of Kawartha Choice FarmFresh for 2015

The theme will be renewal for Kawartha Choice FarmFresh (KCFF) for 2015. This will begin with renewal of memberships in categories of farmer, restaurant, retail, food service, farmers' market and agri-tainment.  The highly sought after KCFF Map and Guide to Local Food, Products and Agri-tainment will be reprinted allowing the many members who have joined since the last printing to also be showcased to local food enthusiasts.  A completely re-built KawarthaChoice.com website will replace the one which was unfortunately hacked earlier in 2014.  And, while traditionally membership in the KCFF program has been at no cost and members paid for participation in the printed materials, new for 2015 there will be a nominal membership fee of $125 charged which will cover more inclusions such as website and printed map guide listings, member support and promotion, brand marketing. Application forms for membership, and detailed listing for map and website participation should be returned to the Economic Development office by February 20, 2015.

Food Hub Feasibility Study

The City of Kawartha Lakes is pleased announce the launch of a Food Hub Feasibility Study. The Kawartha Lakes Food Hub Feasibility Study is made possible by funding obtained from the Ontario government's Local Food Fund.

The objective of the feasibility study is to assess the need, interest and capacity for a food hub within the City of Kawartha Lakes. A Food Hub is an enterprise that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified produce & other food products, primarily from local and regional producers. The purpose of the hub is to support the local food economy and facilitate collaboration & coordination between agri-food industry stakeholders (growers, processors, buyers, distributors & retailers).

The City of Kawartha Lakes has engaged Werry CO to complete the feasibility study for the Kawartha Lakes Food Hub. Werry CO will consult with potential stakeholders in the first quarter of 2015 to enhance understanding of the current state of the Kawartha Lakes agri-food sector, to determine whether there are adequate local food volumes, stakeholder commitment and market demand to support development of a food hub, and the feasibility of such a facility. Consultation will be done through facilitated meetings and an on-line survey.

An asset mapping of inventory, supply and demand, potential stakeholders/collaborators, potential for growth, economic value, and potential for other market opportunities and value-added products will be completed as part of the assessment. This feasibility study will guide future decisions and if deemed to be a feasible project, the City of Kawartha Lakes will proceed to the business planning stage to further investigate the potential for such a facility.

The proposed Kawartha Lakes Food Hub is intended to help meet the demand within the community for local food, while providing a reliable market and consistency of revenue for farmers. By creating an aggregation and distribution point, it provides the infrastructure to collectively source larger quantities of locally grown foods from farmers. The hub could also help to build the agri-food industry by bringing people together to share skills and knowledge.  The feasibility study will be completed by summer of 2015.

There was a food hub visioning session held on March 10, 2015 where food buyers and producers provided further insights into the needs for the food hub. Input from the participants will be analysed as part of the food hub feasibility study. A draft report will be prepared by the consultants and presented along with recommendations in a consultation meeting May 12th.

For more information about the visioning session, or to be a part of the consultation meeting, please contact, Julian Douglas at the City of Kawartha Lakes at jdouglas@city.kawarthalakes.on.ca or Phone: 705-324-9411 extension 1234.

Export Market Development

Guyanese Agriculture Ministers leads successful Kawartha Lakes mission

Kawartha Lakes Economic Development Department along with several agriculture partners played host to Guyana's Minister of Agriculture Dr. Leslie Ramsammy recently during a ministerial mission from the South American nation.

The Guyana delegation, during the tour, focused primarily on leveraging Ontario's significant knowledge and experience in the dairy industry. Guyana is preparing to establish a local dairy plant operation that will supply Guyana's dairy needs in part.

The mission was organised by the High Commission of Canada and led by Canadian Trade Commissioner Nicole Johnson. The Guyana delegation includes a consortium of Government, regional agencies and private sector leaders all of whom are critical players in the development of a dairy production facility in Guyana.

Minister Ramsammy and team were welcomed by Ontario dairy leaders, many of whom had met with the Guyanese Agriculture Minister on the margins of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture in October 2013.

Among the places that Dr. Ramsammy and his team visited in Kawartha Lakes are Bruce and Sharon VandenBerg's Mariposa Dairy (goat cheese processing) , Crowe's Kawartha Dairy (milk and ice cream processing), Wicks' Grasshill Farms? (dairy goats), Callaghan's Maryland Farm (Holstein cattle and Bio digester), and McKeown's Caledon Jerseys (Jersey cattle, soybean crushing and Veal production).

The Guyanese delegation was welcome by Kawartha Lakes Acting Mayor Brian Junkin, Jamie Schmale, from MP Barry Devolin's office, Rick Johnson, Senior Advisor for the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Lance Sherk, Kawartha Lakes Director of Economic Development, and Kelly Maloney, Agricultural Development Officer. "We were able to share several meaningful discussions and anticipate that the relationships that we have started to build will continue to grow as Kawartha Lakes works with the Guyanese people as they move towards agricultural independence", said Maloney.

The Guyanese Delegation was hosted by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and Kawartha Lakes Economic Development office. The high level delegation was exposed to the full range of Canadian technologies including: genetics; dairy cattle trace ability; precision dairy management; feed and forage and varying dairy farm operations. These technologies will be instrumental as Guyana establishes a large scale dairy operation.

A statement from the High Commission of Canada quoted Minister Ramsammy as saying that Guyana would be interested in exploring collaborative integration and exchange programmes with Canadian educational institutions and farm operations.

Canadian dairy operators responded to Minister Ramsammy's call and offered GLDA and Guyanese dairy producers the opportunity to participate in exchange programmes to observe and learn from the Ontario dairy industry experience.

Ontario dairy industry operations feature best in class operations. There are over 4000 dairy farm operations in rural Ontario that boasts both environmentally sustainable techniques and precision management technologies for improved efficiency.

Minister Ramsammy noted that Guyana could learn much from the Ontario dairy experience as the country prepares to establish a dairy sector and reduce its dependence on dairy imports. In discussing Guyana's need to set up a dairy plant, Minister Ramsammy pointed out that the Caribbean's food import bill is $5 billion per year, and this situation provides an opportunity for Guyana to reclaim its role as the breadbasket of the Caribbean, whilst also contributing to a reduced regional food import reliance.

Additional Agriculture Export Development Actions

In addition to the Guyanese delegation, Kawartha Lakes also played host to a study group tour from the Ha Tinh Province in Vietnam in September. This visit was the result of many years work by Lloyd Wicks of Grasshill Farms in developing export market in East Asia. With the addition by Emily Wicks of a purebred Grasshill Red Angus beef herd last year, the group was able to see first-hand some of the fine livestock that they will need in the expansion of a beef production sector in their province.

The objectives of their visit were:

  • To study the Canadian agricultural production, farming and management practices including (i) beef and pork processing and management system, that well link to the markets; (ii) Operation of farmers' organizations; network building, linkages, right protection; (iii) Methods to develop communication strategies, marketing plans and sale channels for agricultural products; and (iv) Environmental protection mainstreaming into agriculture and food safety
  • To identify cooperation opportunities for Ha Tinh agricultural development
  • To identify trading opportunities in the field of livestock and cultivation: as well as
  • Opportunities for buying beef cattle semen and breeds, beef cattle or other agricultural products
  • Opportunities for selling agricultural products of Ha Tinh province such as green tea

In addition the Vietnamese group also visited John Buckley's livestock export quarantine facilities, and Brian and Holly Lee's purebred Limousin Herd at Blackstock. The development of expanded markets including export opportunities is one of the initiatives of the Kawartha Lakes Agricultural Action Plan.

Leading Livestock Genetics (LLG) Breeders Alliance

The Livestock Export Initiativesupported by three local regions has had a successful year.  The City of Kawartha Lakes, The Region of Durham and the Greater Peterborough Area are supporting dairy cattle and goat breeders who have come together to form an alliance to co-operatively promote the export of superior livestock genetics from this area.

The Leading Livestock Genetics (LLG) Breeders Alliance was formed in 2013 with the intent of improving profitability, herd health, marketing experience, and expanding global market opportunities through effective marketing, education, research and promotion.

LLG Logo

For more information about the LLG Alliance, visit www.LLGenetics.ca or contact Kelly Maloney, Agriculture Development Officer at 705-324-9411  extension 1208 or email at kmaloney@city.kawarthalakes.on.ca

Food Charter

Passed in 2011, developing the Kawartha Lakes Food Charter was one of the first initiatives completed within the Agricultural Action Plan. A Food Charter is a document that outlines values and beliefs about the food system in a community. It can act as a guiding document to assist in the development of local food related policies and programs to develop food security and a just, sustainable food system. 

 The Kawartha Lakes Food Charter supports a just and sustainable food system that includes a vibrant community food culture, food security, community health, a strong farming economy and a healthy ecosystem.

Jeff Leal, Minister of Rural Affairs, calls the Kawartha Lakes Food Charter a "success story". Premier and Minister of Agriculture and Food, Kathleen Wynn, thanks those volunteers who wrote the Charter, and Kawartha Choice FarmFresh members "for helping bring the good things that grow in Ontario to our tables".

Food Action Plan & Food Coalition

 The Food Charter may be completed, but the work is just beginning.  The supporters of the Charter, are now actively working alongside representatives from many of the over 90 organizations involved across the food system to develop action initiatives to move closer to those community ideals identified in the Charter.

 As a newly formed umbrella organization, the Kawartha Lakes Food Coalition will facilitate the collaboration of the dozens of groups working in the area of food production, processing, distribution, access and consumption.

A Food Action Plan encourages activities to fill identified gaps in the value chain, including looking at new crops, markets, adding local processing capacity, and enhanced distribution systems. Through continued support and enhancement of the buy local food program, Kawartha Choice FarmFresh, consumption of local products is promoted and opportunities for farmers to connect directly with the local consumers are provided.

While an over-arching direction-setting process will guide the selection of activities, the work itself will come from within the seven sub-working groups or focus areas.

*          Healthy Ecosystems
*          Growth and Sustainability of Farms
*          Access to Healthy Food For All
*          Workforce Development
*          Regulatory Hurdles
*          Processing and Distribution Capacity
*          Collaborative Marketing

 "The strength of a community comes from its people, and the Kawartha Lakes Food Coalition reflects the dedication and devotion to agriculture and food in this region", says Agriculture Development Officer, Kelly Maloney. "There is so much energy and willingness by volunteers within the food system to take what is already a strong sector and to make it even more vibrant."

 The Food Coalition is an open collaboration of organizations and individuals with a connection to the food system and invites ongoing participation whenever and wherever there is interest. To become involved in the Action Plan development process or one of the activities, please contact Kelly Maloney, Agriculture Development Officer, City of Kawartha Lakes, phone 705-324-9411 extension 1208 or Aisha Malik, Public Health Dietitian, Haliburton, Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit, phone 705-324-3569 extension 300.

Food System Development to Continue with Local Food Funding

The Economic Development Office has been successful in an application to the Local Food Fund to continue the development of the Kawartha Lakes Food Coalition and to oversee implementation of the Kawartha Lakes Food Action Plan. A temporary contract position of Economic Development Officer - Food System Development will be filled this fall with support from the Province of Ontario funding as well as from Coalition Member organizations and the City of Kawartha Lakes.

The focus of the work is to move the food system closer to the ideals identified by the community partners within the Kawartha Lakes Food Charter, and focus' on the key pillars of Regulatory Hurdles, Workforce Development, Growth and Sustainability of Farms, Processing and Distribution Capacity, Collaborative Marketing, Healthy Ecosystems and Access to Healthy Food For All.

Many initiatives are already underway or may be enhancements to existing programs. Some of the new initiatives established within the Food Coalition work are the Kawartha Lakes Plant-a-Row Grow-a-Row (PAR GAR) project and the Kawartha Lakes Seed Lending Library.

The Grow-a-Row initiative has been coordinating the donations of fresh local foods to local area food banks through Kawartha Lakes Food Source. Anyone with produce available to donate should contact Liza Hancock at 705-928-5149, lizaholly@yahoo.com to arrange for delivery or pick up of donations.

The Seed Lending Library, launched through the City of Kawartha Lakes Public Library, is a free community project which encourages residents to grow their own vegetables and fruits, save the seed and then share the seeds with others. The Seed Library will be located at the Bobcaygeon Library, the Kirkfield Library and the Lindsay Library. The Library is pleased to partner with the Lindsay & District Master Gardeners, the Bobcaygeon Horticultural Society, the Friends of the Kirkfield Library, Fleming College, Kawartha Lakes Food Coalition, Lindsay Community Garden, Healthy Communities and Plant a Row, Grow a Row.

Food System Development Has Help

The City of Kawartha Lakes has hired Julian Douglas as the Economic Development Associate-Food Systems Development to facilitate the implementation of projects by the Kawartha Lakes Food Coalition in the coming months in support of the Food Action Plan.

Julian Douglas is an economic development professional with strong knowledge of the rural economy, and national and international agri-food industries. Her professional experience includes six years in which she coordinated numerous projects and facilitated agri-food and rural business development. Julian brings to the position expertise in project management, value chain development, group facilitation and marketing, to promote awareness of the importance of local food systems.

In her previous roles she has facilitated the implementation of projects funded by international donor agencies such as the Inter-American Development Bank, UN-FAO and the European Union. Julian holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Leicester, UK, and is a graduate of the Masters of Applied Environmental Studies in Local Economic Development program from the University of Waterloo.

Julian's temporary contract is made available through a grant from the Local Food Fund provided by the Government of Ontario.

Julian Douglas may be contacted at jdouglas@city.kawarthalakes.on.ca
705-324-9411 extension 1234

January 2015 Update

Members of the Kawartha Lakes Food Coalition met on December 3, 2014, to demonstrate their commitment to food system development in the community. In evaluating the progress of the Food Coalition to-date the group developed an organizational logo, mission statement and identified its action plan priorities; was successful in its grant application and secured funding through OMAFRA's Local Food Grant funding; engaged a Food System Development Coordinator to assist with the coordination and implementation of activities; and played an active role in ensuring that all members of our community has access to healthy and affordable food and promoting Food Security within Kawartha Lakes.

New Structure

Members of the Food Coalition voted to implement measures aimed at enhancing its efficiency, accountability and advocacy. The Coalition members agreed to reduce the number of working groups from seven (7) to three (3), agreeing to focus on three (3) priority areas, (i) regulatory hurdles, (ii) growth and sustainability and (iii) food security. The new structure of the organization has four (4) core units which include (i) a general assembly which represents the entire membership and dictates the agenda and approves general direction of the Coalition; (ii) working groups, whose role is to work on addressing specific gaps/issues facing food system development within Kawartha Lakes; (iii) a steering committee, with representation drawn from across the Kawartha Lakes food system, will provide advice, leadership and strategic direction; finally a coordination unit, which will ensure coordination and synergy in the activities, communication and image, is comprised of working group leaders and the Food System Development Coordinator.

Kawartha Lakes Food Coalition has appointed a Chair

Mike Perry has been elected by members of the Kawartha Lakes Food Coalition to chair the organization. Mike is Executive Director of the City of Kawartha Lakes Family Health Team.  A lawyer and social worker by profession, Mike has been involved in many community organizations and projects in our area over the years. Mike was involved in the development of the Local Food Charter and active in drafting the Kawartha Food Coalition Action Plan.

The Kawartha Lakes Food Coalition wants to hear from you. Become a member of one of the three (3) working groups and support the Development of the food system within the City of Kawartha Lakes. Contact Julian Douglas, Food System Development Associate at jdouglas@city.kawarthalakes.on.caor (705)324-9411 extension 1234.

'Awesome Farm' Educational Tool

Till, plant, fertilize, and water. These are some of the steps to growing a healthy crop of Strawberries in the "Awesome Farm", an interactive touch screen computer system aimed at educating the public about healthy eating, local food and agriculture. The "Awesome Farm" is just one component of a Healthy Eating Project which has been developed by agricultural partners from across Kawartha Lakes.

Bev Roy, says  "it takes a whole community to come together to encourage healthy eating and we have received tremendous support from the partnering organizations in this initiative."  This project has been lead by the Lindsay Agricultural Society with assistance from partners, the City of Kawartha Lakes Agriculture Economic Development, Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit, Kawartha Choice FarmFresh, and Lindsay Farmers Market.

Funding for the "Awesome Farm" as well as four pull-up banners and a series of healthy eating and preserving workshops was provided by Ontario Agri-Food Education Inc. (OAFE), working in partnership with local organizations to promote nutrition and healthy eating of Ontario products.

''This is the kind of exciting outreach that we had always envisioned for the Healthy Eating Program,'' says Colleen Smith, Executive Director of OAFE. ''Local agriculture reaching out to the local community to reconnect consumers with their local food and agricultural roots.''  

Ontario Agri-Food Education Inc. is a not for profit, charitable organization dedicated to enhancing the learning experiences of students with high quality, balanced, curriculum-linked agriculture and food related resources and programs for Ontario educators. Ontario Agri-Food Education Inc. receives support from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Bale Wrap Recycling

After several years of researching and encouraging discussions with the Solid Waste Division of the Kawartha Lakes, we began a bale wrap recycling trial project in the spring of 2008. The trial project was well supported through the agricultural community. The Solid Waste Division agreed that this is a worthwhile venture and has committed to continue the program on a permanent basis. Bale wrap can being recycled at all of the landfills with the City of Kawartha Lakes during normal business hours. For detail see Bale and Boat Wrap Recycling.

Youth Retention

A priority for Agriculture Development is to develop programs to educate youth on agriculture and agricultural career opportunities, with a goal of retain these skilled youth in the Kawartha Lakes. Partnerships were  formed with local Career Organizations, Junior Achievement, school boards and agriculture awareness committees to develop programming and opportunities for youth.

180 Kent St. W, Lindsay, OntarioK9V 2Y6
Phone 705-324-9411
Toll Free 1-866-397-6673

Link to City of Kawartha LakesLink to City of Kawartha Lakes Tourismlink to KLSBEC.ca