Discovering Rural Innovation

On November 5, 2016 I hosted the third Rural Economy Tour alongside Kingston Economic Development, the Frontenac Federation of Agriculture and National Farmer's Union Local 316. We sought to highlight innovation in rural businesses and so visited Forman Farms, Ledgecroft Farm and Wendy's Country Market. 

Forman Farms - A diversified farm, with a balance of dairy, sharecropping, greenhouse operations, and pellet heat.  Charlie Forman represents the rural entrepreneur in his willingness to experiment, tinker, and find new ways to save or make money with his operation.
Ledgecroft Farm - Dairy operation with state-of-the art barns and a sustainable energy system supported through a successful Biogas production facility.  Biogas could make a big difference for local farms in the Kingston region, and we should get more online! 
Wendy's Country Market - Wendy's delivery service brings local produce to many homes and over 35 businesses in the Kingston region.  Her network is critical to the local food system, as she collects from over 70 local producers, aggregates and then delivers to her customers.

Participants on this tour included Kingston City Councillors, Councillors from South Frontenac, Leeds & Thousand Islands, MP Scott Reid of Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston, Economic Development professionals from Kingston, Leeds and the Frontenacs, Queen's University's Industry Partnerships, the Rural Advisory Committee, the Ontario Hazelnut Association, local farmers, and the Ontario Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Rural Affairs.

The Kingston region has strong roots in agricultural innovation and collaboration, something I am excited to celebrate, and working hard to encourage more of.