Growing the north’s agriculture sector
An organization called Farmers' Markets Ontario is taking note of work going on in Timmins that promotes farming, and for that reason, the organization is bringing the founder of the Urban Market in Timmins, Noella Rinaldo, aboard.
Harold Schmidt is co-owner of Acres of Dreams Farms in Timmins. He says he's pleased to learn Rinaldo will hold a seat on the board of Farmers' Markets Ontario.
"The work that Noella has done in the past, I can just imagine where she's going to go with this. She really, really promotes the local farmers here in Timmins, Ontario. I can't wait to see what she's going to do with it." said Schmidt.
Rinaldo says she's excited too.
"This really shows that we're getting noticed and that it's important for us to have someone at the table to represent the north." said Rinaldo.
She is hoping to see more farmers explore opportunities in northern Ontario.
"We have more farm land that used to be farm land, than they have in southern Ontario. So, this is where the growth's going to happen in Ontario. People, they need land. This is where they are going to come. It's affordable; we have a lot of it; it's fertile and we have a great area here." said Rinaldo.
She's not the only one with that vision.
The Timmins Economic Development Corporation has an employee spending about 50% of his time promoting agriculture in the north.
Antoine Vezina is a Community Development Consultant for the TEDC.
"I primarily assist in business advice, business consulting. Helping them with grant applications, making sure they're aware of regional news and workshops and capacity building opportunities." said Vezina.
Farmers like Schmidt are hoping everyone's hard work will pay off.
"Farming doesn't stop come October for thanksgiving weekend. Farming goes year round, so myself, I’d like to see a year-round market so we can prove we can do it in the north, just as well as in the south." said Schmidt.
Rinaldo says this opportunity comes as a big surprise. Typically farmers are selected for the board and it's the first time someone north of New Liskeard has been selected.