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Northern food producers ready to return to the big stage

Some northern Ontario agri-food producers are getting set to return to the world's largest exhibition.

Wednesday, FedNor announced it was cutting a cheque to help 45 businesses show off their wares at the 2023 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto.

Nickel City Cheese was the backdrop as FedNor announced $680,000 to help 45 businesses participate in the fair and break into the Toronto market.

"It's a big demand, we're helping small businesses to grow their business and we got to Toronto to the Royal Winter Fair and it's amazing to see all the people from the north,” said Nicole Paquin of Nickel City Cheese.

"It's one of the great things about northern Ontario and all the things we do, but specifically in the agriculture sector,” said Neil Fox of Economic Partners Sudbury East/West Nipissing.

“There is an inter-dependency between all the businesses."

Fox said businesses here rely on each other not only for products and services, but their general knowledge on how to grow in this environment.

"For the people who are not familiar with it, it's like everything else,” he said.

“They think northern Ontario is lakes, rivers and rock cuts but it certainly is a thriving agricultural sector and we love bringing it to the people of southern Ontario.”

Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré said investments FedNor has made across Greater Sudbury and northern Ontario are important.

"Small businesses, you know we've got more high-speed connectivity now so that's important for small business,” Serré said.

“How can FedNor support that in a bigger way? And now you've got businesses in the area raising families, having children and growing northern Ontario like we need to do."

Since 2015 -- and excluding two years for COVID-19 -- businesses at the Northern Ontario Agri-Food Pavilion in the fair have generated $7.2 million in on-site and projected sales. Top Stories

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