Agriculture and Agri-Food Update - December 16, 2020

In this edition:

  • Oat Canada Wins Big in the Dragon's Den
  • King City Farm Featured in A&W Advertisement
  • Expanding Opportunities for the Ontario Food Terminal and the Agri-Food Sectore
  • How Farms are Coping with COVID-19
  • Ontario Supporting Agricultural and Horticultural Societies During COVID-19
  • Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance Releases New Action Plan
  • Farm fresh food still available across York Region
  • Want To Learn More About Specialty Crops?
  • COVID-19 business resources
  • Canadian Agricultural Partnership Update
  • New Meat Processors Funding Program
  • Food Waste Reduction Challenge
  • Farm Transition Planning Workshop
  • Latest Webinars from Ontario Soil and Crop Association
  • Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Project

Oat Canada Wins Big in the Dragon's Den

Oat Canada – a participant in the York Region Food and Beverage Accelerator Program – appeared on CBC’s Dragons Den to pitch their Zero Sugar & Keto Friendly Oat Milk. With five offers from the Dragons, their idea and presentation was clearly a big hit, culminating in a verbal offer from Manjit for $100,000 for a 10% stake in their company.

Oat Canada offers oat-based no sugar/low sugar food and beverage products that help Canadians build healthier eating habits without disrupting their lifestyles.

Watch their pitch

King City Farm Featured in A&W Advertisement

King City’s very own Beretta Farms is featured in a commercial for A&W restaurants. Lieschen Beretta, ranch manager at Beretta Farms, stars in the commercial as she talks about grass-fed beef. A&W is featuring grass-fed beef in its restaurants and featured Beretta and another rancher in its commercial. 

The relationship between A&W and Beretta Farms goes back a number of years. Beretta has been supplying the restaurant chain for about seven years.
Read the full story

Expanding Opportunities for the Ontario Food Terminal and the Agri-Food Sector

The Ontario Food Terminal is the largest wholesale fruit and produce distribution centre in Canada, and the third-largest in North America. The Government of Ontario is expanding locally produced food and other agricultural products that can be sold at the Terminal, for example Christmas wreaths and decorative corn. This would in turn increase economic opportunities for both buyers and sellers at the Terminal.

Read the full announcement

How Farms are Coping with COVID-19

We know that York Region farmers are dedicated, hard-working and committed. That's why we shared a guest article in Fruit and Vegetable Magazine - one of Canada's leading agriculture and agri-food publications - outlining how local farms pivoted their operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Read the story

Ontario Supporting Agricultural and Horticultural Societies During COVID-19

Agricultural and horticultural societies that demonstrate financial hardship will be able to access an additional one-time $5 million in funding from the government of Ontario. The funding, part of Ontario’s 2020 budget, is to help offset revenue losses from to fall fair and exhibit cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This additional funding will help support these organizations during this difficult period so they can continue operating and contribute to our economic recovery.

Read the full announcement

Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance Releases New Action Plan

Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance (GHFFA) has recently released its new Action Plan 2021-2026. This Action Plan is broken down into 3 goals to achieve the vision of the organization:
  1. The GHFFA is recognized as the leading organization with expertise on food and farming issues and opportunities in the Golden Horseshoe Region of Ontario
  2. Establish the Golden Horseshoe as Canada’s leading innovative agriculture and agri-food cluster
  3. Enable the agri-food cluster to support sustainability outcomes
Read about the action plan

Farm Fresh Food Still Available Throughout the Winter

Many farms are staying open through the winter to offer you a variety of products, including fresh meats, honey and more. COVID-19 restrictions still remain in place, with some farms offering online ordering, curbside pickup and more.
Find a farm near you

Want To Learn More About Specialty Crops?

Are you interested in diversifying your business by growing niche and specialty crops?

York Region is partnering with Durham Region, York Farm Fresh and Durham Farm Fresh to host a specialty crop webinar series led by Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). The 1-hour webinar series will be held on January 14, 21 and 28, and February 4, 2021. The first webinar will focus on crop production, pest management and marketing, with the following 3 sessions focusing in on several specialty crops. 

Complete a one-minute survey to provide your input on what you want the webinar to include, and register using the button below.

COVID-19 Business Resources

We know businesses continue to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic. York Region Economic Development has compiled resources that can help you find federal and provincial funding programs, webinars, resources and more.

You can also view industry resources specially curated for the agriculture and agri-food sector.

Primary Funding Support and Resources

More supports and resources

Canadian Agricultural Partnership Update

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) is now accepting producer applications (starting December 9, 2020) until January 6, 2021 (5 pm).  A maximum of 2 applications can be submitted in this intake.  Each application is reviewed using a merit-based process and approved on a continuous basis while funds remain available.
Learn more

New Meat Processors Funding Program

Applications are now open for a Meat Processors Capacity Improvement Initiative. The program provides cost-share support through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to meat processors for equipment to increase productivity through equipment upgrades.
Learn more

Food Waste Reduction Challenge

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has launched a $20M Food Waste Reduction Challenge. The Challenge will includes four targeted innovation streams to accelerate and advance the deployment of diverse and high-impact solutions to food waste in Canada.

For more information, visit their website. The deadline to apply is January 18, 2021.
Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Project
Brock University wants to hear your thoughts on the adoption of automation and robotics technologies in Ontario’s agriculture value-chain. An agricultural value-chain is all farms, firms and related organizations that contribute to growing, processing, and distributing food in Ontario.
Take the survey


Farm Transition Planning Workshop
Thursday, Dec 17, 2020 @ Noon
Join Farm Credit Canada and Durham Region to learn about the importance of transition planning, how to start one and how real talk can benefit your farm and family. Register now

Latest Webinars from Ontario Soil and Crop Association
It’s always best to plan ahead and have your Environmental Farm Plan, Biosecurity (Plant, Livestock, Poultry, Bee)  and Growing Your Farm Profits Workshops up to date as they may be pre-requisite for some cost-share categories.  For a current list of webinars, visit
Shopping local? Visiting a York Region farmers' market? Remember to use the #loveYRfood hashtag on social media - your posts may just end up on our page for all to see!
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