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Celebrating Agri-Food Innovation and Growth

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Celebrating Agri-Food Innovation and Growth

New Steering Committee to Help Identify Opportunities for Industry Growth

Office of the Premier

Premier Kathleen Wynne honoured local agri-food industry innovators today and announced a new Growth Steering Committee to help drive agri-food industry growth and create jobs across the province. 

The Growth Steering Committee will be co-chaired by Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Deputy Minister Deb Stark and Ontario Pork board of directors Chair Amy Cronin. It will identify and pursue future opportunities, and design a growth measurement system. It will bring together industry and government leaders and experts to identify opportunities to help the industry meet the Growth Challenge. At last year's summit, Premier Wynne challenged the industry to double its growth rate and create 120,000 new jobs in Ontario by 2020.

The summit also recognized the work of local agri-food businesses whose new ideas and products are creating jobs, growing local economies and bringing quality Ontario food to consumers.

The Premier's Award was presented to Kaley's Acres of Castleton for converting former tobacco fields into a successful kale production operation. 

The Minister's Award was presented to A. Driedger Farms Inc. of Wheatley for developing a self-propelled tomato harvesting machine that speeds up harvesting by 19 per cent, while preserving the quality of the fruit. 

Three Leaders in Innovation awards were also presented to:

  • The Rheault Distillery of Hearst for its quadruple-distilled wheat-based alcohol made using northern Ontario grains, which are particularly well-suited to vodka production because of their higher sugar content. 
  • The Garlic Box of Hensall for bringing back Ontario's commercial garlic production. By developing a range of value-added products such as oils, salts, condiments and seasonings, all made with locally grown garlic, and by flash-freezing whole peeled cloves. The Garlic Box is providing customers with Ontario garlic year-round.
  • Truly Green Farms of Dresden for running a 22.5-acre carbon neutral greenhouse, which uses the carbon dioxide that GreenField Ethanol emits. Not only does using the CO2 promote tomato growth, it ensures that 15,000 metric tonnes of planet-warming gases stay out of the atmosphere each year.  

Supporting growth and innovation in the province's agri-food industry is part of the government's economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people's talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives, and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.

Quick Facts

  • A total of 50 regional agri-food innovation awards will be announced across the province this year.
  • Since 2007, 425 producers, processors and agri-food organizations have received a Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence.
  • Ontario’s agri-food sector supports farmers, communities and the economy — employing more than 760,000 Ontarians and contributing over $34 billion to the province’s economy.

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“Our government is proud to support the hard work, dedication and creativity of Ontario’s innovative thinkers that has helped make our agri-food industry the success that it is today. I want to congratulate today’s winners and all of this year’s 50 award recipients.”

Kathleen Wynne

Premier of Ontario

“Congratulations to this year’s award winners. I am so honoured to be able to recognize your commitment to Ontario's agri-food industry through the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence. Through your creative ideas, we are positioning our province and our agri-food industry for job creation and economic growth.”

Jeff Leal

Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs



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