Grow Ontario Strategy aims to promote local products, spur economic growth

Agriculture workers operate tractors full of potatoes. (Photo courtesy of EricPruis via morgueFile)

The slogan “good things grow in Ontario” will be taken to the next level, according to a recent report from the provincial government.

On Monday, the Grow Ontario Strategy was announced – a 10-year vision for major growth in the agriculture and food industries.

The report acknowledges the importance of the agri-food sectors within the economy, stating that 1 in 10 Ontarians are employed in these sectors and that they generate $47 billion in provincial gross domestic product.

The three priorities for the next decade will be strengthening the agri-food supply chain, adopting and developing innovative technology, and attracting more talent to the industry. Some of the most ambitious goals are to increase the production and consumption of Ontario-grown foods by 30 per cent by 2032, as well as increasing employment within the agri-food sector by 10 per cent.

The full report can be found on the government website.

According to Lisa Thompson, the minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, the Grow Ontario strategy was developed in partnership with dedicated farmers, Indigenous representatives, food industry leaders, and other stakeholders.

Several key figures have voiced their support for the Grow Ontario Strategy.

“On behalf of the 1,300 chicken farming families across the province, we thank Minister Thompson and the Ontario Government for collaborating with farmers and the agri-food community to develop the Grow Ontario Strategy,” said Murray Opsteen, chair of Chicken Farmers of Ontario.

“Building and securing a robust food producing sector is in all our interests,” said George Gilvesy, the chair of the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers. “[We wish] to thank Minister Thompson and the Ontario government for their solid support in delineating a strong aggressive path forward that is measurable and clear for all of us in the agricultural industry.”