Royal Agricultural Winter FairNovember 8, 2017

Local Food Symposium - Fall 2017

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

39 Manitoba Dr
Toronto, ON M6K 3C3
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Mark your calendars! On Wednesday November 8, 2017 the Greenbelt Fund will be hosting a Local Food Symposium at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

The Greenbelt Fund Local Food Symposium is an opportunity for stakeholders across the food value chain to participate in new and novel conversations about how to get more fresh, local food onto Ontarians' plates. 

Featuring a Keynote Address from former Deputy Secretary of the USDA and Executive Director of George Washington University's Food Institute, Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, the Symposium will include expert panels on every aspect of local food. 

Registration includes a full day of thought-provoking sessions, followed by the Local Food Champion Awards and Reception, as well as access to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.



K= keynote
M= moderator
P= panelist


8:30 am - 9:00 am Registration
9:00 am - 9:15 am Welcome and Overview of the day
9:15 am - 9:30 am Honourable Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
9:30 am - 10:00 am Keynote Speaker Dr. Kathleen Merrigan
10:00 am - 11:00 am Plenary Panel - Food Hubs & Connecting the Local Food Value Chain: Measuring Success
11:15 am - 11:30 am Refreshment Break
11:30 am - 12:30 pm Concurrent Breakout Sessions
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm Local Lunch with Ali Hassan
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm Concurrent Breakout Sessions
2:30 pm - 3:30 pm Moderated Networking Sessions
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm Plenary Panel - The Future of Local Food
4:30 pm - 5:00 pm Local Food Champion and Closing Remarks
5:00 pm Reception


Promoting Local

Marketing Local
Learn about successful local food marketing strategies and campaigns used by commodity organizations, farming associations, and distributors. The session will highlight successful local food promotion strategies and explore how to effectively make choosing local a priority for consumers.


Innovative Finance Models to Support Local Food
This session will explore novel approaches to providing funding for farmers and food entrepreneurs to support the local food value chain. Learn about new and emerging funds, who and what they are providing supports for and creative ways to attract venture capital . Hear how three expert entrepreneurs are finding new ways to finance innovation.

Regional Collaboration

Strengthening Regional Food Systems Through Collaboration: A Northern Perspective
Northern Ontario’s vast geography presents unique challenges and opportunities for stakeholders within its regional food system that can serve as a case study for building collaborative regional food systems throughout Ontario. From incorporating traditional Indigenous foods in healthcare, to food distribution route mapping and building resiliency within the Northern dairy processing sector, Northern food leaders will share best practices in regional collaboration to improve local capacity, food access and food security in the North.

Ontario Food in the Broader Public Sector

More Local Food in Ontario’s Municipalities, Health Care and Education Institutions
This session will provide an opportunity to learn how organizations are successfully getting more local food in Ontario’s broader public sector (BPS) institutions – municipalities, universities, colleges, schools, hospitals, long-term care facilities. Panelists will address some of the most challenging questions facing food procurement staff and healthcare professionals to overcome institutional inertia and create systemic change.

Food Hubs

Local and Regional Food Hubs
Hear from experienced food hub operators including independent grocery retailers, wholesale food hubs, direct-to-consumer hubs, and community-supported agriculture and cooperatives. They will discuss their strategies for successful collaboration, cultivating relationships, key factors of selecting partners and ventures, what has and hasn’t worked, and share best-practices in achieving growth and sustaining long-term viability.

Food Tech

Technology and Innovation in the Agri-food Sector
Explore how technology is evolving in the agri-food sector in this discussion with experts from leading technology companies that help farmers and processors increase local food sales. The conversation will include tools you can use to improve food safety, using data to improve efficiency, and increasing networking and connections with buyers through digital commerce.

Choosing Local

Local Food Literacy - Success and Impact
Delve into what successful local food education looks like and explore how to better assess local food literacy efforts. With a range of experience, panelists will discuss the current state of local food literacy in Ontario and how they are integrating literacy in school curriculums, engaging with consumers through on-farm education and menu development, initiating dialogue with communities interested in culturally-appropriate locally grown food, and engaging with students on college and university campuses.

Food Safety

Establishing Relationships with Provincial Meat Plants
There are many mistaken beliefs about food safety and provincial abattoirs and provincially-inspected meat plants that have presented challenges in accessing certain markets. Learn how the industry is breaking down barriers and making it into retail and foodservice accounts because of their food safety programs, not despite them.


Local Food Champion

The Local Food Champion Awards will be presented at the close of the Symposium by Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Jeff Leal. The recipients are selected by the Greenbelt Fund and the award recognizes leadership and innovation in the agri-food sector that is creating systemic change to get more Ontario food to Ontarians' plates.

Financial Sponsors

Food Sponsors

With Support From