Possibility grows here
The business of local food has never been more promising. This February the Greenbelt Fund invites you to take part in a two-day Local Food Symposium celebrating how far we’ve come with incorporating more local food onto our menus, and looking at where we’re headed across the entire food value-chain.
On February 3 and 4, join the Fund for the inaugural Greenbelt Local Food Symposium at Queen’s Landing, Niagara-on-the-Lake. From farmers and agricultural organizations to distributors, foodservice companies, and public institutions—this Symposium has something for everyone.
This event provides an opportunity for learning and sharing while also offering attendees a great opportunity for networking. Get ready to discuss innovative ideas, creative solutions, and success stories all while keeping in mind, what’s next for local food.
Hotel information can be found by clicking "Symposium Details" on the side of this page. You are advised to make hotel reservations early to take advantage of the discounted room rates, which are subject to availability. Rooms and discounted rates are limited and available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Room or rates cannot be guaranteed for late bookings.
Please also be sure to RSVP for the Local Food Challenge Awards Reception (no ticket fee) to take place the evening of February 3. For more details click here.
*Panels/panelists subject to change
Site Visits and Tours
We are pleased to offer a unique learning opportunity through three separate all-inclusive tours where you will have the chance to meet an array of local food leaders and innovators.
|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|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.