Summer 2017 

"Local has always been my thing," says  Azra Zahirovic, "I always wanted to do something with fresh, local food."

Azra did just that, opening Real Sweets Bakery in Hamilton 5 years ago, where everything is made from scratch using local ingredients. All of her products now proudly wear the Foodland Ontario logo.

We recently connected with Azra to talk with her about this thriving business, and how she works closely with her local suppliers, farmers and retailers, sending out thousands of her popular pies now every month.  Azra also has her sights on exciting export opportunities, which she credits to the quality of Ontario products.

Read more about Azra and the bakery's impressive story on our blog.

As part of our Canada 150 Farm Family Recognition Program, the first Canada 150 Farm Family Sign was presented at a ceremony last month at Sweet Ridge Farms in Scarborough to the Reesor Family, who have been working the land for more than 200 years

"Rarely do we really stop to think about the food that finds its way to our table," Brian Denney, TRCA CEO, said, "but farms like the Reesor's have a rich history here in our region. They are the backbone of who we are now. These farms are where we came from and it's critical that we acknowledge their contributions."

It's no secret - the lavender plant provides a bouquet of benefits. The fields are stunning, the blooms aromatic, and it has proven itself to be a versatile remedy for centuries.

So it's really no surprise that the prized plant isn't so bad for agri-tourism too, proven by the flourishing Terre Bleu Lavender Farm in Halton Region, who saw an overwhelming number of visitors this summer. 

We visited Terre Bleu this summer and talked with them about their rapidly growing, well-run agri-tourism business.  Learn more on our blog.

As Canada celebrates it's 150th anniversary of Confederation, the 2016 Canadian  Census of Agriculture  has been released, informing some trends in the sector over the long-term and since the last census in 2011. 

Fewer but larger farms is a trend found in the census that's also mirrored here in the Golden Horseshoe, revealed in our Agriculture and Agri-Food Economic Profile  report.

Another point of interest, the proportion of operators under the age of 35 slightly increased for the first time since 1991. You can read more here. Additionally, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has pulled together census data for Ontario specifically.

Earlier this year, the Arrell Family Foundation announced an astounding $20 million donation to the University of Guelph, the single largest gift the university has ever received. The University matched the funds, for a total commitment of $40 million, creating the Arrell Food Institute.

Since the initial donation in March, the university has announced the first five Arrell Food Institute Scholars and what they will be researching.  Read more on our blog.

Agribusiness employers are invited to attend a free half-day  Farmers Feed The World Job Fair  in Ajax on September 13, 2017 (with another to follow in December in Mississauga).

The afternoon job fair will provide employers with the opportunity to meet approximately 30 Syrian refugee job candidates, the majority of whom will have had farming experience.

Learn more and access the registration form on our website.

The International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) has released a report, What makes urban food policy happen? Insights from five case studies.

The report draws lessons from the ways in which urban food policies have been developed in five cities around the world, looking at:  Brazil, Kenya, the Netherlands, the U.S. (Detroit), and in Canada, the Golden Horseshoe  Food and Farming Action Plan.

The report highlights the GHFFA's diverse representation through our innovative governance body, which promotes collaboration among multiple governments spanning urban and rural areas.  Check out the report on the IPES website .
Janet Horner, Executive Director,
Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance