Food and Farming across the Golden Horseshoe
Have you heard of ConnectON? Launched by the GHFFA and built by economic development staff at the municipal level, ConnectON is an asset mapping platform and economic development tool for the agri-food and manufacturing sectors. It was created to support municipal and regional decision making and growth. 

Asset mapping is important as it provides information about the strengths and resources of a sector. ConnectON gives staff in economic development, planning and policy access to accurate and current business data that can be used to guide investment, identify trends and emerging opportunities, as well as understand the impact of investments on a regional basis. Municipalities have the ability to upload, update, select, set and map their own data.

We are excited to see how ConnectON has grown over the years. The platform now includes 31 regional areas and 77 municipal areas, along with 302 users across the province. Between the data refreshes for existing partners and new projects, we now have 120,060 assets mapped across all three sectors.

Intrigued? We encourage you to learn more in the latest ConnectON newsletter, which shares some insight into how the tool is being used!
Improving Soil Health on Canada's Farmlands

The Weston Family Foundation, through the Weston Family Soil Health Initiative, has announced $10 million in funding to help promote more adaptive and resilient agricultural lands in Canada.

The $10 million in funding over five years has been awarded to eight agricultural and conservation organizations working to promote soil health BMPs through incentivizing stewardship, supporting outreach and education, and supporting market-based approaches towards adoption.

You can read about the recipients and project summarizes here, which includes a Greenbelt Foundation project, aiming to establish Soil Health and Carbon Benchmarks for soil type across the Greenbelt region.

Food Insecurity and Homeownership
A recent newsletter from the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI) highlighted a report that shows when stratified by home ownership, food insecurity is the highest for those who rent their home (29%), and drops to less than half of that (12%) for homeowners who have a mortgage.

"While Canadian and global food production are trending upward," CAPI explains, "the link between homeownership and food insecurity may provide a pathway for new initiatives meant to combat food insecurity in Canada."

Fafard St-Germain, A.-A., & Tarasuk, V. (2020). Homeownership status and risk of food insecurity: Examining the role of housing debt, housing expenditure and housing asset using a cross-sectional population-based survey of Canadian households. International Journal for Equity in Health, 19(1), 5.
Financial Education Workshops
The Fair Finance Fund is currently hosting a series of financial education workshops designed to provide local food and farm social entrepreneurs with practical and accessible knowledge, tools and resources.

In the four-part series, they will explore different financial topics to help you better understand your finances, navigate financial challenges, and feel confident in your financial decision-making to meet your business goals and social mission.

2023 Farmland Forum
Are you registered yet? The Ontario Farmland Trust‘s 2023 Farmland Forum is taking place on Thursday, March 23rd, both online and in person in Guelph.

Join planners, farmers, conservation organizations and more from across Ontario and Canada to discuss the most pressing issues in farmland protection.

This year’s theme, Planning to Save the Soil, will explore the social, economic, and environmental considerations for protecting the foundation of our farmland and agri-food sector: Ontario’s soil.

FoodShift Program closes soon
A reminder that applications to the FoodShift Program are being accepted until Tuesday, February 28, at 11:59 p.m. EST.

The program is looking for food and beverage processors in Ontario who are ready to adopt innovative clean technologies into their operations, for which they will provide non-repayable funding. Learn more.
Some more food news to chew on...

Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance