Agriculture & Rural Economic Development Newsletter
January 2021 | Volume 10, Issue 1
In This Issue:
  • Made in Durham: Pefferlaw Peat
  • Grown in Durham: Wilmot Orchards
  • Durham Tourism launches new, exciting and vibrant brand
  • “All About Specialty Crops” Workshop Series
  • Drainage Act Regulatory Proposal
  • Feeding your Future: Focus on Food Video Series
  • New action plan for the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance
  • Coming Soon: Durham Farm Fresh Photo Contest!
  • Local Food in Durham
  • Uxbridge Downtown Revitalization project moving into stage 2
  • Rural Economic Development Program is now accepting applications
  • Durham Region Transit On-Demand program in full gear
  • Ontario Made program
  • Contact tracing made easy with CANATRACE
  • Central Counties PPE Reimbursement Program
  • Apply now for Canadian Agricultural Partnership Funding  
  • Enhance Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program
  • Canada Emergency Business Account expansion
  • Meat Processors Capacity Improvement Initiative
  • Upcoming Events
Made in Durham: Pefferlaw Peat
Brock Township’s Pefferlaw Peat is one of Ontario’s leading manufacturers and distributors of topsoil, mulch, garden mixes and aggregates. Since 1954, Pefferlaw Peat has mixed and packaged their products on-site. Not only do they manufacture their own brand of products under the name “Delicious Dirt”, but they also provide custom packaging to well-known brands such as Sun-Mar and Sobeys’ Compliments.

Supplying products to hundreds of garden centres and retailers across Canada, Pefferlaw Peat’s inventory covers more than six acres of land during peak times.

Healthy gardens begin with Pefferlaw Peat! 

Learn more.  
Grown in Durham: Wilmot Orchards

Wilmot Orchards has been a destination for Durham residents and beyond for more than 30 years. This family-owned business is operated by Charles and Judi Stevens, and their daughter Courtney. During the blueberry season - typically the month of August -visitors can enjoy delicious blueberry desserts at AppleBerries Café or partake in pick-your-own blueberries. Visit their website, Instagram, and Facebook pages to learn more.

We are looking forward to next year's blueberry season already!
Durham Tourism launches new, exciting and vibrant brand
Durham Tourism is excited to announce the launch of a new brand that celebrates our unique blend of urban excitement and country charm; the heart of our brand. Although 2020 has looked a little different, Durham Region—in a typical year—is a place where you can spend your afternoon on a scenic country drive to visit a farm or boutique. That same evening, you can head to one of Durham’s downtowns to dine at an urban bistro offering a farm-to-fork menu.

The new logo shape is made of the letters D and T. Your mind may start to visualize an arrow, symbolizing exploration—or a map, which is a nod to tourism.

As part of the new brand, Durham Tourism is developing icons to represent the array of distinct communities throughout the region, each with their own value propositions and key features. These icons will be featured on merchandise, including t-shirts and hats that will be available for purchase on the Durham Tourism e-commerce marketplace, launching in early 2021. Learn more.
“All About Specialty Crops” Workshop Series
Are you interested in diversifying your business by growing niche and specialty crops?

Join us for our four-part specialty crop workshop series to learn all about producing and marketing specialty crops. The first workshop will focus on specialty crops as a whole, with the following three sessions focusing in on several specific specialty crops.

Register for the following free workshop:

January 14, noon to 1 p.m.: Overview of Specialty Crop Production
January 21, noon to 1 p.m.: Lavender, Hops, Cannabis & Industrial Hemp
January 28, noon to 1 p.m.: Specialty Fruit & Nuts
February 4, noon to 1 p.m.: Specialty Vegetables

This workshop series is brought to you be OMAFRA, Invest Durham, Durham Farm Fresh, York Region and York Farm Fresh.
Drainage Act Regulatory Proposal
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) is looking for your input on a proposal that would result in the implementation of recent amendments to the Drainage Act. The new regulation would address the concerns of stakeholders and streamline approvals while conserving the environment. The comment period closes on February 7, 2021. Learn more.
Feeding your Future: Focus on Food Video Series
The Feeding your Future campaign promotes agri-food jobs and training across the province. The campaign has recently created a great agricultural training-based video series. Some of the video topics include:

  • Training and resources for grain farmers;
  • Integrated pest management with Ontario apple growers;
  • Focus on livestock: The importance of biosecurity;
  • Focus on livestock: Cattle heard health and animal welfare; and,
  • Training staff and customers on digital options.

New action plan for the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance
The Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance (GHFFA) has recently completed a new five-year action plan (2021 to 2026). Some of the key themes include:

  • Recognizing the GHFFA as the leading organization for food and farming expertise, issues and opportunities in the Golden Horseshoe Region;
  • Establishing the Golden Horseshoe as Canada’s leading innovative agriculture and agri-food cluster; and,
  • Enabling the agri-food cluster to support sustainability outcomes.

Coming Soon: Durham Farm Fresh Photo Contest!
It’s time to dust off your favourite summer photos from the farm, or snap a picture of the great meal or baked goods you have created with local food!

Durham Farm Fresh, in partnership with Invest Durham, will be running a photo contest in early 2021 with several great prizes to be won. Whether you are an amateur or professional photographer, we look forward to seeing your local food pictures and the creative ways you #FindYourFlavourInDurham. Stay tuned for more details! 
Local Food in Durham
There are lots of farms that are still open this winter. Check out the Invest Durham Local Food Directory to shop local and find a farm near you. A variety of products are available this time of year, including meats, root vegetables, preserves and home baking to name a few.

Uxbridge Downtown Revitalization project moving into stage 2
Big things are happening in Downtown Uxbridge! The Uxbridge Downtown Revitalization project is currently underway. After being granted up to $100,000 in cost-share funding from the Ontario Rural Economic Development (RED) program, the Township of Uxbridge kicked off their Downtown Revitalization project in August of 2020, following guidelines set out by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). This project will complete the first three stages of the process and prepare the Strategic and Action Plans in advance of the final stage: Implement & Monitor. Most recently, Uxbridge Council formally approved the updated vision for Downtown Uxbridge, allowing the project to move from Stage I: Preparation, into Stage II: Collect Data & Analyze. Stay tuned for more information in 2021.
Rural Economic Development Program is now accepting applications
OMAFRA is now accepting Rural Economic Development (RED) program applications. The RED program is a cost-share funding program that supports projects that create strong rural communities in Ontario.

Who is eligible to apply?
  • Municipalities
  • Not-for-Profit Entities
  • Ontario Indigenous Communities/Organizations
  • Local Service Boards

This RED program intake has two streams which include the Economic Diversification and Competitiveness Stream (maximum cost share of 50 per cent, up to $150,000 for mainly non-capital expenses) and the Strategic Economic Infrastructure Stream (maximum cost-share of 30 per cent, up to $250,000 for minor capital projects). The deadline to apply is February 1, 2021.

Durham Region Transit On-Demand program in full gear
Durham Region Transit has recently expanded their On-Demand Transit program and it is gaining traction across north Durham. The On-Demand transit program offers transit service seven days a week, where access to scheduled service is not available due to low ridership. This program is especially beneficial for Durham Region’s rural communities. The On-Demand program allows riders to travel from curb-to-curb, curb-to-stop, or stop-to-stop. Riders can book their trip using the DRT On-Demand app or by calling 1-866-247-0055. Learn more.
Ontario Made program
Whether they pivoted to produce PPE or worked overtime to keep supply chains strong, Ontario manufacturers have been there for us throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Now we must ensure that we are there for them! The Ontario Made program is an initiative launched by the Province of Ontario to help consumers identify products in the manufacturing sector that have been made right here in Ontario. Supporting locally made products will be key to rebuilding our economy.

Ontario manufacturers are encouraged to sign up, and consumers are encouraged to browse through the Ontario Made directory.
Contact tracing made easy with CANATRACE
The Pickering based company, CANATRACE™, is a free, fast and secure way for businesses to collect patron information for contact tracing purposes as per public health guidelines across Canada. The digital tool simplifies data collection by allowing visitors to provide their contact information directly on their own smartphone using a QR code uniquely branded for that business. By digitizing data collection, small businesses are able to minimize touchpoints for guests, ensure confidentiality and accuracy of the information given, and lessen the extra responsibilities their staff are taking on during these unprecedented times.

Central Counties PPE Reimbursement Program
Any private or not-for-profit business in the hospitality and recreation sectors are encouraged to apply for the Central Counties PPE reimbursement program. Central Counties Tourism would like to offset some of the unexpected PPE costs brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic by offering to pay 50 per cent of your expenses, up to a maximum of $1,000 ($2,000 total expense). Apply now
Apply now for Canadian Agricultural Partnership Funding 
The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is offering a wide variety of funding opportunities for producers, processers and other related businesses in the agriculture industry. Check out their interactive tool to find out which programs your business is eligible for.
Enhance Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program
Increased safety measures imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic have been extremely costly for Ontario farmers. The Province of Ontario and Government of Canada would like to help cover a portion of these costs. Established farm businesses can apply for up to 60 per cent cost-share funding for COVID-19 worker safety projects that had a total value of $15,000 or more. Funding is limited to $100,000 per business/property. Learn more about the program, and see if any of your COVID-19 safety projects are eligible.
Canada Emergency Business Account expansion
Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loans have now increased from $40,000 to $60,000 for eligible businesses. Businesses who have already applied for the $40,000 loan can apply for the $20,000 expansion. Eligible businesses new to the program can apply for the $60,000 loan directly. Under the CEBA program, if the balance of the loan is paid prior to December 31, 2022, 33 per cent of the loan will be forgiven (up to $20,000). The deadline to apply is March 31, 2021.

Meat Processors Capacity Improvement Initiative
The Meat Processors Capacity Improvement Initiative is a funding stream of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership administered by OMAFRA. The goal of this initiative is to provide cost share funding for provincially or federally licensed meat plants to purchase equipment, or upgrade equipment which will improve productivity. The deadline to submit a claim is March 1, 2021. Learn more.
Follow us on Twitter!
For more frequent updates on Durham Region success stories, resources, local news, fun facts and more, follow @DurhamAgRural on Twitter. #DurhamAg #NorthDurham
Upcoming Events
For a full listing of events and webinars, visit InvestDurham/calendar.
Durham West Junior Farmers - Virtual AGM with Guest Speaker Jan Kielstra

Join the Durham West Junior Farmers at their AGM on January 10 at 7:30 p.m. via Zoom. Jan Kielstra (@saskdutchkid) will be highlighting how he uses social media to connect with audiences worldwide to share information about dairy and crop farming in Canada. Jan's family operates Kielstra Dairy, located in central Saskatchewan.

For more information and to register, email
Talk, Ask, Listen
According to the National Survey of Farmer Mental Health, 40 per cent of producers across Canada reported they would feel uneasy about seeking professional help due to what people may think. Let’s break the stigma, and learn how to support our family members and neighbours.

This free mental health workshop is tailored to the agriculture community and delivered by mental health professionals with agriculture experience.

This workshop will outline:
  • The signs and symptoms of mental illness, including unique statistics for mental health in the agriculture industry;
  • How to prepare and converse with a family member or fellow producer experiencing mental health challenges;
  • How to support fellow producers as well as yourself;
  • Self-care and prevention strategies for mental wellness in agriculture; and,
  • How to access agriculture-specific resources.

We hope you will join us on February 24 from noon to 4 p.m. as we work to improve mental wellness in agriculture!

This workshop is brought to you by the Do More Ag Foundation, Invest Durham, Durham Region Federation of Agriculture and Durham Farm Fresh.
Ontario Soil and Crop Workshops 
Ontario Soil and Crop offers free workshops for farmers and agribusinesses, including Environmental Farm Plan, and Growing your Farm Profits and Biosecurity. Some workshops are required if your farm or agribusiness would like to access future Canadian Agricultural Partnership funding.

Contact Us
Toll-free: 1-800-706-9857

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If this information is required in an accessible format, please contact the Planning and Economic Development Department at 905-668-7711 ext. 2609 (toll-free at 1-800-706-9857).