Municipal leaders along with the agriculture and forestry sector have banded together to launch a bold new strategy called Growing Ontario to celebrate the innovation and contribution provided by the agriculture and forestry sectors to the economy of rural and Northern Ontario.

Initiated by the Grain Farmers of Ontario, the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities, the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association and stakeholders from the forestry sector, Growing Ontario brings together voices that represent the interests of 28,000 grain farmers, 50,000 forestry workers and over 140 municipalities that rely on thriving resource sectors to survive. It is further supported by the Rural Ontario Municipal Association, which represents the interests of all rural municipalities across the province.

Whether it’s the food we eat, the lumber that provides us shelter, the fuel that keeps us warm or moving, or the raw materials woven into the textiles we wear, Ontario farmers and forestry workers are meeting the vital needs of families every day and providing those needs in a very sustainable fashion. Their contribution to our economy deserves recognition, their stories of innovative practices deserve to be shared, and their commitment to protecting our environment for future generations should be acknowledged.

Growing Ontario will increase awareness of the important contributions of forestry and agriculture to the entire province. By highlighting the history of responsible environmental stewardship, commitment to local municipalities and dedication to innovative solutions that provide sustainable prosperity, Growing Ontario will demonstrate the relevance these sectors have in the lives of Ontarians.

While farmers and foresters are providing sustainable management of our key natural resources, Growing Ontario will become the voice of their concerns and their achievements. The group will honour the best of these industries, raising awareness for the difficulties they face as well as showcasing the true impact they have on the province.

 “Forestry and agriculture represent approximately 30 billion dollars in economic activity in the Province of Ontario and are the foundation of local economies in many communities across our province. Foresters and farmers built our province and continue to contribute to its success today, and for that reason we felt it was important to work together with these economic sectors to highlight that contribution,” said Alan Spacek, President of FONOM and the Mayor of Kapuskasing.

“In many respects, forestry and agriculture face many of the same pressures and will benefit from working together to raise awareness of our work so that Ontarians have a better understanding of what is actually going on in our forests and fields,” said Mark Brock, Chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario.