There’s a new group in Ontario looking out for the interests of the agriculture and forestry sectors.

Initiated by the Grain Farmers of Ontario, the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM), the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association and stakeholders from the forestry sector, Growing Ontario will raise awareness of the important contributions of forestry and agriculture to the entire province, and celebrate the innovation and contribution provided by those sectors to the economy of northern and rural Ontario.

“Forestry and agriculture represent approximately $30 billion in economic activity in the province of Ontario and they are foundation of local economies in many community across our province,” Al Spacek, FONOM president and Kapuskasing mayor, said this week in a news release.

“Foresters and farmers built our province and continue to contribute to it’s success today, and for that reason we felt it was important to work together with these economic sectors to highlight that contribution.”

Mark Brock, chairman of Grain Farmers of Ontario, noted that “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.”

By highlighting the history of responsible environmental stewardship, commitment to local municipalities and dedication to innovative solutions that provide sustainable prosperity, the organization plans to demonstrate the relevance these sectors have in the lives of Ontarians.

Growing Ontario will become the voice of their concerns and their achievements. The group will also 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.

The new group brings together voices that represent the interests of 28,000 grain farmers, 50,000 forestry workers and over 120 municipalities that rely on these resource sectors to survive.