Vibrant Community Rountable – February 7th @ OPG (1-3pm)

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We will host the inaugural Vibrant Community Roundtable on February 7, 2018 at the Ontario Power Generation Visitor Centre.

Community leaders from business and non-profit sectors, as well as civic representatives from Akwesasne, Cornwall and the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry have been invited to participate in the session designed to address complex societal issues like poverty and community livability, build a constituency working towards change and encourage collaborative ways of working.

Liz Weaver, Co-CEO of the Tamarack Institute, a Waterloo-based organization that facilitates positive community change, will lead the session and deliver a keynote on building community vibrancy. Weaver will introduce the core elements of the collective impact framework as a mechanism for advancing community vibrancy and will highlight other communities that have enjoyed success with these types of collective efforts.

The afternoon session will also include a presentation by Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health, Eastern Ontario Health Unit, focusing on local statistics and relevant data which is inhibiting the building of community vibrancy.

Following the presentations, community leaders will enter into the roundtable phase, discussing considerations for building a vibrant communities Cornwall, Akwesasne and SDG, identifying their priority issues and outlining next steps. The intention is to hold quarterly meetings moving forward to continue the dialogue.

SDG & Cornwall Community Garden Network – Logo Competition

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The new SDG & Cornwall Community Garden Network is looking for a youth or child to submit ideas for their new logo. All applications must be submitted by mail or email before September 1st, 2017. The Community Garden Network members will judge and decide on a winner of the competition. If you are the winner, we will call you by mid-September, and reward you with a garden related prize worth $50.

You may access the application form here.

If you have any question, please contact Kat Rendek at (613)935-4017 or


Media Release: Food and Agriculture Advisory Council sets down roots

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For immediate release – July 11th , 2017

Wednesday, July 5th, marked the official launch of the Cornwall and Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry
Food and Agriculture Advisory Council, a new initiative coordinated by All Things Food (ATF) and the
Social Development Council of Cornwall and Area (SDC). The makeup of the council’s members reflect
various interests, including those of farmers, producers, business owners, employment boards,
educational institutions, healthcare institutions, recreation and tourism.
“We’ve been working towards this council for over a year,” said Kat Rendek, the Coordinator of ATF.
“We felt there was a significant need to pull together local food and agriculture stakeholders to discuss
and to create a more representative strategic action plan for SDG and Cornwall.”
New council member Jim Wert expressed, “ The timing of the project is great because consumers are not
only looking for what’s available, they also want to know how it is being produced. Producers are
establishing networks to strengthen their business plan and build relationships with their customers.
This project has the potential to benefit both these groups. ”
With the help of a grant from the Eastern Ontario Development Program (through the Cornwall &
Counties Community Futures Development Corporation), ATF and the SDC secured funding to hire Sarah
Chisholm Ryder as Food & Agriculture Development Officer. Sarah will work exclusively to advance local
food economy issues, as well as serve and implement action items set forth by the new council.
This Council will work together over the next 18 months to create a strategic plan and establish some
key areas of focus. At the inaugural meeting, discussion topics included administrative items and
council-structure, all up for council approval and discussion, as well as a presentation from SDG Counties
Economic Development and Communications Officer, Terry Besner, on the Economic Priority Areas for
SDG moving forward.
“SDG’s greatest strength is its concentration of agri-food businesses, first among Eastern Ontario’s 13
counties. As the agriculture sector is a key element of the SDG Economic Development Strategy, projects
like this new council will help encourage future entrepreneurial support to the next generation of food
and agriculture producers in the region.” – Terry Besner.
The meeting ended with a roundtable discussion of initial challenges, issues or opportunities for the
food and agriculture sector in the region. Some themes brought to light were the idea of anchor
institutions, agri and culinary tourism, the need for locally-specific food and agricultural education in
SDG, local regulations, labour issues and youth retention.
The project funding is secured until December 2018, and the council intends to meet 14 more times
between now and then. Specific working groups will be established to address particular initiatives and
For more information, please contact Sarah directly:
Sarah Chisholm Ryder
Food & Agriculture Development Officer
All Things Food Community Food Network

From left to right: Steven Byvelds of Bycrest Farms; Alex de Wit, Executive Director of the Social
Development Council of Cornwall & Area; Terry Besner; Economic Development and Communications
Officer for SDG Counties; Jim Wert of Stanlee Farms; James Loucks of The Community Market; Kat
Rendek, Coordinator of All Things Food; Stephen Burgess of Cedar Croft Farm & Apiaries – Honey from
the Glen; Deborah Stava, Dean of the Cornwall Campus of St. Lawrence College; Louise Quenneville,
Project Manager at the Glengarry Memorial Hospital; Shauna Baggs, Tourism Coordinator with SDG
Counties; Lianne Acres-Hanna, local artisan; Karina Belanger, Administrative Assistant with the Economic
Development and Communications Department for SDG Counties; Martha Woods, Executive Director of
the Eastern Ontario Training Board; Lesley Lang, Executive Director of The Cornwall and the Counties
Community Futures Development Corporation, and; Sarah Chisholm Ryder, Food & Agriculture
Development Officer with All Things Food.
Absent from photo: Julia Graham, owner of The Quirky Carrot; Tom Manley, President of Homestead
Organics; Scott & Angela Coleman of Sand Road Sugar Camp; Anne Leduc, Director of Community
Services with the Township of North Glengarry; Dan Pettigrew, Owner of the Winchester Foodland; Josh
Biemond, Upper Canada Creamery; Dave & Pamela Phillips of Avonmore Berry Farm; Lezlie Strasser,
Executive Manager of the Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce, and; Courtney McDonnell,
Communications and Events Assistant with ATF.

Summer Student – All Things Food

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Hello everyone,

I am excited to announce that Courtney-Anne McDonell has joined the ATF team as our Summer Events and Communications Assistant.  She will be working with us for July and August on a number of initiatives, but most importantly, she is here to help YOU plan and promote your local food and community events.  Yay!

With that being said, if you are planning a local food event this summer and would like assistance with promotion, media support, recruiting volunteers, or something more specific, please do not hesitate to contact Courtney at or  613-935-4017.

I welcome you to also share this offer with others in your networks.

Have a great day!

Kat Rendek
All Things Food Coordinator/Coordonnatrice Bouffe 360°

C: 647-618-9253

W: 613-935-4017



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From left to right

Sarah Good, Program Coordinator – Domestic Violence Programming

Kelly Bergeron, Director of Digital Programming – Code Heroes

Alex de Wit, Executive Director – Social Development Council of Cornwall & area

Kat Rendek, Coordinator – All Things Food

Sylvie Kinloch, Administrative Assistant – Social Development Council of Cornwall & area

Sarah Chisholm Ryder, Food and Agricultural Development Officer – All Things Food

SDG & Cornwall Community Garden Network – Media Release

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May 27, 2017

Community Garden Network Germinates with $40,000 from OTF

Cornwall, ON – On Saturday, May 27th, the Social Development Council of Cornwall & Area officially launched the Cornwall and Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Community Garden Network at the 5th Annual Incredible Edible Plant Festival in Cornwall.  Led by the All Things Food Network, a working group of the SDC, the new garden network is working to establish, support, and increase community and home gardening across the region.

“We are thrilled that the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the province of Ontario are supporting the creation of regional community garden network” said Jim McDonell, MPP for Stormont, Dundas, and South Glengarry.  “We believe that these types of community initiatives help to bring people together and offer lasting positive impacts for our communities.”

In addition to supporting new and existing gardens in the region, the OTF grant will allow for more educational events and workshops for residents wanting to learn how to garden.

“Over the past few years, we have seen more people taking an interest in community and home gardening,” explains Kat Rendek, Community Garden Network Coordinator. “The funding from OTF will allow us to offer a variety of events and workshops to help everyone become more adventurous and confident gardeners.”

The Community Garden Network launch occurred at the 5th Annual Incredible Edible Plant Festival, a free community gardening event and vegetable plant giveaway located outside of Cornwall City Hall.  The event included a public vegetable garden planting of the Cornwall Fire Station, Justice Building, Police Station, and SVC Health Centre, free gardening activities, outdoor games, cooking workshops, and live music.

Led by the Food Action Group of Transition Cornwall+ (a working group of the Cornwall Social Development Council), the Incredible Edible Plant Festival is supported by the All Things Food Network, the City of Cornwall municipal services, and numerous organizations, and volunteers.

“This our community’s biggest vegetable gardening festival of the season, and we were very excited to launch the Community Garden Network surrounded by all of our community partners and local gardeners,” said Kat Rendek.

An agency of the Government of Ontario, the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is one of Canada’s largest granting foundations. With a budget of over $136 million, OTF awards grants to some 1,000 projects every year to build healthy and vibrant Ontario communities.

Media Contact

Kat Rendek –  613 935 4017 |

Vibrant Communities Poverty Reduction Plan presentation @ Council Meeting May 8th

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Addressing poverty in Cornwall

By Nick Seebruch

Published on May 8, 2017

Alex de Wit, Executive Director of the Social Development Council presents the Vibrant Communities poverty reduction plan to council on Monday, May 8 (Nick Seebruch/ TC Media).


CORNWALL, Ontario – Cornwall City Council learned more about the Vibrant Communities of Canada Charter, a movement dedicated to reducing poverty in Canadian communities.

The City of Cornwall signed the Charter on Dec. 12, 2016. Alex de Wit, the Executive Director of the Social Development Council (SDC), explained the charter and how the City could pursue those values.

In his presentation, de Wit explained that the Charter is a creation of the Tamarack Institute for Communities with support from the province and the federal government.

“Every Canadian benefits when poverty is reduced; therefore, everyone has a role to play in poverty reduction. Communities play a critical role in poverty reduction,” de Wit read from an excerpt of the Charter.

de Wit explained that by signing the Charter, the city committed to significantly reduce poverty in its jurisdiction.

One of the commitments of the Charter is the establishment of a multi-sector leadership poverty reduction round table. de Wit pointed out that the SDC already had a prototype for a nascent poverty round table in its Poverty Working Group, but pointed out that currently there is no representation from City staff or council on that committee.

The Mayor committed to meeting with de Wit privately to discuss exactly what a round table of this nature would require from any member of council or staff who participate.

“The starting point is always the community round table and from there it goes in the general direction the community wants to go in,” explained de Wit.

de Wit said that having community partners invested in the issue would give the round table a better picture of what poverty in Cornwall looks like.

“We are missing businesses, we are missing City staff, police, get a more rounded idea of who is dealing with poverty on the day to day,” he said. “We are limited by membership and not having those key people on that that other communities have.”

Councillor Carilyne Hebert acknowledged the importance for community involvement in this project and felt that poverty was something that needed to be further discussed.

“None of Mr. de Witt’s requests are financial in nature,” she said. “We have a poverty problem and we don’t like talking about it. The least we could do is give them these resources. We have a lot of invisible poverty in our city.”

Ultimately, the Mayor agreed to meet with de Witt at a later date to explore City involvement in the SDC’s Poverty Working Group.