Media Release: Food and Agriculture Advisory Council sets down roots

By July 13, 2017July 21st, 2018News

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
Email: [email protected]

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.