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Queen’s Park looks to expand agri-food sector in northern Ontario


December 7, 2020
By Ontario Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines

The Ontario government is providing $16,500 to help the town of Rainy River conduct a greenhouse feasibility study and support a growing agri-food sector in the north.

“It is critical, especially during these difficult times, that we support economic development opportunities across Northwestern Ontario,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, Minister of Indigenous Affairs and MPP for Kenora-Rainy River. “We have a growing agri-food sector in the North and it is important that we look at ways to expand the development of sustainable local food sources right here in Rainy River to support our community and local economy.”

The investment is a first step in developing “sustainable, healthy and cost-effective locally grown food sources, while generating economic prosperity and job creation.”

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The study will help to identify the infrastructure required for a greenhouse facility, as well as assess the advantages of the greenhouse industry, such as increased variety and availability of produce, longer growing seasons, lower produce prices and reduced transportation costs.

“As part of the strategic planning and goals for the area, our town is doing initial research on the feasibility of commercial greenhousing in the area with the help of Ontario government funding,” said Deborah Ewald, Mayor of the Town of Rainy River. “On behalf of the citizens of Rainy River, I would like to thank Minister Greg Rickford and the Government of Ontario for the investment capital to help our communities.”

“This is an important investment by the province which will help to improve food sustainability and support Northern Ontario’s agri-food sector,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “The greenhouse industry is a huge contributor to our economy, and this feasibility study is the first step towards providing more jobs and nutritious locally grown food for the region.”

The funding is being delivered through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC). The Corporation promotes economic prosperity across Northern Ontario by providing financial assistance to projects – big and small, rural and urban – that stimulate recovery, growth, job creation and skills development.

Since June 2018, the NOHFC has invested more than $225 million in 1,492 projects in Northern Ontario, leveraging more than $991 million in investment and creating or sustaining 4,298 jobs.