The province has recognized producers from Manitoulin Island, Kenora, Massey and Cochrane with its Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence.
Handed out annually by region, the awards honour the contributions of hardworking and innovative people across the province who are creating new agri-food products, adding value to existing products, supporting job creation and building economic growth in Ontario.
The winners include:
- La Ferme Sylvain (Cochrane), a dairy farm;
- Freshwater Cuisine (Kenora), led by Chef Jay Barnard who turns locally caught fish into value-added products like popcorn pickerel cheeks, freshwater whitefish cakes, and wild caught Northern pike cakes;
- Northern Ontario Permaculture Research Institute (Manitoulin Island), a group that promotes the practice, art, and science of permaculture through education and training; and
- Jonella Farms (Massey), a dairy farm that has embraced new farming technology, including implementing robotic milking in 2007.
This year, 50 innovators are receiving regional awards. All 50 award recipients are also eligible for the Premier’s Award, Minister’s Award and three Leaders in Innovation awards, which will be announced in December.
Since 2007, the program has received more than 1,700 nominations, with $4.25 million distributed to 525 award-winning innovators.
Ontario’s agri-food sector supports more than 800,000 jobs and contributes more than $37 billion towards the province’s gross domestic product.