Unhusked corn laid out on a table.

In the Province of Ontario, agriculture is a significant economic driver – creating jobs and economic impact throughout its rural communities. Agriculture supports nearly 158,000 jobs with $8.1 billion in wages and salaries. What sets Peterborough & the Kawarthas’ agriculture and agri-food sector apart? An emphasis on innovation and a deeply rooted interconnection between farmers’ products and the tables of local chefs and restauranteurs.

Innovation

The region’s first farmers were a resilient and innovative bunch with ideas and crops that would shape the community’s reputation and landscape – this holds true today. Some innovations from the region include:

  • Red Fife Wheat – which has its Canadian origins are rooted in the region
  • The sustainable farming practices at Harley Farms, whose owner started writing animal welfare protocols back in the 1980s, and whose work with the ethical treatment of lifestock earned them an SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) Certification in the Fall of 2014 – the first farm in Ontario to pass the certification process for their methods in raising pigs, sheep and cattle
  • Farming for insect protein at Entomo Farms – their products present a viable, sustainable and altruistic solution to global food and climate crises.

With over 100,000 hectares of prime agricultural land, programming at Fleming College and Trent University that focuses on sustainable agriculture, food systems, as well as culinary management, the region is well-poised to continue to lead the way into the future of agriculture.

Homegrown Goodness

As of 2011, there were over 1000 farms operating in the region – with farms growing everything from grain and oilseeds, to livestock, to fresh produce and everything in between. A walk through the Peterborough Farmers’ Market on any Saturday showcases the many award-winning products from maple syrup to goat cheese. In peak season, there are eight farmers’ markets that operate throughout Peterborough & the Kawarthas.

Notably, the region has a vibrant food scene filled with fresh ideas and even fresher ingredients. The agriculture sector is well-supported by chefs at restaurants from the heart of downtown to lakeside cottage resorts and everywhere in between. There are over 300 diverse dining establishments in Peterborough & the Kawarthas. The chefs that work and live here artfully offer up food that embraces local ingredients with global flairs, often choosing to locate here because of the amazing access to passionate producers and great local products.

Learn more about the Chefs of Peterborough & the Kawarthas.

How We Can Help

Peterborough Economic Development’s team of experts are here to help at every stage of business growth from the idea stage to startup to expansion. Our services for agri-food businesses include:

  • Business Development assistance to plan, assess market opportunities, expand and relocate
  • Assist in navigating incentive program and funding options
  • Define property and building site requirements/location for new and expanding enterprises
  • Business planning and development support for entrepreneurs utilizing the new Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre and Food Starter
  • Youth business startup and expansion support through Starter Company

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