Enabling Innovation and Resilience in the Agri-Food Sector

Do you know where your food comes from? As the fourth-largest food and beverage processing hub in Canada, York Region’s agriculture and agri-food sector is a vital part of the local economy that helps keep communities fed. From farms to food processors to restaurants, York Region offers a unique mix of resilience and innovation within the industry!

The key to innovation is creating an environment that enables and nurtures new ideas. In York Region this environment is alive and well, demonstrated through the work done by various organizations such as York University’s YSpace which is the delivery partner for the York Region Food and Beverage Accelerator Program, York Region Food Network: Food Starter Series, and ClearWater Farms: Agri-Preneur Mentorship program to name a few.

Simply put, York Region has the agri-food businesses, land, resources, and research centers to continue to drive innovation and growth in the industry.

Overall, the local agri-food system demonstrated resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic integrating more ag-tech into their systems. This was present at ventureLAB’s 2021 HardTech Conference where the panel, Revolutionary Technologies Shaking Up the Agriculture Industry, hosted a conversation about the benefits of hardware and automation on improving productivity.

Precision agriculture technology such as yield mapping and soil mapping has been instrumental in ensuring crops have their best shot at success. Companies also changed their ways of doing business. For example, Holland Marsh farmers invented Plexiglass protection for onion transplanters to protect their workers, while Reesor’s Market & Bakery introduced online shopping to keep their business moving and improve communication with customers.

Agri-Food Forum

2021 Agri-Food Forum

Curious to know more about Agriculture and Agri-Food in York Region? With the support of York Region’s municipalities, York Region will be co-hosting the 13th annual 2021 Municipal Agriculture Economic Development and Planning Forum on November 3 and 4 with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)! This forum shines a spotlight on ag-tech, entrepreneurship, and new ways to keep the industry moving forward through collaboration, especially in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s theme is “Innovation and Resiliency in the Agri-Food Sector”. Over two half-day sessions, attendees will hear from industry experts as they talk about the future of agriculture and agri-food. This includes virtual tours of York Region’s agri-food assets, the Holland Marsh growers and York Farm Fresh members to allow participants to explore York Region.

If you’re interested in learning more about York Region’s thriving agriculture and agri-food industry you find more information here. And don’t forget to save the date for the 2021 Municipal Agriculture Economic Development and Planning Forum. We hope to see you there!