Regional agri-food study wins international acclaim

The County of Simcoe, the cities of Barrie and Orillia, Grey County, Bruce County, Georgian College, Nottawasaga Futures Community Development Corporation and South Georgian Bay Small Business Enterprise Centre have been recognized for their collaborative efforts by the International Economic Development Council with the Business Retention & Expansion Initiatives Award – Population 200,000-500,000.

“This is a well-deserved award for the project team and partners involved in the Agriculture and Agri-food project”, said Barrie Mayor, Jeff Lehman.  “Barrie is home to food and beverage processors and distributors, and several micro-breweries who benefit from the strength of the surrounding agricultural community. This award highlights how important collaboration is to our success.”

In 2018, this group of municipalities and organizations conducted in-depth analysis of the current economic climate for agricultural/agri-food businesses in our region. In total, more than 270 interviews collecting over 800,000 data points were conducted with a view to create a regional action plan for the area that could assist with local economic development efforts. Through this extensive engagement, area partners gleaned vital insights into the expansion plans of local agricultural/agri-food businesses as well as the main driving factors and barriers to business expansion in our region. Findings from the study were announced in November 2018.

On October 15, 2019, area partners were recognized for the successful 2018 Simcoe, Grey and Bruce Agriculture and Agri-Food Value Chain Business Retention & Expansion Study by the International Economic Development Council at their Annual Conference in Indiana. To learn more about the Agriculture and Agri-Food Value Chain Business Retention & Expansion Study and for a copy of the Final Trends Report, please visit

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