Rural Economic Development support for Kawartha Lakes

By Lindsay Advocate

The Ontario government is investing $47,390 to support the Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development (PKED). PKED’s project is one of 16 projects approved through the Rural Economic Development (RED) program providing nearly $800,000 in funding to support economic recovery in rural communities across Ontario.

The new funding will support the creation and modernization of tools to help connect local Kawartha Lakes and Peterborough food service providers and farmers with customers through a digital platform and increase local food production, processing and demand, according to a media release.

“This funding will support our rural economies by helping local agri-food businesses adapt to challenges COVID-19 has presented and encourage community members to buy locally sourced products safely,” said Laurie Scott, MPP for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock.

“For years, Kawartha Choice FarmFresh has played a key role in supporting local food producers and products grown or produced in Kawartha Lakes and Peterborough. Through the early days of the pandemic the increased demand for locally grown foods and farm products uncovered the need for a more robust, modern platform to help consumers understand ways to access locally grown foods and farm products,” said Kelly Maloney, Agriculture Development Officer, Kawartha Lakes Economic Development.

“Thanks to the funding provided by the government of Ontario, we are better able to help farmers utilize additional tools and programs to effectively grow their businesses through value-added food processing and enhanced marketing to meet consumer demand.”

“Kawartha Lakes is home to over 300,000 acres of farmland and agriculture is vital to both our economy and community,” commented Mayor Letham, Kawartha Lakes.

“We’re fortunate to have a variety of local farmers, restaurants, retailers and food service providers and we can’t lose sight of the important role they play as our community grows. I’m grateful the province shares our vision and is continuing to support our home grown food through this funding.”

“This new targeted funding is just one of the many ways our government is supporting job creation and economic development across the province,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “We’re encouraging local economic growth by supporting projects that help expand businesses and provide skills development and training for employees. These kinds of investments are particularly important as we lay the foundation for our recovery from COVID-19.”

This intake was directed at upper-tier municipalities and not-for-profit regional organizations with a mandate focused on regional economic development. Qualifying projects would be eligible for up to 70 per cent of total costs to a maximum of $75,000 in provincial funding.

Supporting renewal, growth and economic recovery in rural and Indigenous communities is part of the government’s plan to get every region of Ontario back on track so they can create jobs, opportunity and prosperity for everyone.

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