RAIN’s market development projects work to expand the market for Algoma producers of agricultural goods. This includes market research, infrastructure development around transportation to/from markets, and value-added/season-extension research for increasing market access.
There is a lack of information on the agri-food sector in north-central Ontario across the value chain from producer to consumer. This causes hesitation for agri-food businesses who seek to grow as they are unsure of the market demands for locally produced food.
The purpose of the market study is to get a comprehensive picture of demand and the area’s food economy. It will examine how food moves through the system in Algoma, Sudbury, and Manitoulin Districts. The medium to long-term goal of the project is to support local job creation, retention, and economic activity within the agri-food sector and local economy.
The study will focus on four areas of demand in the supply chain; food service, food retail, food processing, and food programs. Businesses in these sectors will be interviewed and surveyed to collect data on:
- what food products and volumes are being sold, processed and purchased;
- critical price points;
- purchasing habits and preferences of different sectors;
- and factors determining overall patterns of demand.
Focus groups will also be held with farmers, harvesters and food producers to gather their views on the successes and challenges of supplying food to these businesses and to validate the findings of the study.
This study will provide farmers, businesses, and entrepreneurs with locally relevant information that is valuable for:
- creating strategies for expansion,
- planning crops,
- working with other food businesses to supply market needs,
- and collaborating with other businesses to develop efficiencies (e.g. in the areas of storage, processing or distribution).
It will also be relevant to stakeholders such as lenders issuing loans, economic development organizations addressing infrastructure challenges, and government officials responding to the needs of local farms.
The study has garnered the interest of many organizations, businesses, and community members. A number have joined RAIN in partnership on the study. Our partners include:
- Local Food and Farm Co-ops
- Community Futures Development Corporations (East Algoma, Sault Ste. Marie & Area, Superior East)
- Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation
- Wikwemikong Development Commission
- The City of Greater Sudbury
- Bruce Mines Agricultural Society
- Mill Market Farmers Market
- Northern Policy Institute
For more information on the study, please contact Outreach Assistants in your District:
Nicole Childs, Outreach Assistant (Algoma)
(705) 942-7927 x3034
Maureen Strickland, Outreach Assistant (Manitoulin)
Jenny Fortier, Outreach Assistant (Sudbury)
Algoma Consumer Research Study on Local Food
RAIN conducted survey research with Algoma consumers to and bridge the gap between food producers and local markets. RAIN conducted surveys at grocery stores, farmers’ markets and events to identify Algoma consumer purchasing habits surrounding local food. The research will identify consumer preferences/needs for local food products and increase consumer awareness about local foods with the goal of increasing access to, sales and production of local food in Algoma. For a summary of the research results click here.
Buy Algoma. Buy Fresh. Local Producer Directory
Buy Algoma. Buy Fresh is a project of the Algoma Food Network and RAIN that aims to enhance economic opportunities for agriculture in Algoma by facilitating linkages between producers and consumers through promotion, education, and co-operation.
Through research and investigation, local agricultural producers and their available products were identified and compiled into a directory that can be accessed on the Internet and through a printed brochure. The project website (buyalgoma.ca) allows consumers to search for local agricultural products and producers in the area. The printed brochure also features information about producers and what they offer.
The brochure is currently being updated; the new directory will be posted on www.buyalgoma.ca