North-central Food & Agriculture Market Study

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)
(705) 207-1913

Jenny Fortier, Outreach Assistant (Sudbury)
(705) 618-4797

More Background

In 2017, the Thunder Bay and Area Food and Agriculture Market Study was completed to benefit farm and food businesses in that region. The study’s focus is of the entire supply chain in the Thunder Bay area viewed through the lens of demand.

In 2017, the partners prepared a presentation and a discussion paper on the need for a Market Study in Algoma, Manitoulin and Sudbury.