Ontario Agriculture

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AALP Class 16 delves into political processes with LEAD New York counterparts

Guelph, Ontario, Nov. 3, 2016–AALP Class 16 met up in Toronto on October 23, 2016 with our LEAD New York counterparts for a jam-packed three-and-a-half days together looking at provincial/state political processes, urban society and media.


On Sunday, after becoming acquainted with one another, our stateside friends hosted us for the evening with many of the delights that New York has to offer.


Monday started off strong with a great contrast and comparison of the provincial and state government systems lead by Phil Giltner, First Deputy Commissioner, New York State Department ... and LEAD New York Board Member (LEAD NY Class 13). 


We then switched gears learning about dealing with the media in crisis situations, as well as how we, as an agricultural community, can engage the media to feature the stories that we have to tell as a means of dealing with the rural/urban divide. We ended the day having the honor of hearing Dr. Deb Stark, Deputy Minister from the Ontario Ministry of Agricul..., speak to us about what the Ministry is doing, and how we as a community can better interact with the government to best achieve our desired outcomes.

Tuesday was a very early start as well as a reminder that winter is coming, with an outdoor tour of the Ontario Food Terminal. The terminal is the largest wholesale fruit and produce distribution centre in Canada, and the third largest in North America. Opening its doors in 1954, the terminal supports the buy local movement with the establishment of the farmers’ market area, allowing local producers to market their goods.

From there we moved onto Queens Park where we observed a lively question period, and then heard from MPPs from the various political parties about their view on agriculture and politics. 


Our day ended in Guelph, where the LEAD NY group was hosted by various AALP alumni in the area for the night.

On Wednesday we heard from Todd Klink from Farm Credit Canada about how we all need to be #Agvocates for our sector and what we can do as a sector to engage our urban counterparts. We then headed out on a farm tour of Woodrill Ltd, where we heard from AALP Alumni, Class 7, Greg Hannam. And finally, about the amazing new technologies and exciting advances occurring in the industry to deal with feeding the worlds expanding population from Dr. Tyler Whale from Ontario Agri-Food Technologies.


It was an invigorating and informative session where not only did we get to learn through the lens of agriculture in Ontario, but also through the lens of agriculture from our stateside counterparts. I know we all left feeling like we had expanded our AALP family with the friends we made from LEAD NY.

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