The Eastern Ontario Agri-Food Network (EOAN) is seeking more financial support to help it fulfill its mandate and expand.
The EOAN is a not-for-profit organization that works to develop the agri-food sector in Eastern Ontario through developing dialogue between its members and partners. The objectives of the network including providing support to producers, businesses, and operations, and connecting producers, the local food value chain, and food stakeholders in Prescott and Russell counties, Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry (SD & G) counties, and the Akwesasne first nation.
According to EOAN Executive Director Tom Manley, the organization has traditionally received most of its funding from the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) during the 10 years it has existed. The UCPR has previously committed to funding the EOAN $40,000 each year for 2020, 2021, and 2022. With the intent to expand its activities in SD & G, EOAN made a request on December 21, 2020 to SD & G counties council for $25,000 in annual funding. EOAN has also requested $35,000 from the City of Cornwall and a total of $50,000 from its members, stakeholders, and sponsors.
SD & G council is considering EOAN’s funding request during its 2021 budget planning process.
“The response demonstrated interest,” said Manley.
He said that EOAN has wanted to expand its activities into SD & G and Cornwall, but local funding has not made it possible. The former Food Advisory Council in SD & G Cornwall recommended in 2019 that further efforts to support local agri-food in the community be made. However, the organization has since disbanded, but EOAN would like to fulfill the recommendations.
Manley said a presentation has also been made to Cornwall Mayor Bernadette Clement and city council regarding EOAN’s plans and request for funding. City staff are further examining the request.
Many of EOAN’s activities in 2020 were cancelled due to the pandemic. Manley said that in 2021, they are hoping it is easier to resume activities. Plans for the year ahead include developing an agri-art tour that combines local food vendors and local artists and the development of a regional e-commerce strategy. EOAN has also updated the map on its website that promotes sources of locally produced food. The website is www.agro.on.ca .