Premier’s Award Recognizes Innovators in Ontario’s Agri-Food Industry

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Author: Ravi Singh

Posted: October 8, 2013

Categories: GoodFoodBites / News from Sustain Ontario

Y U Ranch.

The 2013 edition of the Ontario Premier’s Award for Agri-food Innovation Excellence took place on Monday October 7th at Queen’s Park. Since its inception in 2006, the award has sought to encourage the development of rural communities, farms, agri-food processors and agri-food organizations by adding value to existing products, creating jobs, and driving economic growth.

The program recognizes up to 45 Regional Award recipients across Ontario, each worth $5,000. Also included in the program is a Premier’s Award, valued at $75,000, a Minister’s Award for $50,000, and three Leaders in Innovation Awards, each of which is worth $25,000.

Sustain Ontario, Ontario’s alliance for healthy food and farming, is proud to be represented among the recipients through its members. Bryan Gilvesy, owner of the Y U Ranch in Tillsonburg and co-chair of Sustain Ontario, was presented with a Leaders in Innovation Award for Y U’s hybrid gas/electric freezer delivery minivan known as the “Farmers’ Market Express.”

“Farmers have a tremendously important role in protecting the land and natural environment that not only allows them to make their living, but also allows communities to be healthy and nourished,” Gilvesy said. “It’s important that we recognize the leaders who are paving the way for a sustainable food and farming sector in Ontario.”

Other Leaders in Innovation award recipients included Geissberger Farmhouse Cider Inc. of Hampton, Ontario for their mobile mill designed to bring the cider-making experience to Ontario orchards and Thompson’s Maple Products for developing a wireless monitoring system that improves quality, efficiency, and reduces costs for maple producers.

In addition to the awards presentation, Premier Kathleen Wynne also spoke at the summit on the role of Ontario’s government in boosting the local food industry. Premier Wynne has repeatedly acknowledged the vital contribution that the food and farming sectors make to Ontario’s economy and has also committed to passing a Local Food Act aimed at encouraging the development of new markets for local food and supporting the development of resilient local food systems throughout Ontario.

In an official release, Premier Wynne stated, “I want to congratulate all of our award recipients today. They have shown us that the agri-food sector has excellent potential for growth.”

“Ontario’s rich regional diversity is one of this province’s greatest assets. That diversity is perhaps seen most vividly in the incredible variety of food and farming innovators carrying out amazing projects across the province, helping to bring healthy local food to Ontarians,” says Sustain Ontario Co-Chair Karen Hutchinson, who adds, “This is why it is so inspiring and important to see these individuals and organizations recognized for the work they’re doing in creating a healthier future for Ontario.”

We congratulate all winners and wish them continued success in their work to secure a healthier and more prosperous food future for Ontario.