Premier attends launch of new Agri-Food Centre in Colborne - Expected to bring new business opportunities and employment

Cobourg, ON - May 1, 2015 - Today local economic development opportunities leapt forward with the grand opening of the new Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre (OAFVC) on Industrial Park Rd. N. in Colborne.  Northumberland County Warden Marc Coombs welcomed Premier Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Jeff Leal, Northumberland-Quinte West MPP Lou Rinaldi and other local dignitaries to the event.

Developed in response to the findings of a Regional Local Food Business Retention and Expansion Project conducted in 2012, this facility is the first of its kind in Ontario.  It is a unique venture that will enable small batch processing packaging and storage of foods, stimulating new business opportunities for eastern Ontario entrepreneurs and offering a potential expansion of revenues for local farms.

"Our government is committed to helping local food find its way to more tables and pantries across the province and beyond," said Premier Wynne.  "That is why we are proud to support the new Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre in Northumberland County.  Creating an innovative business climate where entrepreneurial agri-food producers can continue to prosper is part of our plan to build Ontario up."

"This initiative is about investing in our community by creating the environment for new and sustainable business opportunities," said Warden Marc Coombs.  "User groups will have access to the latest technology in food processing and packaging to increase the season for local food products.  The Centre is also a key enhancement to our broader local food strategies that aim to support local economic growth, promote the good things that are grown, harvested and can be processed locally."

Dan Borowec, Northumberland County Director of Economic Development and Tourism, states, "This project demonstrates how a number of jurisdictions can work in partnership to help develop the local food sector in ways that are specific to each community, while also making progress on a series of common regional goals.  We had the support of 9 jurisdictions in the development of the Centre."  Support was also provided by all three levels of government and the Northumberland Federation of Agriculture.

Following the opening of the Centre, it will be undergoing final equipment testing and training processes and should be available for business by mid-June.

Further details including contact information, tours of the facility, available equipment and a booking calendar are available through the Centre's website at www.OAFVC.ca.

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