Ontario Celebrating Excellence in the Agriculture and Food Industry

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs of Ontario, November 04, 2023

TORONTO – Through the Excellence in Agriculture program, the Ontario government is celebrating 25 exceptional farmers, food processors, organizations, businesses and Indigenous communities who are driving Ontario’s agriculture and food industry forward.

“I am very proud to present the 2023 Excellence in Agriculture Awards at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, where it is a tradition to celebrate the best of the best,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “The recipients lead by example and have demonstrated ingenuity, drive, and passion. Their impact on Ontario’s agriculture and food industry is invaluable.”

The Conestoga Food Research and Innovation Lab (CFRIL) at Conestoga College in Waterloo Region is the recipient of the Minister’s Award. CFRIL is an applied research centre that partners with start-up, small, and medium-sized food businesses to solve technical challenges, de-risk equipment, and provide lab testing opportunities, technical skills, and production support from their 8,000- square-foot facility.

“We’re very proud of the work we’ve done to support applied research for food businesses across the province, and we’re delighted to be recognized for our contributions,” said Nicole Detlor, Director, CFRIL. “Through this program, the Government of Ontario is demonstrating their appreciation for the hardworking people and organizations within this industry.”

This year, the province recognized 14 winners and 11 honourable mentions in agricultural excellence across 11 categories:

  • Excellence in Food Processing
    • The County Bounty Artisanal Soda Co. – Napanee
  • Excellence in Research and Innovation
    • Conestoga Food Research and Innovation Lab (CFRIL) – Waterloo Region
  • Women’s Excellence
    • Loft 32 – Crystal Mackay, Mary Thornley, Brenda Trask – Guelph
  • Youth Excellence
    • Arthur Lin, Lavender Polo Farm – East Gwillimbury
  • Excellence in Agri-Food Education
    • Dr. Rose Buitenhuis, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre – Niagara Region
    • Progressive Dairy – Guelph
  • Northern Business Excellence
    • AgriTech North – Dryden
  • Indigenous-Owned Business or Community Excellence
    • Moose Cree First Nation – James Bay
  • Family Farm Excellence
    • Snyder’s Family Farm Ltd. – Oxford County
    • Everlily Maples Farm – Bancroft
  • Agri-Food Promotional Excellence
    • Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN) – Sault Ste. Marie
    • Eat Local Huron – Huron County
  • Supply Chain Excellence
    • Chicken Farmers of Ontario – Burlington
  • Excellence in Agri-Food Talent Recruitment
    • Jennefer Griffith, Food Processing Skills Canada – Ottawa

The Excellence in Agriculture program celebrates the outstanding work of individuals, businesses, and organizations across the province and shines a light on all the amazing things happening in the agriculture and food industry. This initiative supports a number of goals within the Grow Ontario Strategy, including strengthening Ontario’s agri-food supply chain, attracting and growing Ontario’s agri-food workforce, and increasing access to high-quality, local food.

Quick Facts:

  • The 2023 program accepted applications from August 25, 2023 until September 14, 2023.
  • The Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs announced the 14 winners and 11 honourable mentions at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.
  • Visit the Excellence in Agriculture webpage to learn more about 2023 winners and their accomplishments.
  • The Excellence in Agriculture program was launched in 2018. Details on the 2024 program will be available online next year.
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