City of Kingston launches rural agriculture, agri-food economic strategy

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The City of Kingston, Ont. has launched a multi-year, multi-faceted strategy for its rural and agriculture economic development.

The strategy includes the hiring of Tracey Snow as rural economic and community development manager. It means the strategy will have one person, dedicated full-time to steering the projects going forward.

Kingston, a city of about 135,000, has experienced significant growth in the last five to ten years. It’s also a city where over 80 per cent of its land base is considered rural. About 19,000 residents currently reside in the rural region, according to the city.

The rural economic strategy will focus on four pillars:

  • Tourism revitalization
  • Employment development
  • Agriculture and food business development
  • Workforce development

In a press conference February 17, Snow says that the strategy will leverage the assets, industry, and experience already at work in the rural community. There are over 380 businesses and nearly 150 farms already in the area. There will be support for agri-tourism development, support services for businesses, and support for business succession plans, as well.

Snow acknowledges that better rural internet and more processing capacity is required for the agriculture and rural business strategy to be a success. There are also plans to work on a food entrepreneurship hub that links rural businesses with the urban core.

Kingston is home to the Canada Royal Milk formula processing plant, and the Joyceville Penitentiary farm.

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