Winners of Excellence in Agriculture honoured at Ontario's Royal Winter Fair


Fourteen winners and 11 honourable mentions of the Ontario Excellence in Agriculture program were named this past weekend during an awards ceremony held in conjunction with the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair at Toronto, Ont.

“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 Excellence in Agriculture program celebrates the work of individuals, businesses, and organizations across the province and 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, according to the ministry.

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.


The awards include (winner, followed by honourable mention where applicable):

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

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