CORNWALL, Ontario – At their meeting on Monday, Jan. 11, Cornwall City Council received a delegation from Tom Manley, Executive Director of the Eastern Ontario Agri-Food Network (EOAN).
Manley appeared before Council to ask for $35,000 in funding for the organization. Manley made a similar presentation to the SD&G United Counties Council at the end of 2020, where he asked for $25,000 from that municipality.
In total, the EOAN states it is seeking $150,000 in funding, having already received $40,000 from the United Counties of Prescott-Russell, and $50,000 from sponsors and other supporters.
Manley highlighted the importance of the agriculture industry in Cornwall and the surrounding area, pointing out that a lot of farms are small businesses who the EOAN wants to support.
“We have a very large small business farm sector that want to connect with consumers, but don’t have that capacity,” Manley said.
According to statistics presented by Manley, that of the total amount of farms in the region 178, or 12.2 per cent sell directly to their consumers, with 44 per cent, or 639 having less than $50,000 in annual sales.
With the funding that Manley hopes to receive, he states that the EOAN would work to develop a local food brand, hire staff to better serve the public and operators, and advocate for changes and improvements in the agricultural sector. One area of advocacy that Manley said he wished to work on was around relaxing the health unit’s regulations on shared kitchens.
Council voted to receive the delegation and referred the issue of providing funding to EOAN to administration for a report. One issue raised by Councillors, including Councillor Justin Towndale was that Cornwall was being asked for a higher level of funding than the United Counties of SD&G, with Towndale and others asking that administration look into making Cornwall’s contribution more in-line with what the United Counties was willing to offer.