KEMPTVILLE – The third annual North Grenville Rural Summit culminated with a two-day event featuring speakers and an agri-food tour, on Fri., April 12 and Sat., April 13. Held at the Kemptville Campus Education and Community Hub, the event provides agricultural and agri-food producers with the chance to learn from local experts, network with peers and share their own experiences to help others.

Deron Johnston, chair of the Rural Summit organizing committee said he was thrilled with the agenda which featured all local experts. He noted that often for similar events, presenters can travel from great distances to lend their knowledge. For the Rural Summit, the team brought in local Eastern Ontario speakers. “The level of expertise and knowledge we have in Eastern Ontario is incredible,” said Johnston.

Surveys from previous years were conducted as well as a pre-event survey to ensure participants would find a schedule that suited their interests. Johnston said that previous years have been successful in making lasting connections, especially with some of the event’s sponsors.

In addition to the agenda of speakers, organizers added an agri-food tour to the line-up on the second day of events. After workshops in the morning, participants were treated to a tour of three local agri-food productions, including Upper Canada Creamery, Mountain Orchards and Blue Gypsy Wines, followed by a special tour of the Kemptville campus. “This year we wanted to add another level to complete the picture,” Johnston said. After a day of hearing tips and advice, participants were able to see some of those practices put to the test at the businesses they were touring. “It makes it that much more impactful,” Johnston added.

Also attending were local dignitaries to show their support to the rural and agricultural sectors. MP Michael Barrett, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark as well as North Grenville Mayor Nancy Peckford all recognized the work to bring life back to the campus and restore a tradition of agriculture and rural education at the hub. “Good things are happening here,” said Peckford. She added that council understands the responsibility to not only North Grenville but all of Eastern Ontario to build a campus where innovation and education can prosper.