The research investigated emergent trends in rural/agricultural real estate and migration within the Algoma region since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to determine what types of impacts these will have on different facets of the local agri-food sector. It was hypothesized that a combination of factors such as labour shortages, heightened real estate prices, and a sudden increase in demand for local food has been putting unforeseen pressures on the agri-food sector which could create conditions less conducive to capital investment and business expansion.
Perspectives from a variety of stakeholders, including those from the Anabaptist farming community, commodity growers (e.g. cash crops, cattle), food processors, planners from local municipalities and townships, as well as small farms that provide for specialty/niche markets were taken into consideration.
This research shows multiple areas that can be attended to in order to increase the localization of profits, to increase efficiencies in the local agri-food sector, and to thus increase the development and building of a stronger local economy that will also then be more sustainable.
Lauren Moran, David Thompson, and Dr. Laura Wyper
The Neighbourhood Resource Centre (NRC) located on Gore Street in Sault Ste. Marie, provides person-centred and accessible services, for a wide variety of needs, and a safe space for socialization. Agencies through the NRC, work collaboratively, respond quickly and create opportunity for connection with community members accessing the Centre. However, The research demonstrated deficits in awareness of the specific services and /agencies attending the NRC and the need to improve deliberate, on-going outreach needs to be improved upon. Perceptions of the police presence was also a concern and community member/business relationships will need more time and effort to improve.
Lauren Doxtater, Dr. Gayle Broad
Through partnership with Edith Orr, manager of the Johnson Township Farmers’ Market, and the Algoma Food Network, NORDIK examined the flow of local food into the Sault Ste. Marie marketplace. A directory and map of businesses that report sourcing local (to the Algoma District) food (local food meaning any product harvested or raised in the Algoma District) was developed.
David Thompson and Nairne Cameron
In May 2003, the Community Economic and Social Development (CESD) program of Algoma University undertook a study of the non-profit sector in Sault Ste. Marie, to determine its contribution to the overall economy of the City. The study explored In order to determine what contribution the non-profits were making to the economy, the areas of revenue generation and disbursement; direct and indirect job creation; community capacity building through volunteer and staff development; and social capital development were explored. The study indicated that in In addition to the significant contributions to the City’s economy and concrete jobs created job creation, the non-profit sector provides substantial contributions to the quality of life of Sault Ste. Marie’s citizens. Findings indicate and t that this sector of Sault Ste. Marie’s economy could be grown through strategic investment.
Dr. Gayle Broad, Steffanie Date
In 2011, the Algoma Sheep and Lamb Association approached NORDIK to explore marketing opportunities for local lamb and chevon (meat goat) products. Market analysis for lamb and goat products in the Algoma District was desired by the Algoma Sheep and Lamb Producers Association, in order to determine the feasibility of a market-based co-operative for lamb and goat producers in the Algoma District. Recommendations outlined how the group can realize opportunities and mitigate threats as producers continued to serve this market
Broderick Causley, David Thompson
Locally Grown Food for the Northern Urban Marketplace (2012)
This action research joined the experiences and opinions of residents, business or and property owners, service providers and other diverse stakeholders towards the building of a vibrant, economically healthy downtown district in Sault Ste. Marie. Over the period of one year, more than 1000 participants, passionate about the future of the city’s downtown core, drew attention to its strengths, potential, and areas for improvement. Among the projects that emerged from this work are the Graffiti Reframed project and the Neighbourhood Resource Centre. Of the many valuable partnerships that contributed to this research, the SSMPS provided the much-needed backbone support to the large-scale change envisioned by the participants in the Downtown Dialogue in Action project. It recommended a series of strategies to strengthen social cohesion, foster a healthy downtown economy, address the needs of “at-risk” neighbourhoods and people, and to increase access to the necessities of life, with oversight by a coordinating committee that brought together all levels of government, civil society and business.
Dr. Gayle Broad, Sean Meades, Tom Green, Dana Chalifoux, Jessica Bolduc
The link between culture and the development of healthy, resilient communities is gathering strength in Northern Ontario. This research brought forward a new framework for approaching economic development that places a healthy culture, one that provides a supportive environment for people and their expressions of creativity, at the forefront of a vibrant and economically sound community. By assessing the socio-economic impact of the arts on the economy of Sault Ste. Marie, this study identified local strengths that can bolster the economy. These include community ownership and commitment, increasing economic activities and efficiencies around industry clusters and building on the existing arts economy. The findings point to the potential for increased economic activity where a greater understanding and strategic development planning process is generated. This would give the city a competitive advantage in attracting new business, retaining skilled labour and investment and providing wide-spread community benefits.
Jude Ortiz, Dr. Gayle Broad
2005 – 2007
Community Supported Agriculture is an alternative, and locally-rooted model of agriculture and food distribution that develops a network of individuals who have pledged to support one or more farms, with growers and consumers sharing the risks and benefits of farming good food.
In response to earlier economic decline, this community-based initiative assessed Sault Ste. Marie’s resilience across sectors and explored community planning strategies to increase the city’s desirability and sustainability by becoming more economically viable, socially equitable, environmentally responsible and culturally viable. Community Resilience has since become a movement, seeing Sault Ste. Marie becoming the first community in Canada with a population larger than 10,000 to implement a Community Resilience project, and more recently adopting a community resilience framework in the 2016 Community Adjustment Committee process.
Jude Ortiz, Dr. Linda Savory-Gordon
2003 – 20011
This research demonstrated the benefits of the cooperative model for expanding locally sourced beef markets in Northern Ontario and support regional agricultural economies experiencing crises sparked by globalization through strengthening stakeholders. By examining existing Northern Ontario cooperatives and place-based businesses that support a value chain for local beef, researchers explored the impacts of scale, regulations, markets and infrastructure to the successes of these operations.