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Rural Voices Network launches the ‘Let Your Voice Be Heard’ Survey for Rural Ontario
Your Voice is important to rural Ontario! This is the basis for the Rural Voices Network participant driven survey distributed to over 10,000 rural residents in Ontario. The Rural Voices Network (RVN) launched the ‘Let Your Voice Be Heard’ Survey to examine what enables rural citizens to participate in the common life of their community, and to identify barriers to rural civic engagement.
“Rural community members are the grassroots of rural Ontario. Their voice, knowledge and experiences are the real testimony in trying to understand how to boost rural civic engagement. The importance of factoring in the rural voice, and grassroots understanding to the issues and needs of rural citizens is key to developing collaborative solutions,” says Lynn Ruigrok, Federated Women’s Institutes of Ontario (FWIO) Executive Director.
The RVN Survey was developed through dialogue with over 140 rural participants in the 7 RVN Public Forums that happened across Ontario, from November 2011 to January 2012. The survey is available online at www.ruralvoicesnetwork.ca Hard-copy surveys will be mailed within a week, across the Province through Women’s Institute (WI) Branches. You can search for a local WI Branch near you at www.fwio.on.ca or those rural citizens that would prefer to receive a paper copy of the survey can call, or email the FWIO Provincial Office at 519-836-3078 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Online Survey will be available until March 16th, 2012, and all hard-copy surveys must be received at the FWIO Office no later than March 23rd, 2012 (7382 Wellington Road 30, RR 5, Guelph, ON N1H 6J2). All participants have a chance to win prizes such as a Digital Camera, Kobo Readers, gift cards from Shopper’s Drug Mart and Tim Horton’s (‘no purchase necessary’).
The direct link to the survey is as follows: http://www.surveymethods.com/EndUser.aspx?F0D4B8A2F8B7A0AAF4
The RVN project report and recommendations that emerge from these activities will enhance the work of rural volunteer organizations, and represent the voices of rural citizens. The data collected from this Survey will be key influences in a research and civic engagement report of rural communities across Ontario. The final report and community bulletins/posters will be released at the end of June 2012.
ABOUT THE RURAL VOICES NETWORK (RVN):
The Rural Voices Network is driven by the mandate to give rural citizens a space to have their voices heard, and to collaborate with non-profit organizations and leaders in all levels of governance. •
Farm & Food Care Ontario’s Inaugural Annual Meeting
Farm & Food Care Ontario will be formally launched at its inaugural annual meeting on April 17, 2012. The organization came into existence on January 1, 2012 upon the amalgamation of the Ontario Farm Animal Council and its sister group AGCare.
The meeting will feature the theme of “Building Better Bridges” with a focus on sustainability that will include perspectives from farmers, retailers and the food service sector.
The keynote presentation, “Building bridges starts on the farm” will be given by the husband and wife team of Troy and Stacy Hadrick.
In 2006, this husband and wife team from South Dakota decided that they needed to become more proactive in telling the story of farming on their fifth generation beef ranch. Their cause began as a short speech at a farm conference and has evolved to them taking on activist organizations like the Humane Society of the United States and activist/author Michael Pollan. The Hadricks are now internationally acclaimed speakers who challenge their audiences to look for everyday opportunities to promote and explain food and farming to non farmers. They are also the founders of Advocates for Agriculture (www.advocatesforag.com)
David Smith, VP of Sustainability for Sobeys, Inc., will speak on the topic of “The shift from ‘trust us to show us’ and other changing challenges of sustainable food – from the farm to the grocery store”. Smith leads Sobeys’ sustainability direction covering direct operations (retail stores, fleets and warehouses) and product sourcing (including sustainable seafood, agriculture, packaging, social compliance and animal welfare).
Tim Faveri, Director of Sustainability and Responsibility for Tim Hortons Inc., will focus on the issue of “What does sustainable food look like? Committing to both today and a better tomorrow – the Tim Hortons approach.” Faveri leads the company’s sustainability and responsibility initiatives and activities.
The meeting will also include:
• An introduction to Farm & Food Care and its mandate to build awareness and appreciation for farming and food in Ontario.
• Presentation of the inaugural Farm & Food Care Champion award
• Elections by the membership for the 2012-1013 Board of Directors.
The early bird cost to attend is $75 per participant. The cost will rise to $100 per person after the March 27 early bird deadline. Registration for the AGM can be done online at http://www.farmfoodcare.org /index.php/news/agm-2012 or by clicking on the button at the top. •
SellSmart for Android from Grain Farmers of Ontario
Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) has now released the Android version of SellSmart, its mobile application. The application, launched on BlackBerry® devices in December 2010 and iPhone and iPad in March 2011, provides local price information, head-to-head price comparisons, and price alerts.
SellSmart is a game-changer for Ontario’s grain farmers and with positive feedback and high uptake of the BlackBerry® and iPhone versions there was no doubt an Android version was needed. “This application is changing the way farmers access information,” says Erin Fletcher, Manager of Public Affairs and Communications, Grain Farmers of Ontario. “The success of the BlackBerry®, iPhone and iPad versions drove demand for the Android version – and we are very excited to be meeting that demand now”.
SellSmart is a custom application designed to put local price information at farmers’ fingertips. The price data for corn, soybeans, and wheat is adjusted by Farm Market News and is provided on ten minute intervals. To streamline the data, the application is personalized by the user to only display their elevators and commodities of interest. The user is able to set a target price which they want to sell at for each crop and elevator and they are then notified by their device when the price is achieved.