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Kingston project aims to support rural businesses, food producers, communities

Image by Joshua Micheals.

Earlier today, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, the City of Kingston announced the Rural Kingston Economic Strategy, a focused strategy to help identify, create and guide opportunities for rural Kingston.

“A strong rural community is good for all of Kingston. That’s why we’re implementing a strategy that provides dedicated supports for rural Kingston,” said Mayor Bryan Paterson. “This strategy is the first of its kind for Kingston and will connect both rural residents and businesses with the resources they need to succeed.”

According to a release from the City, the primary objectives of the Rural Kingston Economic Strategy are to support rural and agricultural businesses, food producers and to work with regional communities and partners to realize goals. Pillars of the plan include:

  • Growth and support for new and existing rural businesses;
  • Business support for new and existing farms and food-related industry with new development in the agriculture sector;
  • Collaboration with Kingston Tourism and neighbouring municipalities for rural tourism revitalization; and,
  • Strategy and implementation towards smaller hamlet and business park development in rural communities.

The Rural Kingston Economic Strategy was approved in 2021 as part of the Integrated Economic Development Plan (Report 21-012), which was informed with extensive consultation with residents, according to the release.

“The Rural Kingston Economic Strategy is guided by Council’s Strategic Plan, and its commitment to strengthen economic development opportunities, particularly in rural Kingston,” said Craig Desjardins, Director, Strategy, Innovation and Partnerships. “This strategy is a data-informed response to identified challenges and opportunities in our rural communities.”

Tracey Snow, Rural Economic & Community Development Manager for the City of Kingston, will lead the implementation of the Rural Kingston Economic Strategy. As the initiatives launch, the City said that Snow’s priority will be to develop and strengthen relationships with rural community members and to develop and implement strategies to support rural growth and opportunity.

“This is a large, multi-year initiative and puts the residents and businesses of rural Kingston at the centre,” Snow said. “I’m here to listen and support your needs moving forward. If you have a question, comment, concern or idea, please give me call.”

Rural businesses: sign up for a sector team meeting

The City said the Rural Kingston Economic Strategy team is looking to speak with rural business owners on gaps and opportunities to better inform strategy recommendations. Snow will be hosting two sets of “sector team meetings.”

  • Team one, farming and food, will meet on March 14 and 28, 2022.
  • Team two, rural businesses (not including agriculture), will meet on March 16 and 30, 2022.

All team meetings will be at 6 p.m. and online via Zoom. To participate, the City requests that you attend both meetings to have the best results.

These sessions are meant to work with rural businesses and farm owners to discuss ideas, guided by Snow with the goal of better informing each other on opportunities that support rural Kingston, according to the release.

Each team will consist of 10 business owners or farm and food owners.

Learn more about the Rural Kingston Economic Strategy: CityofKingston.ca/RuralKingstonStratey

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