Tuesday March 21st
All Assembly Sessions
Working together session - leveraging the food co-op sector to be stronger via marketing - LOFC Team and Network.
Featured Speaker: Carolyn Young - Organic Council of Ontario
Ontario has over $1.4 billion in retail sales of organic products and yet only 2% of all Ontario agriculture is organic. Ontario is falling behind other jurisdictions like Quebec and the US where the organic industry is better supported and more acreage is farmed organically as a result. The Organic Council of Ontario is has been consulting with the sector to better understand what challenges are preventing the sector from growing and what supports are needed. Come discuss the findings from over 500 surveys and 40 interviews with producers and value chain members. Give your input on what the organic sector needs to grow and thrive.
Afternoon Breakout Sessions
Good governance and being a good board
Trainer: Maureen Strickland of LOFC and ONcoop
A highly functioning board is the key to a highly functioning co-operative. This session will cover a broad overview of the key roles and responsibilities of a co-operative board. We will also discuss important issues that many boards face and actions that can be taken to turn a good board into a great board!
Staff and Board Performance/ Evaluations
Facilitator : Aimee Blyth,
Based on real experience from within her work, Aimee will teach attendees about the best practices in staff evaluations.
Worker Co-op Transitions - Bringing in New Members
Trainer: Melinda Zytaruk of Fourth Pig Worker Co-op
Land Access Co-ops
Facilitator: Sally Miller
Access to land for farming and food production has become one of the greatest challenges for a sustainable food system in Ontario and Canada. Sally Miller will explore solutions, drawing on years of research for her book (Belongings: The Fight for Land and Food) and her 2015-2017 research on the Greater Golden Horseshoe food system as part of an international team. The session will explore alternative models (e.g., co-ops and collectives, public land, land trusts, zoning) to keep land in food production, and to facilitate the transition from retiring farmers to the next generation.
How to sell to retail. Having the right expectations - the farmer to retail relationship
Trainer: Erica Lagios of Eat Local Sudbury Co-op
Communications branding Social media 101
Facilitators: Susanna of West End Food Co-op and Geoff Alan of Fact Media
Co-ops for All: Using co-op values to support marginalized people in the community
Facilitators: Ayal Diner of the LOFC and Mandy Bergman of West End Food Co-op
The Co-ops for All session will present models and ideas to address food access issues through co-op activities, discuss barriers and find solutions to these activities and brainstorm ideas for a collaborative grant application to create a food access for co-op members pilot program for LOFC members.
Tour of Muskoka Good Food Coop - 4:30pm
The Muskoka North Good Food Co-op is about to expand into a larger space, tour their new location while learning about how they have managed to increase sales and revenue in the interim while planning for the big expansion.
Active Living Center - Summit Center
Join fellow co-opers for an evening of food and fun. Muskoka North Good Food Co-op will be serving up delicious foods while you connect with new suppliers, products and fellow co-ops.
Wednesday March 22
Local Food and Farm Co-ops -1 st Annual General Meeting
Key Note Speaker: Allison Hermes of P6 Co-operative Marketing USA
Allison leads the innovative co-operative marketing P6 with over 12 co-op stores across the US, in collaboration with co-operative producers from across North America. Allison will demonstrate how the co-operative marketing model has benefited her member co-ops.
Co-operative Trade Routes: How to improve trade of values based goods in Ontario
Based on work being done as part of the Northern Trade Routes Project assembly participants will have a chance to learn about what is happening around finding solutions to product access challenges including local food distribution and logistics, and to provide input to shape the future of how the LFFC will support co-ops in trade route solutions.
You can book 20 minute blocks of time with a number of mentors. The goal is for you to be able to ask experts key questions your facing. This is a unique opportunity to have one on one time with these experts.
Afternoon Breakout Sessions
Costing and Pricing for Profit
Trainer: Erica Pate of the Ontario Ministy of Food and Rural Affairs
Will you make money if you pursue new market channels with your products? This session will help to build your understanding of how pricing works along the food supply chain and how to price your products for success. You will sharpen your pencils and have some hands-on practice with calculating product costs and margins to help assess which prospective channel might be best for you.
Online platforms for sales of local food
Trainers: Jen Springett of Cloverbelt Local Food Co-op, Laura Hiebert of SCOR Food Hub, Theresa Schumilas of Open Food Network
This session will explore the pros and cons of various types on online sales software used within the local food sector.
Produce handling for Post Harvest Handling and Retail Marketing
Trainer: Eric Blondin of Three Forks Farm
This session will go over standard post harvest handling practices to ensure integrity of produce in the retail environment. Learn tips and tricks to keep your produce fresh longer, while looking good.
Co-operative Marketing Program Member Consultation
Facilitators : Peggy Baillie and Sally Miller of the LOFC
In this session, participants of the co-operative marketing program will design the parameters of the pilot marketing program to benefit co-ops across the province.