Alternative Opportunities for Tobacco Producers

Norfolk County is notoriously known for being in the centre of the tobacco belt; a highly concentrated area of southern Ontario that grows 90% of Canada’s tobacco.  Over the last few years a buyout and tobacco transition program has been putting tobacco producers out of work and looking for alternatives for their farm operations.

A new fruit and vegetable processing facility being constructed in Norfolk County may help some residents of the tobacco belt market vegetable and fruit products 12 months of the year. The project is being partially funded by the Province ($1 million) from the Rural Development Program.  The new facility specializes in individually freezing the fruit and vegetables so that the end product is more user friendly.  This facility may provide the means for new vegetable and fruit growers to start their operations on the right foot by being able to make an  income over 12 months, instead of an intensive harvest and sell season when the fruits and vegetables are sold fresh.

This is extremely beneficial to the changing communities in the tobacco belt.  The federal and provincial governments are constantly increasing their push for a tobacco free Ontario and to diversify farm operations in the most concentrated counties which include, Norfolk, Brant, Elgin, Oxford and Middlesex.  This also feeds the push for access to local food year-round.  This will also be beneficial to the residents of the area because it will create 48 jobs immediately, and the possibilty for 85 more in the future.

To learn more about initiatives and projects  in Norfolk County visit their their website!

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