Local Agriculture

Frontenac CFDC Supports Artisan Cheese Production

December 8, 2008

Harrowsmith – The Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) is pleased to provide $18,000 to support a new initiative to package and promote the local “East Central” Ontario region as the place to invest in artisan cheese making. Specifically, the funding will be used to develop the neighbouring Counties of Frontenac, Hastings, Lennox & Addington and Prince Edward as the home of an artisan cheese industry cluster and region.

Artisan cheese is cheese produced primarily by hand, in small batches, with particular attention paid to the tradition of the cheese maker’s art. The estimated value of Small Scale & Artisan Cheese in Ontario is approximately $300 Million sales per year (retail), $15 Million of which is local (Ontario) and the rest imports. The value of sales is expected to rise to $400 Million over the next decade. This $100 Million dollar growth offers huge potential for current and new small scale and artisan cheese producers and an opportunity for cheese industry development in Eastern Ontario.

With additional financial from the four partners bringing the project total to $26,000 artisan cheese production will be promoted on a new East Central Ontario cheese region website and artisan cheese makers will be targeted through an investment attraction and outreach marketing plan essentially promoting the region as a cheese capital. Funding will also be used to develop an inventory of existing cheese factories operating today, local farms that would supply milk (Holstein, goat, sheep, water buffalo etc.), identify human resources, investment opportunities and other assets by County and under a regional East Central Ontario brand. This project is a first attempt to cluster and package the regional cheese industry for investment attraction. The opportunity over the long term is to begin growing small scale and artisan cheese production locally. Other longer term plans are to package the new cheese region as a tourist attraction, develop promotional and marketing materials and develop a Cheese Route driving tour.

Cheese production was once a large industry in the four Counties. More than 80 cheese factory locations alone have been identified in Hastings County. Today, no more than 6 independent cheese factories operate in the East Central Ontario region. About the Frontenac CFDC The Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation (FCFDC) is a non-profit organization. Its mission is to stimulate community and economic development throughout the Frontenacs. Run by a volunteer board of directors and funded by Industry Canada, the FCFDC offers free business advice, workshops and commercial financing to entrepreneurs and those looking to start businesses in the Frontenacs. The FCFDC also provides support to initiatives that are designed to stimulate economic development in the County of Frontenac, and business planning assistance to community organizations.

About the Eastern Ontario Development Program The Eastern Ontario Development Program (EODP) is a $10-million, short term contribution to a program aimed at addressing socio-economic challenges in rural Eastern Ontario. The EODP provides resources to Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) which invest in a variety of initiatives focused on community economic development, small business growth, and job creation.

The EODP is managed by FedNor, the regional economic development organization responsible for the Community Futures Program in rural Ontario. It is being delivered by the 15 CFDCs located throughout rural Eastern Ontario. And it seeks to foster business growth, job creation and economic stability in rural Eastern Ontario.

For more information contact Anne Prichard, FCFDC Executive Director at 613-372-1414 or email: anneatfrontenaccfdc.com