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
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
FCFDC Executive Director
at 613-372-1414 or email: annefrontenaccfdc.com
Top photo: Harvest Hastings board member, Jenny Cook of Knuckle Down Farm, along with Stone Soup coordinator Michele Vindum of Plainfield Heritage