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It’s been called speed dating for business, and when Naturallia gets underway at the end of this month its creators hope the result will be the blossoming of some long-lasting relationships that will bolster business in the North. Businesses from around the globe will descend on Sault Ste. 28-30 to participate in Naturallia, a business-to-business matchmaking event designed to foster investment in Northern Ontario businesses. Marie, Naturallia will bring together business people from across the globe in a matchmaking forum designed to create new collaborations between businesses in four of the North’s strongest sectors: advanced manufacturing, value-added forest products, mining supply and services, and smart energy development, supply and services. Marie Innovation Centre, the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC), and RDÉE, the economic development organization for Franco- Ontario.
It’s been called speed dating for business, and when Naturallia gets underway at the end of this month its creators hope the result will be the blossoming of some long-lasting relationships that will bolster business in the North. Naturallia will be an ideal opportunity for the North to showcase itself, its businesses and its natural resources, said Jason Naccarato, the innovation centre’s vice-president of development.
The Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN) hosted its’ first farmer/chef speed dating event’ in Sault Ste. With the moniker ‘Growing Connections’, the event is meant to bring together local producers and commercial purchases seeking to acquire local farm goods.
For the past ten years there has been a steadily growing consumer awareness about the healthful, economic and cultural significance of eating locally grown food. Trevor Laing, Algoma Highlands Wild Blueberry Farm and Winery, Owner.
The term Naturallia was chosen to reflect the event’s focus on Northern Ontario’s natural resources sector.
“With the North, we’ve chosen four sectors very strategically that are very important—kind of lynchpins for Northern Ontario—being forestry, mining, advanced manufacturing and smart energy,” Naccarato explained.
But there are also a lot of farmers who are great at growing their food and are not that great at marketing. We try to use local produce but there isn’t that much available to us yet.The speed-dating format allows business owners to ascertain very quickly whether or not their “date” will provide some value to them, whether it’s connections with other people or businesses.“It’s an incredible networking opportunity,” Dodds said.“It establishes an ability to reach out and communicate with all manners of people and it helps build some of the businesses that you may have never considered getting involved with in the first place.”Naturallia is based on Futurallia, a model that originated in France two decades ago.“We don’t mind bringing in certain vegetables but we don’t want to be without produce. We’re looking for an arrangement that can fulfill the entire obligation.”Jenni Pearce, Pearce Farm, Owner and Farmer. I came today to showcase my products and introduce them to chefs and food buyers. I’ve done a small amount of sales into retail and restaurants but it’s mostly been through CSA subscription buyers, the Farmer’s Market and the farm gate.“Pearce Farm is a certified organic vegetable farm. I would prefer to establish a relationship with a commercial buyer and then plant more to service a particular market.”Shayne Bell- Embers Grill and Smokehouse, Chef and Owner. I deal directly with one farm but they only supply vegetables.
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