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“Connect For Food” Symposium

Connect for Food (CFF), an innovative effort begun in 2023, is taking the next step in growing the food economy. A symposium will run on Apr. 15, 2024 in Vermilion, Alta. with the intention of building “A thriving food industry, local and beyond.”

“Connect for Food is a process of working with stakeholders and communities to bolster their economy through developing their food industry,” says Perry Phillips, a CFF co-founder.

“The key word in this is ‘connect’ he says. “We believe that individuals have the vision and solutions to more effectively harvest the opportunities to shape the future of their communities.”

With support from Prairies Economic Development Canada, through Community Futures the Symposium, Showcase & Exchange on Apr. 15, 2024 in Vermilion is the capstone of that process. Through this event, a champion organization will emerge to carry the initiative forward.

Rather than focusing on growers, processing or adding value to primary products, the CFF approach considers all parts and stakeholders of the food industry. To participate in the complexity of the larger food system, all the moving parts and people need to connect.

“The Connect for Food Symposium is building on dozens of connections already made through

a series of community-based workshops over past months,” says CFF co-founder Keleigh Cormier. “Participants will leave the event realizing there are many existing and emerging possibilities for developing a thriving food industry in the region and knowing that the resources and connections they need are available.”

The Symposium program is focused on action and progress. It includes Bianca Parsons of the Alberta Food Processors Association, sharing how a region can evolve its food industry and highlighting the “Made in Alberta” brand. An interactive “Supply Chain Panel” will offer diverse perspectives from the food industry, relating their experiences and revealing challenges and opportunities for closing the gap between supply and demand, locally and beyond.

Food Processing Development Centre (Leduc) representatives will discuss market opportunities and funding programs for food industry entrepreneurs. The “Connect for Food Showcase” and the “Connect for Food Exchange” components of the program will foster new connections, opening doors for lasting opportunities. Locally-sourced meals and refreshments will be served.

There are three ways to attend, says Phillips. “General” admission allows people to participate in a process for the exchange of ideas and business needs. A “Showcase” pass is a great opportunity to showcase products or services. And a “Sponsor” brings promotional benefits.

Full symposium registration details and more information on Connect for Food are available by connecting to the Connect for Food website or at

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