GUELPH – The Rural Ontario Institute (ROI) has announced initiatives to build, connect and inform rural leaders and decision makers as they embrace opportunities for community innovation.
ROI develops top leaders through the Advanced Agriculture Leadership Program (AALP), an 18-month experiential executive leadership program for those wanting to shape the future of the agriculture and food industry, and make a positive difference in rural communities. Together the province, agriculture industry, organizations and private donors have supported over 500 sector leaders to graduate from the program since its 1984 inception.
Class 19 recently returned from a North American study tour. Rural youth aged 18 to 30 provided input to a program designed to meet their needs, resulting in ROI Rural Change Makers program participants saying they are more likely to stay in rural communities because they have the confidence and skills to make a positive difference.
“I appreciate how the [ROI] continues to provide programs and initiatives that support our rural communities to ensure they continue to thrive and grow,” said Agriculture Minister Lisa Thompson.
Launched this year, Rural Ontario Facts is a series of interactive dashboards that complement ROI’s long-established and well-regarded fact sheets, presenting statistical information and relevant trends for rural Ontario.
“With the introduction of their new data dashboard, as a component of the ROI’s Rural Ontario Facts series, businesses and families alike will have access to important data that will prove how communities throughout rural Ontario are viable with valuable infrastructure and perfect locations for businesses to grow and families to call home,” Thompson said.
Provincial support means rural stakeholders can easily make sense of fast-moving demographic changes impacting our regions. ROI Connect, also launched this year, offers a space for social connectivity with members in the agriculture and rural space and offers community dialogue, interaction, civic participation, and supports community development projects.