In 2014, the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance (GHFFA) identified agri-food asset mapping as an important tool to build a robust regional data base to support growth, decision making and opportunity for the sector. Building on the successful work of the Golden Horseshoe Agri-Food Asset Mapping pilot project, and with support from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the project was further extended in May 2015 to include the Greater Golden Horseshoe area.
In 2015, the Ontario East Economic Development Commission (OEEDC), in partnership with the GHFFA, supported the expansion of agri-food asset mapping into Eastern Ontario.
In 2016, the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO) agreed to coordinate the Advanced Manufacturing Network. This network is a partnership of government and economic development organizations in Ontario focused on the support of and investment in manufacturing opportunities that would result in increased employment and prosperity in the Province. Asset Mapping of the manufacturing sector was identified as a key project by the network.
Based on the success of these projects and partnerships, in 2017/2018 an initiative to develop a common approach to data collection, mapping, data query and related economic development tools emerged. This has set the framework for ongoing data collection and mapping for agri-food and manufacturing, with the opportunity to expand into other sectors and geographies. Mapping and analyzing agri-food and manufacturing assets across municipalities and regions will contribute to effective planning, decision making and economic development relative to food, agriculture and manufacturing.