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10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Admission $40
Students Free
Profiting from the Environment - Web sli

Rural Sustainability:

Explore opportunities that exist through responsible and sustainable use of the natural resources.


Hear from Dr. John Michels who wrote his PhD on changes underway in rural communities using Almaguin as his case study.  He returns one year after publishing his book “Permanent Weekend” based on his experience in Almaguin to discuss his observations from his multi year study.


A forum to discuss solutions with current educators and successful business people who are targeting a balance between the environment and the economy. 


Facts and figures concerning the changing economic landscape in rural Ontario and the opportunities in incorporating the natural environment.

Lunch will be served, featuring locally sourced ingredients. Refreshments provided by Highlander Brew Co, South River.

Who should attend?

Members of the general public, Métis and First Nations, members of the academic community, business leaders, municipal leaders, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, secondary and post-secondary students are encourage to attend and participate.

Feature Presentation: John Michels

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John Michels is a cultural anthropologist whose research focuses on the changing rural landscape in 21st century North America. As part of his doctoral studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Michels conducted fieldwork in the Almaguin Highlands, interviewing hundreds of individuals and attending many local events. In particular, his research focuses on changes and challenges in agriculture, forestry, tourism, cottaging, and economic development initiatives.

In 2017, the results of Michels’s study were published by McGill-Queen’s University Press in his book, Permanent Weekend. 



Kelli Ebbs

General Manager, Muskoka North Good Food Co-Op

Kelli has been extensively involved with local food systems projects for 2 decades in both northern B.C. and Muskoka.  This work led her to the conception and development of Muskoka North Good Food Co-operative, putting the power to build and own our regional food system into the hands of a co-operative community.  Kelli has been integral in the development of a popular Saturday Farmer’s Market, Muskoka’s Food and Agriculture Charter, various ongoing regional food and farming events, cooking education initiatives, and the Farmers in the Playground Program- a kitchen and garden education program for students on their own school grounds.  Kelli’s full-time job as Advisor for First Nations, Metis and Inuit Student Nutrition Programs in Ontario and Manitoba for Breakfast Club Canada enables her to assist remote communities in building food literacy and food access projects to increase food security capacity. Kelli believes fundamentally, that collaboration and co-operation will build a robust local food economy and develop community resilience and participation- growing an inclusive, healthy and caring society.

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Dr. James Murton

Chair and Associate Professor, Department of History, Nipissing University

Dr Murton's talk will include a broad overview of economic and policy changes after World War II that led to rural out-migration and a falloff in employment in resource industries. He will also discuss a history of rural work, showing that for much of Canadian history rural people did a variety of different kinds of work, only some of which is tied to the national/global economy.​

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Todd Croxall

Owner - Operator, Croxall Farms

Croxall Farms specializes in aquaponic farming, which utilizes the harmonious relationship between aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (soil-less growing of plants). This unique balance of systems creates an amazing variety of produce and fish of many species. 

After a successful career in the financial sector, Todd created his business out of a desire to return to basics and foster a socially responsible business model. Todd's vision of a sustainable rural business combines core values, a strong sense of community and corporate priorities that develop communities and promote farm-to-table experiences.

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Dwayne Wanner

President, Highlander Brew Co.

In recent years there has been a proliferation of Craft Breweries across North America. Dwayne will discuss how this is tied to a pride and appreciation of place and community. 

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Tim Bryson

President, Tim Bryson Forestry Services

Tim's family first settled in the Almaguin Highlands in the 1800's, when all early settlers were involved in forestry to some extent. With deep family roots in forestry, Tim is a passionate advocate for sustainable forest management and thoughtfully considers what forestry looks like now and for future generations.


The Labour Market Group

Current trends in the labour market

Facts and figures concerning the changing economic landscape in rural Ontario


Lofthouse Manufacturing

Forging and Machining

The role of manufacturing and the trades in a rural economy.


Dr. Dan Walters

Professor of Geography, Nipissing University

A member of the technical advisory committee for the North Bay-Mattawa Source Water Protection Region, Dan has a diverse program of research, including source water protection regulations, assessing agricultural nutrient management practices, and monitoring water quality dynamics. Dan will present on an emerging water quality issues in the Almaguin region, cyanobacteria blooms, that threaten the social, economic and environmental values of lakes.

Sponsored in part by:

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With contributions from:

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