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The Rural Opportunities Network

An on-line clearinghouse of knowledge and tools for communities

The Rural Opportunities Network (RON) was created through a partnership originally led by the Centre for Livelihoods and Ecology with organizations from across Canada working to support small-scale natural resource-based enterprises. The RON serves three purposes: to provide access to relevant information, tools and resources for small and medium-scale natural resource-based enterprises; to connect individuals and businesses to experts and like-minded organizations; and to showcase, promote, and provide marketing opportunities for small-scale natural resource-based businesses across Canada.

The RON website is hosted by RRU and managed by Professional & Continuing Studies. 

Growing Our Futures: 

Community-Based Training for Native Plant Propagation 

Recent years have seen a jump in the commercial and social interest in using native plant species as part of the move towards more ecologically-based reclamation practices. Working with First Nation communities and mining industry partners, we developed a practical, in-community training program focused on native plant propagation. Growing Our Futures is a flexible and adaptable program created to support successful learning outcomes and skills development for Indigenous students. Participants in the program build knowledge and skills in native plants and their habitats, propagation techniques, greenhouse operations and business requirements, and the use of native plants in restoration. Our program was successfully piloted in 2013 in communities of northeast and southeast BC (Saulteau, West Moberly and Ktu’naxa First Nations).

Investigating the Feasibility of an Essential Oil Enterprise for the Lynn Lake Region, Manitoba

With funding from the Partner 4 Growth program and Lynn Lake Community Development Corporation, we completed an initial study of the potential for essential oil production in the Lynn Lake region of northern Manitoba. A number of potential essential oil species are abundant in northern Manitoba, including sweet gale and Labrador tea. The study indicated the production of high-value essential oils in the region had good potential, but stressed the importance of a local champion and the need for research to generate information on harvest timing and oil constituents of interest, and to produce samples for test marketing.

Goods From the Woods: Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP) Harvester Training, Norway House Cree Nation

In July 2014, we delivered a non-timber forest product harvester training program for the Norway House Cree Nation in northern Manitoba. The training is based on the highly successful 10 day training program previously offered by the Northern Forest Diversification Centre. It has been updated and redesigned based on the experience of instructors and students in the original program and substantial inputs from successful NTFP entrepreneurs in Manitoba, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. The program is highly practical and designed to provide students with the information they need to begin harvesting NTFPs responsibly and safely. Designed with adult learners in mind, the program includes a mix of classroom sessions, field trips, and hands-on activities. The program was previously delivered – to very positive reviews – in Norway House in 2011.