Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Rural Opportunities Network launched!

The Rural Opportunities Network website was recently launched with the goal of helping small and medium-scale natural resource-based businesses in Canada succeed in a tough economic climate. The network is an open, bilingual network where people can access and share information on a diverse range of topics, from agroforestry to non-timber forest products to marketing and social media, and much more. It is designed to share information and ideas, connect individuals and organizations across Canada and help them learn from a growing collection of resources and tools.

The Tools and Resources page provides links to a collection of documents and other websites as well as providing users the opportunity to share their expertise. The Rural Opportunities Collection includes fact sheets along with guidebooks, business plans and case studies. Fact sheets provide easy to read advice on topics ranging from using social media and e-marketing to greening your business. Guidebooks to help in assessing the tourism potential of an area and publications on community forests, mushroom harvesting, and essential oil production and many other topics are featured in the Guidebooks and Toolkits section. A series of videos on topics including woodlot management, small scale sawmilling, native plant nursery management and marketing of niche products including floral greenery and wild mushroom is also featured. The website includes lists of advisors to help grow rural businesses and upcoming events.

The National Buyer’s and Seller’s Directory provides the opportunity for producers to advertise business or services (for free!). Building on the success of “BuyBCwild” and “From Our Atlantic Woods”, this new national Directory lists suppliers of a wide range of natural resource products, from fine furniture to maple syrup. An interactive map shows the location of each listing enabling consumers to find businesses near them. Producers can use this to help determine what products or services are availalble or needed locally.

The website was developed by the Center for Livelihoods and Ecology at Royal Roads University in partnership with Biopterre, the Institute for Culture and Ecology, FORREX, INFOR, Untamed Feast and the Canadian Model Forest Network, with funding from the Rural and Cooperatives Secretariat and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Public Outreach and Dissemination portfolio.

You can help build the network by sending links to information and sharing your expertise. Contact us at or at

Written by Evelyn Hamilton, Jenny Sigalet and Tim Brigham, Centre for Livelihoods and Ecology, Royal Roads University.

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