There is a continuous need in rural Ontario to provide a meeting place and space to come together and connect with different stakeholders who support rural development.

The Rural Talks to Rural (R2R) conferences provide delegates opportunities to take shareable ideas back to their local communities, make meaningful connections that shift into actionable collaborations, and overall, nurture a strong rural voice that can impact policy, planning, and development. Most importantly the conference is about rural people talking to rural people. 

The R2R conference series has become a staple in Huron County since 2016. This event supports rural development in Ontario through its connections and collaborative initiatives in rural and remote communities across Canada and beyond.

R2R 2024 (R2R24) is back in Blyth at the Memorial Community Hall for the CCRC’s 10th anniversary. This year’s conference is timely offering the opportunity to explore our differences together, focusing on participatory leadership and taking collective wisdom into action through different models, formats, and creative expressions.
Photo credit: David Ventura

Conference Theme

Exploring our differences together under the umbrella of a rural assembly.

Who is this for?

Anyone passionate about our rural communities. A gathering of artists, scientists, farmers, students, researchers, local knowledge keepers, entrepreneurs, economic developers, environmentalists, community development officers, and rural organizations.

What to Expect?

Explore key rural issues and opportunities across our landscape, including artificial intelligence (AI)/data’s impact on our rural communities, innovation in economic development, and leading practices and research in health & wellness. We aim to cross-pollinate through all rural strata and not be confined to one group or topic. 

R2R24 provides various formats, methods, and models to step into this dialogue – through documentary theatre, storytelling, participatory leadership methods, art, and simply providing the place and space for rural to talk to rural.

The CCRC has invited Porte Parole, a theatre company that creates and produces original documentary plays about Canadian contemporary life that inspire diverse audiences to think critically together about current social issues. This, along with keynote speakers, panel discussions, facilitated workshops, storytelling, music, and art delegates provide meaningful and appropriate opportunities to share ideas, and to learn about the issues facing our rural communities today. The conference continues to showcase local businesses (restaurateurs, bakeries, breweries, wineries, cideries, and coffee roasters) and offers a farmer’s market on the final day of the conference.

Goals & Outcomes


  • Advance rural development
  • Nurture and build rural networks and collaborations
  • Turn inspiration into action through shareable ideas and connections
  • Build a strong rural voice


  • Showcasing models and examples of meaningful dialogue and welcoming alternative points of view, i.e. live documentary theatre
  • Participatory leadership methodologies and workshops
  • Knowledge mobilization and dissemination of best practices in economic development, rural health and rural-based research
  • Highlighting local art, food and agri-food
  • Youth engagement and leadership through participation, and scholarships

In Summary

R2R24 is a gathering to share ideas that work in one rural community that can be adapted or adopted in another. It is an opportunity to connect with those you mightn’t have met to share knowledge. It is to add to a growing rural network that connects rural places and people and gives voice to rural people when it comes to making decisions for the future and health of their community. 

R2R24 is called ‘The Rural Assembly’ and will see rural people from across the county, country, and beyond our borders exploring our differences together, coming to an understanding about each other, and collectively building a healthy and sustainable future together.