Community Economic Development
The North East Regional Economic Development Authority (REDA), was started in November of 1993. It is one of 26 REDA’s in the Province of Saskatchewan. The North East REDA services are delivered throughout the region by seven area offices located in Melfort, Tisdale, Nipawin, Arborfield, Carrot River, Naicam and Zenon Park.
The edge of the North East REDA region is about a 1 ½ hour drive from Saskatoon ( the province’s largest city ) via highway #41 and about a 2 ½ hour drive from Regina ( the province’s capital ) via highway #6.
The Mission of the North East REDA is to increase the quality of life for the population base through partnering which encourages community economic development.
The Village of Zenon Park is contracted by the North East REDA to deliver economic development services to the Village and surrounding area.
The Zenon Park Economic Development Committee, established in 1990, has been a partner in the North East REDA since its establishment in 1993. The community has been an active partner in the delivery of economic development services and a participant in regional development initiatives within the north east region.
The Village of Zenon Park
Zenon Park, known for its spirit of innovation and is a unique village with a population of 231 inhabitants.
The village is known as the capital of alfalfa production in Saskatchewan. This title was awarded because of the community’s influence in the industry of alfalfa dehydration. At one time, there were two alfalfa factories for which up to one hundred people were hired in high season.
Ask people who know Zenon Park and they will tell you they remember the coat factory Zenon Park once had. In fact, some people still have jackets that were made in Zenon Park. Originally estdablished as a jeans factory, the factory evolved into Zenon Park Industries and began sewing down-filled jackets and sports wear. The factory finally took the Name Dee Industries which producd everyday clothing.
Over the years, worthwhile activities such as the production of garments, the dehydration of alfalfa and honey bees have generated employment and revenue in the community.
Today, industries in the area include :
- Honey production and packaging
- Leafcutter bees and production of alfalfa
- Production of grains and organic beef
- Packaging and distribution of organic products
- Raising of wild boars
- Food production for wild boars
History of Innovation
A unique small French village, with a population of 231, the Village of Zenon Park has a reputation for being innovative.
The village is known as the Alfalfa Capital of Saskatchewan due to the community’s influence in the establishment of the alfalfa dehydrating industry. At one time there were two alfalfa plants located in the immediate area with up to 100 employees working at peak season.
Ask anyone who has heard of Zenon Park and they’ll tell you that they remember there being a jacket factory in the village at one time.
In fact, some people around the province still have jackets hanging in their closets that, they will tell you, they purchased from the ‘Zenon Park Jacket Factory’.
Originally established as a manufacturer of jeans, the factory evolved into Zenon Park Industries, and started producing down-filled jackets, and gradually shifted the production to varied sports wear. The factory last operated as Dee Industries, on a smaller scale, producing everyday wear garments.
Value-added activities such as clothing manufacturing, alfalfa dehydrating and honey processing, have been important income and employment generators for the community and area over the years.
Today, value-added industries include:
Honey - Dairy - Leafcutter bees for alfalfa seed - Organic grain & beef - Organic retail ready food products - Custom made certified wooden pallets & mill supplies - Wild boar - Wild boar feed
Agriculture being the dominant industry in the northeast has grain yields above the Saskatchewan average in almost all of the different grain categories.
The quality of life in the northeast is second to none with both the north and south rail lines easily accessible, which provides cheap, and reliable access to markets.
There is also a very strong tourist industry, which has many easily accessible lakes ( an endless supply of fresh quality water ), golf courses, world class hunting and fishing.
Another important factor is the standard of living, with the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, it has become more important to live in a safe and secure environment. There is a very low crime rate in the area as well as affordable housing, secondary education facilities, and a very high quality health care infrastructure.
All of these factors translate into economic stability and strength.
Northeast Saskatchewan is unique in the fact that it has a large primary trading area of approximately 50 thousand people, which is concentrated in a relatively small area.
Over 45% of the population in the northeast live in urban centres, which means that 55% live in the rural community. There are three larger urban centres – Melfort, Nipawin and Tisdale – that are the major trading centres, and the rest of the area is made-up of many smaller communities of which Zenon Park is one.
Zenon Park's Alfalfa
Alfalfa has been a key resource contributing to the viability of the community and area farmers.
Zenon Park has been known as the “Alfalfa Dehydrating Capital of Saskatchewan” and is the prime alfalfa growing region in Canada due to our ideal soil and climate conditions. Zenon Park is the nucleus of a 70 mile radius alfalfa growing region.
The expertise of our growers speaks for itself. Years of seed development experience have contributed to the development of an alfalfa dehydrating industry, as well as a leaf-cutter bee industry. The use of alfalfa in the crop rotation also contributes to increased opportunities to grow a diverse number of crops.
As part of the community’s development strategy, community leaders began looking for new potential alfalfa marketing opportunities in September 2001.