The Agri-Food Open for E-Business initiative will help food producers, farmers’ markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries, and agricultural associations develop online business. 

A new Nielsen survey of consumers from more than 70 countries shows that 79 per cent of Canadians and 71 per cent of Americans expect the spread and intensity of local COVID-19 impact in their country to increase. The survey was conducted in March 2020. 

The Schuyler family near Simcoe, Ontario is in the midst of gathering the workers required for two shifts a day that require 60 workers each in July. Since this photo was taken in May 2019, Ray Vogel (L) has retired and Ryan Schuyler is part of the management team searching for solutions. Photos by Glenn Lowson.

Sour cherry trees will be in blossom in May, immune to the world pandemic of COVID-19 virus. Although an uplifting sight, the outstanding question is how they will be harvested in two months. This cover story quotes several horticultural industry leaders on what’s happening now and potential paths forward. 

RELATED NEWS

Green light for berry bright future

The Greenbelt Foundation has identified that vertical farming as well as several fruits and vegetables are ripe for expansion in Ontario’s $2.2 billion horticultural sector. They are garlic, eggplant, sweet potatoes, fresh grapes, pears and strawberries. Jeff Tigchelaar, Jordan, Ontario is one berry grower enjoying robust sales at the Ontario Food Terminal.

Fewer hands, less food

Last July, this display of plenty from Oxford County grower John Den Boer was captured at the Ontario Food Terminal. As the summer of COVID-19 unfolds, the variety and volume of fruits and vegetables may not be in such grand array because growers do not have timely access to enough seasonal ag workers for essential planting and harvesting. The legal case of Brett Schuyler signifies the height of the hurdles faced by growers across Canada. 

Canadian food system is up to the test

Seasonal agricultural workers such as Jamaican Willy Green are crucial to the 2020 growing season. The federal government is providing exemptions to the travel ban however logistics are still to be announced. 

The future of IPM: something old, something new

Dr. Mary Ruth McDonald has mentored dozens of students as professor of plant agriculture, University of Guelph. Equally at home in the field, she’s working with Master’s student Alexandra Dacey, documenting carrot weevil found in carrot trials at the Muck Crops Research Station in Bradford, Ontario. 

How to tell and sell the origin story

Seedless watermelon is only one of the specialties carried at Howe Family Farm Market near Aylmer, Ontario. Kevin Howe says ground cherries and canary melons also pique the interest of consumers. The on-farm market has been so successful that the family has opened another location south of London Ontario. 

While more difficult and slower to do remotely, Minor Use is making progress this year and there will be priority projects happening at some point from the 2020 list. Columnist Chris Duyvelshoff describes the process for moving forward with research priorities. 

Mike Chromczak supervises his work crew on the asparagus packing line near Brownsville, Ontario. Photo by Glenn Lowson

Columnist Stefan Larrass tackles the elephant in the room and that’s how do growers implement the “right” formula for addressing COVID-19 risk in a complex essential workplace such as a farm.

Prince Edward Island ag minister Bloyce Thompson has announced $4.7 million to support potato growers. The funds will help growers and processors with the cost of shipping and storing potatoes. 

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FEATURES

  • United Fresh names best in show virtual exhibit booths

    Canadians won two of the six booth awards at the United Fresh LIVE! show. Best Overall Booth was won by greenhouse grower Sunset/Mastronardi Produce Ltd., Kingsville, Ontario. Best FreshMKT Booth was won by Pure Flavor – Pure Hothouse Foods, Inc. Leamington, Ontario. 

  • Davis Yung champions initiative for frontline workers

    Davis Yung, the new chair of the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA), has hit the ground running, spearheading a new initiative to deliver produce to frontline workers. 500 shopping bags, brimming with produce, recognize their thankless work throughout the pandemic thus far.

  • Davis Yung to chair 2020-21 CPMA board of directors

    Just like the industry itself, Davis Yung brings a dynamic leadership style to the Canadian Produce Marketing Association. Its diverse membership is comprised of every segment of the produce industry supply chain which is responsible for 90 per cent of the fresh fruit and vegetable sales in Canada. 

  • Virtual New Product Showcase awards announced

    The Virtual New Product Showcase honours four product categories: the organic product award, packaging innovation award, best snackable product and best new product award. The Little Potato Company’s Easy Sides won best new product. 

Recent News

McCain Foods to build Farm of the Future in New Brunswick

The future of the French fry may depend on regenerative production practices. That’s why McCain Foods Ltd is building one of its three global Farms of the Future in New Brunswick. 

Quick Service Restaurant offers greenhouse lettuce

Wendy’s Canada is now sourcing greenhouse-grown lettuce for its salads and sandwiches from Whole Leaf greenhouses based in Coaldale, Alberta. The chain has 384 restaurants across the country. 

Temporary foreign workers not easily replaced

A new report from the School of Public Policy, University of Calgary, underscores the difficulties in replacing skilled temporary foreign workers in horticulture and other sectors. 

Unique wine-making region to be recognized on Vancouver Island

The Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island is now recognized as a sub-geographical indication to help consumers identify the origins of BC wines.  

COVID-19 outbreak at Scotlynn Group declared over

The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit has declared the COVID-19 outbreak over at the Scotlynn Group, Vittoria, Ontario. All workers have completed the self-isolation period and are back to work. 

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OUR COLUMNISTS

Bill studied horticulture at the University ...
Chris Duyvelshoff, is OFVGA's crop protection ...
Gordon Stock is OFVGA's senior policy advisor ...
Owen Roberts is a journalist and a columnist ...
Getting your product in shopping carts is ...