Newsmakers July 2016

Donna Francis (L) and Dan Tukendorf, OFVGA
Paul Mastronardi

Congratulations to Paul Mastronardi, CEO of Mastronardi Produce who won Produce Person of the Year at the United Fresh show in Chicago.

Best wishes to Bob Forrest, manager, horticulture crops, for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, who is retiring after 38 years with the public service. He was a familiar face at horticultural meetings, the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention and led a team of first-rate horticultural specialists in the province. Robert Blenkinsop becomes acting manager until a new person is recruited. He comes from the Food Inspection Branch’s Food Safety Science Unit.  

In the June 13 shuffling of the Ontario cabinet, Jeff Leal retained his minister’s portfolio of agriculture, food and rural affairs as did Glen Murray, minister of the environment and climate change. 

Summerland Varieties Corporation, a world leader in variety rights management, has hired Christine Gross as marketing and business development coordinator.  Based in Summerland, British Columbia, she will coordinate marketing and branding strategies for new tree fruits as well as existing apple and cherry varieties.

Amanda Allison joins the Ontario South Coast Wineries and Growers’ Association as administrator. She is currently communications coordinator for Blueberry Hill Estates Winery and in the past, has been assistant editor at Vines Magazines and web editor for Wine Access Magazine. 

At its recent annual general meeting, the Canadian Corrugated and Containerboard Association elected Michael Lafave, senior vice-president, containerboard, packaging and recycling, Kruger Products, as its new chair for one year. Joining him on the executive committee are: Bob Hagan, senior vice-president, Atlantic Packaging as first vice-chair; Jean Parent, vice-president, sales and marketing, Norampac, as second vice-chair; Gary Johnson, president, Maritime Paper as treasurer; Peter Moore, board chairman, Moore Packaging as immediate past chair. 

Canada’s leadership in international plant protection receives recognition with the election of Marie-Claude Forest, a leading expert on international phytosanitary standards at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, to the Bureau of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM). The CPM is the governing body of the International Plant Protection Convention. 

The University of Guelph has announced that a $1 million gift will create the Pinchin Family Chair in Bee Health and the Don Pinchin Scholarship in Honey Bee Research and Beneficial Insect Health. The gift is in memory of Don Pinchin, a scientist turned businessman, who died in July 2015. The chair in bee health will be held by environmental sciences professor Ernesto Guzman.

The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA) welcomes Amanda Brodhagen to the position of communications specialist while Katie Burt is on maternity leave. She graduated with a University of Guelph Bachelor of Arts degree in political science in 2012. Since then, she has worked as an assistant editor for and been food safety communications coordinator for VG Meats. Most recently, she has been working on her family’s cattle farm.  

In other OFVGA news, Donna Francis, office manager and Dan Tukendorf, program manager, made their culinary debut at the annual Queen’s Park Farmers’ Market. To celebrate Ontario’s Local Food Week, they offered gazpacho soup shooters, chock full of greenhouse-grown vegetables, garlic and onion. Thanks to a special dessert delivery from Ontario’s Tender Fruit Growers, peach tarts finished the offering. 

Publish date: 
Wednesday, June 29, 2016

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Ken Forth awarded honorary doctorate

The University of Guelph conferred an honorary degree on broccoli grower Ken Forth during convocation ceremonies on June 12.  He was cited for his decades of leadership work on the labour file that has taken him to Mexico, the Caribbean and meetings in Europe.

Chris Davison heads to Washington

With more than 25 years of experience in public affairs and communications, Chris Davison is leaving corporate and government affairs in Syngenta’s Guelph, Ontario office to take up a new role in Washington, DC. He is the new head, business sustainability for Syngenta North America.

Crystal Mackay launches Loft32

The former CEO of the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity has announced her founding of communications company Loft32 in Guelph, Ontario.

John Jamieson takes on CEO role

The Canadian Centre for Food Integrity has hired John Jamieson as its new president and CEO. Most recently, Jamieson served as deputy minister of agriculture and fisheries, and deputy minister of rural and regional development in Prince Edward Island. He was also a past executive director of the Prince Edward Island Federation of Agriculture.

Dairy farmer is new PEI ag minister

Bloyce Thompson is adding extra roles to his daily routine of milking Holstein cows. He is Prince Edward Island’s new minister of agriculture and land, justice and public safety and attorney general.