What would Thanksgiving dinner be without the mashed potatoes, glazed carrots and pumpkin pie? These deeply rooted food traditions of local produce are thanks to countless farmers bringing in the harvest. The agri-food community is honoured during Ontario Agriculture Week, held the first week every October.
“Ontario Agriculture Week is an opportunity to highlight the bounty of Ontario’s fruit and vegetable production,” says Bill George, chair, Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA). “The success of the sector is the result of tireless efforts of the entire value chain, from input suppliers to retailers, and an ongoing partnership with government to create a supportive regulatory environment.”
Ontario is a powerhouse of food, feed and fibre production. Of the $12 billion in farmgate sales, horticulture earns $2.4 billion, second only to grains and oilseeds which earn $3.4 billion. There are 3,500 growers producing a diverse array of fruits and vegetables.
The OFVGA estimates that more than 30,000 full-time equivalent jobs are attributed to horticulture. An additional 60,000 jobs are created along the value chain.
Ontario’s horticultural sector is the largest and most diverse in Canada, producing 42 per cent of Canada’s $5.7 billion in fruit and vegetable farmgate sales.