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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. 

Coping with changing rules of engagement

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. 

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. 

RELATED NEWS

Asia Fruit Logistica reschedules to November

Turbulent times have forced the popular produce trade show to change venues from Hong Kong to Singapore. Now it’s rescheduling from September to November 18-20, 2020.   

American produce industry to receive $2.7 billion in aid

The American ag secretary Sonny Perdue has announced $2.7 billion to the fruit and vegetable industry to help mitigate losses from the COVID-19 emergency. Of that total, $100 million per month for the next six months are earmarked for a “Buy Fresh” program for food banks and school curbside pickup. 

United Fresh launches LIVE!

A fresh produce virtual platform will replace the in-person event slated for mid-June in San Diego. United Fresh LIVE! Will debut the week of June 15, 2020. 

Global virtual town hall

The Produce Marketing Association, based in Newark, Delaware, convened members from 21 countries to discuss the industry’s response to COVID-19. The virtual town hall revealed that bananas, potatoes, carrots and onions are in the highest demand.

U.S. Apple Association: guest workers urgently needed

The U.S. embassy has suspended processing of new H-2A worker applications in Mexico City and its offices across the country. The U.S. Apple Association, one of the founders of the Agriculture Workforce Coalition, is asking for a reversal of that position. 

RELATED NEWS

Asia Fruit Logistica reschedules to November

Turbulent times have forced the popular produce trade show to change venues from Hong Kong to Singapore. Now it’s rescheduling from September to November 18-20, 2020.   

American produce industry to receive $2.7 billion in aid

The American ag secretary Sonny Perdue has announced $2.7 billion to the fruit and vegetable industry to help mitigate losses from the COVID-19 emergency. Of that total, $100 million per month for the next six months are earmarked for a “Buy Fresh” program for food banks and school curbside pickup. 

United Fresh launches LIVE!

A fresh produce virtual platform will replace the in-person event slated for mid-June in San Diego. United Fresh LIVE! Will debut the week of June 15, 2020. 

Global virtual town hall

The Produce Marketing Association, based in Newark, Delaware, convened members from 21 countries to discuss the industry’s response to COVID-19. The virtual town hall revealed that bananas, potatoes, carrots and onions are in the highest demand.

U.S. Apple Association: guest workers urgently needed

The U.S. embassy has suspended processing of new H-2A worker applications in Mexico City and its offices across the country. The U.S. Apple Association, one of the founders of the Agriculture Workforce Coalition, is asking for a reversal of that position. 

RELATED NEWS

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. 

New chair for Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission

Pork and chicken producer Amy Cronin has been appointed chair of the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission for a two-year term. 

Nature Fresh Farms hires director of marketing

Seasoned advertising veteran Stephanie Swatkow is the new director of marketing for greenhouse grower Nature Fresh Farms. 

The Grower columnist interviewed on CBC Radio

In the May issue of The Grower, columnist Owen Roberts put forward a perspective that’s not often heard in the mainstream media. And that’s the view that  foreign workers are professionals. CBC Radio contacted him for a series of cross-Canada interviews on April 28.   

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Protecting squash bees for 2020 and beyond

There’s a downside to reducing pumpkin acreage this year. Squash bees are reliant on the crop for survival. Plant at least one acre to protect future generations, says Susan Willis Chan.  

Strengthening a resilient food system

A “Growing Stronger” project is launching between the University of Guelph’s Arrell Food Institute and the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute to shape future research and discussion in the post-COVID era.  

How to prepare for PYO operations

Ontario’s fruit specialist, Erica Pate, is hosting a Zoom meeting to discuss different approaches for pick-your-own operations this season. Sign up for June 2.

Setting the table for the future

Shopping patterns have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers are buying different amounts of different products at different times in different places. Columnist Peter Chapman’s advice? Explore each difference to understand the impact on your products and your markets.

Food packaging must help reduce waste, but not at all costs

Columnist Owen Roberts explores the world of food packaging in a new report by Value Chain Management International called Less food loss, less packaging waste. Some tough choices lie ahead for the industry for getting commodities not just out of the fields, but in front of consumers too.

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Bill studied horticulture at the University ...
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