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October 2021

Last month was a busy one for us here at CHC – but it seems like they’re all busy these days!

First I would like to congratulate those who were appointed to the federal cabinet last week. CHC looks forward to working closely with returning and newly selected Ministers to best support Canada's fresh fruit and vegetable growers.
In mid-October we partnered with several other national industry members to celebrate the International Year of Fruit and Vegetables (IYFV).  If you missed the excitement around this on social media, we have also made it easy for you to find resources and information on IYFV on our website.

Another exciting IYFV celebration happened last Friday as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) hosted a very successful event with discussions about sustainable food systems in Canada and the role that fruit and vegetables play. 194 attendees joined from Canada and the world! One of the panelists was CHC's president Jan VanderHout, and if you missed the event, you can still catch the recording

I’m also excited to announce that our fall issue of Fresh Thinking is out! In the spirit of celebrating IYFV, we’ve included articles highlighting the work our industry is leading in the areas of sustainability, technology, crop protection, and economic development. Please read it and share with your peers.
Finally, I am excited to announce that later this month and early next month we will join with the Canadian Produce Marketing Association to host a series of virtual meetings with key members of the 44th Parliament (to replace our annual Fall Harvest event this year). The purpose of these will be to reinforce our organizations’ policy priorities, specifically within the context of platform commitments and Ministerial mandate letters. For more information visit our website
Wishing you a warm and productive November,

Rebecca Lee
Executive Director
Canadian Horticultural Council 

Successful FAO event with CHC’s president Jan VanderHout to Celebrate World Food Day and The International Year of Fruits and Vegetables
Last Friday October 29 the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) the lead agency for celebrating International Year of Fruits and Vegetables hosted an event that featured sustainable food systems in Canada and the role that fruits and vegetables play. The panelists that contributed to the discussion included various people from across the industry as well as CHC’s president Jan VanderHout. The event was not only successful in terms great discussion, as well there were 194 attendees from across the world that joined to learn about fruit and vegetables in Canada. If you missed it live, the recording is available to view here!
CHC is hiring a Crop Protection Officer!
The position will start mid-November for a short-term contract. Requirements include:
  • A University degree in Science/Agriculture/Agronomy/Toxicology or other relevant discipline, preference to holders of a Master of Science degree
  • Demonstrated experience in agriculture, crop protection, and integrated pest management
  • Knowledge of the federal regulation of crop protection products in Canada
  • Demonstrated ability to plan and execute strategies to meet objectives 
  • Experience in research, data analysis, scientific reporting and knowledge translation
The position will be open until filled. Please contact for further information.
CHC’s Fall 2021 issue of Fresh Thinking is now available!

The Canadian Horticulture Council (CHC) is excited to share the Fall 2021 issue of Fresh Thinking with you electronically. Please click here to access an interactive flip version as well as a PDF that you can download to your computer or device.
  • On page 11, you’ll find New Suite of Tools Allows Growers to Increase Food Safety & Production Efficiency at the Same Time.
  • On page 15, you’ll find Shifting to Sustainable Consumption Patterns: Benchmarking Our Success.
  • On page 21, you’ll find Boosting Nature-Positive Production.
  • On page 25, you’ll find Advancing Equitable Livelihoods.
  • On page 31, you’ll find Building Resilience to Vulnerabilities, Shocks & Stress.
  • On page 36, you’ll find Save the Date for the 2022 AGM.
  • On page 37, you’ll find The 2021 Doug Connery Award Recipient.
If you’d like to advertise in the next issue of Fresh Thinking, please e-mail There are options to fit all budgets and marketing campaigns.
If you’d like to adjust your mailing address for the hard copy, please e-mail

Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) AgriHR Toolkit 

Through the Canadian Horticultural Council’s partnership with the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council, our members have free access to the AgriHR Toolkit. This resource is designed to address the unique needs of the agriculture industry. Based on years of research and field testing conducted in Canada and internationally, this toolkit offers everything you need to improve your people management skills and develop key resources to help you find, retain, and support your employees. To access it, simply set up an account using the Coupon Code: HORTtoolkit.

Please join us 

As an industry, we’re coming together to help meet the needs of hungry Canadians. Our food banks count on donations, both food and financial, and their capacity to accept, store and redistribute fresh fruit and vegetables is increasing every day.

Donating your surplus means more Canadians are able to access safe, nutritious, and culturally diverse food.

You can make a difference. If you’re able, please donate food or money at by January 31, 2022.

Look for the big announcement of how many meals Drive Away Hunger raises on Canada’s Agriculture Day: February 22, 2022.

Ontario growers launch proactive communications initiative focused on labour
By Lilian Schaer for Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association

Find us online!
Twitter: @mtamigrantwrkr
Instagram: @mtamigrantwrkr
Facebook: @MtaMigrantWrkr/

OFVGA and some of its member organizations have joined together to create and launch the More than a Migrant Worker campaign. It’s a proactive communications initiative focused on ensuring horticulture’s voice is part of the broader public narrative around farm labour and seasonal workers.

The pandemic has strengthened public and media interest in farms and migrant labour, often with coverage that doesn’t accurately depict the true situation on Ontario farms. Unbalanced coverage is an increasing irritant for growers who feel unfairly targeted and maligned - and frustrated that their side of the story isn’t being told, according to OFVGA Executive Director Alison Robertson. 

The first pandemic year was tough for growers who had to deal with worker safety, increased costs, reduced workforces and many new regulatory hurdles to overcome as a result of the pandemic. The challenges continued this year as government processes around worker arrivals become more complex, and quarantine requirements and testing problems resulted in significant extra costs that growers have no real way of recouping. 

“It would have been much easier for some growers to just throw in the towel on fruits and vegetables and instead grow crops that don’t come with all the labour headaches,” Robertson says. “But growers are dedicated to what they do and feel strongly about producing food, so to continually be unfairly targeted in the public eye can feel a bit like a slap in the face.” 

The pilot project was softly launched this past summer. The project team has been gathering content and building resources for a targeted media and online campaign that will start ramping up in November and continue over the winter into the next growing season. 

The focus will be on: 
  • promoting the vital role of seasonal labour in Ontario horticulture 
  • addressing misconceptions around seasonal labour
  • providing current, factual information about seasonal labour
Over the length of the campaign, social media and YouTube advertising will be complemented by a series of sponsored articles in the National Post and other Postmedia publications that will point readers to The site hosts a growing collection of migrant worker profiles, a video library, facts and stats and answers to frequently asked questions about migrant workers. 

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts have also been set up. 

OFVGA is leading the initiative with input and support from its member organizations and project partner Farm & Food Care Ontario (FFCO). Working group members include staff from OFVGA, FFCO Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG), and Ontario Apple Growers (OAG).
Tackesha is from Jamaica and has been working on the same peach farm in Niagara for four years. It’s where she met her husband, Dwayne, a fellow worker who is also from Jamaica, and they married in January 2021.
“It is really important to be sharing positive information about the essential work that these men and women do when they come to our farms in Ontario,” says OAG General Manager Kelly Ciceran. “And we want to be sure that we have resources of credible information available for people who want to know more about workers, their lives here and at home, and why they come to Canada.” 

According to Robertson, the use of the term “migrant worker” is deliberate. Although not liked by growers, it’s a label that has become commonplace in referring to seasonal agricultural workers or temporary foreign workers - and if the industry wants to ensure its information is part of what the public sees when searching for information on farmworkers online, it has to adapt its language, she notes. 

“The title of the campaign also reflects that these people are much more than “just” migrant workers. To growers, they’re an indispensable part of our industry as experienced employees, co-workers, and in some cases, also friends,” she says. “And in their home countries, they are husbands, wives, parents, friends and employers - and part of our mission with this project is to share some of those stories with Canadians.” 
Yvonne, whose nickname is Peaches, has been working on an Ontario peach farm since 2000. She’s from Jamaica, and video chats with her children and grandchildren daily while she’s here.  
More than a Migrant Worker is a wonderful initiative to help educate Canadians as to the true relationships of farmers and their workers and to show how incredibly valuable these partnerships are,” adds Joe Sbrocchi, General Manager, Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers. “The health and safety of our employees is our top priority. They are the lifeblood of our farms and integral to providing safe, nutritious food for our families.” 
The Canadian Horticultural Council is proud to be celebrating its 100th Anniversary at the 2022 Annual General Meeting in Ottawa
The AGM is an opportunity for leaders in fruit and vegetable production, business, and federal government to come together to discuss priority issues and decide on a course of action for addressing these issues in the coming year. The 2022 AGM will be held March 8-10, 2022 at the Westin Ottawa Hotel.
Check out our website for the schedule, registration, accommodations and sponsorship information. 

Agriculture Enlightened Conference

The hybrid Agriculture Enlightened conference on November 18, 2021 will highlight the importance of data in driving digital agriculture. The conference will cover topics including: 
  • Intelligent technology integration 
  • Knowledge mobilization between industry, academia and research 
  • Solutions for closing the digital agriculture skills gap 
  • Capital enablement for start-ups and scale-ups in Canada 
Learn more and register here
Fertilizer emissions, supply chain challenges, and priorities for a new mandate - an interview with Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau

Cardboard cutouts used by supermarkets to hide empty shelves 

RaboResearch report points to expanding global blueberry demand 

Ontario Agrifood research boosted by $2.76 million
© 2021 Canadian Horticultural Council

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