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Sylvain Charlebois
Sylvain Charlebois

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How a celery swizzle stick meets its bar code in the field
Celery is finicky to grow, but even more demanding to harvest. At Hillside Gardens in Bradford, Ontario, in-field packing requires a well-trained workforce to follow the
protocols of the CanadaGAP food safety program. Owner Ron Gleason (pictured below) custom-built a trailer to make the process tick like clockwork.
Photos by Glenn Lowson.
Ontario to restrict
neonic pesticides
Page 5
Focus: food processing,
food safety
Page 14
Page 18
P.M. 40012319
$3.00 CDN
Bradford, Ontario – On a July
morning, work starts at 6 am at
Hillside Gardens – no rooster
required. It will take an hour to
fill the 500-gallon water tank, an
integral part of the in-field packing of celery. Refilling the tank
with fresh water will be repeated
during the lunch hour. By day’s
end, 25,000 bundles of celery will
be hand cut, trimmed, washed and
packed in ready-to-cool plastic
Now the biggest celery grower
in Ontario with 90 acres, Ron
Gleason is shipping 12 trailer
loads of the vegetable every week
from July 1 to October 15 to
Toronto-area distribution centres
for Loblaw and Sobeys. Celery is
a tough crop to grow because it’s
a “heavy feeder” requiring not
only nitrogen but a balance of
micronutrients. Think of calcium,
manganese and boron. Finicky
celery can crack easily without its
fix of boron to maintain cell
walls, especially during hot
These agronomic challenges
aside, Gleason must ship celery
according to the food safety
protocols of the CanadaGAP
program. A participant since its
start in 2010, he says these
standards and third-party
certifications have been good for
his Holland Marsh farm and the
“Nobody loves an audit but I
do think it’s good for business,”
Gleason says. “There is now a
layer of organization which
is synonymous with
All the major retailers –
Loblaw, Metro, Walmart, McCain
Foods, Simplot Canada, LambWeston and Cavendish -- now
require growers to be part of a
food safety program. “Since when
does the customer not decide
what’s a good idea,” says
Gleason. “By complying, we are
protecting our good name in the
business community.”
Part of the compliance for
Loblaw, for example, has been
the requirement to rent Reusable
Plastic Containers (RPCs). For
some growers, this has been a
controversial move, but Gleason
argues otherwise.
“I love them,” he says.
“Loblaw mandated the program
four years ago. These rented
plastic cartons are less expensive
than waxed corrugated boxes. I
don’t have to stock $40,000 to
$50,000 of cardboard inventory
through the winter. I order RPCs
when I need them.”
Gleason adds, “Our company
brand is lost when we’re selling
naked celery without a cellophane
sleeve, but our Hillside Gardens’
sticker is still on the RPC in our
customer’s warehouse. I’ve had
no problems renting the cartons
from IFCO, one of the suppliers.”
The record-keeping requirements of food safety programs
can be daunting however Gleason
advises implementing a fully
integrated system from seed to
warehouse to the retailer.
“Do it once,” he says. “Your
system doesn’t need to be fancy
but rather functional. Make sure
you capture the information you
need, but don’t overcapture
meaningless data.”
Gleason’s systems are working
well for his 450 acres of celery,
carrots, onions, beets, parsnips
and turnips. Another 400 acres in
Georgia help him supply produce
“I see a lot of opportunity for
young farmers right now,”
Gleason concludes, “if you want
to become a business person.”
PAGE 2 –– JANUARY 2015
Speed-dating offered
for growers and
Next month’s Ontario Fruit and
Vegetable Convention (OFVC)
offers a Meet the Buyer opportunity so that growers can meet key
grocery chain and food industry
buyers. The event will commence
at 7:45 am and go to 9:15 am on
Thursday, February 19. Gather at
the public café area by the Stanley
Street entrance of the Scotiabank
Convention Centre in Niagara
Participating buyers such as
Loblaw, Sobeys and Gordon Food
Service will introduce their respective organizations. Then one-onone meetings will follow so that
growers can meet buyers in
While there is no charge for this
event, participants must register
online when purchasing the overall
OFVC registration package. The
event welcomes only registered
For more details, contact Matthew
Ecker at [email protected]
Complete survey on
labour needs
In a Canadian Federation of
Agriculture report, labour issues
are identified as the number one
priority facing the Canadian agriculture industry today. Your help
is needed to determine how much
farm work is done by family members and how much is done by
employees? What work is done by
domestic and or foreign workers?
Is there a growing reliance on hir-
ing employees to support farm
operations? What labour challenges
are facing producers today?
The Canadian Agricultural
Human Resource Council
(CAHRC) has launched a Labour
Market Information (LMI) research
survey to examine Canada’s agricultural workforce from every commodity and region. The survey
must achieve a minimum of 50
responses per province/territory to
complete the regional analysis.
Choose one of the three surveys
designed for farm owner/operators,
farm workers (family or paid) or
agricultural organizations.
By taking the time to complete a
short 10 - 15 minute online survey
you will be making sure your
farm's needs are included in this
important work that will help
government and educators create
policies and programs that will
shape future farm labour
requirements. Please complete the
online survey at
Potato tampering
reward increased to
The PEI Potato Board has
doubled its reward to $100,000 for
tips leading to the arrest and
conviction of whoever has inserted
sewing needles into potatoes of
Linkletter Farms Ltd. One source
is Peak of the Market, a Manitoba
grower-owned vegetable supplier.
“As an industry we cannot stand
by and allow others to interfere in
the supply of safe food,” says Peak
of the Market board chair Keith
This welcome addition comes
on top of a $10,000 contribution by
the PEI government. George
Webster, the province’s minister of
agriculture and forestry, made his
pledge at the board’s annual
general meeting in late November.
“If there is anything good that
can be said to come from this mess,
it is the sense of solidarity everyone has shown us,” said Gary
Linkletter, co-owner of Linkletter
Farms. “Hopefully the reward will
help to identify the culprit and
bring this tampering episode to an
Anonymous tips are now
eligible for the reward up until
January 31, 2015.
Information can be provided
anonymously to Crime Stoppers by
phone 1-800-222-(8477)TIPS, via
the web at, or by
text Text “TIP162” plus your
message to (274637)CRIMES. Or
contact the Prince Edward Island
RCMP directly at (902) 436-9300.
Alternatively, an email can be sent
to [email protected]
and an investigator will respond.
SARFIP deadline
Ontario’s Species at Risk Farm
Incentive Program (SARFIP) has
had its claim deadline extended to
January 15th, giving potential
participants more time to apply and
complete projects. As the snow
starts to hit, fencing is still a popular Best Management Practice, as
are tree planting projects which can
be completed in the spring. Also,
anyone who has already completed
a project, so long as it was after the
eligible invoice date of April 1,
2014, you are eligible to apply.
Congratulations to Prince
Edward Island potato farmers
Andrew and Heidi Lawless
who were named Canada’s
Outstanding Young Farmers
at a gala in Quebec City in
late November. The Kinkora,
PEI couple own and operate
Hilltop Produce Ltd. along
with Andrew’s parents, growing 40 million pounds of potatoes under
contract for the processing market. The western winners are grain
farmers Myron and Jill Krahn, Carman, Manitoba.
Don McCabe, a soy, corn and wheat farmer from Inwood was elected the new chair of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. The two
new vice-presidents are crop farmer Keith Currie and dairy farmer
Peggy Brekeld. Vegetable and garlic grower Mark Wales, steps
down from the chair’s position after three years of dedicated service.
He remains on the board of directors.
The Prince Edward Island Potato Board welcomes Alex Docherty,
Elmwood as the new chair, succeeding Gary Linkletter, who served
for four years in the position. The Docherty family own and operate
Skyeview Farms Ltd, growing both seed and tablestock potatoes.
The new vice-chair is Darryl Wallace, Wallace Family Farms,
Cascumpec. Joining the executive committee as secretary-treasurer
is Charles Murphy of Murphy’s Seed Potatoes Inc., China Point.
Two new directors include Glen Rayner, Cascumpec and John
Hogg, Wilmot Valley. Returning directors are: Donald Godfrey,
Irwin Jay, Kirk Shea, Owen Ching, Gary Linkletter, David
Francis and Rodney Dingwall.
Ontario’s premier Kathleen Wynne has announced a Growth
Steering Committee to help achieve the goal of 120,000 new
agri-food jobs by 2020. It will be co-chaired by OMAFRA deputy
minister Deb Stark and Ontario Pork board of directors’ chair Amy
Four of the top five Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Excellence
Awards recipients are from horticulture. Congratulations to:
• Premier’s Award winner of Draupadi and Adrian Quinn,
Castleton, who converted 10 acres of former tobacco fields into kale
production and are expanding their on-farm processing facility to
meet demand for five flavours of kale chips.
• Minister’s Award winner of Driediger Farms Inc. who developed
a self-propelled tomato harvester which speeds up harvest with less
damage to the plants.
• Leaders in Innovation Award winner of The Garlic Box, Hensall,
which developed value-added products such as oils, salts,
condiments and more recently, flash-frozen whole peeled cloves for
year-round consumption.
• Leaders in Innovation Award winner of Truly Green Farms,
Dresden for running a 22.5-acre carbon neutral greenhouse, which
uses the carbon dioxide that GreenField Ethanol emits. Not only
does using the CO2 promote tomato growth, it ensures that 15,000
metric tonnes of planet-warming gases stay out of the atmosphere
each year.
The Wine Council of Ontario has appointed Richard Linley as the
new president. He was previously senior director, government affairs
at the Canadian Beverage Association. His previous experience
includes government relations in the areas of legislative and
regulatory affairs.
Asparagus Farmers of Ontario held their annual general meeting
recently, electing Ken Wall as chair and John Jaques as vice-chair.
Vineland Research and Innovation Centre welcomes two new staff
members. Dr. Gideon Avigad assumes the role of research program
leader, robotics and automation. He formerly taught at the Braude
College of Engineering in Israel and most recently was adjunct professor at Western University in London, Ontario. He holds a PhD in
mechanical engineering from Tel Aviv University, Israel. Dr.
Viliam Zvalo joins as research scientist, vegetable production. He
was formerly working for Perennia Food and Agriculture Inc in
Nova Scotia. In his new role, he’ll be investigating field and
greenhouse production of world crops and other new crop opportunities for Ontario growers. He holds a PhD in plant physiology/soil
ecology from the Slovak University of Agriculture in Slovakia.
Glen Squirrell, Shelburne, remains chair of the Ontario Potato
Board while Harry Bradley, Leamington, becomes vice-chair for
2015. At its recent annual meeting, the following directors were
elected: Rick Wallace, Shawn Brenn, Jack Murphy and Isaiah
JANUARY 2015 –– PAGE 3
How a celery swizzle stick meets its bar code in the field
Workers hand-cut celery with knives which are sanitized at the first of each shift.
The commercial, food-processor grade solution, consists of hydrogen peroxide,
vinegar and other sanitizing components. The celery bundles are brought to the
staging table at the front end of an in-field processing trailer. There, two workers cut
the celery again with a saw blade to uniformly fit Reusable Plastic Containers
The celery goes onto an elevator where spray nozzles wash off any dirt. Workers on
the elevator line are outfitted with rubber gloves and aprons while they are
handling the freshly-washed celery.
The full extent of the processing trailer can be seen here, complete with 500-gallon
water tank on the right and the RPC line on the left. The rinse water is replaced
twice a day, at 7 am and noon.
RPCs, packed with 24 bundles per case, are shrink-wrapped with breathable
plastic in the field and labeled with bar-coded stickers for traceability to Hillside
Gardens, harvest date and specific field in accordance with CanadaGAP
procedures. Note the red PECO pallets, food-grade wooden pallets that provide
another layer of protection from contaminants. From here, this trailer will proceed
to a cooler for 48 hours of chilling to less than 40°F before shipment to a Loblaw
distribution centre.
RPCs are focus of
ongoing study
Last fall, a new study was released questioning the
food safety standards of Reusable Plastic Containers
(RPCs) for fruits and vegetables. Keith Warriner,
University of Guelph food safety and quality assurance
program director, said, “We saw alarming levels of
sanitization and significant risk for food contamination.”
Repeating a study from the previous year, he increased
the scope from 15 testing units to 160 containers. Using
U.K. food safety standards for food surfaces as a pass/fail
baseline, 43 per cent of RPCs failed sanitary standards
due to high ATP (adenosine triphosphate) readings. He
notes that equivalent standards do not exist in North
America. Specifically, the fecal indicators were more
prevalent in the current sampling trials compared to a
study performed in 2013.
“RPCs are a highly emotionally charged topic,” says
Jane Proctor, vice-president policy and issue management, Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA).
“The good news is that the pending pilot led by the
produce industry will provide a forum for science to guide
both sample taking and the results. The hope is that this
will enable all parties to use sound science and not
rhetoric to make decisions relative to RPC use in their
The fresh produce industry is working on two projects:
A Best Practices Guide and a pilot on food safety led by
the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC). A RPC Best
Practices Guide is currently under development by the
Reusable Packaging Association in the U.S. with engagement from CPMA, CHC, Produce Marketing Association,
United Fresh and industry representatives from both
Canada and the U.S. This reference will identify
responsibilities for each participant in the food chain from
grower to warehouse to retailer. The greenhouse industry
has been quite involved in this document. The hope is to
have the document ready early in 2015.
To date, there is no washing facility for RPCs in
Canada. All containers must be returned to sites in the
U.S. for sanitation.
PAGE 4 –– JANUARY 2015
Greenhouse operator takes over Serres Lacoste
In mid-December, Serres Sagami, one
of Quebec’s largest greenhouse operators
forged an agreement with Farm Credit
Canada to resume production of
greenhouse tomatoes at Serres Lacoste in
the Charlevoix region. Serres Lacoste had
filed for bankruptcy on November 7.
The site, which is already equipped with
biomass heating, is an ideal fit for Serres
Sagami’s mission and its environmental
objectives wrote Stéphane Roy, president
and CEO, Serres Sagami. This newly
acquired site’s proximity to Québec City
will allow the company to strategically
position itself in the central Quebec region
and provide more reliable service.
This marks the fourth acquisition since
the early 2000s for Serres Sagami which is
headquartered in Ste-Sophie in the
Laurentians. In November 2012, the
company acquired the Savoura facilities in
Ste-Marthe. In February 2013, the
company acquired a production site in
Mirabel. Altogether, the company farms
32 acres of conventional and greenhouse
tomatoes in Quebec.
Right: Stéphane Roy, president and CEO
of Serres Sagami.
Source: Serres Sagami
Replant program underway
The B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association ended their 125th
anniversary year with good news, a tree replant program
worth $8.4 million over seven years.
“The replant program will kickstart the rebuilding and
redirection of the tree fruit industry for the 21st century,”
said Fred Steele, president of the B.C. Fruit Growers’
Association, acknowledging Premier Christy Clark’s
Replanting costs between $25,000 and $30,000 per acre
for a high-density orchard. They are more productive,
producing commercial volumes of apples in as little as
three years, compared to eight years and longer for
standard plantings. Converting to new, high-quality
varieties of cherries, pears, peaches, nectarines and plums
leads to greater consumer acceptance and increases returns
to tree fruit operations.
This program extends earlier programs, providing about
one-quarter to one-fifth of the total cost of replanting tree
fruit. By refreshing the industry with new varieties,
farmland and family farms are preserved.
Market for global
frozen foods to heat
New products
launched at
Produce exports
Sweet potatoes find
sweet spot abroad
Analyze risks in the
cold chain
For the first time in several
years, it’s expected that Mexico
will have a trade surplus in
agrifood exports to Canada.
From January to September
2014, exports totalled $1.130
million, up by 11 per cent over
the same period in 2013.
"Mexican products are of high
quality and are increasingly more
rooted in the taste of the
Canadian market," said Lopez
Mercado, Secretariat of
Agriculture, Livestock, Rural
Development, Fisheries and Food
in Canada.
Second only to the United
States in food exports to Canada,
Mexico is a big exporter of
tomatoes, peppers, avocadoes,
raspberries, grapes and guava.
The list also includes mangoes,
asparagus, onions, strawberries,
watermelon, pumpkin, cabbage
and green beans.
Export sales of American
sweet potatoes grew 80 per cent
in the past five years reaching a
record $95 million, reports
Johnny Barnes, president,
American Sweet Potato
Marketing Institute (ASPMI).
Founded in 2013 to promote
the tuber domestically and
abroad, ASPMI is marking
progress in targeted European
markets. While awareness is low,
the healthy superfood is gaining
ground amongst health-conscious
Potato Expo 2015 will attract
hundreds of growers to Orlando,
Florida for the latest in technology and trends. Luke Gowdy,
transportation operations
manager, C.H. Robinson
Worldwide, will be speaking
January 8 on the future of truck
The logistics company has
recently released a white paper
on maintaining the cold chain
with six supply chain best practices for temperature-sensitive
freight. In a few words, they are:
secure the right expertise,
determine capacity requirements,
set clear expectations early in the
process, share responsibility
when loading and unloading,
balance cost and technology,
establish standard operating
To access this excellent paper,
go to
An American research company predicts that the global frozen
food market will grow to more
than $307 billion by 2020.
Citing convenience as a driving
factor, Grand View Research Inc.
says the growth of the meat
industry, particularly in BrazilRussia-India-China (BRIC)
nations, is responsible.
This trend presents
opportunities for frozen fruits
and vegetables, however, strong
brands will prevail due to
consumer recognition of quality
and food safety. To succeed,
companies will need to beware
high sugar content and
Interpoma, an international
trade event which focuses on
apple cultivation, storage and
marketing, recently held its
congress in Bolzano. A Belgian
company introduced Lumilys, a
recyclable, long-lasting reflective
groundcover. The weave offers a
better diffusion of light to help
achieve colour in the heart of
high-density orchards. The product has been tested in research
centres in Belgium, Germany and
Source: C. H. Robinson
Quality Seed
Quality Service
Quality Information
~ Quality Seed Since 1881 ~
Henry Zomer
Jim Robinson
Rob Hovius
Paul Banks
Leah Erickson
Marc André
Laberge (QC)
Caralampides (QC)
JANUARY 2015 –– PAGE 5
January 25 deadline to respond to Ontario’s plan
to curb neonicotinoid use
Toronto, Ontario – Late last fall,
the Ontario government
announced its plan to reduce the
use of neonicotinoid-treated corn
and soybean seed to enhance
pollinator health. Its goal is an 80
per cent reduction in number of
acres planted with insecticidetreated seed by 2017. An
aspirational target is to reduce
over-winter honeybee mortality
to 15 per cent by 2020.
The intent is to have new rules
in place by July 1, 2015 in time
for the 2016 planting season.
Consultations are now underway,
hosted jointly by the Ministry of
Agriculture, Food and Rural
Affairs and the Ministry of
Environment and Climate
Change. A discussion paper –
“Pollinator Health: A proposal
for enhancing pollinator health
and reducing the use of
neonicotinoid pesticides in
Ontario” is the key document
framing the issue.
Consultations were held in
London, Mississauga and Toronto
in December (Kingston to be held
January 14), attracting
environmental groups, growers,
beekeepers and industry
associations. “We think this is a
balanced approach,” said Steve
Klose, director of the standards
development branch, Ministry of
Environment and Climate Change
at the Toronto meeting. “We’re
looking for significant reduction
as soon as possible.”
When questioned on what
scientific evidence is driving this
legislative approach, Klose said
Ontario is taking a precautionary
approach to effect some control.
Neonic-coated seed is not
regulated under the Ontario
Pesticide Act, so a new class must
be created to describe who can
use these products and how they
can be used. At this stage, the
legislation would affect neither
canola, cereals and dry beans nor
horticultural crops such as
potatoes, sweet corn and greenhouse vegetables. Fungicide
treatments would not be part of
the proposal.
At the Toronto meeting, a
representative of the Canadian
Association of Physicians for the
Environment questioned why the
legislation would be restricted to
only corn and soybeans. One
beekeeper said that 100 per cent
bee health should be the goal.
Other participants suggested that
the government subsidize farmers
to take land out of production for
bee-friendly habitat. Still others
thought that a national strategy is
needed. Another suggestion: there
would be consumer awareness
campaigns by which food is
labelled with “bee-friendly
In a spirit of collective
environmental responsibility,
farmers posed questions to
beekeepers as to how they
implement best management
practices for nutrition and hive
health. A beekeeper who is also a
seed corn sales representative
questioned how the third-party
risk assessments would work and
what liability scheme would be in
place to protect them.
How did we get here?
Neonicotinoids, a class of
insecticides registered since the
1990s, have largely replaced
organophosphates because they
are less toxic to birds and
mammals. Bayer CropScience’s
active ingredient imidacloprid and
Syngenta’s active ingredient
thiamethoxam are used to coat
corn, soybean and canola seed to
prevent damage from soil-borne
pests such as wireworm.
In the past year, many Ontario
corn and soybean growers
modified their seed planters to
reduce dust that might be
deflected and drift towards bee
hives. Despite these voluntary
efforts and reports of reduced bee
mortality last spring – 72 per cent
of which are attributed to three
beekeepers -- the Ontario
government seeks to be the first
jurisdiction in North America to
reduce neonicotinoids.
It’s unusual for a provincial
jurisdiction to regulate the use of
federally approved pesticides. For
its part, the Pest Management
Regulatory Agency plans to
release its interim report in late
2015 and a final report in 2017.
In the U.S., the Environmental
Protection Agency will release its
review of the entire class of
neonicotinoids in 2018.
The Ontario Fruit and
Vegetable Growers’ Association
position is to ensure a complete
and balanced science-informed
decision is the basis of any action
by government.
Written feedback on the
discussion paper is due by
January 25. Contact Ontario’s
Environmental Registry or email:
[email protected]
Agricultural * Commercial * Industrial
50 Years of Excellent Service
Refrigeration (All Types)
Heating, Air Conditioning
Controlled Atmosphere
[email protected]
18 Seapark Drive, St Catharines ON, L2M 6S6
PAGE 6 –– JANUARY 2015
Canada’s potato yield posts record 300 cwt per acre
There are two tales in the Canadian
potato business. 2014 acreage was down
but productivity per acre was up.
A year ago, growers planted 7000 fewer
acres to help adjust supply with demand
says Kevin MacIsaac, general manager,
United Potato Growers of Canada. Despite
that collective move, production was down
only 0.7 per cent from the previous year.
“The year’s average yield in Canada
was the highest ever recorded at 298.2
cwt/acre,” he says. “Due to a mild fall and
good harvest conditions, almost all of the
planted acres were harvested. Only 1.7 per
cent of the total acreage was left
For processors, one quality measurement is in the increase of solids from
averages of 16 per cent to new highs of 20
per cent, says Walter Davidson, W.D.
Potato at Beeton, Ontario. As a contractor
of 25,000 acres of potatoes in several
provinces, Davidson says it takes fewer
potatoes to make chips because of the
improved quality. With higher
productivity, he expects volume demand to
be down 10 per cent in 2015.
As the Statistics Canada chart shows,
Prince Edward Island is the biggest grower,
followed by Manitoba, Alberta, New
Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario.
Manitoba’s production was down almost
12 per cent last year due to fewer contracts
for processing potatoes.
Prince Edward Island growers are
optimistic going into 2015. “We had a
textbook fall for harvest which means no
issues in storage and good quality,” says
Greg Donald, general manager, PEI Potato
Board. “The lower Canadian dollar will
help with exports to the northeastern
United States, although there are freight
challenges in all markets. It’s as simple as
supply and demand. It’s difficult to secure
Exports abroad will be more
challenging, Donald predicts. The
European Union had a good harvest and
with no market in Russia due to sanctions,
potatoes will be looking for a new home in
overseas markets.
At the December annual general
meeting of the Ontario Potato Board, chair
Glen Squirrell reported that process
potatoes are moving well but that the fresh
market is somewhat slow with variable
pricing. The 2013-14 crop had a farmgate
value of $74.4 million which includes
fresh, chip, pre-peel and soups/stews
categories. Harry Bradley, chair of the
Ontario Process Council indicated that four
agreements were negotiated last year for a
two-year period. The Frito-Lay agreement
is currently under negotiation.
“Overall, the Canadian industry is very
disciplined,” Donald concludes. “Nobody
grows on speculation anymore.”
Source: Statistics Canada Cansim Table
001-0014 (000cwt)
Streef Produce Limited has ample storage for its 2014 potato crop at Princeton,
Ontario. Photo by Glenn Lowson.
Canadian Potato Production 2014
JANUARY 2015 –– PAGE 7
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PAGE 8 –– JANUARY 2015
Towards a Canadian fruit and vegetable nutrition policy
Overarching objective of the
proposed Canadian Policy:
Increasing the consumption of
fruits and vegetables supports
improved nutrition which would
significantly improve the health
and well-being of Canadians,
reduce the costs and burden of
chronic diseases, and improve
economic growth and employment in and beyond the produce
The problem: A healthy and
nutritious diet that includes the
regular consumption of fruits and
vegetables is known to reduce the
risk of chronic diseases. PHAC
figures indicate that three out of
five Canadians over the age of 20
have a chronic disease and four
out of five are at risk of developing one. As well as their personal
and family burden, it is estimated
that chronic diseases cost
Canadians $190 billion annually,
with $122 billion in indirect
income and productivity losses
and $68 billion in direct health
care costs. The direct cost of
chronic diseases accounts for
about 58 per cent of the annual
health care spending in Canada.
The Proposal: The science is
in. Increased consumption of
fruits and vegetables would
reduce these costs, freeing those
funds for health care, research
and other priorities.
In addition, increased
consumption of fruits and
vegetables would also contribute
to improved economic
performance and prosperity of the
produce sector as well as for
other stakeholders including the
retail and food service industries.
Canada’s health, business
and illness communities are
agreed on the path forward: In
2013 and 2014 a partnership of
business, federal government and
NGO partners organized two
national summits to consider the
problem and determine a path
forward for increased fruit and
vegetable consumption. The
views of the experts and the
experience of other countries tell
us that a national policy is the
essential platform for increasing
the consumption of fruits and
A national policy is essential
to move forward:
• A national policy would be the
centerpiece of an integrated plan.
• It would provide the policy
and fiscal frameworks for funding
allocations and would bridge the
various healthy eating initiatives
of Health Canada, AAFC, and
• Federal leadership would bring
alignment and cohesion to the
numerous initiatives and activities
that exist at the provincial/
territorial and municipal levels as
well as those of charitable, nonprofit and industry organizations.
• Such a national policy
framework for increasing fruit
and vegetable consumption is
clearly aligned with the priorities
of the Economic Action Plan
2014, including supporting jobs
and growth through increased
employment opportunities and
skills development, especially for
youth, and supporting families
and communities.
• The national policy framework
would focus on three priority
strategies: common messaging,
food skills and children’s
programs. It would work to
alleviate common barriers to
healthy eating, such as:
availability, accessibility and
affordability; lack of food
preparation, handling and storage
skills and knowledge; and mixed
and unclear messaging due to
fragmented, multiple and
competing programs.
• By focusing on children, the
national policy would work to
help raise future Canadians who
understand and embrace the
benefits of a healthy, nutritious
• By providing federal
guidelines and funding support
for programs at the provincial/
territorial and community levels,
the health and well-being of all
Canadians, and especially
vulnerable populations, will be
Other G7 countries are leading the way: Canada is the only
G7 country without some form of
a national nutrition policy. The
U.S. National School Lunch
Program, which is administered
through state agencies, increases
the availability of fruits,
vegetables and whole grains for
school-age children and provides
technical training and assistance
to help school food service staffs
prepare healthful meals. France,
Germany and Italy participate in
the EU School Fruit Scheme,
which brings partners in the
agriculture, public health and
educational sectors together to
provide fruit and vegetables to
schoolchildren to encourage lifelong healthy eating habits. The
UK’s national policy ensures all
schoolchildren aged four to six
receive a piece of fruit each
school day, and Japan has a
national in-store learning
Stakeholders are ready to
work in partnership in support
of a national policy: The
Canadian Produce Marketing
Association and the Canadian
Public Health Association, along
with producers, retailers, food
service professionals, health
professionals and the leading
chronic disease communities
including Heart and Stroke,
Canadian Cancer and Canadian
Diabetes and other stakeholders,
are working together to establish
the framework for a national fruit
and vegetable nutrition policy.
Quebec City to host 93rd
Annual General Meeting
The 2015 Canadian Horticultural Council’s Annual General
Meeting is scheduled for March 10 – 12, 2015 at Quebec City’s
Fairmont Château Frontenac. Your hosts are preparing a first-class
event based on the theme Healthy You.
The business sessions will address issues of top priority for CHC
members and include presentations and panel discussions on the many
issues facing horticulture. Government officials and allied sector
representatives will be on hand to hear your concerns and participate
in the debate, and guest speakers will shed light on the issues that
matter most to you.
Delegates are urged to complete the registration form and return it
to the CHC National Office as soon as possible.
To make hotel reservations, please contact the Fairmont Château
Frontenac reservation line at 1-800-441-1414 and ask for the Canadian
Horticultural Council rate.
• Group Code: CHC0315
• Rates for standard rooms: $159 single/double occupancy.
• Reservation cut-off date: February 8, 2015 *
*Please note neither the special conference rate nor availability
are guaranteed after February 8, 2015.
For the conference registration form, go to
JANUARY 2015 –– PAGE 9
Board briefs
Following are highlights from
the OFVGA board meeting held
December 11, 2014. The purpose
of this brief is to keep you up-todate on the issues that the
OFVGA is working on, as well as
projects and initiatives the
organization is involved in.
ministers and members of parliament, deputy ministers, standing
committee members and others.
CHC works in partnership with
the Canadian Produce Marketing
Association (CPMA) wherever
possible, as well as through the
Fresh Produce Alliance.
Key issues:
Financial review and budget
Representatives from Tonin &
Co. LLP reviewed their audit
report with the board for the
OFVGA fiscal year ended
October 31, 2014. Final financial
statements will be presented to
the OFVGA membership at the
annual general meeting in January
in Niagara Falls.
The board approved the budget
for 2015, which includes
$300,000 in funding for the
OFVGA Research and Promotion
Fund for its member associations.
More information will be circulated directly to the member associations by OFVGA. The board
also approved allocation of funds
towards office improvements and
renovations to start in 2015.
Fruit and vegetable industry
representatives met in Woodstock
on November 17 for a research
priority setting session.
Participating organizations were
each asked to bring five priorities
for their sector/commodity.
It has been proposed that the
category of “field vegetables” be
sub-divided into new categories:
bulb and root vegetables, leafy
vegetables and crucifers, and
fruiting vegetables. Other vegetable categories include greenhouse vegetables, processing vegetables, asparagus and potatoes.
Pest management was identified as a common need across all
commodities and captured into
one overarching pest management
priority; this eliminates the need
to make difficult choices between
different crops and different pest
management issues. The remaining four priorities for each group
should consider the entire value
chain, which includes growing,
packing, distribution, marketing,
retail, consumers etc.
Commodity organizations have
until December 19 to submit their
remaining four value-chain
focused research priorities. An
expert panel will be established to
narrow the proposed priorities to
a top ten list in the new year.
Crop protection
The Ontario government has
launched consultations with
respect to upcoming legislation to
restrict the use of neonicotinoids
by farmers starting in 2016. In
consultation with agricultural
organizations, it was agreed that
Farm & Food Care will take the
lead on public communications
with respect to pollinators and
neonicotinoid pesticides. OFVGA
Keith Kuhl, president of the Canadian Horticultural Council, met
with the OFVGA board of directors in early December.
will provide technical support and
information wherever possible.
The OFVGA will also be
submitting a response document
to the posting on the
Environmental Bill of Rights; the
deadline is January 25, 2015.
Safety nets
The Self-Directed Risk
Management (SDRM) reference
committee met in Guelph on
December 10. The requirement
for producers to be enrolled in
AgriStability in order to be
eligible for SDRM has been lifted
for 2015 onwards. Administrative
costs will be monitored over the
next year to determine whether
adjustments need to be made.
There are two working groups
at the national level looking at
needs for the successor program
to Growing Forward 2 with
respect to Risk Management
(BRM) and non-Business Risk
Management (non-BRM) programming. A mid-term review of
GF2 programming will also take
place in 2015. Surveys will be
circulated and recipients are
encouraged to respond.
Annual General Meeting
Registration is still open for
the 2015 OFVGA annual general
meeting. It will be held January
13 and 14 in Niagara Falls. Visit
o-fruit-vegetable-growers-association-156th-annual-generalmeeting-tickets-13026305029 for
more information and to register
for the event.
Canadian Horticultural Council
Keith Kuhl, president of the
Canadian Horticultural Council
(CHC), met with the OFVGA
board to provide an update on
activities of the national organization. Kuhl is a potato grower
from Manitoba and is serving in
his second year as CHC
The CHC’s chief role is that of
lobby organization at the national
level on behalf of Canadian fruit
and vegetable growers, with
• Financial protection for
produce sellers – CHC is trying to
encourage the federal government
to uphold the commitment made
during the Regulatory
Cooperation Council (RCC)
meetings between Prime Minister
Harper and President Obama to
establish a system in Canada similar to the Perishable Agricultural
Commodities Act (PACA) trust
that currently exists in the United
States and offers financial
protection to produce sellers. The
U.S revoked Canada’s
preferential PACA status on
October 1, 2014 as no similar
system is in place on the
Canadian side of the border.
• Labour – the federal government is targeting the Temporary
Foreign Worker program. The
industry needs a reliable and
consistent work force; CHC has
to reinforce the value of the
industry and why this is such a
critical issue.
• Crop protection – product
re-evaluations are continuing and
work is ongoing with Pest
Management Regulatory Agency
and Pest Management Centre on
• Risk management – the current
suite of programs does not
provide the predictability and
needed support. CHC will be
participating in a mid-term review
of Growing Forward 2, expected
in 2015, as well as providing
input into recommendations on
the GF2 successor program.
• Trade and market access – the
federal government is pursuing
new trade agreements for Canada
and will make sure Canada
upholds its responsibilities under
those agreements. However, it’s
also important that Canada’s
trading partners be held to the
same standards.
The CHC annual meeting will
be held in March 2015 in Quebec
PAGE 10 –– JANUARY 2015
Inaction proves costly
I was optimistic in 2011 when
Prime Minister Harper and
President Obama announced that
through the Regulatory
Co-operation Council (RCC) that
regulatory impediments to trade
and commerce would be reduced.
One of these impediments was
the lack of a Perishable
Agricultural Commodities Act
(PACA) like trust in Canada. The
Ontario Fruit and Vegetables
Growers’ Association (OFVGA)
along with many farm
organizations have been lobbying
for the establishment of a madein-Canada PACA- like trust that
would extend the same benefits to
the Canadian produce industry as
in the U.S. In the U.S. PACA
licenses buyers of produce to
ensure that those who sell
produce receive appropriate and
timely payment for their fruits
and vegetables. Canadian sellers
were given preferential treatment
in the U.S., as we were the only
sellers that were protected by
PACA; other countries importing
produce into the U.S. did not
have access to protection from
PACA. We had been warned for
years that if we did not
reciprocate with a similar Act to
protect U.S. growers selling into
Canada we would lose our
long-standing preferential
treatment. Canada has been
promising reciprocity to the U.S.
produce industry for many years.
Due to a lack of progress on
this commitment from Canada,
the United States Department of
Agriculture (USDA) revoked
Canada’s preferential access to
PACA as of October 1, 2014.
This act was put in place in the
U.S. because of the perishable
nature of fresh produce. If a
buyer doesn’t pay we cannot simply go and get the product back -it would be spoiled or no longer
marketable. PACA armed produce sellers with a big stick -- if
a buyer did not pay in a timely
manner a claim could be submitted to PACA. This action would
put the buyer’s license to
purchase at risk. PACA would
also protect sellers in the event
that a buyer declared bankruptcy.
These benefits that Canadian
growers enjoyed in the U.S. were
all lost in October. Now if a
buyer does not pay for produce
the grower must post a bond
equal to twice the amount of the
claim. So a grower who has an
unpaid bill of $25,000 would
have to post a $50,000 bond to
make a claim against the buyer.
This money could be tied up for
years. The USDA made it very
clear that our preferential
treatment would not be reinstated
until we enacted an equivalent to
The impact of the USDA
action will be felt right across the
country. Canadian fruit and
vegetable growers sell 40 per cent
of their production into the U.S.,
representing $1.5 billion in sales.
Approximately 50 per cent of
produce imports into Canada
comes from the U.S. This synergy
with the U.S. offers Canadian
consumers with a year-round
supply of affordable fresh
The fruit and vegetable
industry has a solution: DO
DO. Government must enact a
limited statutory deemed trust
modeled on what is in place in
the U.S. This would offer
effective protection for American
and Canadian growers selling
perishable produce in the
Canadian market place and fulfill
the requirements to have our
preferential treatment reinstated
in the U.S. A deemed trust would
not require any government
funding or administration. There
is no excuse for further inaction.
A deemed trust must be put in
place before produce growers are
impacted by the loss of protection
and consumers are hit with higher
fruit and vegetable pricing.
We all have a stake in the future
The New Year always brings
out thoughts of what is going to
happen in the coming year. Many
questions with required decisions
come to light. Are these going to
be short-term or long-term
decisions? What are the impacts
going to be of our decisions? Do
we have the right knowledge and
have we considered all of the
knowledge in making the
decision? Are we even making
the right decision?
It is important to recognize
AND appreciate the impact that
decisions can have. In the past
year, growers have had decisions
foisted upon them without their
input and without consideration
as to the impact of that decision.
For example, the decision of the
United States Department of
Agriculture to cancel the
preferred status for Canadian
sellers under the Perishable
Agricultural Commodities Act
(PACA) has had an immediate
negative impact on our growers.
This is not a multi-billion dollar
impact and may not have the
attention of the Canadian government. The fact that Ottawa made
NO decision to counter with a
made-in-Canada proposal is hard
to digest when the horticultural
sector provided all the context for
the loss of this financial
These questions are germane
to many different players in
horticultural production. If you
are a producer of an annual crop,
decisions like the right crop, the
right variety, the right timing and
the right market all impact how
“right” your decision is going to
be. Similarly, for those
producing perennial crops,
questions on the right technology,
right costs and right markets
abound. It behooves any
producer to take pause and
consider all of the impacts of
their decisions on their business,
their farm and their environment.
And all of these decisions are
made with complete knowledge
of the farm business.
Similarly, when it comes to
sectoral questions we all have a
stake in how the decision-making
process is framed. This is
fundamental when it comes to
policy decisions, and when these
decisions are made without
complete information, it is easy to
make a seemingly informed
Publisher: Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association
Editor: Karen Davidson, 416-557-6413, [email protected]
Production: Carlie Robertson, ext. 221, [email protected]
Advertising: Herb Sherwood, 519-380-0118,
[email protected]
The Grower reserves the right to refuse any advertising. Any
errors that are the direct result of The Grower will be compensated at our discretion with a correction notice in the next issue.
No compensation will be given after the first running of the ad.
Client signature is required before insertion.
The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association is the sole
owner of The Grower. All editorials and opinions expressed in
The Grower are those of the newspaper’s editorial staff and/or
contributor, and do not necessarily reflect the view of the association.
All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may
not be reproduced either whole or in part without the prior
written consent of the publisher.
decision which has unintended
consequences. The decision to
raise the minimum wage in
Ontario was directed at those
living in strongly urban areas,
who are barely able to survive
with little income. It is apparent
that the unintended consequence
to horticulture was never
considered when this decision
was made. So now we must find
ways to make the sector more
competitive as a result of a
decision made without consulting
all stakeholders.
There is an expression
“drowning in information,
thirsting for knowledge.”
In these days of unfettered
access to the internet, and reams
and reams of information, it is not
difficult to find information from
seemingly credible sources. An
organization such as the
International Union for
Conservation of Nature sounds
like it could be a reasonable,
balanced source for information.
In reality, of the 23 Canadian
members, 17 are non-government
organizations (NGOs) and the rest
are government agencies. None
are from industry. So it can be
seen that there is a distinct bias
amongst the membership of this
seemingly independent thinking
organization. Then, for any
organization to rely on this
information as a key source of
independent data is a sham. And
for decisions to be made using
only these data without
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members of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’
Association who have paid $30.00 (plus G.S.T.) per year for
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There is an expression “drowning
in information, thirsting for
considering the complete data set
is not acceptable. Decisions must
be made with the right
information, and not ignoring
relevant information.
Similarly, the U.S. Centre for
Food Safety sounds like a
credible United States
governmental organization (much
like the Canadian Research
Institute for Food Safety at the
University of Guelph, a very
credible organization). However
this organization is neither a
United States government
organization nor is it without
credibility issues. It is a “national
non-profit public interest and
environmental organization” and
as such cannot be treated as an
independent, unbiased source of
information. While these
organizations may have some
influence on the decision-making
process, they should not and must
not be treated with the same
veracity as a truly independent
source of information. This also
affects the impact of the decision.
Deciding to make a change, or
to not make a change, are equally
important decisions. If, after full
and complete analysis of a
situation, it is determined that a
decision is to be made then so be
it. If the decision is made to
stand pat, then also so be it.
However, understanding the
impact of a decision in critical
analysis cannot be understated.
Growers take responsibility for all
of the decisions that they make,
and these are made that balance
the best interests in the farm, the
environmental, social and
economic stability of the
operation. The key word is
Growers know that their
decisions influence the future
viability of their operation and
take these decisions very
seriously. They will not risk the
long-term sustainability of the
operation. The OFVGA works
hard at influencing decisions
made away from the farm to be
fair and balanced. The OFVGA
must work for its members, and
therefore has a stake in the
business. Similarly, those that
make decisions that affect their
operations must also take this into
account, so decisions that are
made must not be made lightly
and with a heavy bias. They need
to have a stake in it too!
Crop Protection
Safety Nets
Fruit Director
Veg Director
Ray Duc, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Jason Verkaik, Bradford
Norm Charbonneau, Port Elgin
Jan Vander Hout, Waterdown
Charles Stevens, Newcastle
Fresh Vegetable - Other
Tender Fruit
ON Asparagus Grws’. Mkg. Brd.
GGO/Fresh Grape Growers
Fresh Vegetable - Muck
ON. Potato Board
Small Fruit/Berries
ON. Ginseng Growers’
Charles Stevens, Newcastle
Mary Shabatura, Windham Centre
John Thwaites, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Jason Ryder, Delhi
Ray Duc, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Jason Verkaik, Bradford
Mac James, Leamington
Norm Charbonneau, Port Elgin
Ken Van Torre, Burford
Jan Vander Hout, Waterdown
Don Taylor, Durham
Charles Stevens, Newcastle
Harold Schooley, Simcoe
Brian Gilroy, Meaford
Ken Forth, Lynden
Mark Wales, Alymer
Murray Porteous, Simcoe
JANUARY 2015 –– PAGE 11
Food map gives directions to research activity and results
Research drives progress, and
producers know it. Access to
research results is key to on-farm
News vehicles such as The
Grower dedicate a lot of space to
transferring knowledge from
those who create it, to those who
can use it. In some cases, those
who create it are other farmers. In
other cases, knowledge sources
are government scientists or
university researchers, such as
those at the University of Guelph
and its affiliated campuses.
In all cases, those who can use
it are producers, as well as
The University of Guelph took
another step towards greater
research information accessibility
in December when it revealed
what’s called the Food Map. It’s
an electronic portal designed to
offer users easy directions to find
research activity and results.
Users who come to the portal
(housed in the University’s
McLaughlin Library) can browse
through about 2,500 titles of
ongoing and completed research
projects. Most are food-related
and funded by the Ontario
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and
Rural Affairs. The library has
access to researchers’ reports
from these projects, thanks to the
University – OMAFRA partnership.
Some of the titles, especially
those now underway, do not have
any additional information.
Others have abstracts and
summaries. Researchers can
manually edit the entries as their
projects advance.
Wayne Johnston, the Food
Map project manager, says data
collectors will reach out to
information sources weekly to
update the map. He says it will
grow as the university installs a
new institute-wide research
information system over the next
two years or so, and centrally
captures research information
from all disciplines.
“Our approach was to use
sources already available to get
the food map off the ground,”
says Johnston. Indeed, the project
has been in the works for the past
two years, initiated by former
Guelph food scientist Rickey
Yada, now of the University of
British Columbia, who saw a
need to connect scientists with
Fruit and vegetable growers
are front and centre in the
cartoon-like demo of the Food
Map, which can be accessed at
XDiDR/food-map-draft-2/#/ and
centres around three case studies
based on a hypothetical produce
farmer, a grape grower and, to a
lesser extent, a journalist.
The produce farmer, dubbed
“Jeff,” owns several greenhouses
across Ontario. His business is
suffering, says the narrator, from
the short growing season. He
goes to the food map and enters a
search for greenhouse vegetables.
There, he finds several entries,
including one that says
“Strategies for extending the
greenhouse vegetable growing
season in Ontario,” which offers
ideas for a research-based
strategy to inform Jeff’s business.
He contacts the lead researcher
and begins discussions about the
two forming a research
In the second case study,
Carla, a wine researcher, wonders
about getting value from some of
the by-products of wine making.
She visits the food map and finds
an entry titled “Grape pomace as
a novel tool to treat insulin
resistance and diabetes.” She
contacts the lead researcher and
they too discuss a research
In the final case study, a CBC
reporter named Raj is looking for
a contact for a story about giant
ragweed and its impact on
soybean production. Once again,
with minimal effort on his part,
he finds a source by visiting the
food map and entering a few key
Johnston expects the typical
users to be business and industry
representatives (including
farmers) looking for research
expertise, interdisciplinary
researchers looking for experts
outside their traditional scientific
circles, government officials
(especially those involved in
policy development) and media
like Raj looking for experts.
Other research-intensive
universities may eventually have
information made available
through the food map. But when
it comes to agriculture and food
research, Guelph’s expertise is
exponentially greater than the
others combined – and so are its
efforts to reach out.
A beekeeper ’s perspective on insecticides
In response to
Craig Hunter's
article on
Science or
Pseudo-Science in
your June issue, I
would like to
point out a
number of
misconceptions he seems to have
about beekeepers.
Insecticides by their very
nature, if not used properly, have
always been a problem with those
farmers who make their livelihood with insects. It is not new.
Way back in 1892 the first bee
related law was to prohibit farmers from spraying an insecticide
on blooming fruit trees because
some growers thought they could
not produce a crop without it and
others did not care about the
impact their actions had on the
Over the years there has been a
succession of chemicals that had
to be abandoned because they
killed more than the intended
target. In the 1860s we had the
Arsenate formulations, then the
DDT mixes and the Furadan
formulations. In the 1970s we
came up with a new way of
looking at pest control in order to
lessen the use of chemicals. We
developed IPM (Integrated Pest
Management). This was a big
improvement. Now we seem to
have come back full circle with
the latest family of deadly chemicals. We treat the seed and the
plant is protected from any
insects that should feed on it. It's
cheap, easy to apply, and deadly.
Who cares what else it kills?
The chemical companies tell us
we just can't live without it, "but
refuse to show us the science
behind it." Now we wonder how
we ever grew a crop without it.
All of this raises a thorny
question. Are some farmers
negatively affecting other farmers'
ability to farm? In Ontario, one
farmer may not interfere with the
ability of his neighbour to make a
living at farming. We had to
develop various rules about this,
like spray drift, changing the
water course, polluting streams,
and water wells.
Beekeeping is a beneficial
pursuit both to the beekeeper and
to the fruit and vegetable
industry. One third of our food is
insect-pollinated. We have to
develop pest-specific chemicals
through good science and get
away from these broad spectrum
Henry Hiemstra
Alymer, ON
Alloy Thompson, CCA
A, Ontario Representative
05-434-7292 TOLLL FREE: 1-877-337-8
PAGE 12 –– JANUARY 2015
Where should we increase production
in Ontario?
Having an adequate water
supply in terms of volume,
quality and at the right time is
critical to all farming operations.
Water supply, quality efficiency
have been the main focus of Farm
& Food Care’s Water Resource
Adaptation and Management
Initiative (WRAMI) and the
Water Adaptation Management
and Quality Initiative (WAMQI)
programs over the last two years
and we have funded more than 45
applied research projects
addressing issues of water and
nutrient use efficiency in Ontario
Over the last two years, as we
have been analyzing Ontario’s
water resources for agricultural
production, comparisons to
California and its ongoing water
woes have been unavoidable.
During the dry 2012 growing
season, rainfall in Ontario ranged
from near normal in the
southwest to only about half the
normal precipitation in the east,
delineated by a 30-year trend.
Severe droughts affected Ontario
from 1997-1999, in 2002 and
2007 but most years, Ontario has
adequate water resources to meet
its current agricultural production
aside from localized watershed
concerns and those ‘dry years.’
Someone once said you can
learn from people who are either
“a great role model or a terrible
example” and California case
studies demonstrate both good
and bad experiences with low
water situations. They have made
tremendous strides in terms of
equipment efficiency, but
efficiency can only carry you so
far if you are using water faster
than nature replaces it.
In 2013 California exported
2.7 billion dollars’ worth of food
to Canada. That’s up from $2.2
billion in 2009. Lettuce and
strawberries during Ontario’s
winter season account for about
$260 million per year of this total.
On the export side, Canada sent
produce worth $325 million to the
Golden state in 2013 up from
$257 million in 2009.
2013 and 2014 have been very
dry years in California and more
than 500,000 acres were not
planted in 2014. Almond trees are
being removed from the ground
in some places as they simply use
too much water. Thirty nine
million people live in California
and have a priority in water
rights’ issues.
So should Ontarians look
elsewhere for winter vegetable
Questions to ponder:
• Does the California drought
present an opportunity to increase
Canada’s (Ontario’s) fresh food
• If we decide to grow, where
should we grow? What optimal
land is left to be used for
vegetable production?
• Do the sustainability questions
raised in California support
sustainable food in Ontario?
The Metcalf Foundation, with
its goal to help Canadians
imagine and build a just, healthy,
and creative society, released a
report in 2008 with this conclusion to the question of growth. In
it, it states, “that interest in local
food may have reached what
Malcolm Gladwell calls the ‘tipping point,’ a term borrowed from
epidemiology to describe what
appears to be the sudden
transition that occurs when a cluster of small-scale events evolves
into a widespread social trend.”
Are we at that point with food
production in southern Ontario?
It’s a hard question to answer.
What we can say is that growing
awareness of the value and
importance of local food needs to
be translated into real dollar
support for sustainable local food
production. Although consumer
demand for sustainably grown
local food is increasing, buying
local (and paying the true cost of
food) has yet to become a
mainstream habit for the majority
of consumers.
We need to shift some of the
discussion to the positives that we
have going for us in Ontario and
look at expanding opportunities to
grow more fresh food in Ontario
but, we need a plan. Ontario
needs both a marketing plan and a
sustainable development strategy
to encourage reasonably paced
growth in areas where there is
demand (consumer), resources
(water), interested growers and
capital to foster continued growth
and chart a realistic, sustainable
plan to expand food production to
meet the needs of the Ontario
Sustainability is a complex
issue, but does not have to be
“anti-growth.” In fact lessons
learned from elsewhere can help
us redefine what sustainability
means in the Ontario context and
chart a better path forward for
Ontario for both our economy and
our society.
For information about
WAMQI-funded projects, visit
the Environment section at or contact
Bruce Kelly [email protected]
Bruce Kelly is environmental
program manager, Farm & Food
Jan 7 – 9
Potato Expo 2015, Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando, FL
Jan 9 – 25
20th Niagara Icewine Festival
Jan 13
Ontario Apple Growers’ Annual General Meeting,
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Niagara Falls, ON
Jan 13
Fresh Vegetable Growers of Ontario Annual General
Meeting, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Niagara Falls, ON
8:30 am to 10 am.
Jan 13 - 14 Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association
Annual General Meeting, Crowne Plaza Hotel,
Niagara Falls, ON
Jan 20-21
Ontario Processing Vegetable Industry Conference,
Four Points by Sheraton, London, ON
Jan 20 – 22 Empire State Producers’ Expo, Oncenter, Syracuse,
Jan 22
Federation of Quebec Apple Growers’ Annual
General Meeting, La Prairie, QC
Jan 26-27
Scotia Horticultural Congress 2015, Old Orchard Inn,
Greenwich, NS
Jan 27-28
Manitoba Potato Production Days, Brandon, MB
Jan 27-28
Nova Scotia Fruit Growers’ Association Annual
Convention, Old Orchard Inn, Greenwich, NS
Jan 29-Feb 1 Guelph Organic Conference & Expo, Guelph
University Centre, Guelph, ON
Feb 3-4
The Greenbelt Fund Local Food Symposium, Queen’s
Landing, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON
Feb 3 – 6
8th North American Strawberry Symposium, Crowne
Plaza Hotel, Ventura, CA
Feb 4-6
Fruit Logistica, Berlin, Germany
Feb 5
New Brunswick Potato Conference & Trade Show,
E. & P. Sénéchal Centre, Grand Falls, NB
Stokes Seeds Trial Evaluation Researching
g the best for our customerss since 1881.
Feb 18 - 19 Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Convention, ScotiaBank
Centre, Niagara Falls, ON
Feb 21-25
International Tree Fruit Association 58th Annual
Conference, Halifax, NS (Honeycrisp Intensive
Workshop, Feb 21)
Feb 27
27th Annual Cuvee Grand Tasting, Fallsview Casino
Resort, Niagara Falls, ON
Feb 27-28
Organic Alberta Annual Conference, Beaumont, AB
March 3
Ontario Asparagus Grower Information Day, Belgian
Hall, Delhi, ON.
March 5
Ontario Potato Conference, Delta Hotel, Guelph, ON
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Mar 23 – 25 Minor Use Priority Setting Meeting, Gatineau,
JANUARY 2015 –– PAGE 13
What takes priority when category managers make decisions?
Category managers are the
most important people for
suppliers. You need to have a
strong relationship with these
people to ensure your items have
the best chance for success. Last
month we discussed the
importance of understanding the
individual. This month we will
explore how they make the
decisions which have such a big
impact on your business.
There are many factors that
influence your category
manager’s decision-making. You
have to remember the overall
objective for a category manager
is to drive sales and deliver a
bottom line. They have many
different strategies to achieve
these two goals and your
challenge is to determine what
will resonate with them.
I have identified three major
influences on the category
manager’s decision-making.
These were true when I was
sitting across the desk from
suppliers and they are still true
a) Overall category strategy
b) Corporate strategy
c) Personality of your category
Overall category strategy
There are three priorities your
category manager will try to
deliver. They are sales, margins
and shrink. They can all be
important and there will be times
when sales are number one or
margins are number one. It is
very important to ask questions
that will allow you to determine
which is most important. The
retail landscape is very challenging with all retailers fighting for
sales. This would lead us to
believe sales are always number
one but not so. If a retailer invests
too much to drive sales then they
will have to recover the margin.
Before you go to a meeting try to
have a conversation where you
can ask some questions such as:
“How are sales?”
“You have had some aggressive
ads lately, are they driving traffic?”
“Your competition is really moving their shelf pricing, do you
think the consumer will notice?”
The answers to these questions
will give you some clues as to
what they are really focused on.
You can just ask what is most
important but sometimes it is
better to let it come out in the
If you operate in a perishable
department, shrink can be an
important issue. When sales are
tough the bottom line has to be
delivered. Shrink is one area that
will get more focus and high
shrink items can become
casualties. Understand your sell
thru at the front end. If you are
higher than acceptable you need
to introduce some programs to
reduce the shrink on your item(s).
Once you have determined the
category strategy, you can
develop ideas to help you get
more exposure. If sales are
number one, then you need to
bring programs to drive sales.
These can be ads, in stores,
coupons, demos, off-shelf
merchandising, themes or some
other innovation to drive
movement. If the top priority is
margin then you need to explore
some theme ads that will drive
volume with lower investment,
perhaps some bundling to get
more margin or demos that drive
volume at regular retail.
Corporate strategy
The second major influence on
your category manager will be the
corporate strategy. Retailers have
their own blueprint on selling
food. Sobeys are focused on food
first and they want opportunities
to become a bigger part of
Canadian consumers’ food
purchases. Walmart continue to
drive home value and they have
some aggressive ads to drive
traffic. Loblaw is keeping its shelf
pricing more competitive with
some three-day ads to drive
traffic. Visit the stores and the
websites to understand what they
are trying to accomplish. What
are they saying to their
Within the retailers they have
different store formats. Discount
banners have different strategies
than conventional food stores.
Your programs should reflect
these store formats.
You should also understand
the retailer’s position on global
foods, health and wellness and
convenience. These are all trends
and the focus at one retailer is
different than the others.
The overall corporate strategy
will impact the decision-making.
Retailers are looking for products
and programs that complement
their position in the market.
Personality of your category
Last month I shared a strategy
to develop a profile of your
category manager. You need to
build this to understand how they
make decisions. They are all
different and your best chance for
success will be with products and
programs that appeal to their
individual style and personality.
If they are aggressive you need to
provide opportunities for them to
be aggressive.
Once you have determined the
category strategy, overall strategy
and the personality of the category manager, you can develop your
offering for them. These are very
important factors to consider.
They have options and you need
to deliver products and programs
that resonate with their priorities
for the best chance at success.
These priorities will shift; they
can change from one quarter to
the next. Results will influence
their strategies, which is why it is
so important to have regular
dialogues with your category
managers. You will have the best
chance at success with every
decision if you can complement
the category strategy, the overall
strategy and appeal to the
personality of the category
What’s in store? You should
In the food industry the weeks
leading up to Christmas are so
important. There are few
categories that are not impacted
by holiday shopping. You need to
be in the stores to see what is
happening. Did your items make
it to the assigned displays and are
they selling? Many retailers will
make their plans for the 2015
holiday season in January while it
is fresh in everyone’s mind. Make
sure you are ready for the
Peter Chapman is a retail
consultant, professional speaker
and the author of A la cart-A
suppliers’ guide to retailers’
priorities. Peter is based in
Halifax NS, where he is the
principal at GPS Business
Solutions. Peter works with
producers and processors to help
them navigate through the retail
environment with the ultimate
goal to get more of their items in
the shopping cart.
[email protected]
PAGE 14 –– JANUARY 2015
Tapping into business-to-business opportunities
Connecting the players can be
hard to do in the go-go environment of fresh produce. Food and
Beverage Ontario (FBO) recently
brought together representatives
of the broader public sector which
spends about $750 million on
food each year. This sector
comprises public institutions,
including elementary schools,
universities and colleges, hospitals and long-term care facilities.
“Tapping into the knowledge
and experience of these successful food processors provides vital
insight into the details and challenges of preparing food for the
broader public sector,” said FBO
executive director, Steve Peters.
In the fresh produce industry,
don’t forget the heft of a valuechain player such as Gordon Food
Service (GFS). “We bought
about $9 million of Ontario fruits
and vegetables in 2014,” says
Bozzer. “Due to our size, it’s
difficult to satisfy all customers,
so we are looking for standardization. What do you grow really
well? We want the expertise of
the best farmers.”
Bozzer is in charge of the
Ontario local food procurement
program for GFS which
distributes food to restaurants,
healthcare and institutions. The
opportunities in the business-tobusiness sector may not be so
obvious. Growers are not likely
to bump into Bozzer at industry
meetings or the Ontario Food
Terminal. However, he’s an
important connector in the value
“We ship 100,000 pieces of
product per night right across
Ontario so our delivery bays
aren’t set up to take 20 cases of
turnip,” he says. “We’re more
interested in working with food
hubs as well as consolidators who
can offer multiple products in a
single delivery.”
Bozzer is currently working
with a grower close to the
Holland Marsh who aggregates
carrots, onions, beets and potatoes
from other growers. The service
to GFS is to package and label
with traceability codes from
CanadaGAP-approved farmers
and to deliver in contract
quantities on time. These local
vegetables then find their way
into such GFS menu items as an
Ontario-made lasagna which is 90
per cent sourced from Ontario
The other opportunity for
commodity groups is to extend
the season. “We would love to
buy more Ontario peaches if they
were in season,” says Bozzer. “Is
there a way to squeeze an extra
week or two out of Ontario
asparagus? Can some of that crop
be staggered to a more northern
location?” That type of mentality
will translate into opportunities
with GFS.
How growers are
transforming into
food companies
Food trends in 2015 augur
well for the produce industry.
Carolyn Cooper, editor of Food
in Canada, the nation’s food
and beverage processing
magazine, quotes Innova
Market Insights: “Fruit and
vegetables will be bigger
players in packaged goods in
2015, to add both natural colour
and flavour as well as a dose of
permissible indulgence to food
and beverages.”
The following stories add
credence to her predictions.
Apple slices are dipped in fruit flavourings
What better way to kick off the new
year than with a new product. FreshLine
Foods is launching apple slices flavoured
with peaches or grapes, adding flavour
layers without taking away the familiar
crunchy texture. The idea is to reinvent a
conventional fruit in a way that appeals to
both kids and millennials.
“Apple slices have done very well in the
retail marketplace, but I thought that two
ounces of apples were overpackaged,”
explain Noel Brigido, vice-president,
FreshLine Foods, Mississauga, Ontario.
“While the U.S. model was for single-serve
packages, I thought there was a place for
400 grams and a snack-sized 55 gram
pouch. It’s a good entry-level size that
mothers can portion into kids’ lunches in
resealable containers.”
Collaborating with Food Freshly, a
flavouring supplier, FreshLine Foods has
invested two years to develop the
proprietary process. They are now
satisfied with the addition of natural
flavours without a sticky or sugary coating.
Layers of packaging can add more cost
than the value of the produce itself, so
FreshLine has reduced the footprint.
The apples are sourced from Bamford
Family Farms in Ontario, part of the
FreshLine Foods company. What’s
innovative is that FreshLine has
collaborated using locally grown produce
with a regional flavouring supplier for
national distribution. This achievement is
more akin to that of a multi-national
corporation, demonstrating their vision and
nimbleness in reading marketplace needs.
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JANUARY 2015 –– PAGE 15
Apple chips inspire a brand extension into vegetables
Martin’s Family Fruit Farm, incorporated in 1987, is well known as a leading
grower, packer, wholesaler and processor
of Ontario apples with more than 700 acres
in production. With a processing facility in
Elmira, Ontario, they are diverting lowergrade apples into a dehydrated apple chip –
no additives required. The Gala variety has
proved adaptable to this process as has
Empire, Ambrosia and Golden Delicious.
The first shipment of apple chips has just
gone to Kuwait.
As a new entrant into the healthy snack
category and with successful distribution in
key Canadian grocers such as Loblaw and
Costco, company president Kevin Martin is
convinced there’s room to extend the brand
into vegetables. Through the
AgriInnovation Program, the company has
accessed $713,000 to adapt processing
equipment for the slicing and dehydration
of sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots and
tomatoes into chips.
“We’re setting up the equipment now,”
says Peter Katona, marketing and sales
manager, Martin’s Family Fruit Farm.
“We’ll be testing small batches.”
Innovating new products is not for the
faint of heart. Katona says that getting the
recipe right is important. To that point, the
company expects to engage a consumer
test panel to make sure that the product has
broad appeal. If testing and scale-up
procedures go well, plans are to be in
production with a savoury vegetable snack
by end of 2015. That means the company
will be looking for Ontario-grown produce
and possibly expanding the plant in 2016.
“Scale-up is the big challenge,” says
Katona. “We have to be big enough to
keep the price points down and to generate
enough product for new markets.”
Competition is fierce in the snack
market and increasingly so in the healthy
snack category. Katona says trade shows
are the key bellwether of what’s new in the
The biggest challenge is to get new
Superfood kale is transformed into chips
A dusting of snow
doesn’t stop kale harvest for
Adrian and Draupadi Quinn. The
cold-hardy Brassica thrives into
mid-December. But the work
continues in nearby Cobourg
where Brandneu Foods Canada
Inc. processes the raw ingredient
into kale chips in a repurposed
food plant.
The 70,000 square-foot facility
is home to a burgeoning business
that just earned the Premier’s
Agri-Innovation Award for
Excellence. The $50,000 prize is
the pinnacle of 50 awards that
reward innovation throughout
Ontario. Their story resonates
with the entire food chain – from
their conversion of former
tobacco land into an organic oasis
to grow the latest superfood to
the solar-powered kitchen that air
dries the final kale chip.
Kale is considered a
because it’s
high in
vitamin K
and fibre.
As such, it’s
a healthy
to more
snacks, especially
when prepared with no
Brandneu Foods is a
partnership between Kokimo
Kitchen Ltd of Castleton, Ontario
and Ecoideas Innovations Inc. in
Markham. Adrian Quinn and his
partner Rafic Sidani sell under
the label Solar Raw Foods to
health food stores across Canada.
Flavours range from hemp cream
and chive to red peppercorn
ranch, spicy curry lime and pink
What to do with the $50,000?
That covers some of the interest
payments on the more than $1
million invested in production
equipment last fall.
Photos fron YouTube: Premier’s
Award for Agri-Food Innovation
-- Kaley’s Acres.
products into the hands of consumers, or
more specifically, to distributors. By
exhibiting at trade shows, the company has
developed new leads such as the one to
Cracking the U.S. market is high on the
family farm’s wish list. Having enough
financial resources for marketing is always
the limiting factor. With fuel prices down
as well as a much softer Canadian dollar,
the export prospects are looking brighter.
The irony, says Katona, is that their
healthy snacks are now competing against
their original core product: the apple.
PAGE 16 –– JANUARY 2015
Meeting expectations for on-farm food safety
Wayne Du, Food Safety and Traceability Program Branch, OMAFRA, will be
attending the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention February 18 and 19. Photos
by Denis Cahill
Consumers expect safe food. The
majority of today’s consumer is at least
three generations removed from agriculture
and is not familiar with how their food is
produced. Since most consumers do not
know the people who are producing their
food, they are driving greater accountability and increased regulation from ‘farm to
The recently legislated Safe Food for
Canadians Act is expected to come into
force mid-2015. The Act will likely create
a greater push for food safety assurances
across all levels of the food chain,
including primary producers. In fact, more
and more food retailers and processors are
requesting their food suppliers to
implement a food safety program and be
certified. This is already being seen in the
fresh produce sector, and the time is
coming when it will apply to all
The good news is that OMAFRA is here to
help. Whether you want to learn more
about controlling food safety risks on farm,
or need resources to train your workers,
including family members, to follow
certain practices, we can assist.
Financial assistance is also available
through the Growing Forward 2 (GF2)
funding program. If you need to upgrade
your facilities or equipment to meet food
safety standards, or would like to hire a
food safety consultant, you may receive
funding to help cover these costs.
Other eligible activities include a first
time audit to a national or international
food safety program, and training workers
on food safety practices.
Participating in a food safety webinar
provided by the Ontario Soil and Crop
Improvement Association (OSCIA) will
help strengthen your GF2 funding
application and increase your understanding of potential sources of risk. Course
dates and locations can be found on the
OSCIA website
and they are free to attend. In addition to
webinars, in person food safety
workshops will be offered by OSCIA
after April 1, 2015. Continue to
check OSCIA’s website for details.
If you are a group or farm
organization and would like an
introductory food safety session
or a customized food safety
workshop, please contact us.
We will work with you to
accommodate your
Finally, we will be at
the upcoming Guelph
Organic Conference
and Expo and
Ontario Fruit and
Convention to
be held in
January and February, 2015 respectively.
There will be food safety information
and resources such as food safety
posters and factsheets available to
you. Please visit our booths and let
us know how we can assist you in
addressing your food safety
needs. We look forward to
meeting you at these events.
Contact us anytime at
[email protected] or
1-877-424-1300 to make a
request or if you have
any questions.
No bu
No reb
No wa
No kid
Modernizing standards for all food
commodities expected in 2015
CFIA consultations for the
Safe Food for Canadians Act
ended in October 2014 and draft
regulations are expected to be
published in Canada Gazette I in
January 2015. A 75-day comment period will follow for the
industry to have “last crack at
commentary.” Canada Gazette II
is anticipated for June 2015.
These regulations, about 400
pages, are a modernization of
standards for all food commodities, not just produce. They deal
with licensing, labeling, import,
export, interprovincial trade and
traceability. Of significance to
the industry will be requirements
for a preventive control plan and
traceability records.
“The produce industry is
supportive of regulatory
modernization,” says Sally
Blackman, manager, food safety
and nutrition, Canadian Produce
Marketing Association. “We hope
these regulations will be aligned
with the U.S. The good news is
that this review includes review
labeling and food safety, updating
of the organic regulations as well
as determination of
whether grades and
standards will remain
within the
regulations or
incorporated by
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JANUARY 2015 –– PAGE 17
Audits alone don’t protect growers
from food safety responsibility
As a former media chief
and now executive
director of the
Consumer Council of
Canada, Ken
Whitehurst brings
multiple perspectives to food
That’s why he was invited to
address the recent annual general
meeting of CanAgPlus, the nonprofit association that manages
the CanadaGAP program. The
panel discussion was titled “Why
do food safety practices matter?”
As a consumer living on the
edge of Ontario’s Holland Marsh,
Whitehurst sees all the food
safety issues from seasoned eyes.
“I see the microcosm every
Saturday morning at the Aurora
farmers’ market – people
disconnected from food trying to
reconnect with how it’s
Day-to-day, his job is to stand
up for consumers’ rights and
responsibilities and to ensure a
safe marketplace for consumers.
“We’re a human rights organization really,” he says. “Fortunately,
the rights of safety, consumer
choice and representation are
already in the Canadian Charter
of Rights.”
In his role, he has been
involved with a major
consumer group panel on
food information, labeling
and advertising. Food
traceability was one
topic the panel considered. It doesn’t take
long to discover the
problem of inconsistent standards
in the global
food chain.
“A major
change in
thinking is
how to
g choice and simplicity in crop protection,
instead of managing complicated,
Toll-free: 1.855.264.6262
food safety issues,” he says.
“Governments are concluding that
there are limits to what taxpayers
will pay for. That means the risks
around standards and enforcements have moved to you, the
grower. There are higher
standards to meet. You are now
exposed to every tool in the legal
arsenal available for individuals
to protect their rights. If you don’t
get it right, any consumer,
individually or collectively, is
entitled to protect their rights.”
While Whitehurst did not
reference the 2011 episode of
Listeria-contaminated, Coloradogrown cantaloupes, it’s a highprofile case history of the legal
ramifications to growers.
Most of the United States’ cantaloupes are grown in California –
about 80 per cent. But the 30-plus
fatal illnesses in Colorado –
where two per cent of the
country’s cantaloupe is grown –
affected an entire industry. The
growers had passed an audit, but
the paperwork didn’t prevent fruit
“Truthfully, whether you’re a
grower of $30,000 or $3 million
worth of product, you’re at the
same level of responsibility,” says
Whitehurst. “In the case of a class
action or other civil suit, a lawyer
will lay out the standards you
should have followed and what
precedents apply. You may have
relief from some administrative
burdens responding to government, but in no other way. This is
a pervasive and important trend in
the regulation of all products, not
just food.”
At this juncture, the Safe Food
for Canadians Act is in the throes
of final comments before
becoming law in June 2015.
These are important regulations to
“I think what’s happening is
that everyone in business is being
challenged with a standard of
care,” says Whitehurst. “How
does ambiguity get resolved?
Unfortunately it can be in the
court room. The Supreme
Court of Canada issued a
landmark ruling on what
the public should expect
concerning the trustworthiness of businesses. It involved a
case that needed
to reconcile
provincial and
The truth is
you may
have to
Photo by Glenn Lowson
“Truthfully, whether you’re a grower of $30,000
or $3 million worth of product, you’re at the same
level of responsibility.”
~ Ken Whitehurst, Consumer Council of Canada
highest standard.”
“Once a problem devolves into
a civil suit, it seems probable that
in the event of provincial/federal
conflict, the highest standard will
be the one to meet. These will be
difficult cases in class action law
for offenders.”
Whitehurst’s comments were
echoed by Hugh Bowman, a
CanAgPlus director and president
of Canadian operations for
Misionero Vegetables Ltd. “As
the largest packer of spinach in
Canada, (formerly with Ippolito
Group) we took a seven-digit
haircut during the spinach crisis
in the U.S. Today with GS1
coding, the story is different. A
competitor had a recall recently
and every consumer of the
product was personally called by
the company.”
Whitehurst agrees: “The data
revolution is remaking business
and markets.”
In the question and answer
session, the speakers were asked
if consumers’ perceptions are
changing on produce. Whitehurst
borrowed from his previous
resume to point out that media
companies are in economic crisis
with fewer journalists and less
time to research stories. Bad news
is relayed instantly and there are
few resources to explore
Nick VanBerlo, Berlo’s Best
Sweet Potatoes, gave a grower’s
perspective. His business is
driven by the competitive retailer
landscape. The trend in the last
two years or so is that retailers
are coming directly to growers for
something exclusive to their
stores. Rather than a bulk
product, they want something
exclusive, packaged and labeled
in a creative way. A food safety
program is table stakes to be part
of this negotiation.
“Five years ago, food safety
was not on the table,” says
VanBerlo. “Now the question is
are you food-safety-certified
before you can progress to the
next level of discussion. Retail
buying behavior stems from
consumer behavior.”
On-farm food safety is also a
behavior, one that can be learned
and that can reproduce success.
Editor’s note: If any readers are
interested, the direct link to the
consumer group food information
panel final report is:
PAGE 18 –– JANUARY 2015
CanadaGap enrolment increases significantly in Ontario
CanadaGAP is a food safety
program for companies that
produce, pack, repack, store and
wholesale fruits and vegetables. It
is designed to help implement
effective food safety procedures
within fresh produce operations.
Audit and certification services
for the program are delivered by
third party, accredited
Certification Bodies. The
program has been benchmarked
and officially recognized by the
Global Food Safety Initiative
(GFSI) for certification options B
and C.
Two manuals, one specific to
greenhouses, the second for other
fruit and vegetable operations,
have been developed by the
horticultural industry and
reviewed for technical soundness
by Canadian government
officials. The manuals are
designed for companies implementing Good Agricultural
Practices (GAPs) and Good
Manufacturing Practices (GMPs),
and maintaining an effective food
safety program. The manuals are
based on a rigorous hazard
analysis applying the seven
principles of the internationallyrecognized
HACCP (Hazard Analysis and
Critical Control Point) approach.
Integration of repacking and
wholesale food safety
A major milestone was
realized in 2014 with the
unveiling of the fully integrated
program on April 1st.
CanadaGAP certification became
available to repacking and wholesaling operations under the new
Option D. This achievement was
the culmination of discussions
that began in 2009 between the
Canadian Horticultural Council
and the Canadian Produce
Marketing Association (CPMA)
to consolidate CanadaGAP with
the former CPMA Repacking and
Wholesale Food Safety Program.
The new certification option has
seen a steady pace of enrolment
since its launch. CanadaGAP
extends congratulations to the
first companies who were
certified under Option D:
• BC Hot House Foods
• Western Harvest
• Manley Sales
• Chenail Import-Export
• Les Aliments Aquafuchsia
Foods Inc.
A number of other companies
have enrolled and are preparing
for upcoming audits. Once ten
accredited certificates have been
issued, CanadaGAP will begin
the process to benchmark Option
D to the Global Food Safety
Initiative (GFSI) requirements.
Directory of CanadaGAP
-certified companies
Over the past year CanadaGAP
has worked to streamline internal
processes to enable the compilation of a list of certified companies. The new list, which will be
published starting January 2015
on the CanadaGAP website,
consolidates the details based on
information provided by the
certification bodies. The list will
be a searchable PDF and draws
on details of certificates issued,
suspended or withdrawn. This list
is designed to help users find
CanadaGAP-certified companies;
however, it is important to note
that the certification bodies
remain the definitive source to
confirm a supplier’s certification
status. More information can be
found at
under “Certified Companies.”
individuals choosing Option C
(annual audit), comprising 40 per
cent of all certified companies.
• The trend continues away from
the four-year audit cycle options
(A1 and A2), which now stand at
30 per cent of all CanadaGAP
enrolments. (Was 50 per cent in
• The proportion of producers
achieving certification in a group
option continues to be stable at
approximately 30 per cent of
• This year saw higher than normal retirements as the established
farming population ages.
Processing potato producers are
withdrawing from CanadaGAP
due to reduced number of
processing contracts. Manitoba
started with 80 and is now down
to 68, New Brunswick was 96
Participation trends
More than 2,500 producers are
now enrolled in CanadaGAP,
representing an increase of 3.5
per cent since 2013. The
following participation trends are
noteworthy for 2014:
• The fastest-growing area of
participation continues to be at
the farm level, as certified
packinghouses request food safety
compliance from growers in
response to new requirements
from retail/food service.
• Continued trending towards
increased enrolment among
Ontario and U.S. producers. 2014
saw a 100 per cent increase in
Ontario greenhouse enrolments
and 25 per cent growth for
Ontario apple and combined
vegetable producers.
• High proportion of enrolments
continue to occur among
and is now 88. The totals for
potato enrolments are stable
because tablestock producers in
other provinces have joined.
• For the purposes of analyzing
participation trends, enrolment
figures are broken down by five
crop groupings: Tree and Vine
Fruit, Field Vegetables, Potatoes,
Small Fruit, and Greenhouse.
Total participation in CanadaGAP
is 100 per cent. The proportion of
that total occupied by each crop
grouping is presented on the next
JANUARY 2015 –– PAGE 19
CanadaGap enrolment increases significantly in Ontario
What Else is Ahead in 2015?
Proportion of CanadaGAP Participants represented by crop grouping:
Based on # of
Tree and
Vine Fruit
Percentage of
Small Fruit
Greenhouse CanadaGAP
• GFSI Benchmarking of Option D and Annual Assessment. We hope
to submit our request for GFSI recognition of CanadaGAP Option D
by the end of 2014.
• Completion of the Canadian Government Recognition Program:
CanadaGAP has completed government technical reviews of its
manuals and generic HACCP models. We’re now undertaking
recognition of the program management and delivery system.
Management System Technical Review by the Canadian Food
Inspection Agency was initiated September 2014. CanadaGAP hopes
to complete Implementation Assessment and achieve full Government
Recognition in 2015.
Data current as at August 31, 2014
• Compile survey results from program participant survey on Auditor
Competence: A survey developed by GFSI is currently being completed voluntarily by program participants. Results will be compiled and
aggregated with other scheme owner results to inform GFSI on the
status of program auditors.
• Changes to 2015 Manuals – some of the key revisions to come into
effect April 1, 2015 include:
o The addition of brokers to the program scope
o The addition of mushrooms to the wholesaling scope
o New requirement in Section 19.1 relative to sourcing product.
Heather Gale is executive director, CanadaGap Program, CanAgPlus
Audit Trends
• Number of CanadaGAP Audits
No. of audits
Reporting period from September 1 to August 31, 2014
• Average Audit Score by Crop Grouping
Crop Grouping
Tree & Vine Fruit
Leafy Vegetable &
Small Fruit
Overall Average
Reporting period from September 1 to August 31, 2014
• Trends: Audit scores remain consistently high. This has been a steady trend over the years,
across provinces and commodities. This trend shows a general consistency in audit results
and in the implementation and interpretation of requirements.
CanadaGAP Auditors
• The auditor pool consists of 40 active and qualified CanadaGAP auditors (currently working for a
Certification Body).This represents 23 per cent of those who have taken the CanadaGAP auditor training
course and 34 per cent of those who passed the course.
Auditors by region:
# auditors
PAGE 20 –– JANUARY 2015
Canada tops world ranking of food safety: study
Canada ranks first along with
Ireland among 17 countries in
2014 World Ranking of Food
Safety Performance, a new report
released Nov. 20 by the
Conference Board of Canada’s
Centre for Food in Canada and
the Food Institute of the
University of Guelph.
The report ranks food safety
performance for 17 countries
within the Organization for
Economic Co-operation and
Development, using 10 selected
indicators across three areas of
food safety risk governance: risk
assessment, risk management and
risk communication.
Sylvain Charlebois, a professor
in the department of marketing
and consumer studies in the
College of Business and
Economics, said the report shows
Canadians can generally feel
secure about their food.
“Canada did well, which is not
overly surprising. Since 2008,
Canada has been a top-tier
country. However, work remains
to improve its performance by
more frequent reporting and
relaying of information to the
public on both chemical risks in
food consumption (Total Diet
Studies) and nutrition and dietary
studies, with additional
improvements to traceability and
radionuclides standards,” he said.
The study said some countries
known for food safety have
recently struggled.
“Australia, which has
historically been a top-tiered
country, is now lagging, and the
Netherlands, Denmark and Japan
also dropped in our survey
compared to 2010,” Charlebois
“Germany’s performance was
sub-par at best. The country has
been hit hard by several major
outbreaks in recent years,
particularly with produce, and
these have affected consumer
confidence. We see little or no
evidence that German food safety
authorities are learning from past
Strengthening food safety is
becoming a global issue.
“Given that our economy is
more globalized than ever,
understanding other food safety
regimes is critical moving
forward. Our continent seems to
be performing quite well overall.
Food safety risks seem to be
mitigated strategically well in our
country and south of the border.”
But we need to work on food
safety as consumers look for
greater certainty, he said.
Organic blueberries featured in snack bar
Riverside Natural Foods is a family-owned company
operated by Nima Fotovat. The Canadian government,
through the AgriInnovation Program, has recently
announced a $782,000 repayable contribution to help the
company commercialize its innovative, organic snack
New equipment will use a moulding and dehydration
process to create snack bars that will remain whole without the use of sugar binders. This innovative process is
among the first of its kind in the industry, strengthening
Canada’s position as a healthy food processor and increasing the demand for agricultural products such as oats,
blueberries and flax, in addition to adding 31 full-time jobs
on the company’s production line.
“We conduct these surveys so
countries can learn from each
other. Often, one country facing
an outbreak precedes a similar
situation in another country a few
years later. In Canada, by being
more proactive, it could be argued
that the impact of both mad cow
and listeria crises would have
been tempered.”
The report was prepared by the
Conference Board of Canada’s
Centre for Food in Canada and
the Food Institute of the
University of Guelph.
Source: University of Guelph
news release
JANUARY 2015 –– PAGE 21
Identify these flowers
One of the joys of being out in the field is seeing such a variety of crops in flower.
Know your horticultural crops? Identify these flowers. Answers on page 25.
Niagara on the Lake, ON
Phone: (905) 468-5016
Fax: (905) 468-5676 e-mail: [email protected]
PAGE 22 –– JANUARY 2015
Berry research update
University of Guelph,
Department of Plant Agriculture
The Ontario Berry Growers’
Association hosted a November
research update for its board of
directors and members of the
research community. Here are
some of the projects in progress
and recent results from the berry
research team at the University of
Dayneutral strawberry
production systems outside and
in high tunnels
Becky Hughes, John Zandstra
and Adam Dale, University of
Photo by Glenn Lowson
Currently funded by Growing
Forward 2: Agricultural
Innovation Project and the
Ontario Berry Growers
This research team has been
looking at dayneutral production
practices for almost 10 years.
Some results:
• Blossom removal: Removing
blossoms in newly planted
dayneutrals increases the number
of leaves, yield and berry size.
Although removing blossoms is
important, this work showed no
differences between treatments
removing blossoms for three to
eight weeks after planting.
• Overwintering: Trials were set
up in 2013 with various treatments (no winter cover, 30 g or
40 g row covers, or straw+40 g
cover) and removal dates (early
spring, or first bloom). Effects on
winter survival, plant growth,
time of harvest and yields where
recorded for Seascape and Albion
in New Liskeard and Cedar
Springs. Visual impressions of
plant growth and development in
the spring of 2014 suggested that
all treatments were similar.
Although the winter of 2013/14
was quite cold, adequate snow
cover likely provided good
insulation. However, spider mites
were a problem under the covers
in a high tunnel at one site and
may have affected yield.
• Effects of runner removal:
This trial will examine the effects
of runner removal on harvest
distribution, harvest efficiency/
recovery, yields, plant growth and
production costs. Replicated
trials were established outside in
Cedar Springs and New Liskeard
with two cultivars in 2014.
Runners were removed at various
intervals (removed one time only;
removed three times and removed
weekly) and compared to a control with no runner removal. This
will be done over two years
(2014-2015) and yield data
collected. The cost of production
of the various treatments will be
Breeding seed-propagated F1hybrid strawberries
Adam Dale, Becky Hughes,
Toktam Taghavi, Dragan Galic,
University of Guelph, Craig
Chandler and Bielinski Santos,
Currently funded by Growing
Forward 2: Agricultural
Innovation Project and the
Ontario Berry Growers
This research is about developing seed-propagated dayneutral
varieties. Dayneutral varieties are
more difficult to propagate
vegetatively because they don’t
produce a lot of runners.
Dayneutral plants grown from
seed could have the following
advantages: they can be planted
anytime in the year, they will
fruit within 40 days of planting,
they will not need overhead
watering for establishment (less
threat of anthracnose), will have
less risk of aphid-and nematodeborne viruses, and can be genetically runner-free. By working
together, researchers in Ontario
and Florida hope to develop
genotypes that are dayneutral and
winter-hardy in Ontario as well as
short-day adapted and mildew
resistant in Florida.
To propagate F1 hybrids, two
inbred lines are required. In 2006,
crosses were made between the
dayneutral cultivar ‘Seascape’
and five Ontario and five Florida
cultivars. These were grown at
both Simcoe, ON and Balm FL,
and the best plants were selected.
These were then crossed together
to obtain a population which was
adapted in both environments.
Selections from this population
were made and then the selections
were inbred for several generations. Inbreds are planted in
Florida and Ontario in alternate
generations. This work will provide some promising varieties in
the near future. Field trials of
advanced selections have already
been established at grower sites.
Protected cultivation of summer
and fall-bearing raspberries
Becky Hughes, John Zandstra
and Adam Dale, University of
Funded 2010-2013 by
AAFC/Canadian Horticultural
Council-Horticulture Cluster and
the Ontario Berry Growers
The objectives of
this project were to
investigate cultural
aspects of sustainable tunnel and
other protected
cultivation systems
Cover crop information for berry growers
Cover crops are an important part of any crop rotation and
help to ensure a healthy soil. With the cold weather upon us
it’s a great time to check out all the new cover crop
information that is as close as your computer.
Innovations in Cover Crops – A new Ontario-based website on cover crops for vegetable growers. While parts of the
site are still under construction, it currently hosts a new cover
crops decision tool for eastern Canada. Select Ontario and you
can access a decision tool that is driven by long-term Ontario
weather data and the cover-crop experience of a wide range of
Ontario agronomists. Check it out at
Also new, the second edition of the Midwest Cover Crops
Field Guide produced by the Midwest Cover Crop Council.
This version features a number of new sections including an
expanded herbicide residue section developed by Dr. Darren
Robinson, University of Guelph, Ridgetown campus. There is
also a section on Up and Coming Species which includes new
cover crops such as Phacelia and Camelina. The books are
available through the Purdue Extension Education store at or the Ridgetown OMAFRA
office has a supply 519 674 1690.
The OMAFRA website has great cover crop information
and a listing of cover crop seed suppliers in Ontario
The Midwest Cover Crop Council also hosts a cover crop
decision tool on their website with a wealth of cover crop
information. Similar to InCoverCrops – select Ontario and
your cover crop goals and you can compare a number of cover
crops for suitability.
There are a large number of cover crop videos – Youtube
and others on the web. eXtension features a number of vegetable and berry-based cover crop videos showing research
and on-farm innovation.
in Canada with sites in Quebec
and two parts of Ontario by:
• Comparing high tunnel and
umbrella protected cultivation
systems with normal field
• Testing raspberry cultivars
under the three production
Summary of methods: Two
summer-bearing cultivars and
three fall-bearing cultivars were
planted in 2011 and 2010,
respectively in Cedar Springs and
New Liskeard, Ontario. A multibay high tunnel was installed over
one-third of the plots in 2010 and
Voen covers were installed over
one-third in the summer of 2012.
The main plots were outside, high
tunnel or Veon cover and subplots were the cultivars with four
replications within each
environment/structure. Berries
were harvested two times a week.
Data collected included winter
hardiness, cane density and
growth (cane height, number of
internodes), yields, fruit weight,
fruit quality and susceptibility to
disease and abnormalities.
Without funding the last two
seasons, the data collected was
reduced at both sites in Ontario.
Results to date: Preliminary
results of the trials in Ontario and
Quebec indicate that total and
marketable yields were higher in
high tunnels as compared to the
Voen umbrella system and outdoor cultivation, both for floricane or primocane cultivars. In
the Quebec trials, yields were
highest in the high tunnel,
followed by the Voen covers and
then the plots outside. Yields in
Quebec were enhanced by the use
of white mulching in both high
tunnels and umbrella structure for
both types of raspberry, but no
effect was measured for outdoor
JANUARY 2015 –– PAGE 23
Berry research update – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
The Ontario Berry Growers’
Association hosted a November research
update for its board of directors and
members of the research community.
Here are some of the projects in
progress and recent results from
Agriculture Canada scientists working in
Nova Scotia and London, Ontario.
Berry breeding progress at AAFC
Andrew R. Jamieson, Agriculture and AgriFood Canada. Kentville, N.S.
Dr. Jamieson is working on developing
new blackberry, floricane and primocane
raspberry and strawberry cultivars.
• He has been making crosses since 2001
in order to develop a winter-hardy,
thornless blackberry variety. He hopes to
have some selections available for trial in
• A new summer red raspberry variety has
recently been released. “AAC Eden” is a
cross between Glen Ample and K93-11,
and described as early, firm, productive,
tasty and spineless.
• A late summer red raspberry variety will
soon be available for trial. This selection, a
cross between Encore and BC.90-4-48 is
late firm, sweet and machine harvestable.
• Two new strawberry selections, “AAC
Laurel” (Allstar x Cavendish) and “AAC
Lila” (Queen Elisa x Wendy) look
promising and are available to growers.
Four new numbered selections are in the
advanced testing stage.
Also in Nova Scotia, Dr. Charles
Forney is working on controlled
atmosphere of raspberries. When O2 and
C02 levels are controlled in cold storage,
postharvest fruit rots are reduced. Dr.
Forney has also shown that the different
raspberry varieties have different levels of
specific sugars and acids. Knowing how
genotypes vary with respect to these
compounds could help plant breeders select
more flavourful varieties.
Coordinated studies on improved
detection, spread, and management of
strawberry decline disease outbreak
Deb Moreau, Agriculture and Agri-Food
Canada, Kentville, N.S.
Dr. Moreau reported on a national project which includes AAFC researchers:
Pervaiz Abbasi & Helene Sanfacon
(co-principal Investigators), D’Ann
Rochon, Yu Xiang, Mike Bernardy,
Aiming Wang, Xianzhou Nie, Peggy
Dixon, Robert Foottit, Charles Forney,
Andrew Jamieson, Julie Reekie, Samir
Debnath, Debra Moreau. In the next few
years, this project will address the
characterization and detection of viruses,
new virus detection methods, strawberry
cultivar resistance, aphid response to plant
cues and cultivars, survey of aphid vector
complex, and classical and molecular
methods to identify viruses and vectors.
This large multi-year project is just getting
started, and will result in a better
understanding of virus diseases and their
vectors in strawberries.
Meanwhile, Dr. Moreau and her
colleague John Lewis, from Perennia,
reported that levels of strawberry mild
yellow edge virus and strawberry mottle
virus in new plantings at the end of 2014
are reduced significantly compared to
Molecular identification of viral
pathogens infecting strawberry plants in
Aiming Wang, Southern Crop Protection
and Food Research Centre, AAFC,
London, ON
Dr. Wang explained that in the past,
viruses were detected in plants by using
high powered microscopes (transmission
electron microscopy), virus-specific
reactions in laboratory tests (ELISAenzyme linked immunosorbent assays) and
DNA-based tests such as RT-PCR. Dr.
Wang is currently developing the most
advanced technology for virus diagnosis,
known as Next Generation Sequencing.
OMAFRA staff assisted Dr. Wang with a
virus survey of 50 farms in Ontario in
2014. We are looking forward to the results
of this survey.
Investigating the potential economic
impact and management strategies
against Drosophila suzukii, a new and
invasive pest in Atlantic Canada
D.L. Moreau, P. Dixon, C. Noronha, G.
Bourgeois, C. Forney, A. Jamieson, K.
Burgher-MacLellan, Agriculture and
Agri-Food Canada
Regional monitoring of Spotted Wing
Drosophila (SWD) indicates the pest is
established in the four Maritime provinces.
It seems that initial cooler weather in 2014
kept populations low compared to previous
years. SWD populations in traps and fruit
are being tracked together with temperature
and relative humidity in both Nova Scotia
and Quebec. Results will be used in the
development of degree-day and dynamic
simulation models.
Researchers are now focussing on the
role of wild hosts on SWD populations
before crops ripen and after harvest.
Understanding what habitat may support
this pest throughout the year is important
to the timely targeting of control measures.
Various aspects of the local environment
will be correlated with spotted wing
drosophila success (based on trap captures). These factors include: (1) degree of
urbanization (residential/farm/out buildings/man-made structures) versus agriculture land-use (specifically, small fruit
cropping systems) or wooded areas; and
(2) composition of local landscape
(proximity to available water, proportion of
vegetation/bramble); and microclimatic
factors (ambient temperature, relative
humidity) since, humid environments are
known to be a critical resource to
Drosophilids, since these flies are
susceptible to desiccation.
This group is also looking to see if
SWD prefers specific varieties of grapes
and blueberries, and if this can be correlated to the composition of these varieties.
Winter get-aways for berry growers
These meetings offer a chance to
meet growers from different
areas, forge networks, and learn
what’s new and upcoming.
Feb 3-6, 2015
North American Strawberry
Symposium and North American
Strawberry Growers’ Association
Annual Meeting, Ventura
California: Round table
discussions, speaker programs,
farm tour and posters.
Information, or
send an email to [email protected]
February 17, 2015
Ontario Berry Growers’
Association Annual Meeting.
Embassy Suites, Niagara Falls.
Hear from THREE innovative
growers and how they deal with
changing climate and consumer
preference and how they meet the
challenges of berry crop
production. Guest speaker
Dr. Barclay Poling will bring
news from North Carolina and
what he’s learned about growing
Albion strawberry. Pick-your-own
strategies and other marketing
is hereby given that the
156th Annual Members and Directors’ Meeting
of the
Ontario Fruit and Vegetable
Growers’ Association
will be held in
Niagara Falls, Ontario at
The Crowne Plaza Hotel
January 13 & 14, 2015
Election of Directors of the Association will
take place as well as dealing with resolutions
and any other business that may arise.
ideas will flow in the afternoon
sessions. Round table discussions
on a variety of topics will fill out
the day. Info at or Email
[email protected]
Feb 18-19, 2015
Ontario Fruit and Vegetable
Conference, Scotia Bank
Convention Center, Niagara Falls. Concurrent speaker
sessions, posters, trade show.
Feb 18, 2015
Berry Day at the Ontario Fruit
and Vegetable Conference. The
berry day program will feature
guest speaker Bob Gray from 4
Corners Farm in Vermont, as well
as guests from Quebec and North
Carolina on both irrigation and
frost protection. Speakers will
bring pest management updates
on weed control, raspberry pests,
and strawberry aphids and virus
diseases. Learn about changes to
the Ontario Berry Growers’
Association and what is
hoped for the future
of this
Niagara Falls.
Feb 19, 2015
Spotted Wing Drosophila halfday session. We are not alone!
Berry growers across North
America have been fighting this
new pest, and researchers have
been working hard to learn all
about its biology and control. In
this half- day program you will
learn what is known to this point
in Northeastern Canada and U.S.
Guest speakers from New York,
Michigan, Massachusetts and
Ontario. Scotiabank Convention
Center, Niagara Falls.
February 24-27, 2015
North American Raspberry &
Blackberry Conference,
Fayetteville, Arkansas. ONLINE
REGISTRATION is now open or
download the Conference
Registration Brochure. Visit
for additional information.
PAGE 24 –– JANUARY 2015
New Ontario greenhouse regulation governs nutrient feedwater
As of January 1, 2015, the new
Greenhouse Nutrient Feedwater Regulation
will allow the land application of greenhouse nutrient feedwater (GNF) under the
Nutrient Management Act. The regulation
provides eligible greenhouse growers with
a new option to manage GNF in a way that
enhances the protection of the natural
environment and supports the sector’s
sustainability through a streamlined
approval process.
“Greenhouse vegetable growers need to
have the option of managing nutrients that
are excess to their greenhouse operation as
field crop inputs rather than waste to be
disposed of,” says Don Taylor, chair,
Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers.
“By providing that option this new
regulation protects the environment while
helping the sector to remain viable in a
very competitive global trade setting.”
This change was raised by the Open For
Business Forum, a regular roundtable of
agri-food experts convened to streamline
regulations and promote a better business
climate. It will benefit local farmers by
providing a new source of inexpensive
nutrients that can reduce the need for
expensive commercial fertilizers, and supplemental irrigation water that can replace
water drawn from lakes, rivers and wells.
Many of the 218 Ontario greenhouse
growers use circulation systems to deliver
water and fertilizer as a nutrient solution to
tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers that are
grown without the use of soil. After
reusing multiple times, the excess solution
• Reuse nutrient solution by optimizing
recirculation within the greenhouse;
• Recycle nutrient solution that cannot be
recirculated by applying to crops grown on
agricultural lands; and
• If necessary, responsible disposal under
the Ontario Water Resources Act or the
Environmental Protection Act.
This framework requires all participating greenhouse operations to register:
• The development of management strategies for adequate and safe storage where
Photo by Glenn Lowson
“ Greenhouse vegetable growers need to have the option
of managing nutrients that are excess to their greenhouse
operation as field crop inputs rather than waste to be
disposed of.”
~ Don Taylor, Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers
may no longer be optimal for growing
greenhouse vegetables, but can still have
nutrient value suitable for other agricultural
crops and can be recycled on agricultural
lands to support plant growth.
The new regulation supports the
greenhouse sector’s efforts towards
improving compliance by adding to the
toolbox of options available to properly
manage this greenhouse material:
• Reduce excess nutrient solution by
applying best management practices within
the greenhouse;
• Approval of plans for land application,
• Tracking of the proper transportation of
greenhouse nutrient feedwater to
agricultural operations,
• Sampling of greenhouse nutrient
feedwater and soil, and
• Training for farmers, transporters and
crop advisers who work with greenhouse
nutrient feedwater.
The Ministry of Environment and
Climate Change is responsible for enforcing compliance with the Ontario Water
Resources Act, the Environmental
Protection Act and the Nutrient
Management Act.
Patrick Leroux
“Ignite the Fire Within”
The award is our way of
recognizing the outstanding
contribution made by an
individual or organization to
our fruit and vegetable
with meetings Tuesday and
Wednesday, banquet Tuesday
Is there someone you
would like to nominate?
Deadline: Nov. 30, 2014
visit to find
the link to register online.
JANUARY 2015 –– PAGE 25
Minor use update
URMULE registrations 2014 – fruit &
vegetable crops
• Actara – celeriac (tarnished plant bug)
• Prowl – carrots (weeds)
• Agrimek – potatoes (psyllid); hops
• Centurion – red beet, carrot, parsnip,
radish (grassy weeds); basil [pending final
• Allegro – bulb onion subgroup 3-07A
(Botrytis, purple blotch)
• Royal MH30 – shallots (sprout control)
• Aliette – GH transplants broccoli /
cabbage (Pythium)
• Revus – snap beans (Phytophthora,
downy mildew); basil (downy mildew);
ginseng (Phytophthora, Pythium)
• Reason – succulent beans (Pythium,
Phytophthora); ginseng (Phytophthora)
• Cruiser – crop group 9, cucurbits
(cucumber beetle)
• Rootshield – all GH vegetable
transplants, additional field vegetables, GH
eggplant, ginseng (labeled diseases)
• Phostrol – ginseng (Phytophthora)
• Reflex – potatoes (weeds) [pending final
• Chateau – sweet potatoes (weeds)
[pending final label]
• Pristine – hops (downy, powdery
mildew); Belgian endive (white mold)
[pending final label]
• Coragen – green onions, artichoke,
peanuts (Lepidoptera) [pending final label]
• Clutch – lettuce (aphids) [pending final
• Delegate – crop group 4, 5, basil, dill
(thrips); cherries (cherry fruit fly); ginseng
(leafrollers) [pending final label]
• Movento – crop group 4 (thrips) [pending
final label]
• Switch – remainder of crops in crop
group 13-07 (Botrytis); crop subgroup 5B
(Alternaria) [pending final label]
• Vivando – crop group 9, cucurbits;
peaches, nectarines; hops (powdery
mildew) [pending final label]
• Purespray Green – crop group 9,
cucurbits; crop group 13-07, berries;
chestnuts, hazelnuts (powdery mildew,
mites) [pending final label]
• Surround – stone fruit (insects)
• Prism – highbush blueberries (weeds)
• Exirel – bushberries, crop subgroup 1307B (weevils)
• Casoran – blueberries, caneberries (new
formulation, weeds)
• Goal – highbush blueberries (weeds)
• Sandea – caneberries, highbush blueberries, apples, tree nuts, cucurbits, beans,
okra, fruiting vegetables, asparagus,
rhubarb (weeds) [joint submissions from
registrant and minor use program]
• Frontier Max – bearing grapes (weeds)
• Matador, Warrior – tree nuts (insects)
• Success/Entrust – GH eggplant
(Lepidoptera, thrips); ginseng (leafrollers)
• Lontrel – cherries (weeds) [pending final
• Indar – highbush blueberries (mummy
berry) [pending final label]
• Nova – currants/gooseberries (rust),
caneberries (yellow rust) [pending final
• Assail – caneberries (aphids, leafhoppers)
[pending final label]
• Actinovate – GH lettuce, GH fruiting
vegetables, GH cucs (Pythium)
Other registrations to date 2014 via
New invasive species: Spotted Wing Drosophila
registrants – vegetable
See submissions to
vegetable Technical
Working Group and
publications 75 &
PMRA proposed
registration decisions
and PMRA registration
decision documents i.e.
Timorex, Nealta,
Sivanto, Isofetamid,
Xentari, Fullback,
TwinGuard, etc. (Note
that several of these are still at the PMRA
pre-approval stage)
Emergency use registrations to date
2014 – all crops - Ontario
• Inspire Super (GH cucumbers) – gummy
stem blight
• Switch (boxwood) – boxwood blight
• Daconil (boxwood) – boxwood blight
• Delegate (crop groups 12, 13-07) – spotted wing drosophila (SWD)
• Entrust (crop groups 12, 13-07) – SWD
• Ripcord (crop groups 12, 13-07A) –
• Malathion (crop groups 12, 13-07) –
• Pyganic (organic cucurbits) – cucumber
• Beleaf (strawberries) – aphids
Approximately 23 % are minor uses for
fruit crops
Approximately 9 % are minor uses for
ornamentals & turf
Approximately 8 % are minor uses for
miscellaneous crops (ginseng, hemp,
mushrooms, hops, etc)
65 % are minor use projects submitted by
25 % are minor use projects submitted by
Ontario [some are co-sponsored with
3 % are minor use projects submitted by
Quebec [some are co-sponsored with
6 % are minor use projects submitted by
3 % are minor use projects submitted by
the Prairies
< 1 % are minor use projects submitted by
the Maritimes
Active URMULE projects underway
Approximately 450 active minor use
submissions currently in the system. Many
have efficacy, tolerance and residue data
requirements. A few have occupational
exposure or other data requirements to
Approximately 20 % of projects are joint
with U.S. IR-4 program
Approximately 12 % are minor uses for
field crops
Approximately 34 % are minor uses for
field vegetables
Approximately 14 % are minor uses for
greenhouse vegetables
At the most recent U.S. IR-4 meeting
where food crop priorities were established
for 2015 projects, 22 projects of interest to
Canadian producers were selected as new
joint minor use projects with AAFC-PMC.
Current & on-going minor use issues:
• Impact of products under re-evaluation
i.e. neonicotinoids, linuron, EBDCs,
pyrethroids, etc.
• Resistance management issues
• New invasive species
• Inconsistent registrant support for minor
use requests
Leadership program seeks new applicants
Men and women interested in increasing
their confidence, deepening their understanding of Ontario’s agriculture industry
and building professional networks are
encouraged to apply for Class 16 of the
Advanced Agricultural Leadership
Program (AALP).
A maximum of 30 people will be
accepted into Class 16 and they will attend
eight two-or-three day seminars around the
province as well as two study tours – one
within North America and the other to an
international destination. Class members
will also participate in a group project and
several online learning opportunities.
A 2013 survey by the George Morris
Centre showed that AALP delivers an
average return on investment of 25 per
cent. A full copy of the George Morris
Centre study is posted on the Rural Ontario
Institute website at or
Networking, strategic thinking and new
ways to improve the competitiveness of
Ontario’s agricultural sector and rural
communities were identified by AALP
graduates in the survey as the biggest
benefits of the program.
Completed applications are due before
March 20, 2015 and AALP Class 16 starts
in September 2015 and runs through to
April 2017.
More than 430 graduates from AALP
are serving in various leadership capacities
throughout Ontario, Canada and around the
world. AALP is delivered by the Rural
Ontario Institute (ROI) and was
established in 1984. For more information,
visit and click on “Class
Quiz answers to flower
Thanks to our freelance photographers,
Denis Cahill and Glenn Lowson, for
making this quiz possible. And for the
contribution of Gary Lampsa, Basin
Farms for the photo of the pumpkin
flower which was first noted on his
Twitter account.
1. Apricots
3. Plums
5. Asian eggplant
7. Strawberry
2. Okra
4. Pumpkin
6. Apples
8. Potatoes
PAGE 26 –– JANUARY 2015
To advertise phone: 519-380-0118 • 866-898-8488 x 218 • Fax: 519-380-0011
Mesh Bagging
and Weighing
Bag Closing
Systems, Sales,
Service, Parts
have been
Wanted: 1000 plastimer 200 cell
plug trays. Call 519-619-6873.
classified ads
(519) 599-3058 [email protected] Clarksburg, ON
YOU to the rest,
call the
We are ending the long established Fall Farm Entertainment
Season at McLeod Farms. For
sale is a unique 9 hole mini golf,
complete with various size putters and coloured balls. Solidly
custom built yet transportable.
Also selling 2 excellent hay ride
wagons with steps. Various professionally painted signs, cutouts and other additions for a
corn maze and u-pick pumpkin
farm. For more information and
pictures contact us at [email protected] or 519-839-5351
call the classified
department at
866-898-8488 ext 221
[email protected]
Mary Washington
Sandy Shore Farms Ltd.
Wade 5” x 30’ pipe, used approx. 200 available
Wade 3” x 30’ pipe, used approx. 100 available
Ringlok 8” x 30’ pipe, used approx. 200 available
Tico 3” x 40’ pipe, used approx. 80 available
PVC 6”, 160psi, call for pricing
PVC 8”, 160 psi, call for pricing
Ocmis 125 R4/1 310
4.1” x 984’ 2 available
Bauer E1 100 – 300
Bauer 90 – 300
John deere, 6cyl, 200hp, c/w Berkeley B5EXQBHS
Perkins 354 c/w Rovatti F33k100/3
Rovatti T150E
Caprari DS3/101A
Caprari DMR80-3/2e 1:5.69 gearbox
Caprari DMR80-3/2c 1:3.05 gearbox
Foam trays, 242 cell, approx.1700
Rainflo Mulch layer, Series II, model 345, c/w drip applicator
Great Selection of used Stanhay products in stock
$85 ea
$50 ea
$130 ea
$35 ea
Celebrating 50 years of Business
PHONE 705-458-4003
[email protected]
(519) 875­3382
[email protected]
Gerry Loeters for
Royal LePage,
RCR Realty.
PH. 519-765-4217
Cell. 519-773-6460
148 acre property with 85 acres of apple orchard. Located in
Norfolk County on St-John’s Road. Great variety of apples in
excellent production 2014 production appr. 2500 bins.
Completely renovated home and 3 mobile homes for
seasonal labour. Also approximately 100 wooden bins
included. Also 2 ponds and a very good producing gaswell
with licence on property Appr. 30 acres of bush with many
mature trees.
Asking price $1.450.000.00
JANUARY 2015 –– PAGE 27
To advertise phone: 519-380-0118 • 866-898-8488 x 218 • Fax: 519-380-0011
P.O. Box 43 • Virgil, Ontario • L0S 1T0 • 905-468-3297
4000 Jordan Road • Jordan Station, ON • 905-562-8825
BAG Supp
d Lt
& Fittings
Packaging supplie
ers covering North America and Eu
offering a wide range of high quality:
Net Mesh Bags:
for Water Systems
Supplying Fruit and Vegetable Growers with:
• Baskets
• Masters
• Fertilizer
• Vineyard Trellis Supplies
• Berry Boxes
• Waxed Cartons
• Crop Protection Material
Mesh Bags:
• PVC, ABS, Poly, Copper
• Stainless, Brass, Steel
Product Lines
• Drip & Micro Irrigation
• Septic & Sewer
• Drainage & Culverts
• Berkeley Water Pumps
Mosquito Vented Ba
Choice of Mesh Ba
Colours & P
Pallet Net Wrap:
upplies Ltd.
TM Design registered to Bag Su
Design No. 4015611
Handy Bags:
pplies Ltd.
TM Design registered to Bag Sup
n No. 4015612
Winona Concrete
& Pipe Products Ltd.
489 Main St. W., Grimsby, ON. L3M 1T4
[email protected]
Phone (905) 945-8515
Fax: (905) 945-1149
Bulk Bags:
or call toll-free
We are located at 38 North Point Estates, Stratford, Ontario, N5A 8C3
[email protected]
Tel: 1 519 271 204
40/5393 Fax: 1 519 271 53
If you have a
rural route
please update
with your
civic address
to ensure
call the circulation
department at
866-898-8488 ext 221
Reliable Refrigeration Systems
One-Piece and Portable Skid-Mount Systems, HydroCoolers, Medical and Process Chillers, Blast Freezers,
Vacuum Coolers, Refrigerated Dehumidifiers.
Custom Built Designs • Domestic and International Markets
Visit our website to view our complete line
Book by January 15.
Herb Sherwood 519-380-0118
PAGE 28 –– JANUARY 2015
To advertise phone: 519-380-0118 • 866-898-8488 x 218 • Fax: 519-380-0011
• Certified Strawberry Plants & Raspberry Canes
• All popular varieties available
• Grown under the Nova Scotia Certification program.
Plants shipped across North America.
Contact us for a FREE brochure!
982 North Bishop Road, Kentville, Nova Scotia, Canada B4N 3V7
Ph: (902) 678-4497 Fax: (902) 678-0067
Email: [email protected]
Jersey Giant
Producers of Quality stock for 46 years. Grown under the
Nova Scotia Certification Program. Shipping across North America.
Wrightland Farm
RR 1 • 1000 Ridge Rd.
Harrow, ON N0R 1G0
Contact us for more information and a free brochure
Keith: 519-738-6120
Fax: 519-738-3358
7295 Hwy 221
Centreville, N.S. B0P 1J0
ph. 902-678-7519 fax: 902-678-5924
Email: [email protected]
Exclusive grower of select grafted nut trees and minor fruits.
Cultivars are tested in our own experimental orchards.
Choose from Persian and black walnut, heartnut, butternut,
chestnut, hazel, pecan, hickory, gingko, pine nut, mulberry,
persimmon, pawpaw, fig & more.
Providing quality
apple trees for 40 years.
Proprietor Ernie Grimo
979 Lakeshore Rd, RR 3, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON Canada L0S 1J0
Tel.: (905) YEH-NUTS (934-6887)
E-mail: [email protected]
Fax: (905) YEL-NUTS (935-6887) Catalogue Site:
Bench graft
Sleeping budded eye
9 month bench
1 year old whip
1 year old feathered
KNIP tree
2 year old tall feathered
(instant orchard)
Brian Van Brenk
31760 Erin Line
Fingal ON, Canada N0L 1K0
[email protected]
Wide variety selection for retail sales and
commercial cut flower production
Catalogue available upon request or
visit our website at
L.M. Bolle & Sons
813083 Baseline Norwich, ON
(519) 468-2090 Fax 468-2099
email: [email protected]
If you have a
rural route
please update
with your
civic address
to ensure
call the circulation
department at
866-898-8488 ext 221
classified ads
call the classified
department at
866-898-8488 ext 221
JANUARY 2015 –– PAGE 29
To advertise phone: 519-380-0118 • 866-898-8488 x 218 • Fax: 519-380-0011
Alpharoma, Cascade,
Cashmere, Centennial,
Chinook, Cluster L-8,
Columbia, Horizon, Glacier,
Mt. Rainier, Newport,
Nugget, Sorachi Ace,
Tettnang, Triple Perle, Ultra,
Vanguard, Willamette,
Zatecki Cerveni.
For more information Call
905-932-0300 or email
inquiries to:
[email protected]
Since 1932
• Greenhouse and Field
Soil Fumigation
• Custom made
equipment for bedding,
fumigation, mulch
laying, planting, solid
tarp applicators and
equipment rentals
• Drip irrigation supplies
• Black mulch plastic Embossed and U.V.
• Perforated Tunnels Clear & white
• Wire hoops, row cover,
mesh cloth field cover
• Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries,
blackberries, asparagus and more!
• Where the pros go for plans and plants.
• Call for a free catalog and plasticulture guide!
Oriental Vegetable Seeds
41 River Road
South Deerfield
Massachusetts 01373
1738 Seacliff Drive
Kingsville, ON N9Y
2M6 519-919-1738 413.665.2658
Lucky Green
classified ads
Transition to higher profits
Go organic!
Contact Organic Alberta to find out how
Nabai Slo
Spring Tower
AgroHaitai Ltd.
(855) 521-2400
[email protected]
Ph: 519-647-2280 • Fax: 519-647-3188
[email protected]•
call the classified
department at
866-898-8488 ext 221
PAGE 30 –– JANUARY 2015
What will the book title be?
In the course of a year I might
buy and read about 100 books,
most of them old and often hard
to find. In addition, I probably
re-read 20 more once again from
my personal library. The old
favourites are a way of relaxing,
calming down, and re-learning
old messages anew. In and
amongst my collection is a large
section on military history,
particularly Canadian Navy and
Air Force first-person accounts.
Woven with these are many
fictional stories that, while only
based on real times and events,
are no less valued for the
information made available in the
course of the story. It is said that
your knowledge base is made up
of what you experience in your
own personal existence
augmented with the experience of
others that you garner through
reading, talking and listening.
Putting it all together is often
fascinating and at times
frustrating, but most of all it can
be enlightening. Application of
this newly understood
information can make light work
of understanding current events,
or show one the fallacy of new
decisions that are being made
without knowing or understanding or even caring about the past.
Thus today’s message!
We have never had it so good!
When was the last time you and
everyone else in this country
didn’t know where to get a meal,
even if it was rather bland, and
maybe from a soup kitchen? At
least it is available. Our crop
yields continue to climb in terms
of quantity and quality. Yields
continue to rise on major crops
with the response from long-term
breeding programs. New and
innovative practices continue to
be adopted yearly and those early
adopters gain in either their cost
of production or crop quality or
both. Farm land value also keeps
rising as a reflection of
prosperity. So, what is the
The problem is that Canadians
have forgotten (if they ever knew)
that none of this agriculture
abundance came about by chance!
Just as a war or a battle is won
with excellent training, excellent
planning, and fierce execution, so
too has Canada’s agricultural
prosperity been pinned to
excellent leadership, savvy
growers, and supportive
governments to create the level
playing fields.
So, what has changed?
Perhaps the whole planning
process for agriculture in Canada
has been lax over the past 30
years. Perhaps our success has
overridden the need to keep all
the players thinking about the
main aim, and less so about their
individual gains. Perhaps we have
collectively allowed immediate
expediency to trump longer-term
needs -- the very needs for which
we should have had actions in
place today that got missed or
ignored 20 or 30 years ago. As a
comparative example, ‘we’
allowed our navy to dwindle to a
handful of ships and barely
10,000 men between the wars.
We allowed our air force so little
money in the ‘30s that when war
was declared, our entire fleet of
planes was obsolete! Many were
not even worth using for training!
Canada had already sold off its
entire fleet of merchant ships by
1938, so it had no means to ship
vital cargoes on its own. Even
worse was the loss of all those
trained sailors to other ships
owned by other countries around
the world. No wonder it was so
difficult to re-create a merchant
marine in wartime.
Fast forward to the modern
We had arguably the best grain
sales agency in the world, and
have essentially made it useless
by caving to the multi-nationals
who want to squeeze out another
share of the grain business (for
Progress? This giant piece of irrigation equipment ironically
dwarfs workers who are hand pulling weeds because there are no
registered pesticides to manage them in this field of carrots. Photo
by Glenn Lowson.
themselves) out of growers’
returns. We have chipped away at
the dairy sector by allowing ever
more European product into our
marketplace, with little or no quid
pro quo for our Canadian
Horticulture has been on the
losing end of many issues lately.
The pesticide import program
(GROU) has been gutted by
additional ‘demands’ for patent
protections over and above data
protection. The result is that many
pesticides nominated get stymied.
Likewise, the registration system
to allow generics into Canada has
become mired in the ‘lawyer
mess.’ (My term) Meanwhile we
pay hundreds of extra dollars per
acre in production costs, because
the lawyers are allowed to make
policy and shred the intent of a
law. We have lost favoured nation
trading status with the U.S.
because our government cannot
get it through its head that a
buyer-financed produce seller
protection scheme (PACA Trust)
is a good thing, and that our use
of the American system is now
gone as a result. How dumb is
Then we have groups with
vested interests -- none of which
have any interest in our viable
farms. They have ideological
arguments that want to reverse
progress made in many fields.
They have carefully planted their
followers in key government
offices to ensure their side of a
story is all a minister hears, or at
least at first. (They could also tip
off the rest of their group when a
grower has convinced a minister
of a different position.) It is not
just happenstance when suddenly
a new position gets espoused
which conveniently gets distanced
from the first ‘truth’ after the first
one is debunked.
I do not think it is too strong
to call what they do “Public
Terrorism.” They seek to undermine the confidence of the public
in farmers, and the regulatory
process. They seek to instead
insert their own agenda which has
not had to face full public scrutiny. They mis-use or ignore data
that does not support their case.
They decry anyone who opposes
them. They gain support from the
less informed, and give them
‘power’ which is reward in itself.
Who stands to gain from all of
As a form of elitism, only the
true believers stand to gain.
What does all this remind me
of from the past?
There are a couple to choose
from: Kim Philby, and his confederates Burgess, Maclean and
Blunt infiltrated the very top of
the British Secret Service as
moles during and after WWII,
and led to the death of hundreds
of British and American agents
around the world. It also allowed
enemies of Britain access to business and government secrets that
also cost the country billions in
lost opportunities. The second
example was the way in which
the totalitarian governments of
the 1930s were able to achieve
power through intimidation,
threat, use of false but widespread
‘mis-information’ and rewarding
loyal followers who otherwise
had a very hard time during those
depression years.
It is not far-fetched to compare the actions of elitist NGOs in
our world today to those actions
of 80 years ago.
It took six years of war and
millions of deaths to put an end to
all of that, but we have forgotten
the lesson. It brought the
economy of Britain to its knees
for 30 years until North Sea Oil
saved the day. It took the combined economies of many great
nations to overcome the might of
dictators -- mainly because they
were allowed freedom to do their
damnedest for too long, in spite
of all the warnings.
I believe that what Canadian
Agriculture is facing today is
much the same as the world faced
in 1938. Those who would
disrupt what we do and tell us
how to do it have no willingness
to work with us. They would have
farmers lose their farms without a
blink of their eye. They would rewrite science to suit their needs.
And we have a government that is
not stopping them! They may be
well fed and smug in their highrises, knowing that they could
continue to eat because food is
always available for the well off.
They have never had a hungry
day, nor seen food shortage. This
feeds their notion that their proposed massive changes for agriculture would have no impact!
We had better get the message
out to the public. We had better
make them understand that there
are indeed consequences if we are
forced to roll back modern production systems and inputs. The
public had better take a firm grip
on their wallets when they contemplate food costs if the future
rolls out the way some propose.
It is not too late, but it soon will
be unless the tide turns back in
our favour!
I hope that when the book is
written on all this, it has a happy
Proven Systemic Disease Control
Unique mode of acon
Systemic & rainfast
Broad spectrum
Senator is a registered trade-mark of Engage Agro Corporation. © 2013 Engage Agro Corporation.
JANUARY 2015 –– PAGE 31
Quilt fungicide label expanded to include blueberry diseases
Syngenta Canada Inc. has
announced the label expansion of
Quilt foliar fungicide, providing
blueberry growers across Canada
with a new option for control and
suppression of a number of diseases affecting production of this
“The expansion of the Quilt
fungicide registration to include
both lowbush and highbush
blueberries is good news for
growers looking to address
diseases that can negatively affect
quality and yield,” says Eric
Phillips, product lead, fungicides
and insecticides, with Syngenta
Canada. “Lowbush blueberry
growers can use it in both the
sprout year – to control rust
(Thekopsora minima) and suppress Septoria and Valdensinia –
and in the fruiting year, to control
Monilinia blight (Monilinia
vaccinii-corymbosi) and
anthracnose. Growers of highbush
blueberries will also find Quilt to
be an effective tool in the control
of mummy berry and
Quilt fungicide combines the
power of two active ingredients,
azoxystrobin (Group 11) and
propiconazole (Group 3).
Together, they deliver both
systemic and curative properties,
as well as support an effective
resistance management strategy.
Quilt moves within the plant and
is distributed within the leaves,
protecting the plant as it grows,
not just at the points of contact.
Quilt is available to blueberry
growers in convenient case and
tote packaging options.
For more information about
Quilt fungicide, please contact
your local Syngenta
Mummy berry
Representative, visit the Quilt
product page on
or contact our Customer Resource
Centre at 1-87-SYNGENTA
Source: Syngenta Canada news
BASF celebrates 150th anniversary with interactive program
BASF turns 150 in 2015.
Headquartered in Ludwigshafen,
Germany, the global company is
creating a program with partners
on the topics of energy, food and
urban living. As part of this
program, called Creator Space,
BASF is taking a new approach
in accordance with its “We create
chemistry” strategy.
“We want to initiate something
new with our anniversary and try
out new ways of working together
over the next year – both within
BASF and with people outside
the company. We see the Creator
Space program as a great
opportunity to bring BASF closer
to our target groups,” said Dr.
Kurt Bock, chair of BASF’s
board of executive directors.
BASF’s official anniversary
event will take place on April 23,
2015, in Ludwigshafen. A special
highlight will be the premiere of
the anniversary musical
composition, “Sounds for 150,”
for which employees worldwide
recorded more than 1,200 typical
BASF sounds. The composer is
Michael Nyman. BASF sites
around the world are celebrating
the 150th anniversary, each in a
different way, according to their
respective size and culture.
PAGE 32 –– JANUARY 2015

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