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Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers’ commitment to sustainable food production is unwavering, even in the face of unprecedented challenges.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us of how vitally important people are to producing the vegetables that we, as Canadians, enjoy.

Our greenhouse growers have taken tremendous pride in being a part of a food system that has provided Canadians with a consistent supply of fresh, affordable, and accessible food, even throughout the pandemic. But it hasn’t been easy.

Tomatoes growing in an Ontario greenhouse

Safe farms and safe communities

For example, Leamington, ON-based greenhouse grower Nature Fresh Farms recently shared their first-hand experience with a COVID-19 outbreak and the impact on their employees. Their experience was documented in the film The Hardest Harvest, which shows the distressing and emotional times their employees faced, and the impact that a serious disruption can mean for our food system and ultimately for ourselves, as consumers.

At the non-profit organization Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG), our greenhouse growers have made significant investments to purchase personal protective equipment to support the health and well-being of their employees, both on-farm and in the rural communities where they live. This is in addition to collaborating with government, local health agencies, and agri-food partners to do whatever is necessary to protect employees and mitigate against further exposure and outbreaks.

Trusting the food we eat

OGVG’s growers have learned firsthand how to grow food amidst a global pandemic. Our food requires the most vital ingredient to grow: people. Despite the challenges our sector has faced, we’re pleased that so many Canadians are taking more of an interest in how their food gets from farm to fork.

According to the 2020 Public Trust Research Data Release by the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity, our Canadian food system’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is being recognized. Eighty-seven percent of consumers trust that the food system will ensure the availability of healthy food for Canadians. It’s gratifying to know that the hard work of our growers, farmers, and employees hasn’t gone unnoticed.

OGVG’s growers have learned firsthand how to grow food amidst a global pandemic. Our food requires the most vital ingredient to grow: people.

Farming for a sustainable future

We recognize, however, that the work doesn’t stop here. While our greenhouse sector continues to adapt during these unparalleled times and address what’s needed in the short-term, OGVG’s also looking at what’s required in the long-term for food production. Canadians are making it known that they want affordable food, but most importantly, they want food that’s grown and produced in an ethical and sustainable way.

Our greenhouse growers are committed to doing whatever’s necessary to produce safe, sustainable food and to keep the well-being of our employees at the core of everything they do. It’s why our new campaign, Greenhouse Goodness, focuses on showcasing our greenhouse growers’ leadership in sustainability, safety, accessibility, and nutrition. Our growers are committed to pioneering the future of sustainable food production across Canada. Growing vegetables with the future and people in mind is at the heart of everything we do.

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