The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association ~ building a digital library and launching a Burger contest

photo via OFVGA on twitter

New resources will provide guidance and information on COVID-19 safety measures

COVID‑19 has caused a global recession and Canada and Ontario have not been immune. Every negative economic statistic represents a family that is struggling, a person who has lost their job, or an anxious small business owner facing unprecedented uncertainty.

As Canadians, and specifically, Ontarians continue to grapple with COVID‑19, the focus for funding opportunities must include protecting people and providing urgent support.

According to a recent media release, ‘The Government of Ontario is providing up to $118,500 to develop specialized COVID-19 resources to better protect the health and safety of temporary foreign workers and others employed in the agri-food sector.’

The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA) has been advocating for fruit and vegetable farmers for over 160 years as a nationally recognized not-for-profit association.The sector is comprised of over 3,500 family farms, which support over 30,000 farm-based, non-family jobs in Ontario. Over 125 different fruit and vegetable crops are grown in Ontario.

Canada’s Agriculture Day is Feb 23rd, and in conjunction with the annual celebration, ‘The  Are you up for the Burger Challenge?’ has been launched on Twitter. ‘Forks Up For Canadian Ag!’ Use hashtag #BurgersUpOnt

Ontario Fruits and Vegetable Association are challenging Ontarians to make a favourite burger recipe, using locally sourced ground meat, baked goods (buns) and toppings (local preserves, produce, condiments, cheeses, etc.) Post a photo of your Burger creation and list the local ingredients for a chance to win a surprise package. The good folks at OFVGA have provided a recipe as well.

Everyone who posts a photo between February 22nd and February 24th on Twitter and tags Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association @OntFruitVeg will be placed into a random draw. Winner will be announced on February 25th. Get cookin’.

Contest is open to all Canadian residents from February 22nd to February 24th. Prize Package will be mailed/couriered out to the winner of the random draw.

Informed by health, cultural and support organizations, new resources, entitled the “Cultural Resources Library,” have been designed by the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association in a variety of languages and formats and will be distributed to farms, greenhouses and food processing operations across Ontario. The COVID-19 Resource Library for International Agricultural Workers and Employer is here.

“Our international workers have grown and harvested our food and helped keep our food supply chain strong throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “These new resources will ensure that all of our agri-food workers are well informed so they can help stop the spread and keep COVID-19 out of our workplaces.”

The measures represent one of several steps being taken to keep agri-food workers safe, as part of the province’s Prevention, Control and Outbreak Support Strategy for COVID-19 in Ontario’s Farm Workers. The strategy provides guidance on how to prevent and control COVID-19 on farms, protect farm worker safety and wellness, and maintain the sustainability and viability of the agri-food sector.

Grape grower Bill George Jr. has been elected to a third one-year term as Chair of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA). Apple grower Charles Stevens was re-elected as Vice Chair. Both George and Stevens first assumed their respective roles in 2019 and were re-elected at the OFVGA annual general meeting held virtually on February 16,2021
photo via @OFVGA on twitter.

“This project is one of many initiatives that the OFVGA and the Ontario government are partnering on to ensure the health and safety of this critical workforce,” said Bill George, Chair of the OFVGA. “The safety of the international farm workforce has been paramount since the beginning of the pandemic, and the resources developed through this project will further support the efforts of Ontario’s farm employers to keep all farm workers safe while producing food for Canadians.”



This project in partnership with the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association is one of many initiatives launched in 2020 to assist the agriculture sector to meet challenges related to the COVID-19 outbreak, including:

  • The $25.5 million Agri-food Prevention and Control Innovation Program to help reduce disruptions in business operations and risks of COVID-19 exposure in the workplace;
  • The launch of a portal to connect farms and other agri-food sector business with labour needs to job seekers;
  • The creation of a $26.6 million Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program;
  • The investment of an additional $50 million into the Risk Management Program, one year earlier than originally promised.


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