OFVC Show Guide 2023

Page 1





Douglas Darling NPF & VGA


Glenna Cairnie DIRECTORS



Douglas Darling NPF&VGA


Barbara Hipple-Roller NPF&VGA


Tom Tancock NPF&VGA


Torrie Warner NPF&VGA

Jennifer Whalen OMAFRA CHAIR


Kevin Schooley N.M. BARTLETT INC., HCO


Ross Parker NPF & VGA

Craig Parker

Tom Tancock NPF & VGA


Erica Pate OMAFRA

Erika DeBrouwer OMAFRA


Beverly Cantelon




Cara McCreary OMAFRA

Denise Beaton OMAFRA




Douglas Darling NPF & VGA

Barbara Hipple-Roller NPF & VGA

Ken Slingerland NPF & VGA

Torrie Warner NPF & VGA


Ryan Brewster BREWSTER


Kathryn Carter OMAFRA

Deanna Chakarova


Dr. Tejendra Chapagain


Mary Jane Combe GRAPE


Travis Cranmer OMAFRA

Erika DeBrouwer OMAFRA

Emilia De Sousa OPMA

Jason Deveau OMAFRA

Victoria Eastman Buma BGO

Evan Elford OMAFRA

Dr. Melanie Filotas OMAFRA

Jenny Liu OMAFRA

Kristy Grigg-McGuffin


Dr. Alexandra Grygorczyk


Dr. Kevin Ker KCMS

Stefan Larrass OFVGA

Sarah Marshall OTFG

Dr. Wendy McFadden-Smith OMAFRA

Nele Michiels OMAFRA

Kevin Montgomery OMAFRA

Kristen Obeid OMAFRA

Erica Pate OMAFRA

Erin Panek OMAFRA

Elaine Roddy OMAFRA

Rebecca Shortt OMAFRA


Amanda Tracey OMAFRA


Dennis Van Dyk OMAFRA

Anne Verhallen OMAFRA

Robb Wagner OMAFRA

Dr. Sean Westerveld


Dr. Qinglu Ying VRIC

3 President’s Welcome 4 Thanks to our Great Sponsors 5 Convention Exhibitors 6 NFCC Maps 7 Session Schedule 11 Speaker Biographies 31 OFVC Competitions: Ontario Craft Cider and ONHops BrewOff 33 Breaking the Silence: New Mental Health Resources Address Needs in the Ag Sector 35 The Changing Face of Agri-tourism 37 Preparing the Farm for the Next Generation 39 The Evolution of Farming: Woman in Agriculture and Young Farmer Forum 41 Farmers’ Markets Ontario ® 2022 AWARD of Excellence 43 Watch for Farmers’ Markets to Play a Key Role as Lifestyles Change 45 NPF & VGA Award of Merit Interested in advertising in the 2024 Show Guide? Contact Steve Watt, steve@ofvc.ca. The OFVC Show Guide is published by Bright Light Communications www.brightlightcommunications.com. Design by Sherpa Creative www.sherpacreative.com. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without permission from OFVC. Copyright © 2023 by OFVC Inc. Printed in Canada by Annex Business Media. CONTENTS CONVENTION PARTNERS



On behalf of the OFVC Board and Planning Committee, welcome

to the 21st Annual Convention

We are so excited to bring you our world class convention this year. You may notice a different picture and name on this page from previous years’ Show Guide. I’m very honoured to have been elected as the OFVC President following last year’s convention. Our sincere thanks go to Matt Peters for his years of dedication and leadership as OFVC President.

For those that may not know me, I’m the General Manager for the Ontario Apple Growers and have been part of the OFVC Board and Planning Committee for ten years. A career in apples or in agriculture, for that matter, wasn’t a planned path for me but it’s one that I truly love. I’ve always had a career in food, starting at a company importing and exporting meat, and from there I moved to a sales position for a large bakery company and then into Ontario apples, holding several different positions over the years. I like to say that I’ve worked my way around the perimeter of a grocery store! There are so many people that make the OFVC what it is, with hours of dedication from the volunteer Board and Planning Committee to our amazing sponsors and exhibitors, not to mention all the great speakers. It is a team effort in every sense. We are also so fortunate to also have the expertise of convention professionals who keep us on track. Thank you to Glenna Cairnie, Steve Watt, and Bev Cantelon for your many contributions to our convention.

I’m really going to have a hard time choosing which speaker session to attend. Compliments go to all the OMAFRA Session Chairs who have created a comprehensive and engaging roster of topics and expertise. There is something for everyone on the speaker program and the Session Chairs have examined the issues of the day and delivered topics that are relevant to our businesses. Some of the new topics this year include sessions on robotics, mental health, engaging a diverse workforce, irrigation, labour, and soil fertility. Hopefully you’ve brought multiple people from your farm operation so that you can divide and conquer as many sessions as possible.

The trade show is once again sold out. Thanks to all the returning exhibitors and welcome to our new exhibitors! The buzz that you hear on the trade show floor is exciting and the inperson interaction between farmers with their suppliers and service providers is so important.

Enjoy your time together everyone and cheers to a great growing season ahead!







414 A & L Canada Laboratories 412 A Link Computer Solutions 1009 A&S Agriproducts/Anderson Lime Service 510 A.M.A. Horticulture Inc. 1027 Abell Pest Control 407 Acti-Sol 1108 Adams County Nursery Inc. 527 Advantage Packaging Ltd. 1023 Agricorp 213 Agriculture & AgriFood Canada 114 Agriculture & Food LaboratoryUniversity of Guelph 806 Agrinova II SRL 107 Agriplanter 829 Agro - 100 728 AgroHaitai Ltd. 506 Anatis BioProtection 1010 Andermatt Canada Inc. 423 BASF Canada Inc. 917 Bayer Crop Science 324 BCM (Bertie and Clinton Mutual Insurance) 502 Belchim Crop Protection Canada 902 Ben Berg Farm & Industrial Equip. Ltd. 801 Berger 915 Besseling Group North America Inc. 900 Bioline Agrisciences 727 BioWorks Inc. 130 Bird Gard 322 Burgess Baskets 222 C. Frensch Ltd. 231 Cadman Power Equipment 709 Canadian Fruit Tree Nursery Co-operative Ltd. 733 Canadian Produce Marketing Assoc. 533 CanGrow Crop Solutions & Bioline Corp. 400 Carbon Robotics 1031 Charter Next Generation 529 Cog-Veyor Systems Inc. 725 Cohort Wholesale 1102 Colvoy Equipment 215 Cool Climate Oenology & Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), Brock University 323 Corteva Agriscience 913 Crescent Oil/Fuels Inc. 117 Croptracker 1013 Crown Bin & Pallet 100 Crown Lift Trucks 333 CWB National Leasing 413 DeCloet Greenhouse Mfs. Ltd. 836 Don Arthur Orchard Equipment 928 DuBois Agrinovation Inc. 800 Earth Alive Clean Technologies 811 Eckert Machines 315 ECO+ 327 Ecocert Canada 908 Entosystem 415 Evans Manufacturing Company LLC 302 Evergreen Bio Innovations Ltd. 611 Farm Credit Canada 226 Farm for Profit/Greencrop Agri Products Ltd. 1114 Farm Power Equipment Inc. 812 Farmer Wellness Initiative 111 FarmHQ 405 FELCO 607 Filmorganic 511 First Genesis Inc./Sunflower Rubber & Plastics 636 Flexo Products Ltd. 833 FMC Canada 232 Frontline Growing Products (Silamol) 300 Frontline Process Solutions Inc. 406 Fruit & Vegetable Magazine 428 General Seed Company 1029 Gertex Solutions 401 Gintec Shade Technologies Inc. 1106 GMABE Inc. 1022 Gowan Canada 1123 Grape Growers of Ontario 228 Green Lea Ag Center Inc. 632 Greenhouse Technology Network 326 Grimo Nut Nursery 1011 Grindstone Creek Nursery Inc. 701 Gripple Canada 426 Growers Mineral Solutions 236 H & W Equipment 1014 Haggerty AgRobotics 417 Harris Moran Seed Company 408 Harvest Goodies 1112 Healthy Hydroponics InnoTech 922 Heartnut Grove - WWT 503 Hectre 1110 High Mowing Organic Seeds 430 Highland Fresh Technologies 431 HJV Equipment 730 Hoskin Scientific Ltd. 330 Houweling Americas 936 Huebel Grapes Estates Ltd. 1111 Huplaso 427 Hydrogardens X TERIS 1113 IntelliCulture 1006 Jiffy 901 Johnny’s Selected Seeds 807 Juniper Farms 308 Knights Grapevine Nursery 724 KOOLJET Refrigeration Inc. 930 Koppert Canada Ltd. 914 Lakeside Grain & Feed 524 Lakeview Vineyard Equipment Inc. 729 Lallemand Plant Care 304 Lambert Peat Moss Inc. 536 Leading Edge Equipment Ltd. 113 Leaffilter North of Canada Inc. 1109 Legro Group 325 Maximum H2O 409 Maxstim Products Inc. 1107 Meteor Systems 626 Minimax Express Transportation Inc. 125 MNP LLP 224 Monte Package Company 705 Moore Packaging Corporation 432 Morison Insurance/Nova Mutual 436 MS Gregson Inc. 332 Mycorrhizal Applications 822 N.M. Bartlett Inc. 707 Natural Insect Control 1002 Niagara Agricultural Vineyard Equipment 628 Niagara College - Research & Innovation 814 Niagara Orchard & Vineyard Corp. 429 NNZ Inc. 827 Norseco Inc. 319 Nufarm 403 Nurture Growth Bio Inc. 624 NutriAg Ltd. 328 Nuvia Technologies Inc. 932 Oasis Therapy 1008 Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) 110 OMAFRA - Agriculture Development 122 Oneida New Holland 402 O’Neils Farm Equipment 808 Ontario Federation of Agriculture 710 Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Growers’ Association - The Grower 802 Ontario Orchard Supply 609 Ontario Soil & Crop Improvement Association 708 Penn Refrigeration Ltd. 329 Planet Paper Box Group Inc. 411 Plant Products - a member of Biobest Group 410 Plant, Grow Share A Row 702 Premier Equipment Ltd. 507 Premier Tech - PRO-MIX 1024 ProduceTech 822 Provide Agro 109 Provision Analytics 700 Quest Community Health Care 907 R & W Equipment Ltd. 831 Ready-Set-Grow 136 Redtrac International Ltd. 508 Rupp Seeds 732 Seedway 703 Seminova 306 SK Cornerstone Group 336 Slimline Manufacturing Ltd. (Turbomist) 505 Smart Home Designs Niagara Inc. 210 Specialty Vegetable Equipment Inc. 127 Spornado 600 Steketee Canada 129 Sterling Marking Products 603 Stokes Seeds Ltd. 216 Strawberry Tyme Farms Inc. 115 Structural Panels Inc. 515 Syngenta 809 TD Canada Trust 706 The Cider Keg 202 Thiessen Tillage Equipment 230 Timac Agro Canada 132 Tirecraft 131 TSLC 726 Twistyer Products Inc. 602 UAP Canada Inc. 731 Unitec Canada Fruit & Vegetables Technology Inc. 116 University of Guelph - Coop Education & Career Services 825 UPL Agrosolutions Canada 910 Upper Canada Growers 422 VandenBussche Irrigation & Equipment 606 Velocity Green 608 Vineland Growers Co-operative Ltd. 630 Vineland Research and Innovation Centre 217 VineTech Canada Inc. 310 VirtualOne/FreshQC Software 1000 Vitis Import 601 Walker Industries 513 Wellington Produce Packaging 926 Whiffletree Farm and Nursery Inc. 312 Willsie Equipment Sales 313 Workplace Safety & Prevention Services


Shuttle Bus Schedule

Complimentary shuttle bus service is provided between the Niagara Falls Convention Centre and the Embassy Suites Fallsview Hotel.

TUESDAY Noon – 6:00 pm

WEDNESDAY 7:00 am – 7:30 pm

THURSDAY 7:00 am – 5:30 pm




CEU Credits may be available for certain sessions. Please check ofvc.ca for more information. CEU

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2023 (All sessions and speakers subject to change. Some presentations may be live-streamed or pre-recorded.)

Chair: Stefan Larrass, OFVGA

Chair: Dr. Wendy McFadden-Smith, OMAFRA

Chair: Dr. Sean Westerveld, OMAFRA

Chair: Kristen Obeid, OMAFRA

Chair: Dr. Tejendra Chapagain, OMAFRA

2:00 University of Guelph Coop Programs & Wage Subsidies for Employers Hiring Students Paula Stortz, Hope Long, University of Guelph; Nadee Imran, CAHRC   2:30 Completing a Productive and Successful Workplace Health and Safety Inspection Ron Landry, Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Trade and Skills Development 3:00 Update on SAWP/TFWP and LICC Ken Forth, FARMS/LICC 3:30

2:00 Progress Identifying Vectors of Grapevine Red Blotch Virus in Ontario Vineyards Dr. Justin Renkema, Agriculture and AgriFood Canada

2:00 Creating an Agritourism Experience on a Lavender Farm Bill Mansfield, Lavender Hill Farm, USA

2:00 Novel Weed Control Technology in Grapes and Apples

Dr. Lynn Sosnoskie, Cornell University, USA

Public Perception of Temporary Foreign Worker Programs Stefan Larrass, OFVGA

2:30 New Products Bioworks, AEF Global, PetroCan, Neudorff Canada, UPL, Gowan, Cohort Wholesale 3:00 Foliar Potassium Application Increases Fruit Total Soluble Solids by Dehydration in Grapevine Red Blotch Virus- Infected Grapevines Joseph Deshields, Oregon State University, USA 3:30 Mechanical Shaking as a Nonchemical Means to Reduce Bunch Rot in Grapes at Harvest Dr. Mark Krasnow, Thoughtful Viticulture, New Zealand (Video presentation) SPONSORED BY:

2:30 The Case for 2SLGBTQ+ Inclusivity

Loren Christie, Canadian LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce

3:00 Experiences Can Help Boost Your Bottom Line Kim Clarke, Regional Tourism Organization

7 Bruce/Grey/Simcoe

3:30 Adventures in Agritourism at Brantwood Farms Kara Pate, Brantwood Farms

4:00 Q & A Panel Bill Mansfield, Lavender Hill Farm; Loren Christie, Canadian LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce; Kim Clarke, Regional Tourism Organization

7 Bruce/Grey/ Simcoe; Kara Pate, Brantwood Farms

Integrating Robotics, Cover Crops and Herbicides Dr. Darren Robinson, University of Guelph


2:00 An Overview of the Fertilizer Sector and Farm Input Prices Ken McEwan, University of Guelph–Ridgetown Campus

Chairs: Kristy Grigg- McGuffin, Erika DeBrouwer, OMAFRA

Chair: Amanda Tracey, OMAFRA

Chair: Kevin Vallier, FFO

Chair: Victoria Eastman Buma, BGO

3:00 AgRobotics: Innovations in Weed Management

2:30 Managing Nitrogen Fertilizers to Minimize Loss in Horticulture Crop Production Systems Dr. John Lauzon, University of Guelph

Chuck Baresich, Haggerty AgRobotics Company and Haggerty Creek Ltd; Kristen Obeid, OMAFRA

3:00 Options to Improve Fertilizer Use Efficiency in Horticultural Crops Dr. Tejendra Chapagain, OMAFRA

2:00 Grower Panel –Apple Disease Management: Alternatives to Group M Fungicides Brian Rideout, Manitree Fruit Farms; Pat Johnson, AppleTop Farms; Manus Boonzaier, Algoma Orchards; Katie Goldenhar, OMAFRA

2:00 Managing Bacterial Diseases of Tomato and Pepper Dr. Daniel S. Egel, Purdue University, USA

3:30 Technology Roundup Carbon Robotics, Verdant Robotics, Intelliculture, Naïo Technologies


Chairs: Evan Elford, Jason Deveau, OMAFRA 2:00 SPONSORED BY:

3:30 Developing an Efficient Fertilizer Program for Apple Orchards Gerbe Botden, Botden Orchards; Maximizing Nutrient Use Efficiency in Vegetable Crops Joseph Tomecek, Tomecek Agronomy Services SPONSORED BY:

2:30 –4:00


Roundtable: Strategies for Apple Disease Management Kristy Grigg- McGuffin, OMAFRA SPONSORED BY:


Phytophthora Control: Lessons Learned in Michigan Mary Hausbeck, Michigan State University, USA

3:20 Pepper Anthracnose –The Old and the New Amanda Tracey, OMAFRA SPONSORED BY:

2:00 –

Food Trends and How to Leverage Them in On-Farm Markets Jo-Ann McArthur, Nourish Food Marketing

2:00 Overview of Our Past Nine Years Experience with Soilless Long-cane Raspberries Grown Under Shelter at Ferme Onésime Pouliot Audrey Bernet, Ferme Onésime Pouliot Inc.

3:30 –4:30 Beyond Farmland Preservation: Exploring Best Practices for On-Farm Diversification in Ontario’s Planning System Emily Sousa, OFA, and Pam Duesling, County of Brant

Horticulture Methods for Increasing Productivity and Optimizing Crop Inputs for Berry Growers


Dr. Eric Gerbrandt, BCBC/RIDC/BCSGA

Release of Asian Parasitoids for Biological Control of SWD in Ontario: Current Status and Future Prospects Dr. Tara Gariepy, Agriculture and AgriFood Canada


Grower Panel: Row Covers on Strawberries Kevin Schooley, KS Consulting; David VanDeVelde, Wholesome Pickins; Ian McGregor, McGregor’s Produce SPONSORED BY:


Hardiness EcoPhysiology and Fruit Quality and Harvest Time Using Accurate and Dynamic Weather-Based Models and Non-Destructive Sensors Dr. Ioannis Minas, Colorado State University, USA

BALLROOM A BALLROOM B BALLROOM C BALLROOM D ROOMS 201 & 202 ROOM 221 ROOM 203 ROOM 204 ROOM 206 ROOMS 207 & 208 THE LOUNGE FARMERS’ MARKETS ONTARIO TENDER FRUIT BERRIES FARM FRESH ONTARIO PROBLEMATIC PATHOGENS OF TOMATOES AND PEPPERS APPLES SOIL FERTILITY –MAXIMIZING YOUR FERTILIZER DOLLARS AGROBOTICS: INNOVATIONS IN WEED MANAGEMENT CREATING AN AGRITOURISM EXPERIENCE GRAPE GENERAL LABOUR Chair: Ann Slater, St. Marys Farmers’ Market 2:00 –3:00 Value of Good Governance Bill Groenheide, Thunder Bay Country Market; April Mercier, Thunder Bay Country Market 3:00 –3:30 FMO Annual General Meeting Ann Slater, St. Marys Farmers’ Market 3:30 –4:00 Overview of 2022; New Program Announcement Catherine Clark, FMO
OMAFRA 2:00 Niagara Irrigation Initiative Sarah
OTFG 2:30 Pear Irrigation
3:00 High
3:30 Monitoring Peach
Chair: Kathryn Carter,
Strategies Dr. Lee Kalcsits, Washington State University, USA
Density Pear Production in Washington State: A
Perspective Bryan Mrachek, Stemilt, Washington, USA (Video presentation)
8:30 –5:00 Trade Show –Exhibition Hall 12:00 –2:00 Lunch and Trade Show 8:30 –5:00 Research Poster Display –Exhibition Hall


CEU Credits may be available for certain sessions. Please check ofvc.ca for more information.



8:00 –9:15

Women in Agriculture Jen Smith, Cherrylane Farms

Chair: Dr. Kevin Ker, KCMS

Chair: Rebecca Shortt, OMAFRA

Chairs: Jenny Liu, Dr. Melanie Filotas, OMAFRA

SPONSORED BY: 12:00 –1:30

9:30 Grapevine Winter Physiology: Cold Hardiness and Dormancy Dr. Jason Londo, Cornell University, USA

9:30 –11:30 Develop Your Farm Specific Drip Irrigation Schedule Rebecca Shortt, OMAFRA

Young Farmer Forum David and Jenn VanDeVelde, Wholesome Pickins Market and Bakery SPONSORED BY:

Chair: Dr. Alexandra Grygorczyk, Dr. Qinglu Ying, VRIC

Chair: Robb Wagner, OMAFRA

Chair: Travis Cranmer, OMAFRA

Chair: Kevin Vallier, FFO

(All sessions and speakers subject to change. Some presentations may be live-streamed or pre-recorded.)




Release of Asian Parasitoids for Biological Control of SWD in Ontario: Current Status and Future Prospects Dr. Tara Gariepy, Agriculture and AgriFood Canada

1. Farm Water Requirements: Crop peak flow and annual water requirements

Damage: Risk Factors and Management Strategies Dr. Catherine Lindell, Michigan State University, USA

10:30 Rogue, Remove, or Stay the Course: Economic Thresholds for Viruses in Ontario Vineyards John Molenhuis and Dr. Wendy McFaddenSmith, OMAFRA

2. Plant Water Requirements: System operating time and schedule for various crop growth stages Bring a calculator and a pencil.

11:00 Spotted Lanternfly:  Experiences with an Invasive That Refuses to Abide by General Rules and Canada’s Response Strategy Brian Walsh, Penn State Extension, USA; Diane Mooji, CFIA (Diane Mooji Live-stream)



Vertebrate Pest Management: Regulations


101 Dr. Melanie Filotas, OMAFRA

Cut Waste, Grow Profit Dr. Martin Gooch, Value Chain Management International


Vertebrate Pests: General Q & A Dr. Melanie Filotas, OMAFRA; Dr. Catherine Lindell, Michigan State University, USA; Jenny Liu, OMAFRA


10:00 Opportunities for Waste Conversion to Value-Add Dr. Alexandra Grygorczyk, Vineland Research & Innovation Centre

10:30 –11:30

Roundtable on Hazelnut Processing Rebecca Compton, Dalton White Farms; James Sharp, Sharpstone Inc.; Anne Lawrence, Nuts to You Nut Butter Inc.

Case Study #


1Processing on the Farm Kevin Martin, Martin’s Apples

Case Study #2: Selling to a Processor Isabelle Lam, Remix Snacks


New Programs on the Horizon Margaret May, OSCIA


9:30 Sterile Insect Technology to Manage Cabbage Maggot Anne-Marie Fortier, Phytodata Inc.

9:30 –10:30

Chairs: Kristy Grigg-McGuffin, Erika DeBrouwer, OMAFRA

Chair: Sarah Marshall, OTFG 9:30

10:00 Improve your Profitability and Growth with the Right Operational Data and Financial Reporting MNP

10:00 The First Year Without Lorsban in Root Brassicas

Adversity Doesn’t Build Character. It Reveals Character Carl Dixon, Musician/ Motivational Speaker

11:00 –12:00

Dr. Ben Werling, Michigan State University Extension, USA

10:30 –11:30

Farm Business Update

Erich Weber, OMAFRA


Rootstocks and Nutrient Uptake in Apples

Dr. Lee Kalcsits, Washington State University, USA

Optimizing Copper and Biologicals for Bacterial Spot in Peach Dr. Kari Peter, Penn State University, USA (Live-stream) 10:00

Chair: Deanna Chakarova, St. Catharines Farmers’ Market 9:30 –10:00 Value of Social Media Janet Zylstra, Niagara Falls Farmers’ Market 10:00 –11:00

New Developments for Managing Swede Midge in Brassicas Christy Hoepting, Cornell Cooperative Extension, USA


Social Media Strategy. Is Facebook Dead? Is Tiktok Just for Kids? Nicole Marenick, Maren Marcoux Marketing Inc.

Hexanal: An Unexpected Saviour of Bitter Pit in Honeycrisp Apples Dr. Jay Subramanian, University of Guelph


Optimizing Fertilizer Use in Pear Orchards Willem Kalle, FruitConsult, Netherlands (Livestream) 10:30


Cabbage Maggot Control without Chlorpyrifos: The New York Experience Christy Hoepting, Cornell Cooperative Extension, USA SPONSORED BY:


Mitigating Risk of Internal Browning in Apples Dr. Jennifer DeEll, OMAFRA

Using Orchard-Specific Variables to Determine a Rational Fertilization Program for Peach Trees Dr. Brian Lawrence, Clemson University, USA (Live-stream) 11:00

11:00 A Root Cause Analysis of Declining Apple Trees Dr. Marc Fuchs, Cornell University, USA SPONSORED BY:

High Density Peach Production –Grower Panel Tony Sgambelluri, Ridgeview Orchards; Kevin Bittner, Bittner Singer Orchards SPONSORED BY:

Navigating Ontario’s Food Premises Guidelines Phil Wong, Association of Supervisors of Public Health Inspectors of Ontario (Livestream) 11:00 –12:00 Value of Balance at Farmers’ Markets Dr. Thomas Merritt, The Sudbury Market; Lisa Cooper, Uxbridge Farmers’ Market; Elmer Buchanan, Havelock Farmers’ Market

8:30 –4:00 Trade Show –Exhibition Halls 12:00 –2:00 Lunch and Trade Show 8:30 –4:00 Research Poster Display –Exhibition Hall



Chuck is the president of Haggerty AgRobotics Company, as well as the General Manager of Haggerty Creek Ltd. He farms along with his wife Heather and their 2 children near Bothwell, Ontario.


Audrey graduated from Laval University in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in agronomy. Since then, she has been working at Onesime Pouliot Farm, in Saint-Jean-del’île-d’Orléans, Québec. This family farm grows field strawberries as well as soilless strawberries, long-cane raspberries, and blueberries, all under shelters. The enterprise also supports a full time R&D team, developed a recruitment service for foreign workers and has its own trayplant strawberry and long-cane raspberry nursery. For the past four years, Audrey has been mainly involved with the R&D team in the improvement of the long-cane raspberries cultivation, the development of the longcane raspberry nursery and the management of pest control for the farm’s soilless crops.


Kevin has worked with his father and brother on the family fruit farm since graduating from Cornell in 2004.

Bittner Singer Orchards in Appleton, NY has grown to a 400 acre fruit farm including fresh and processing apples, organic apples, sweet and sour cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums, prunes and apricots. One of Kevin’s main responsibilities is to oversee the new orchard planning, planting and care on the family farm. Kevin is a member of the grower advisory board for the ARDP (Apple Research and Development Project) and is the president of the Niagara County Farm Bureau.


Erica is a corporate/commercial, real estate and wills and estates lawyer at Martin Sheppard Fraser LLP in Niagara Falls, Ontario. She earned both her honours business degree and Juris Doctor from Western University. Erica is the daughter of grape grower and former Grape King, Chris Van de Laar, and granddaughter of Peter Van de Laar. Their family farm, located in Niagaraon-the-Lake, was established in 1952 by Erica’s great grandfather, Peter Van de Laar Sr., who immigrated to Canada from Holland.


Manus is the Orchard Manager at Algoma Orchards in Newcastle, Ontario.


Gerbe is the orchard manager at their family farm in Thornbury, ON. Their operation grows, stores, and packs apples from other growers as well as their own that are sold to retailers in Canada and the US. With a focus on continuous improvement, Gerbe is always looking for innovative ways to continuously grow high quality and high yielding crops.


Amy is the Director of Consumer, Sensory and Market Insights at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. Her research uses sensory and consumer science to understand the drivers that impact consumer preference and choice for horticultural products. She leads a group of industry experts with extensive knowledge of horticultural products, value chains and consumer markets to support research and innovation by providing multidisciplinary solutions from concept design and testing

to finished product evaluations for fresh, processed or packaged horticultural commodities and technologies. Amy has a PhD in Biological Sciences with a specialization in Plant Science, Oenology and Viticulture from Brock University, a BSc Honours in Molecular Biology and Genetics from the University of Guelph and is a Certified Sommelier. She sits on the Scientific Advisory Panel of the Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology and the Innovation Working Group of the Canadian Produce Marketing Association.


Elmer is the former Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Vice-Chair Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission, Chair of Peterborough Agriculture Advisory Committee for Peterborough Economic Development Corp. He currently is the Manager/Chair of Havelock Farmers and Artisans Market, member of Havelock Economic Development Committee, Peterborough representative on the OFA provincial Policy Advisory Committee.


Kathryn is the Fruit Specialist (Tender fruit and Grape) for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). She has worked with OMAFRA for the past 21 years, where she has been involved in research projects focusing on the use of cover crops and under vine cover crops in vineyards. Kathryn has a MSc in Environmental Biology from University of Guelph, and a BSc from Brock University.


Tania has more than 10 years of work experience in public and private sectors, and international development institutions. She was born and raised in Tegucigalpa, Honduras and has an BA in Judicial Science from the National University of Honduras. Tania is a lawyer and holds a bachelor’s in business


communications and two master’s degree, LLM in International Contracts and Business Law from American University/ Universidad de Chile and Master of Law of University of Ottawa. She has worked in the Supreme Court in Honduras with labour justices. Her last posting was at the Embassy of Honduras in Washington D.C.as First Secretary in Economic and Trade Affairs, with initiatives in international trade and policy, labour, communication with business stakeholders, governmental administration and promoting investment and tourism. Currently her posting is as Chargee de Affairs and Head of Consular Office in the Embassy of Honduras in Ottawa, Canada dealing with bilateral and governmental affairs as well as immigration process and as the coordinator for the Honduras temporary agricultural working program with Canadian businesses.


Susan is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Guelph with a research focus on crop pollination and sustainable agriculture. She specializes in cucurbit crop pollination and is working on creating a grower-oriented app to scout for pests and pollinators in these crops to aid growers in making management decisions that support healthy growing systems.


Dr. Chapagain is Soil Fertility Specialist in Horticulture with OMAFRA. He deals with soil fertility related issues in horticultural crops including development of soil fertility and nutrition guidelines and reports, as well as soil fertility management practices in Ontario’s horticultural crops. He also coordinates OMAFRA’s soil lab accreditation program. He received his master’s degree in Horticulture and PhD in Plant Science/Agronomy with a focus on intercrop experiments assessing the effect on land productivity, biological nitrogen fixation and cycling, carbon sequestration and water use efficiency of intercrop and monoculture plots. He subsequently worked as a post-doctoral research agronomist at the University of Alberta and most recently as a Senior Research Associate in

the Department of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph focusing on cover crops, complex cropping systems, precision agronomy and agroecology.


Loren joins us as the Director of Business Development & Strategy at the CGLCC - Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce. He has worked in Tourism & Hospitality for 25 + years in various leadership roles most notably with Starwood Hotels and Resorts and DestinationToronto. For the last two years he has been running his own consulting and project management company. After the CGLCC brought him on to assist with their Tourism Programs on a part-time basis, he recently joined them full time to spread the word on all of their programs designed to assist LGBT+ entrepreneurs. He also sits on the ED & I Committee for the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario.


Catherine is the Executive Director of Farmers’ Markets Ontario representing 180 member farmers’ markets. She is responsible to deliver and implement several programs such as a robust group insurance program for members; operating two MyMarket verified farmers’ markets in the GTA; carries out the delivery of the MyPick verified local farmer program. She is also surrounded by qualified experts in the field of communications, marketing and social media within the organization. Catherine owned a small farm in Northern Ontario and now resides in Brighton.


Kim is the Manger, Stakeholder Relations at Regional Tourism Organization 7, BruceGreySimcoe. She has spent over 15 years in the tourism industry leading, coaching and elbows deep in product and experience development. She has worked on large award-nominated products like the Golf in Ontario that spans across most of the province and has helped small businesses develop their own

experiences that will help add to their bottom line. Kim brings a background in business administration and a flair for creative marketing.


Rebecca, along with her family, operates a mixed commodity farm in Norfolk County. She planted her first hazelnut orchard in 2018 and followed a year later with another small orchard. Understanding there were limited established markets for the nuts locally she set to work to create demand herself. She was successful in receiving a CAP grant in 2020 and purchased equipment that would assist in processing the nuts. During the 2022 season, she developed and marketed five flavoured hazelnut recipes online, in local shops and at specialty shows. Taking learnings from this season, she hopes to further expand her hazelnut product offering in 2023.


Lisa has been farming since 1993 with her 6th generation farming husband. She is the partner owner/operator of a year-round CSA since 2007 which includes veggies and meat. Coopers pasture raise all their meat for direct to customer sales (beef, pork, chicken), as well as grow 50+ varieties of fruits and veggies for the CSA and farmers’ market sales. Since 2006, she has hosted about 15,000 people through their 10 acre corn maze and U-pick pumpkin patch in the 6 weeks of the fall agri-entertainment season. In 2001, Lisa started the Uxbridge Farmers Market and has been the market manager since its inception.


Isabelle works for the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries of Quebec as a Vegetable Crops Specialist. She’s been working in cucurbits for 20 years. She does tech transfer on all aspects of crop fertility, soil quality, insect and disease management. She also organizes winter educational meetings and summer field meetings to help bring up-to-date research results to growers.



Dr. Cox manages a program of tree fruit and berry research and extension at Cornell AgriTech, New York State’s Agricultural Experiment Station. Principal research efforts include antimicrobial resistance (fungicides and antibiotics), and applied disease management with a focus on apple, stone fruit, strawberries. Extension efforts focus on pesticide education, disease forecasting, and applied disease management with emphasis on covered production in small fruit. Teaching efforts include undergraduate and graduate level Plant Pathology and IPM courses as well as leadership on student learning committees. Since the establishment of his program, Dr. Cox has been conducting antimicrobial resistance and invasive pathogen surveys in New York and the Northeastern United States.


Dr. David is a professor of Strategy and Organization and a Desautels Faculty Scholar at the Desautels Faculty of Management of McGill University. He received his PhD from Cornell University. His research focuses on the emergence and evolution of industries and organizational fields. At McGill, he teaches Industry Analysis & Competitive Strategy and Seminar in Organizational Theory. From 2017-2022, he served as Academic Director (Research) for his faculty. Dr. David is currently studying the market for local food products in Canada and the US.


Danica is the Bilingual Engagement Manager with Agriculture Wellness Ontario and the Canadian Mental Health Association – Ontario Division. She has recently completed her Master’s in Public Health and before that was working in the non-profit sector. Her passions include mental health advocacy and health promotion surrounding physical activity which are reflected in her volunteer work.


LGen (retired) Mike Day has commanded at every level and rank, in a variety of units, and deployments around the world serving and commanding within his Regiment and Canada’s Counter Terrorist and Special Forces community commanding both Joint Task Force Two (JTF 2), Canada’s Special Operations Forces Command. With the majority of his time spent in Command he has also served in a variety of Senior Staff appointments including the CAFs Senior Military Officer in the Defence Policy Group, and the Chief Strategic Planner for the future of the Canadian Armed Forces where he also oversaw the development of the Department of National Defence’s Space and Cyber Programs. Since retirement he has been employed on a variety of corporate Boards and consults with a number of companies. He is President of the Board of Trustees for his Regimental charity (The PPCLI Foundation).


Paul (Agr., MSc) earned both his bachelor’s degree in agronomy in 2006 and his master’s degree in soil and environment in 2008 from Laval University. He joined the Research and Development Institute for the AgriEnvironment (IRDA) as a research assistant in 2009. His main areas of interest are soil physics and hydrodynamics, as well as irrigation management. He actively participates in multidisciplinary research.


Joey is currently a Faculty Research Assistant in the Department of Horticulture at the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology at Oregon State University in 2015 and his Master of Science in Plant Pathology at Washington State University in 2018, working with alternative DNA detection methods for potato pathogens. While at the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center, Joey has published research on Alternaria phylogenetics and pathogenicity on pear, the effects of

postharvest treatments on pear ripening, and the epidemiology of grapevine red blotch virus in southern Oregon vineyards.


Emilia is the Communications Manager at the OPMA where she oversees the development and implementation of communications and marketing initiatives for the OPMA’s member and consumer audiences. The OPMA helps keep members, the industry and consumer media informed, connects people across the industry and encourages children and adults in Ontario to enjoy fruit and vegetables through our Produce Made Simple campaign.


As the Tree Fruit Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Erika hopes to implement research and demonstration projects that will advance the apple industry within Ontario. She plans to build partnerships with growers, associations, industry partners and the research community. Erika wants to transfer knowledge of production efficiencies and strategies, cultivar developments, management tools, along with orchard establishment benefits that are occurring globally and determine their applicability for Ontario apple growers.


Matt is the Co-Founder and President of Niagara Cider Company which hand-crafts heritage apples from Niagara’s iconic orchards into crisp apple ciders sold throughout Ontario and the LCBO. As well Matt has been the Chair of the Ontario Craft Cider Association since late 2021. Through his career Matt has worked for a collection of wineries, craft breweries and cideries in a variety of senior sales and marketing positions but his ultimate goal was to operate and co-own a cidery to produce quality, unique craft cider products. Through the years, Matt has held a number of positions with various non-profit association boards


including Wine Growers Ontario, Ontario Grape and Wine Research Inc, Cool Climate & Viticulture Institute at Brock University along with the Ontario Craft Cider Association. Matt has a MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University and BCom from the University of Guelph.


Patrick grew up outside Alliston, Ontario, a major potato producing area. During university he worked for Eugenia Banks (PhD) on replicated variety trials. After graduation, Patrick started working for WD Potato, in the last 7 years with WD, Patrick has worked on: Gibberellic Acid Commercialization, Variety Commercialization and Seed conditioning research. These projects and others focus on small bag initiatives and sustainability.


Hayden was born and raised in Hawkes Bay on New Zealand’s eastern coast and grew up on a family owned and operated orchard growing primarily apples. After studying and working in the Hawkes Bay grape industry for a short period, Hayden ventured overseas and now resides in Norfolk County where he is the General Manager at The Norfolk Fruit Growers’ Association. Hayden and his wife Amanda have their own tree fruit operation (Suncrest Orchards) growing primarily apples which they market through The Norfolk Fruit Growers’ Association/ Vineland Growers.


Janet left life as an academic and currently divides her time between her day job as trade commissioner for Canadian wine, beer and spirits at Global Affairs Canada, where she works with companies and the industry on export and international business development. Janet holds the WSET Diploma in Wine and Spirits, is a WSET certified educator and a Professional Affiliate of Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) with over twenty years’ experience reviewing, writing and speaking about wine. She has

organized and judged at wine and spirits competitions in North and South America, Europe and Asia for over two decades and outside her day job, writes about wine and spirits for Canadian and international publications. Janet is the Canada contributor to the upcoming 5th edition of the Oxford Companion to Wine and has written wine and spirits content for WSET Global wine certification courses.


Pam is a Registered Professional Planner and Economic Development

Professional who has been practicing in rural southern Ontario for 25 years. She formerly worked in Haldimand and Norfolk Counties and is now the General Manager of Development Services in the County of Brant. Pam has a Bachelor of Environmental Studies in Urban and Regional Planning and a Masters of Applied Environmental Studies in Local Economic Development from the University of Waterloo as well as her PhD in Rural Studies from the University of Guelph. She also holds a Diploma in Public Administration from the University of Western and a Master’s Certificate in Municipal Leadership from Schulich Executive Education Center at York University. Pam understands the opportunities of both rural economic and agricultural resilience through her academic and professional works as well as her personal dedication of being a sixth-generation family farmer in Norfolk County.


Daniel conducts statewide vegetable disease research and extension programs at Purdue University. Current efforts include managing tomato diseases with organic or alternative products and finding solutions to Fusarium wilt of watermelon transplants. Dr. Egel also runs the national MELCAST program, a weather-based disease-forecasting program. Dan received him BS degree in Botany from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, his MS degree in Forestry from Purdue University and his PhD degree in plant pathology from the University of Florida. Dan works at the Southwest Purdue Ag Center in Vincennes, in the southwestern portion of Indiana.


Evan is the New Crop Development Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) based in Simcoe, Ontario. He works on developing information related to specialty crop production and marketing for a range of crops including non-traditional fruits, vegetables, grains, and other crops such as hops and specialty mushrooms. Evan grew up on a hog farm in Cannington, Ontario and prior to joining OMAFRA, he completed a BSc and MSc at the University of Guelph in Plant Agriculture, worked for industry associations, a horticultural farm operation, and as a field technician with the University of Guelph.


As the Head of Strategy and Solutions for Numerator Canada, Brian brings nearly two decades of industry experience to helping clients understand changing consumer behaviour. Prior to joining Numerator, Brian worked at Walmart Canada for nearly ten years and before that, he worked for The Nielsen Company. His career has brought him to four countries, including the United States, Japan, Russia and Canada.


Melanie has been a Horticulture Integrated Pest Management Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs since 2006. Based in Simcoe, Ontario, she works with growers, industry, researchers and ministry colleagues to identify pests and pest management solutions for new, and low acreage crops such as sweet potatoes, tree nuts, specialty berries and hops. Melanie has a PhD in Entomology from Cornell University where she studied biological control of forest insects. Prior to joining OMAFRA, she worked as a researcher with the US Department of Agriculture, looking at use of biopesticides, natural enemies and other reduced risk products to control insects in commercial greenhouses.



Dr. Fletcher is the Research and Development (R&D) Lead at Escarpment Laboratories, a yeast company based in Guelph, Ontario. He joined the company in December 2020 to drive research and innovation at the company and help implement product development. At Escarpment Labs, he brings together his expertise in data analysis, biochemistry and microbial physiology to run an active research program aimed at improving current beer yeasts and developing new yeast strains for the competitive craft brewing industry in Canada and abroad.


Anne-Marie is an entomologist at Phytodata research company since 2009. This company is a part of PRISME consortium, a group of growers and professionals whose mission is to develop, offer and promote solutions to improve the productivity of vegetable farms while reducing the environmental footprint of the sector.

Anne-Marie is assistant scientific director and principal investigator in entomology, particularly on Delia flies in vegetable crops. She is also the lead coordinator for the production and release of sterile onion flies and responsible for developing the SIT to control the cabbage maggot.


Hugh grew up on a dairy farm, yet most of his career has been involved in every aspect of horticulture. He has been a certified auditor since 2015 and has performed over 175 audits of Ontario’s wineries and grape growers. He says that in the 7 years he has been involved with this program, he has seen constant improvement by both grape growers and wineries in all three of the pillars of sustainability.


Crossing Canada Citizenship & Immigration Services Inc., was founded by Nancy F. Thompson, a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) who is a member in good standing with the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC). Nancy has a background in law and immigration and has worked closely with immigrants and newcomers since 2011. In the last several years she has shifted her focus to Migrant Workers, Employers, and those without immigration status.


Marc was born and raised in the grape growing region of Alsace in France. He received his Master’s and PhD degrees from the University Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg. His research and extension program at Cornell University focuses on viruses of vegetables and fruit crops. Marc is leading multidisciplinary research efforts on major viruses of apples, grapevines, onions, and cucurbits.


Dr. Gariepy is a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, London Research and Development Centre. Her research focuses on invasive insects that threaten agricultural productivity, including monitoring and detection of newly established pests. Dr. Gariepy’s research also involves the development of classical biological control strategies for insect pests of agricultural concern, including foreign exploration, assessment of target and non-target effects, coordination of biocontrol agent releases, and post-release evaluation of establishment. In addition, Dr. Gariepy specializes in the development and use of molecular diagnostic tools to assess trophic interactions between insect pests and their natural enemies. Dr. Gariepy currently works on a number of invasive insect pests, including the Brown Marmorated Stinkbug, Spotted Wing Drosophila, and Spotted Lanternfly.


Eric is a plant scientist with specialization in horticultural management of berry crops and the development and evaluation of new berry cultivars. He received a PhD from the University of Saskatchewan in 2017 and has been an independent researcher conducting on-farm research for the BC berry sector since 2011. Since 2018, Eric has also served as the Research Director for the BC Blueberry Council, Raspberry Industry Development Council, and BC Strawberry Grower’s Association, developing the sector’s portfolio of applied research with partners in government, academia, and the private sector.


Katie is the pathologist for horticulture crops with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs based in Guelph, Ontario. She works to strengthen the province’s horticultural sectors through education and applied research on improved disease identification and management.


Dr. Gooch is co-founder and CEO of VCMI, a global consulting company headquartered in Oakville, Ontario. VCMI helps businesses enhance their profitability and environmental sustainability by addressing issues such as food waste. Martin has two decades’ experience in analyzing businesses to identify why food and related wastes occur, and how to profit from their reduction. Publications authored or co-authored by Martin on how to reduce waste include The Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste, Less Food Waste, Less Packaging Waste, and Controlling Factors Influencing Food Waste. VCMI has also produced resources to assist OPMA and CPMA members to improve their operational efficiency. Martin holds a PhD and Master’s in agrifood management, a Bachelor of Business, along with farm management and crop production qualifications. In 2013, Martin received Bayer Inc.’s Outstanding Canadian Award for Food Chain Partnerships and in 2017, he received OPMA’s Produce Industry Person of the Year award.



Laura is the Manager, Communications at 4-H Ontario. Over her four year tenure with 4-H, she has developed a great understanding for effective communication and marketing strategies. She comes to 4-H with a degree and diploma from the University of Guelph-Humber with a specialization in public relations and experience in community engagement within Indigenous communities across Ontario.


Bill is a founding member of the Thunder Bay Country Market, he has served on numerous boards including the Co-op of Thunder Bay, and served 18 years on town council. Most recently he was elected as a director to the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.


Alexandra is a Research Scientist at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. In her ten years at Vineland, she has been leading diverse grant funded research projects and providing contract services to support the food and horticulture industries. Her areas of research include investigating the drivers of consumer preferences for fruits, vegetables and ornamental plants, developing new instrumental methods for predicting sensory properties of apples and investigating opportunities for utilization of horticulture by-product streams. Alexandra obtained her undergraduate and master’s degrees in Food Science at McGill University and her PhD at the University of Guelph.


Mary is a University Distinguished Professor of

vegetables and greenhouse ornamental plants. She splits her time between grower extension and research.


Lou is a PhD student in Rural Studies at the University of Guelph. He holds a Master’s in Rural Planning and Development and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Lou’s main research interests include agricultural migrant labour, rural immigration, and workforce development.


Juan brings more than 25 years of experience working in different roles within Colombia and Canada’s agriculture and agri-food scene. Juan has a background in agriculture, rural development and technology transfer. Mr. Higuera is founder and principal of Cannexion Corp., a Canadian consulting and agribusiness services company. Recently designed and managed a development project under the

Quality, Efficiency, Safety

REDpulse is a new, innovative, incapsulated and purely pneumatic defoliation module for removing shading leaves. The module enables red coloured apple varieties to receive a more intense and even exposure to light.

● Increased light & temperature exposure

● Compact harvest window

● Even colouration

● No. of pickings reduced

● Better aeration & less humidity on fruit skin

● Comfortable operation via joystick & tablet or smartphone

● Front attached – optimal view

● Fits to Edward comfort system


Canada-Americas Trade-related Technical Assistance Program, funded by GAC. He has provided consultant services to companies such as: Trade Facilitation Office, Cooperative Development Foundation, Canada Pork International, Canada Beef, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Canadian Livestock Genetics Association, and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). Mr. Higuera studied a master’s degree in rural development from Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica and he is an agronomist engineer from the National University of Colombia. He has also earned a specialization in agricultural extension from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture.


Christy is a vegetable specialist with the Cornell Cooperative Extension Cornell Vegetable Program in Western New York, a position she has held since 2001. She conducts on-farm applied research projects and demonstrations and educational programming in onions, cabbage, broccoli

and garlic. She has a BSc (1997) in Environmental Biology and an MSc (2001) in Plant Pathology and Applied Entomology from the University of Guelph. In 2018, she received the Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Extension/Outreach.


Dave is a graduate of the University of Waterloo (BSc Hons. Biol.) and has been involved in the wine industry since graduating in 1995. He has worked in all aspects of wine production from the vineyards to the lab and cellars. For the last 25 years Dave has been at Cave Spring Cellars and is currently the Winery Operations Manager. He also taught the Cellar Operations and Technology course at Niagara College for 8 years. As part of the Wine Council of Ontario Sustainability Committee, Dave helped create Sustainable Winemaking Ontario: An Environmental Charter for the Wine Industry. Under Dave’s leadership Cave Spring Vineyards became the first Certified Sustainable Winery in Ontario.


Eduardo has 15 years of experience working with Ontario temporary foreign agricultural workers (TFAWs) and their employers on occupational health and safety (OHS) issues. He has presented OHS educational workshops to over 1800 of these workers across Ontario, in English and Spanish. Eduardo has worked to improve the accessibility of OHS information for these workers and raise awareness of the importance of effective health and safety training, communication, and worker participation, in the context of language and cultural diversity. Since 2017, Eduardo has been a member of the planning committee for the Midwest Stream Forum for Agricultural Worker Health, led by the US National Center for Farmworker Health (NCFH).


farmers & friends reception

Wednesday, February 22

5:00 – 7:00 pm



Krista grew up on a farm but always wanted to be an architect. She attended the University of Waterloo for a bachelor’s and completed a master’s of architecture in 2008. She has worked in the industry since and started VELD architect in 2012 to pursue her passion for rural architecture. She has done work with a variety of clients with a variety of design challenges in rural and agritourism projects and a specialty in barn conversions. She tells clients that “you don’t have to teach me (your architect) how to shovel manure!” VELD architect gets it and gets the authorities. It’s important for Krista that we are the stewards for your project. We facilitate clients through the myriad of decisions, regulations, red tape, approvals, permits, and construction processes so that they get what they want and achieve success in their farm businesses.


Nadee is the Manager for AgriTalent Program at the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council, a national nonprofit organization focused on addressing human resource issues facing agricultural businesses in Canada. In her current role, Nadee manages the student wage subsidy

program which connects employers and post-secondary students across Canada to tackle workforce challenges in the agriculture space. This project is funded by the government of Canada to reduce the workforce shortage in the agriculture sector by encouraging more youth to join the industry. Nadee is responsible for networking with employers to encourage them to hire students for seasonal or project-based jobs and give the students an opportunity to explore the industry. In addition, Nadee also manages relations with post-secondary students to ensure agricultural employers are getting the support they need to hire students from internship or co-op programs. Nadee has a background in economics and in her previous role at the World Bank in Bangladesh, she has worked on governance and public policy management.


Dr. Kalcsits is an Associate Professor of tree fruit physiology in the Department of Horticulture at the Washington State University Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center in Wenatchee, Washington, USA. He also serves as the Endowed Chair of Tree Fruit Environmental Physiology. His program works to provide short-, medium-, and

long-term solutions for the tree fruit industry that mitigate physiological disorders and improve fruit quality and profitability through better yields and pack outs.


Willem works at Fruitconsult, an independent, private consultancy company for fruit growing with clients all over the world. For many years, Fruitconsult’s objective has been to improve the business economics of our fruit growers and ensure the continuity of their businesses. Willem is particularly concerned with cultivation techniques, water management, fertilisation and soil life.


Marc is principal at K&A Inc., a Canadian public policy and business management organization with clients throughout Canada and globally. A former health administrator, Marc is an expert in governance, strategic communications and branding. He is the former CEO of Canada’s largest pharmacy organization and served for half a dozen years on Parliament Hill as senior advisor to a former Prime Minister. He lectures globally on issues related to

Join us at the
an assortment of horsd’oeuvres as well as featured Ontario wines, hard ciders, craft beer and entertainment.

Canada’s role in the development of critical infrastructure and Canada as USP in the context of its global brand in quality! He is a graduate of UW and Kent State University and sits on a number of public and private sector Boards.


Jack is a senior manager in Grant Thornton LLP’s domestic tax practice in Southern Ontario. He is primarily responsible for providing tax compliance, tax advisory, and tax planning services for the firm’s owner-managed business clients. His primary area of practice includes succession and estate planning, corporate reorganizations, remuneration planning, and structuring of business acquisitions and divestitures. Jack has a broad range of industry experience with privately held businesses. He has experience with ensuring that the businesses and the shareholders are compliant with all their tax filing requirements and providing tax planning solutions to minimize and/or defer both corporate and personal taxes. Jack received his Bachelor of Accounting (Hons.) degree from Brock University, is a Chartered Professional Accountant and Chartered Accountant, and has successfully completed the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada In-Depth Tax Course.


Dr. Krasnow is a viticultural consultant and researcher based in New Zealand. His work focuses on reducing chemical usage and optimising irrigation in vineyards.


Isabelle is a registered dietitian, and the co-founder of Remix Snacks. She started Remix, with her co-founder Jamie Lee, back in 2018 during the last year of their undergraduate degree at McGill University. Being in the food industry, they knew they could create healthier, bean-based snack alternatives with upcycled ingredients, to reduce food waste. Over the last 4 years, they’ve grown their start-up from a school

project, to airing on Dragons’ Den, to their snacks now being sold in over 400 retailers across Canada. Isabelle has been the recipient of several recognitions including the BMO for Women, Visa She’s Next, and featured in the Globe & Mail, Women of Influence, and more.


Ron began his career with the Ministry in 2004 as an Industrial Inspector for the Industrial Health and Safety Program’s High Risk Initiative. His career with the Ministry includes roles as Regional Industrial Program Manager, Regional Program Coordinator, Policy Advisor and Provincial Specialist. Ron is currently in the role of Senior Manager for the Industrial Health and Safety Program. Prior to joining the Ministry, he worked for 15 years in the automotive manufacturing sector for three prominent employers in the industry.


Stefan has over 15 of experience in the industry. During his current position as Senior Policy Advisor at the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association and his previous position at Ontario Pork, he was responsible for advising producers and the association board of any changes in government programs, policies and regulations, and for developing industry responses to policy consultations that could lead to better outcomes for producers. He also draws on over five years of experience working in OMAFRA’s division responsible for provincial agricultural policy. His work there covered a range of agricultural issues including business risk management programs and policies that make it easier to sell and buy food locally in Ontario.


Anne graduated with a degree in Food & Nutrition from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now Toronto Metropolitian University) and has been selling natural and organic food since 1989. Anne’s experience covers a variety of business sectors including

retail, distribution, and manufacturing. For the past 13 years, Anne has been Sales & Marketing Director at Nuts to You Nut Butter Inc. located in Brantford, Ontario. During this time, Anne has taken the family-owned business and helped it grow into the leading manufacturer of natural and organic nut and seed butters. Today, Nuts to You Hazelnut Butter and Almond Hazelnut Butter are among the many Nuts to You products found across Canada at major grocers, natural and specialty food stores, as well as widely available online. In addition, Nuts to You sells industrial bulk product to manufacturers across North America.


Brian is a fruit scientist who works to improve the sustainability of perennial specialty crop production including peach, blackberry, and blueberry using both basic and applied research. He recently received his PhD from Clemson University in Plant and Environmental Sciences after exploring the effects of various organic matter amendments to soil and tree parameters within peach orchards. He has over 10 years of experience working closely with agriculturalists in East Africa, Florida, and South Carolina and have focused research on seed-saving strategies, nutrient cycling, climate change, variety evaluations, and physiological fruit disorders. Brian is passionate about educating others about potential ways to solve current challenges within our food systems and agroecological practices to regenerate existing agricultural land.


Catherine is an Associate Professor in the Integrative Biology Department at Michigan State University with a joint appointment at the Center for Global Change and Earth Observations. She is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Ornithological Applications, of the American Ornithological Society. Dr. Lindell and her lab members study the benefits and challenges that birds provide in agricultural systems. One line of research investigates the damage birds do to fruit crops and how it can be mitigated, and another research focuses on how birds can contribute to pest


management and how to make managed landscapes more hospitable for these beneficial species. Dr. Lindell has worked extensively with American kestrels, small falcons that can be attracted to fruit orchards and vineyards with nest boxes. Kestrels deter and eat many pests including rodents, insects, and fruit-eating birds.


My name is Jenny and I’m the Maple, Tree Nut, and Agroforestry Specialist at OMAFRA. In this role, I provide technical knowledge, conduct applied research, and advocate for my stakeholder industries internally within the ministry with regards to policy and research funding priorities. I completed my forestry undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia, where I worked in forest management, dendroecology, and forest pest research. I then set my sights on agriculture, earning my Master’s in agricultural entomology at the University of Guelph. I am a Certified Crop Advisor Candidate with agronomy experience in both Ontario’s field and horticultural crop sectors.


Jason is an associate professor of fruit crop physiology at Cornell University. His research program explores the impact of changing climate on the growth and resilience of grapevines and apples. With the goal of understanding the critical temperature responses that modulate cold hardiness and dormancy, his research investigates the dynamic changes that occur during winter using a combination of field-based research, genomic techniques, and predictive modeling.


Hope is a Co-op Coordinator at the University of Guelph, based out of the Ridgetown, ON campus. She works primarily with the agricultural programs which include the Associate Diploma programs and the Bio-Resource Management majors. In her role, she works with industry and community partners, to provide students with opportunities to apply and advance their learnings in a realworld context. Hope utilizes her background in the agriculture industry to connect with employers and build relationships.


Bill is the owner of Lavender Hill Farm in Boyne City, Michigan. The 33 acre farm is home to over 13,000 lavender plants and a 102 year old barn which hosts everything from yoga and craft classes to parties and concerts. Mr. Mansfield drives the farm toward a goal of being the preeminent agritourism destination in Northern Michigan.


Hank Markgraf was born and raised on an apple orchard in Kelowna, BC. His love of horticulture lead him to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture from Washington State University. After graduation Hank worked at BC Tree Fruits for several year as a horticultural advisor. Working with a diverse group of growers throughout the Okanagan, Similkameen and Creston Valleys, Hank has seen many rootstock, variety, and spacing combinations. Hank is a long-time member of the International

Tree Fruit Association allowing him to travel to several US States and around the world allowing him to ever expand his horticultural knowledge. He, his wife and two boys own and operate the apple orchard he grew up on.


As Manager of the Ontario Tender Fruit Growers and Fresh Grape Growers, Sarah represents over 200 growers of tender fruit and table grapes across Ontario. She reports to a board of directors for each organization and coordinates initiatives on research, marketing and promotion based on direction from the board.


Kevin is the President & CEO of Martin’s Family Fruit Farm Ltd. Martin’s is a leading Canadian grower, packer, and processor of Ontario-grown apples. Under Kevin’s leadership, Martin’s has expanded its business to become a fully integrated company with production operations in Waterloo and Elmira, ON. This in addition to its main orchard operations and controlled atmosphere storage facilities in Vienna, ON. Beyond their own extensive orchard holdings, Martin’s also packs and processes apples for 40 other Ontario apple growers. Kevin joined family-owned Martin’s on a full time basis in 1999 and over the years has held various management roles. He served as Controller for 3 years prior to becoming President in 2007. As President & C.E.O., Kevin has applied his deep knowledge of the apple industry and his customer passion to generate accelerated growth while holding true to Martin’s core values

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of passion, partnership and sustainability. Kevin has a Diploma in Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University.


Margaret has a long history of program delivery with OSCIA. She loves to interact with primary producers to find programs and projects that fit their needs to make changes to their businesses. She facilitates Growing Your Farm Profits workshops, Environmental Farm Plan workshops and Biosecurity workshops for all commodities.


Jo-Ann spent her first career client-side, successfully connecting brands with consumers and retailers at Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and Cadillac Fairview. As a divisional President of Molson Coors, and a member of its North America Management Board, she led the charge to sell more beer more profitably. Now leading the agency that she co-founded, Jo-Ann continues to build powerful strategies for food and beverage products in Canada, the US, and Europe. She works hands-on with the Nourish Team, guiding the creation of marketing plans that moves agri-food products off shelves and into consumers’ shopping baskets and, perhaps most importantly, into their hearts. She currently appears as a food marketing expert in the international TV documentary series “Eat Me (or try not to)” airing on Curiosity Stream.


Ken is the former Director of the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus, and a college research Professor. He has been teaching and conducting research at the Ridgetown Campus since 1990. Prior to joining the University, he worked as a Farm Management Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in various locations throughout the province. Ken’s current research focuses on applied economics related to farm and agribusiness management. His specialty areas include: agricultural input pricing, farm benchmarking and evaluating the structural changes within the Ontario swine industry. He has been an expert witness at several agricultural hearings in both Canada and United States and a member of numerous provincial and national pork missions to Europe, Japan and China. Ken is a graduate of the University of Guelph (MSc Agricultural Economics and BSc Agriculture).


Wendy is the Tender Fruit and Grape IPM Specialist with OMAFRA in Vineland. She is responsible for providing technology transfer to the fruit industry in Ontario and has been involved in applied research and extension in tree fruit and viticulture in Ontario for 30 years. She is an adjunct professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and a Professional Affiliate of the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute at Brock University, St. Catharines, ON.


Shawn is the Human Resources Manager for Schuyler Farms Limited. He is responsible for all aspects of LMIAs, Permits, On-boarding, Off-boarding, employee relations, employee communications, Service Canada and FARMS/CanAg interaction, and professional development.


Ian is a fruit and vegetable grower in Renfrew County in Eastern Ontario along with his family. They sell their produce directly to consumers through the farm, road-side satellite stands and farmers’ markets.


April is the manager of the Thunder Bay Country Market, which represents over 65 year round vendors. She has been with the market since 2020. Born and raised in Thunder Bay, she was excited to step into a role combining both her education, passions and opportunity to support entrepreneurship in her community.


Thomas Merritt, PhD, is the past chair of the board for the Greater Sudbury Market Association, the independent not-for-profit that runs The Sudbury Market. A transplanted American, Merritt has been going to the market longer than he’s lived in Canada. In fact, the market community was one of the things that drew him to Sudbury. A professor at Laurentian University, another central part of the Sudbury, Merritt sees the market as a core part of a healthy local community and a strong local food


network. The market has recently transitioned from a city organization to an independent not-for-profit allowing it greater flexibility and responsiveness while maintaining close ties to the city and shared objectives.


Timothy is an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University with a research and extension appointment. His program strives to understand the plant pathogens that threaten small fruit and hop production in Michigan. Our overall goal is to develop improved disease management practices for these exciting and novel crops.


Dr. Minas is an Associate Professor of Pomology with the Dept. of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Colorado State University since October 2015. His research program at CSU emphasizes on the characterization of the influence of genetic and environmental factors on fruit tree physiology and productivity and understanding how these factors affect fruit phenotype, metabolism, flavor and postharvest performance with focus on peach. His research integrates techniques from core fruit tree physiology, cold hardiness, flowering biology, fruit quality, non-destructive sensors, postharvest technology, ripening physiology, metabolomics, proteomics and genomics. Dr. Minas has developed and maintains close extension/outreach relationships with the tree fruit industry to perform relevant applied research and communicate research findings through grower educational activities. Dr. Minas serves as the chair of peach rootstock evaluation trials within the frame of the USDA’s multi-state project North Central (NC)-140.


John has been with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs as the Business Analysis and Cost of Production Specialist for the past 22 years. He is the lead for financial analysis and cost of production. John has a degree in

Agricultural Business from the University of Guelph.


Randy joined Grant Thornton LLP in 2013 as a partner in their St. Catharines office, building on a 25-year career as a chartered professional accountant. Most of his career has been focused on working with many entrepreneurial-minded organizations, specifically privately held businesses in the agricultural industry.


Diana is a senior specialist in the Plant Protection Division at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. At the CFIA, she is the national policy and program lead for the spotted lanternfly program and has been involved with the development and implementation of the Invasive Alien Species program and the Invasive Plant program since joining the agency in 2007.


Bryan is currently the Regional Manager at Stemilt Growers. He also owns and operates his personal orchards and vineyards located in central Washington State.


Kristen has a MSc degree in weed science from the University of Manitoba and an Hons BSc degree in agriculture from the University of Guelph. As OMAFRA’s Weed Management Specialist for Horticulture crops, she leads the development, coordination and implementation of programs related to weed management issues in Ontario. Kristen is the Chair of the AgRobotics Working Group, Chair of the Ontario Pest Management Conference and Co-Chair of the Weed Surveillance Community of Practice which is part of the Canadian Plant Health Council. Kristen is a past recipient of the Deputy Minister’s Award for her work as a provincial vegetable specialist, recipient of the Excellence in Weed Science Extension Award from the Canadian Weed Science Society and recently received the Gold Harvest Award from Agriculture and

Agri-Food Canada as part of the project team that has developed numerous rapid genetic tests for herbicide resistant weed detection.


Cameron is a Soil Health Educator in Canada with the Soil Health Institute, a global non-profit with a mission to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soils through scientific research and advancement. Cameron develops and leads soil health education programs for farmers and agronomists as they work to implement profitable, resilient, and climate-smart regenerative soil health management systems. He previously served as the Knowledge Mobilization Coordinator for Soils at Guelph. Cameron received a BSc in Agricultural Science and an MSc in Cropping Systems & Agronomy from the University of Guelph, where he studied the on-farm impacts of cover crops on water and nutrient cycling.


Kara is an owner and operations manager at Brantwood Farms in Brantford, Ontario. She is passionate about farm experiences, food and having too many pets.


Dr. Peter graduated in 1999 from the University of Delaware cum laude with a BS in Agriculture, with an emphasis in Entomology and Plant Pathology. Dr. Peter pursued graduate degrees in Plant Pathology in the Department of Plant Pathology and PlantMicrobe Biology at Cornell University, earning a MS in 2004 and PhD in 2007. Dr. Peter is currently an Associate Research Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology at Penn State University. She has a 50% Research/50% Extension appointment and is located at the Penn State Fruit Research and Extension Center in Biglerville, PA, which is the heart of the tree fruit growing region of Pennsylvania. Her tree fruit pathology research and extension


programs follow a holistic approach: all pest management systems (organic to conventional) and full circle (pre- and postharvest diseases).


Dr. Phillips is a Research Scientist in microbial ecology with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), based in Harrow, Ontario. Her research program investigates the soil biological processes (eg. nutrient cycling) that underpin agro-ecosystem productivity and sustainability. Most recently she participated in the Ontario Living Lab program, evaluating soil biological health in different farms across Ontario. Her overall research goals are to: 1) determine how different agricultural practices alter these biological processes, 2) generate new knowledge on the key biological communities that support resilient agricultural systems, and 3) provide new high-throughput quantitative measures to link soil biological processes to the ecosystem goods services that they provide.


Dr. Piñero has been involved with entomological and IPM research for more than 25 years. In 2005, Jaime was awarded a PhD in Entomology from the University of Massachusetts. After having worked in Switzerland, Hawaii, and Missouri, in 2018 Jaime joined the Stockbridge School of Agriculture. He holds a three-way appointment that combines research, Extension, and teaching. Jaime’s research focuses on applied aspects of insect-plant interactions as a basis to develop more sustainable pest management tools and strategies in

fruit orchards. His research seeks to integrate chemical, behavioral, and biological methods for pest control and a better understanding on the sensory ecology of insects and their natural enemies. His Extension program delivers timely and relevant research-based information to fruit growers using a variety of methods. Jaime seeks to increase the level of awareness and adoption of IPM components by growers and to document impacts derived from his Extension activities.


Dr. Plotkowski is the Fruit and Farm Market Extension Educator for Southeast Michigan with Michigan State University Extension. He conducted doctoral research on apple cultivar evaluations for hard cider production under Dr. John Cline at the University of Guelph. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Cornell University and a master’s degree in Viticulture, Oenology, Wine Business, and Terroir Management from L’Ecole Supérieure d’Agriculture d’Angers in France. He also worked with the Prince Edward Island Tree Fruit Growers Association in Charlottetown before returning to his native Michigan in 2022.


Aaron has been working at the LCBO for 17 years and has divided his time between store development and real estate and category management. In 2019, Aaron became the Category Manager of Ontario Wines and works closely with local suppliers to promote local VQA wines.


Dr. Posen was a family physician for 17 years before devoting his time exclusively to stress management, lifestyle counseling and psychotherapy in 1985. As both a keynote speaker and seminar presenter, David has spoken widely across North America and parts of Western Europe, including several presentations for the Canadian Young Farmers Forum. His areas of expertise include Stress Mastery, Work-Life Balance, Workplace Stress, Resilience & Mastering Change. He is also the best-selling author of five books, some of which were profiled in USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly among other publications.


Dr. Primomo has accumulated over 20 years of experience working in plant breeding and genetics. He received his BSc in Biochemistry from McGill University in 1994 and received his MSc and PhD in Plant Breeding and Genetics from the University of Guelph in 2000 and 2004, respectively. He accepted a Research Scientist position with Pioneer Hi-Bred at their Caledon, Ontario canola breeding station in 2007. He spent 4 years there as a molecular breeder working on several crops including canola, sunflower, rice and sorghum. In 2011, Valerio joined Vineland as a Research Scientist in Vegetable Breeding. His research is currently focused on breeding Canadian adapted greenhouse tomatoes-on-the-vine with improved flavour and disease resistance using conventional breeding methods and current molecular technology. He has also

24 Let’s talk about what’s next for your operation FCC.CA Unlock the potential of Nufarm products. Visit our booth to learn more. 1.800.868.5444 | Nufarm.ca @NufarmHortCA

developed sweet potato varieties that perform well under Canada’s short growing season.


We invite you to pull up a chair and join us at The Sisters’ Table. We are five sisters by heart, who share a passion for family, travel, tradition, Italian culture and cooking. We are our mothers’ daughters and, through family recipes, we will continue to tell stories from our table. The Sisters’ Table series is more than just a cooking show. It is about sharing stories along with a special dish as a representation of the narrative, while promoting and working with local businesses. We are currently filming our second season which focuses on women empowering women in Canadian made businesses. As the sisters grow, one thing always remains the same, the time to sit down and enjoy a meal together.


Richard is the VP Farming Operations for Rouge River Farms. Born and raised on a family farm in the Stouffville area, he went on to earn a degree in Economics and a MBA focusing his studies on entrepreneurship and public administration. As a student, he along with his brother, started RRF producing and selling sweet corn for direct sales in local farmers markets. Over time, the business transitioned to focusing on chain store sales and have since developed a year around supply chain supplying fresh market sweet corn and snap beans to retailers in the US and Canada.


Dr. Renkema is a Research Scientist in Entomology with Agriculture and AgriFood Canada in Vineland, Ontario. His research program focuses on developing integrated pest management strategies in vineyard, tree fruit and berry crops. He is currently working on spotted wing drosophila in berries, cyclamen mite and weevils in strawberry, leafhoppers and vectors of grapevine red blotch virus in vineyards, and oriental fruit moth, other leafroller moths

and ambrosia beetles in tree fruit. Justin has a PhD from Dalhousie University (20072011), studying blueberry maggot, worked on spotted wing drosophila sampling and control in berry crops as a post-doctoral researcher at University of Guelph (20122015), and was an Assistant Professor of Entomology at University of Florida (20152018), with a research and extension program focused on pest management in strawberries and blueberries.


Manitree Fruit Farms is a family farm located on the North Shore of Lake Erie in Chatham Kent. We farm in a micro climate that allows us to grow many speciality crops such as apples, tender fruit, strawberries and vegetables.


Darren teaches applied weed management at the Ridgetown Campus of the University of Guelph. His current research focuses on improving access to available herbicides, developing strategies for improving the timeliness of herbicide application, and integrating cover crops, tillage and chemical control for weed management in vegetable crops.


Janice is a veteran of creating businesses and managing non-profit associations in the Canadian food and beverage sector. For 10 years Janice was the Executive Director of Taste of Nova Scotia, a nonprofit association devoted to building the businesses of Nova Scotia owned food processors, producers and restaurants. During the same time Janice led the Winery Association of Nova Scotia during a period of intense growth for the Nova Scotia wine industry. As well, Janice has also built two, multi-million dollar private corporations servicing the needs of Canadian food and beverage companies. Janice joined the Ontario Craft Cider Association as their Executive Director in January 2021. Janice is recognized as being an avid supporter of business owners who take the chances, go

against the odds and pursue their passion of bringing quality beverage and food products to their communities.


James and his family started Glenridge Hazelnuts in 2016. Starting with 200 trees and now growing to over 13,000 over 60 acres, hazelnuts have become his full-time job.


A graduate of the University of Guelph, Kevin worked at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs for 13 years as a fruit and vegetable specialist. In 2000, Kevin started his consulting business working with fruit and vegetable growers primarily in Eastern Ontario. From 2004 to 2021 he was the Executive Director of the Berry Growers of Ontario and since 2006 as the Executive Director of the North American Strawberry Growers Association. Kevin is also coordinator of the US National Clean Plant Network for Berries. In December 2021 he joined NM Bartlett as the Canadian Technical Services Representative and is also responsible for sales in South Central Ontario.


Albrecht immigrated to Canada in 1978 and has been growing wine grapes since 1979. Albrecht and his wife Anja, cultivate 150 acres of premium vinifera grapes in Niagara-on-the Lake. He is a pillar of the grape growing community and has served as a member for the Grape Growers of Ontario’s Growers’ Committee for 25 years.


Rebecca is the irrigation/ water quantity engineer with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Her role with the Ministry involves helping Ontario producers improve their production by providing irrigation and water management expertise to the province. Rebecca is the co-author of many OMAFRA irrigation publications including the Irrigation Best Management Practices book. Most recently, Rebecca has developed demonstrations on water



efficiency and soil moisture monitoring. Her specialty includes water permitting and drip irrigation. Rebecca holds a MSc and BSc from McGill University in Agricultural Engineering and has been active in water and irrigation associations across Canada and the US.


Ann is a small-scale organic market gardener who has sold her fresh organic vegetables at the St. Marys Farmers’ Market since it opened in 1992, along with operating a 40+ member CSA. She has served on the board of the St. Marys Farmers’ Market for much of its history and currently sits on the board of Farmers’ Markets Ontario as their treasurer. Ann has served on several agricultural boards such as the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario and the National Farmers Union.


As an entrepreneur, urban planner and 5th generation farmer, Matt has a unique perspective on the past, present and future of farming in Ontario. Based in Port Perry, Matt and his partner created Two Blokes Cider to find a future for his 120-acre family farm, answer questions about value-added production and contribute to the burgeoning agritourism sector. His entrepreneurial endeavours feed his planning work, which focuses on sustainable rural economic development and reducing barriers for growth. As a Board member of the Ontario Craft Cider Association, Matt is dedicated to growing the cider industry and pushing for agricultural innovation throughout Ontario.


Lynn is an Assistant Professor of Weed Management in Specialty Crops at Cornell University. She is based at Cornell

AgriTech in Geneva, NY. Her research focuses on herbicide performance, herbicide resistance management, and the identification and evaluation of novel technology for weed management. Prior to joining Cornell University, she was a research scientist at UC Davis, Washington State University, and the University of Georgia. She received her PhD from Ohio State.


Emily is the land use policy analyst at the Ontario Federation of Agriculture in Guelph, Ontario, where her portfolio specializes in farmland preservation, growth management, and farm property policy and legislation. She is also a 2019 Highly Qualified Personnel Scholar with the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance. Emily is a Candidate Member of the Ontario Professional PIanners Institute and a Masters of Science (Planning) graduate of rural planning and development at the University of Guelph.

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MC was born and raised in Leamington, Ontario with a passion for agriculture that is rooted in her father’s involvement in the industry throughout his career. Joining Mucci Farms in 2003, her 20-year career includes a variety of roles in Human Resources with an emphasis on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Her extensive experience with the TFW program provided an acute understanding of several roles in the greenhouses, packing areas, quality assurance, health and food safety, bookkeeping, amongst others. As the staggering growth of Mucci Farms continued, 2016 saw an amalgamation of the program to one central location, where she works with a team responsible for over 1,000 foreign workers from several countries, starting with their arrival in Canada, to their departure back home. MC has a wealth of knowledge, and continues to be a key leader for the Mucci Farms team.


Paula is a Co-op Coordinator at the University of Guelph, working out of the main campus in Guelph, ON. She works with a number of Commerce and Arts programs including the Food and Agriculture Business, and the Food, Agriculture & Resource Economics majors. A substantial part of her role is facilitating connections between employers and co-op students, adding value to growing businesses, and creating talent pipelines for future industry leaders. She is passionate about experiential learning and loves to help students achieve their career goals.


Jay is a professor of Tree Fruit Breeding and Biotechnology at the University of Guelph. He has over 25 years of experience in horticulture, especially fruit crop improvement. He has worked with diverse crop species – both using conventional and contemporary breeding approaches. He has developed and released 14 improved varieties in India and Canada. He is an investigator in several provincial, national

and international grants and has obtained over 12 million dollars in grants as PI or Co-PI. He has invited to present his work at several national and international organizations including the UN General Assembly’s Market Place in New York and at the Global Affairs Canada, Ottawa. He has published over 140 research articles, co-edited 3 books, has 10 patents and 25 PBRs. He is mentored 19 graduate students and 8 research associates directly and over 50 graduate students and post docs through collaborative projects.


Amanda has been a Vegetable Crop Specialist with OMAFRA since 2018. She also spent several years working in agriculture before starting with OMAFRA. She received her BSc from the University of Guelph and her MSc from the University of Windsor in Invasion Biology, specifically invasive plant species.


Jim joined the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), as the transition crop specialist in 2005. He began his career with a BSc from the University of Waterloo, followed by a PhD in plant physiology from the University of Guelph. After graduation, his research focused on understanding how plants make waxes and oils and on the development of technology to study large scale gene expression in plants. As OMAFRA’s industrial crop specialist, Jim works on identifying crops with potential to serve as agricultural feedstocks for Ontario’s developing bioeconomy.


Joe grew up on his family’s cash crop farm just outside of Chatham, Ontario. He graduated from the University of Guelph in 2006, with a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy. After graduation, he returned to the Chatham area to work with his father as a crop scout for their independent crop consulting business (specializing primarily in processing tomatoes and sugar beets).

In 2008, Joe became a Certified Crop Advisor (CCA), and since then has helped to further expand and diversify the services that Tomecek Agronomy offers to include consulting services on a variety of other crops, soil-sampling, crop planning and data management. The business now employs approximately 7-9 people each growing season. Joe has received his “4R Nutrient Management Specialist” designation, and prides himself on helping his clients achieve their production goals as an independent agronomist, through an environmentally-friendly approach.


Steven specializes in cider education at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute. He’s also an educational program developer and instructor for the Cider Institute of North America. A frequent speaker and moderator at CiderCon, Steven also teaches cider production courses across North America. He spent 7 years as a commercial winemaker and continues to do consulting work within the wine and cider industry. Most recently, he is developing university micro-credentials for the beverage alcohol industry and is completing his PhD in Education at the University of Toronto.


Sandra is the communications coordinator at the OPMA, developing and implementing the organization’s consumer facing program. She comes from a PR and nutritional science background, merging the two in her current role.


Adriana is the In the Know Program Coordinator with Agriculture Ontario and the Canadian Mental Health Association – Ontario Division. Over the past 10 years she has worked in non-profit and social service and is passionate about educating others about Mental Health. Adriana was raised on her family’s dairy farm in Oxford County


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and has always been passionate about serving the agriculture community. In her spare time Adriana is a 4-H volunteer leading cooking projects and volunteers for her local agricultural Society.


David is a University of Guelph graduate and owner of Wholesome Pickins in Delhi, ON. He produces strawberries, raspberries, asparagus and pumpkins. He has trialed a variety of growing methods for strawberries and was recently awarded Ontario’s Outstanding Young Farmer 2022.


Stephanie is the Sustainability Specialist for Horticulture Crops with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) based in Vineland, Ontario. She works with growers, industry, and researchers to assess new practices and technologies that improve sustainable production in Ontario’s horticulture

sectors. Her work focuses on sustainable alternative inputs, soil management, nutrient loss mitigation, and sustainable waste management. Prior to joining OMAFRA she worked at Sebastian Farms, a vineyard operation growing 1500 acres of premium wine grapes in the Okanagan Valley, BC. Stephanie received her BSc in Environmental Science and MSc in Soil Chemistry from the University of Guelph.


Brian is a Penn State Extension Horticulture Educator who was hired in 2019 to specifically focus on spotted lanternfly research including lifecycle traits, identifying and testing control tactics and techniques and working with industry stakeholders to mitigate impacts. As a commercial pesticide applicator with 20 plus years of experience in the green industry based near the original SLF introduction into Pennsylvania, he has 6 years of experience studying and treating SLF and works with a team of researchers at Penn State, research partners in the commercial

insecticide industry and many stakeholders throughout Pennsylvania, the Northeast US, and Canada. A 1995 graduate of Paul Smith’s College with an AS in Ecology and Environmental Technology, Brian has worked to apply practical problem solving skills to the spotted lanternfly invasion and subsequent response.


Erich is Business Finance Specialist with the Business Analysis and Resources unit of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. In this role, Erich provides information related to financial management, taxation, and business structures for farmers and agri-food processors. Prior to working with OMAFRA, Erich worked in a local accounting firm where he focused on farm accounting and taxation, and obtained his Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation. Erich attended the University of Guelph, where he studied Agricultural Business. He and his parents own a beef cow/calf, feeder and cash crop farm in Grey County.

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Ben is a Commercial Vegetable Educator with Michigan State University Extension. He has the privilege of working with West Michigan’s diverse group of vegetable producers.


In the 1970s, Peter worked for the University of Guelph evaluating peanut production in Ontario. He then spent 30 years working for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at the Delhi Research Station in New Crop Development and the Minor Use Program. He then moved back to the University at the Simcoe Research Station researching Subsurface Drip Irrigation on Field Crops. Peter produces peanuts on his farm in Round Plains.


Born and raised in Niagaraon-the-Lake, Erwin and his wife Dorothy continue to make their home there.

Erwin grew up in a tender fruit farming family; today they farm 90 acres of grapes. He retired from the Hamilton Police Service with 31 years of service and just recently was voted in as Deputy Mayor for Niagara on the Lake. Erwin has been a board member of the Grape Growers of Ontario since 2015 and served on the board of the Grape and Wine Festival until 2021. As well as sitting on the Town of NOTL’s agriculture and irrigation committees, Erwin chairs the regional irrigation and Grape Growers of Ontario sustainability committees and is a member of the Ontario Craft Winery Sustainability Committee.


Dr. Willwerth is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and a Researcher in the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute at Brock University. The major component of his research program is focused on grapevine cold hardiness physiology and understanding how to maximize cold

hardiness in V. vinifera and to further understand woody plant cold hardiness physiology and response to environmental conditions during dormancy. He has an extensive program on grapevine material evaluations and how genotypes can impact cold hardiness, vine performance and wine quality. Furthermore, Dr. Willwerth has research projects to gain further understanding of the molecular, physiological and biochemical changes in grapevine during dormancy and how these responses relate to hardiness. He also has a decade of experience with effective technology transfer to the grape grower community. He is currently Past Chair of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture – Eastern Section and sits on several Ontario grape and wine industry committees including the Vintners Quality Alliance of Ontario’s Standards Development Committee.


Phil is presenting on behalf of the Association of Supervisors of Public Health Inspectors of Ontario (ASPHIO). He is currently the Environmental Health Manager with Wellington-Dufferin Guelph Public Health region and was previously managing in southwestern Ontario for several years, overseeing numerous public health programs in his portfolio including safe food, safe water, climate change and emergency preparedness. He has a master’s in business administration and holds several certifications in public health, occupational health, infection control, building code and project management. Through the pandemic, he supported FMO and its members with navigating the landscape of changing provincial regulation and continues to provide the organization and its members support with public health best practices.


Janet has been the Niagara Falls Farmers’ Market Coordinator for the last 5 years, using her degree, community connections, and retail experience to rejuvenate this local market. Janet received the Farmers’ Market Ontario, Farmers’ Market of the Year Award on behalf of the market in 2021.

One of the key elements of building her local market came through efforts made in the area of social media. Janet has used her skills in photography, design, and copy to implement content strategies to increase brand awareness for multiple platforms including Farmers’ Markets Ontario this past season.



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Digging deeper on the month’s cover story, we interview the industry’s leaders. The Grower Calling podcasts are on ourwebsite & Soundcloud.

Your one­stop source for Canadian horticultural news. www.thegrower.org





www.thegrower.org TheGrower_OFVC2023.qxp_Layout 1 2023-01-06 11:22 AM Page 1
Who Will Claim the Rights to ONTARIO’S BEST CIDER? Join us for the announcement of the winning ciders and enjoy tastings of various cider styles. FEBRUARY 22 at 11:00 AM ROOM 203 PRESENTED BY: PRESENTED BY: OFVC COMPETITIONS Where Ontario Hops meet Ontario Craft Brews ONHOPS BREWOFF
top 3 submissions will be re-evaluated, judges will discuss the process and the entries with the audience, and everyone can participate in the hop rub featuring all the hop submissions. Join us...
22 at 2:00 PM ROOM 205 31


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New Mental Health Resources Address Needs in the Ag Sector

This past year saw great strides forward in addressing the mental health crisis in Ontario’s agriculture sector with the launch of a suite of programs to ensure farmers are getting support when and where they need it.

“For a long time, we’ve known that farming is stressful. Financially it’s not always lucrative and we’re always depending on markets and the weather,” says Bruce Buttar, farmer, OFA director and Chair of the OFA’s Farmer Wellness Initiative Advisory Committee. “We’ve always thought there needed to be something out there for people to help them.”

It was research started in 2015 by the University of Guelph’s Dr. Andria Jones-Bitton and Dr. Briana Hagen, Jones-Bitton’s PhD student at the time, that used data to establish the prevalence of conditions like depression, anxiety, stress, burnout and resilience (the ability to overcome obstacles and challenges) in the farming community. The research showed that farmers were experiencing high levels of stress and depression, and burnout at levels higher than both the general population and other occupations.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) – Ontario Division launched Agriculture Wellness Ontario programs that currently include three free mental health supports for farmers and their families:

• Farmer Wellness Initiative – a free counselling service 24/7/365 in-person or on the phone by professional counsellors with agricultural backgrounds and training at 1-866-267-6255

• In the Know – a free four-hour mental health literacy training workshop developed at the University of Guelph by and for the agricultural community. IntheKnowOntario.ca

• The Guardian Network – a community-based volunteer suicide prevention program, at GuardianNetwork.ca

Results from the 2021 University of Guelph survey of farmer mental health, for example, clearly illustrate the ongoing need for mental health supports in the agriculture sector, including impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic:

• 20% of farmers reported moderate to severe anxiety disorders – significantly higher than the Canadian general population during COVID-19

• 20% of farmers reported moderate to severe depressive disorders – significantly lower than the Canadian general population during COVID-19

• 1 in 4 farmers felt their life was not worth living, wished they were dead or thought of suicide in the last year – that’s over 2x higher than the general population


The Healthy Minds, Healthy Farms report, released in 2020, found similar evidence, with 76% of farmers classified with moderate or high stress scores. Three out of four Canadian farmers indicated being moderately to highly stressed about unpredictable interference, workload pressures and lack of time, and financial pressures. Women were more likely to report high stress, and younger farmers both showed signs of higher stress and were found to generally be less effective at coping with it.

A successful 2019 pilot program designed to build mental health knowledge and increase help-seeking among farmers led to a province-wide mental health literacy program called In the Know

A partnership between OFA, CMHA-Ontario Division and the University of Guelph, each half-day training session promotes mental health awareness and literacy to raise people’s comfort levels with recognizing and understanding the symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression and starting conversations around those topics if the need arises.

The Farmer Wellness Initiative is also a partnership between CMHA-Ontario Division and OFA, and is funded by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

Its cornerstone is a confidential telehealth helpline that provides free counselling services to farmers and their families virtually, in-person or on the phone by professional counsellors with agricultural backgrounds and training, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in English and French, as well as up to 30 other languages.

The Farmer Wellness Initiative website, www. farmerwellnessinitiative.ca, answers frequently asked questions and explains how to use the free service.

“Pick up has been good; it is meeting a need,” says Buttar. “I’m amazed at the number of calls that come in between midnight and 4 am but that’s what this service is for: to be there when people need help, available any time day or night.”

The third program, also involving CMHA-Ontario Division and OFA with federal and provincial government funding, is called the Guardian Network It’s a volunteer suicide prevention program for the Ontario farming community that is based on the award-winning AGIR en Sentinelle pour la prévention du suicide program created by the Association québécoise de prévention du suicide (Suicide Prevention Association of Québec) and the Union of Agriculture Producers in Québec.

According to Buttar, the biggest roadblock so far has been making sure the agricultural community knows these new services and programs are available, and that they can help with a broad range of issues, not just farm-related matters. That includes financial pressures; health concerns; depression; troubles with family, friends, partners or spouses; feelings of stress or burn-out; bullying, trauma, abuse and other issues requiring support.

“It’s very important to have that support, and the biggest problem is making sure people are aware it’s out there,” he adds. “If you’re aware that there is someone that needs help, spread the word.”

More information about mental health supports for farmers and farm families are available at: www.agriculturewellnessontario.ca.

OFVC is proud to support mental health and well-being in the farm community. As part of OFVC 2023, we are offering two opportunities to support better wellness: In the Know Workshop, Tuesday, February 21, 1:005:00 pm, Room 207 and Stocking Your Mental Health, Thursday, February 23, 2:00 - 3:00 pm, Ballroom B.


The Changing Face of Agri-tourism

Today, it’s more complex than that, with the most successful agri-tourism operations offering festivals, food service, corporate events, birthday parties and even weddings to make their farms a memorable destination for visitors.

Brooks Farms near Uxbridge has developed a thriving agri-tourism enterprise alongside its traditional agricultural production that Kelly Brooks notes has become an essential part of the farm business.

“We think our farm is about 50-50 production and agritourism but what’s important is that we need both to survive,” she says. “One doesn’t survive on its own; if we lose a season of apples, we can help make up for that with a festival.”

Currently, the farm produces maple syrup, asparagus, strawberries, raspberries, peas, potatoes, apples, pumpkins, and squash. Most of the crops are sold via the on-farm market, with some also available as pickyour-own.

Her husband Paul started the farm down the agritourism path in the late 90s after graduating from university, but that part of the business didn’t begin to grow in earnest until Kelly joined the farm fulltime in 2007 and set about putting her costuming, merchandising, and marketing background to work. Since then, growth has been steady, with the farm now hiring upwards of 70 seasonal employees during peak times.

Alongside a farm market, bakery and café, Brooks Farms runs a large educational program during maple syrup season, an Easter egg hunt, a summer fun festival, and a fall fun festival, as well as offering birthday parties, corporate events and school tours.

The latest addition is the Brooks Farms After Dark night festival where the farm is transformed into a scary Halloween town complete with live entertainment, zombie graveyard and creepy corn maze.

It used to be that agri-tourism meant adding a farm market, opening a pick-your-own or having some farm animals on site.
Some of the many specialty items available at Brooks Farms market store One of the many unique visitors to Brooks Farms speacial events.
The Brooks family.

“We are a destination farm; it’s very unlikely that you will drive past us by chance. Most of our customers will plan their days and drive 45 minutes to an hour to get here from Oshawa, Toronto or Mississauga,” she says.

In December 2019, the farm suffered a tragic loss when their heritage barn, which held all their equipment and signage, burned to the ground. Although devastating at the time, the Brooks’ have now rebuilt a beautiful two-story barn that will serve as an event facility.

“We’ve been rebuilding into something better, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, that will be a stunning event space. We hope to add a liquor license and grow a corporate business,” she says, adding that she’d also like to get day and summer camps up and running.

Longer term, she and Paul would love to regain some of their privacy by moving the family off the farm –which could also open up new opportunities for farm stays or weddings on the farm.

At Thatcher Farms near Rockwood, agri-tourism began as an idea during former school teacher Dana Thatcher’s first maternity leave.

“My husband was raising hogs and we had a hay and straw business. Teachers were interested in seeing what I brought for lunch, which was often meat we raised and things we made from scratch,” she recalls. “I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to welcome people onto our property and show them what we do?”

It all started with a freezer in their wood shed that soon led to an on-farm butcher shop, thanks to a grant from Beef Farmers of Ontario. Today, Thatcher Farms also includes an on-farm store and bakery selling baked goods and ready-made meals alongside beef, pork, lamb, chicken and turkey.

About eight years ago, the Thatchers added you-pick strawberries, a corn maze, and a farm fun yard – and in 2019, began construction on a rustic on-farm wedding venue called Barn Swallow Fields that finally saw its first wedding in August 2022.

“We are trying to craft an experience for people to come, enjoy the property, and see animals and how we live,” she says. “We have 30 weddings booked for next year so the wedding venue is taking on its own life that will quickly overshadow the market, although we’re not giving up the market.”

In their early days, all the meat was raised on the farm, but as the business grew, the Thatchers began working

with other producers to meet their needs – they didn’t have their own chicken quota, for example. The growth of the wedding venue has also meant an end to hog production on the farm to avoid flies and manure.

“My husband still farms full time, but I’ve been pulled away from farming to run the market and the venue, but we’re the perfect team: I have crazy ideas and he helps execute, he’s always building or fixing something,” she says, adding her focus now that construction is behind them is creating a seamless event process on the farm.

Her future vision includes running family functions for corporations or offering events and experiences aimed at young girls and women.

Brooks Farms new market Thatcher Farms country store
Dana Thatcher, Thatcher Farms

Preparing the Farm for the Next Generation

For the older generation, it is often hard to think about preparing an exit strategy and facing the idea of life beyond the farm. Letting others start to make decisions and take responsibility for the family farm business is not easy.

For young people wanting to get started, there are also many considerations, including availability and affordability of farm businesses, lifestyle and how to start becoming part of the farm’s management processes.

With the average age of Canadian farmers at 56, a lot of farm businesses will be changing hands in the next decade or two – and yet, Canadian census data shows only eight per cent of Canadian farms have a written transition plan in place.

That’s a situation Farm Life Financial founder Darrell Wade is all too familiar with. He experienced it firsthand when his father’s death left the family farm without a plan and sees it regularly today as a farm advisor and transition specialist.

“Thirty to 40 percent of the families who come at this are reactive instead of proactive; they come to us when it’s almost too late. Farming is an industry that is very good at keeping cards close to the chest,” says Wade. “People have to realize the impact of their non-decisions – if you did nothing, what would happen? That can help initiate deeper conversations.”

Although a large percentage of families don’t have a formalized transition plan, Wade says that many are financially prepared for transition but don’t know how to translate that into a strategy that they can execute.

Complacency is also a driver of inaction, but for Wade the biggest lost opportunity caused by lack of planning is not being able to take advantage of tools to minimize tax.

“Farm businesses have many options to minimize tax that non-farm businesses don’t have, but very few people are taking advantage of them,” he says. “It’s important to protect what you’ve built; we take risks every day and need to ensure we’re protected against the what ifs.”

To get the transition ball rolling, there are considerations for both the older and younger generations. For the generation looking to exit the business, Wade says it all starts with communication, followed by developing an actual plan, and formalizing that plan.

“You need to establish what aligns from one generation to the next with the future of the family farm and access specialists to help with the process, then document it,” advises Wade, adding specialists can include a financial advisor, accountant, lawyer or other farm advisor working with the family. “And you also need to know your numbers so you will know how much money you will need once you leave the farm.”

Robb Wagner, Business Opportunities and Market Strategies with Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), says the older generation also has to be prepared to make decisions and document why those decisions are made, as well as fully understand the difference between “equal” and “equitable” when it comes to children who farm and those who don’t.

“Have a fulsome evaluation of the potential transferees that focuses on their strengths and weaknesses and let that evaluation help in the farm transition and how you can help with transforming their weaknesses into strengths,” he adds.

For the younger generation, he recommends deciding what aspects of farming and the farm business they

Farm succession—or transition— can be a tough subject to tackle.

Transition planning tips

 Start communicating, and include all children, not just the ones involved in the farm

 Take inventory of what you’ll need for your life beyond the farm business

 Find an advisor that will work with your family

 Read resources on transition planning available from farm organizations, farm advisors, accounting or financial enterprises or OMAFRA (www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/ busdev/succession.html )


Join us for breakfast, networking and a featured speaker.

Thursday, February 23 8:00 am – 9:15 am

The Lounge

like the most and what they like the least so they can work on carving out a role that will be satisfying.

“If you’re thinking of taking on a farm, determine if you like the career of a “farmer” and everything from the “soup to the nuts of farming” or just certain aspects of the business or the lifestyle of farming,” he suggests. Along with that, he encourages up and coming farmers to take the time to learn about themselves, by taking personality tests and working with counsellors or others who can help them figure out who they are and what makes them tick.

“This will help you figure out how you are going to deal with the stresses of farming,” he explains, adding it will also help when determining how to make financial, production, marketing or other decisions on the farm. In Wade’s practice, advisors focus a lot of attention on the next generation as they are often the ones that have to be gently pushing for planning and change. This means:

Be curious: ask questions about how the older generation got into farming, what has worked well, and what they’ve learned.

Be respectful: there’s a divide between generations in how they value time and hard work, so the next generation needs to understand those values and work ethics of the previous generation.

Be patient: Start communicating that you have an appetite to know the path and what the timeline will look like, even if exercising patience is hard.

“You don’t want to tell your parents that they need an expiry date; in the farming sector especially, the “r word” (retirement) should not exist,” Wade says.



Connect with fellow young farmers over a light lunch and featured speakers.

Thursday, February 23 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

The Lounge




The Evolution of Farming: Woman in Agriculture and Young Farmer Forum

Jen Smith of Cherrylane Farms and David and Jenn VanDeVelde of Wholesome Pickins Market and Bakery are wonderful examples of the future of Ontario farming. Their commitment to success provides the key messaging in this year’s Woman in Agriculture breakfast and Young Farmer Forum luncheon. Here’s a brief snapshot of their incredible journeys.

Jen Smith

My Life as a FarmHer

Cherrylane Farms in Vineland, Ontario is Canada’s only producer of 100% of concentrated tart cherry juice, as well as being a largely female-run business. The 400-acre fruit farm, which produces pears, peaches and tart cherries, has been in the Smith family for 10 generations, and President and COO Jen Smith shares some of her perspectives farming female.

Cherrylane Farms is known as a woman-owned and largely women-run business. What advantages does this bring?

It wasn’t a strategic decision, it just kind of happened. Women were slowly starting to be recognized as CEOs, presidents, and owners of their own companies. Women supporting women is extremely important to me, and people knowing that Cherrylane is being run by women is helpful in the success of our business.

What do you see as the biggest opportunities for women in the ag sector?

The opportunities are endless. Today, there should be nothing stopping a woman from reaching her goals in agriculture. Rely on your skills, and use your intuition, adaptability, multitasking, persuasiveness, and resilience to reach your goals.

What advice do you have to other women in the sector, particularly young women and new female farmers and farm workers?

Do it. You will never regret being a part of the agricultural sector. It most definitely is not a typical 9-5 job; it’s full of challenges, but knowing that you are making a difference in the world by growing fruits and vegetables is the greatest reward that you can have.

The Women in Agriculture breakfast is taking place Thursday, February 23 at 8:00 am in The Lounge.

Featured speaker Jen Smith, Cherrylane Farms.

Jenn and David VanDeVelde

Young Farmer Forum: The Cynic and The Dreamer

Meet Jenn and David VanDeVelde, fruit and vegetable growers, farm market owners, and Ontario’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2022.

The University of Guelph graduates own Wholesome Pickins Market and Bakery, producing strawberries, raspberries, asparagus, pumpkins, squash and field crops near Delhi, Ontario. They also run an on-farm market from April to Christmas, which includes a fullyfrom-scratch bakery and savory kitchen.

“Our growth has been driven from two angles – wanting to be innovative and trying something new on the hort side paired with getting to know our customers and creating a one-stop-shop so people can get everything they need for a weekend getaway or to top up their week’s groceries,” explains Jenn.

The market is best known for its high-quality strawberries, notes Jenn, but the bakery is also gaining a strong following – and the VanDeVeldes are focused on continued growth and innovation to expand their business.

“Our industry is changing, and we have to change with it,” she believes. “There are challenges, but a farmer

is always an optimist in my mind and that mentality of can do, will do will continue to persevere.”

The Outstanding Young Farmer competition involves a rigorous process of evaluating and presenting the farm business, but also provides an opportunity to get to know other young farmers from across the country.

“There is such value in the interaction with people from all sectors of ag and the program was a really rewarding experience for us,” she says.

The Young Farmer Forum luncheon is taking place Thursday, February 23 at 12:00 pm in The Lounge.

Featured speakers Jenn and David VanDeVelde

Farmers’ Markets Ontario ® 2022 Award of Excellence

Congratulations to the Innisfil Farmers’ Market, chosen as the 2022 Market of the Year by Farmers’ Markets Ontario®

MARKET OF THE YEAR Innisfil Farmers’ Market

In 2011, the brand-new Innisfil Farmers Market launched with eight regular vendors. Fast forward 12 years and the market, now home to 35 regular vendors, has been named Farmers’ Market of the Year for 2022 by Farmers’ Markets Ontario.

“We know how many amazing markets are out there, so this is such an honour and a proud moment in our history as a true farmers’ market,” says Innisfil Farmers’ Market Manager Jaime Grant, a former market vendor and board volunteer who took over its management in 2017.

The market is seasonal, running from the first week of June until approximately the end of October. As a “true” farmers’ market – one where the vendors grow what they sell – the strategy of matching the length of the market season to the growing season is important.

The market’s offering includes meat, fruits and vegetables, microgreens, cultural foods including Syrian and Jamaican products, and a diverse variety of ready- to-eat meals popular with the large senior population in the area.

A large artisan section is open during the three busiest months of the year where local artists and crafters sell items like stained glass, woodworking, jewellery, and handmade toys.

This past year, the Thursday afternoon market day attracted an average of 1,200 visitors weekly, which grew to between 3,000 and 3,500 on special event days. A recent visitor survey revealed that the vibe of the market, particularly the live music and friendly faces, is the number one attraction for people, followed by the fresh produce, baked goods and jerk chicken.

“It’s pretty rare for a market to run on a Thursday afternoon, but our market is still fairly young, and the

L to R: Tom Bouhs, Mike Madden, Jaime Grant, Sophia Siachos, and Rob Radcliffe of Innisfil Farmers’ Market

majority of our farms have their own farm market or attend another market already,” she explains. “If they’re already doing a Saturday market, the earliest they could do another is Thursday.”

The peak pandemic years were tough for the market financially, as public health rules meant they had to find money for signage, sanitizer, masks, extra staff, and different layouts to accommodate distancing. That’s where community support was invaluable, notes Grant.

“We were very, very fortunate. We had sponsors for signage, donations of sanitizer and a grant from a community foundation,” she says. “The community stepped up and helped us; we would be nothing without them.”

“Our main goal is to be a historical market for Innisfil, so that we are still operating 100 years from now. We want to become a tradition for people,” she adds.

The Market of the Year award will be presented on Wednesday, February 22 at 9:30 am in Ballroom A.

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In and around the Innisfil Farmers’ Market

Watch for Farmers’ Markets to Play a Key Role as Lifestyles Change

That is creating a unique opportunity for farmers’ markets, says branding and strategic communications expert Marc Kealey of K&A Inc., a Canadian public policy and business management organization.

“There’s an idea right now about 15 minute communities, that everything should be within 15 minutes of where you live,” says Kealey. “The farmers’ market plays an incredible role in this now and in the future – we have a huge opportunity to really accentuate that unique selling proposition.”

Canada has a global reputation for quality, notes Kealey, which farmers’ markets can use to promote themselves and their vendors. And it’s not just about bringing locally grown food from the farm to urban consumers, but also in connecting those consumers with where their food comes from and giving them both an experience and an educational opportunity.

According to Kealey, farmers’ markets should take a page out of the playbook that wine shows use, which means combining buying and learning opportunities for consumers to turn a market visit into a meaningful experience.

“Offer visitors an opportunity to learn something while they are there, by having farmers with their booths but also an area for presentations about topics that are of interest, for example,” he says. “That’s the essence of the future of this business.”

Kealey is also a strong believer in the value of an organization like Farmers’ Markets Ontario (FMO) to work on behalf of the industry. This does three things: set and deliver standards, prove quality, and provide a strong and united voice for industry advocacy.

FMO’s work in promoting farmers, farmers’ markets

and the benefits of shopping local is key to the continued growth of both individual markets and the farmers’ market segment as a whole, he says. The organization also provides everything from liability and personalized advice to management, marketing and professional development support.

It’s important for the industry to drive advocacy and good brand management, according to Kealey, to make it appealing for government to support farmers’ markets, from regulations to funding where needed.

“My idea is that we don’t have to reinvent anything. Food is one of the most important things that we can think about, and farmers’ markets are often a first focal point for a lot of people and a starting point for communities when they start to think about everything that can makes their lives better,” he believes.

Join us for Marc Kealey’s presentation on Wednesday, February 22 at 11:00 am in Ballroom A.

Society and communities are changing, with consumers increasingly paying more attention to where and how they live and what they eat.
Marc Kealey K&A Inc


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NPF & VGA Award of Merit

Dr. Wendy McFadden-Smith, Tender Fruit and Grape IPM Specialist for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is the recipient of the 2022 Industry Award of Merit.

Dr. Wendy McFadden-Smith didn’t have a career in horticulture in mind when she was a student at the University of Guelph; she was focused on becoming a veterinarian. Fast forward to 2023, and she’s been named winner of the Niagara Peninsula Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association Award of Merit for her commitment and dedication to the horticulture industry. She’s a researcher, teacher, and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Specialist for tender fruit and grapes with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).

“I didn’t know I was going to be nominated or be the recipient (of this award) — it’s amazing to be recognized for the passion I have for the industry,” says McFadden-Smith. “The people who have received it before me have all had huge footprints in the industry and I hope that I’m worthy of the honour.”

After completing a master’s degree at Guelph, she moved to Saskatchewan for a job working on winter wheat research and ended up completing her PhD at the University of Saskatchewan in plant pathology. A position working on IPM in fruit at the former Horticultural Institute of Ontario, now part of Guelph’s Department of Plant Agriculture, brought her back to Ontario in 1990, and in 2002, she launched her own IPM consulting business. She also began teaching biology and pest management courses at Brock University and Niagara College and joined OMAFRA in 2008.

“When a position opened up at OMAFRA in Vineland, I was torn – I liked the independence of being self-employed, but this was a job two kilometers from my home,” she recalls. “Wayne Roberts said to me, you can do more for the industry working for OMAFRA than as a private consultant, and that has always stuck with me and has been my philosophy throughout my career at OMAFRA.”

She still teaches evening courses at Brock and her appointment as an adjunct professor in the university’s Department of Biological Sciences gives her the ability to supervise student theses. It also lets her be involved with grape and tender fruit IPM research, a field that has changed considerably since her early days.

The use of molecular techniques and digital technologies, for example, allows her team to develop better recommendations, and do so more quickly than in the past, which benefits growers and the whole fruit and vegetable growing industry when it comes to new pest management strategies.

“I feel like most of the time growers are afraid to see me show up on their farms because I’m always telling them about the newest pest, disease, or fungicide resistance issue – but I also learn a lot from the growers I work with,” she says. “It’s important to listen to them and learn from them; they have a lot of practical experience we don’t get from books.”


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