Statement – Ontario Greenhouse Alliance

May 27, 2013

Mr. Ernie Hardeman: I’m pleased to rise to recognize the Ontario Greenhouse Alliance, who are here at Queen’s Park today, and to recognize the hard work of all Ontario greenhouse growers.

Those who claim to support local food need to understand it doesn’t start at the farm gate; it starts in the fields, barns and greenhouses across Ontario. It is the hard work of people like those who are here today that provides Ontario greenhouse vegetables and extends our growing season. It is the hard work these greenhouse growers do that makes the sector a significant economic driver in Ontario, with well over $100 million in exports and investment of over $2 billion in our rural economy.

Like many agriculture sectors, many of the challenges they’re facing are created by this government, such as the increasing cost of hydro and red tape. I want to commend the greenhouse growers for coming to talk to the members about these issues and how we can help.

I want to recognize Rej Picard, who has been an outstanding chair. I appreciate that he has always provided us with information and ensured that we were aware of the challenges they are facing. He showed us the cogeneration facilities, where they were having trouble getting contracts. He showed us the innovation that the sector was doing to become more environmental and more competitive.

I’m pleased that the new chair, Jan VanderHout, is someone already known for his innovation, such as using biomass combustion as a heat source and implementing environmental innovations. We look forward to continuing to work with Jan and the greenhouse sector.