Growers left in lurch as CanGro plant closures go ahead

© AgMedia Inc.

While the possibility still exists a buyer might be found for the only remaining North American fruit canning plant east of the Rockies, the chairman of the Ontario Tender Fruit Producers Marketing Board isn’t holding his breath.


I have a deep feeling that the closure of this plant will have a huge consequence on our Ontario/Canadian food security. If this factory goes, there is a strong possibility that our Niagara fruit orchards will slowly disappear with it.

There is a large growing sector of Ontario urban residents that are starting to understand that local food is important, and they are eager to purchase local food.....especially the fabulous tender fruits of the Niagara region.

In the article, Mr. Troup's commented that there is a possibility that 'new acres in fresh markets could generate another serious problem: “It doesn’t take too much extra to overload a market”. I think that a lot of residents would like to see the market and their groceries stores become flooded with Ontario produce. Right now we are still seeing US produce being sold in grocery chains during the peak season of Ontario produce (ex. strawberries, peaches and pears etc.) When I've asked produce managers why there isn't more Ontario produce on their shelves, their response is because they can't get a hold of enough Ontario produce.

I say wake up MPPs in the Ontario government! Help support this canning factory, because your citizens would like to have local food and not canned fruits that have been shipped from half the world away!

-Heather Howell
Burlington, Ontario

I am starting a business as a local food broker in Waterloo, ON. I see a huge increase in the interest in local foods. People are finally realizing the importance of buying local food. Customers are even prioritizing buying local over organic. We've gone through a dry spell of cheap global food but now the tides are turning back to a balance that prioritizes local again.

I am writing to encourage the entrepreneurs of the Niagara region to start their own cannery for peaches and pears. It does not have to be gigantic to be successful. I am ready to sell your canned peaches and pears to stores here in KW and surrounding cities. I know people that will sell them in Toronto too. Email me if/when you have canned peaches and pears to sell.

I'd like to see the ON government support the transition to one or two smaller canneries.

- Nina Bailey-Dick
Waterloo, Ontario

Having worked for Nabisco in the 90’s and dealing with the people at the St. Davids, Exeter and Dresden plants I am saddened at the thought of the closures of these two plants. For many years these people took pride in their work and delivered quality products to Canadians.

And like a lot of people these days, I too want to buy locally and certainly won’t be buying canned fruit and vegetables from elsewhere. If the plants stayed open and competed with the Del Monte, Aylmer and Ideal brands they only have to label their cans with “Grown in Canada” and I think most consumers these days would make the right choice.

Also, with the growing cost of transportation, offshore fruit prices are surely going to rise. I believe our oil prices will continue to increase, as resources are limited. Has CanGro factored this into their long-term plans? When it does happen, it may be too late to get back what we currently have. I think as a country/province we need to be self-sufficient and take care of our farmland. Who knows what the future holds.

Schomberg, Ontario

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