This year’s award recipients will be honoured Tuesday night during an awards reception hosted by Flowers Canada Growers.
|René Juraschka of Cedar Field Greenhouses, at left, and then Ontario
Minister of Agriculture and Food Ted McMeekin, and award recipient Andy
Long-time grower and industry volunteer Andy Kuyvenhoven, of Kuyvenhoven Greenhouses of Brampton, Ontario, earned the 2012 Flowers Canada (Ontario) Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Award. It is awarded to anyone in the floriculture industry (grower, researcher, supplier, distributor, retailer) who:
• Has made a significant and lasting contribution to the industry.
• Has shown exceptional involvement in local, regional and national industry associations, boards and committees.
• Has contributed to the enhancement of public understanding and appreciation of the floriculture industry.
Past winners include Terry Colasanti (2009), Cole Cacciavillani (2010), and Rej Picard (2011).
Outlining his accomplishments during the awards reception, excerpted below, was René Juraschka, of Cedar Field Greenhouses.
Andy Kuyvenhoven is well recognized in many circles – circles of growers, circles of farmers, family circles and even government circles in Toronto and Ottawa. For 25 years Andy has actively contributed to the co-operative, team-building spirit that has helped the Ontario and Canadian floriculture sectors flourish.
He is the first to admit that he cannot remember the exact dates when he joined boards and committees, or how long he remained involved. He remembers he just did it because he enjoyed it.
However, he does remember the exact date when he became a member of the greater greenhouse family. That date was the day he was born. His parents joked that they are not sure if he was born or if they just picked him out of the greenhouse.
FAMILY HERITAGE OF DUTCH GROWERS
As like many in this room, Andy comes from a family heritage of Dutch greenhouse growers.
Andy’s grandfather grew fall chrysanthemums in the heart of Westland in Holland and his father helped out there running the market garden and greenhouses.
When Andy’s father immigrated to Canada, he had a plan in his back pocket to some day do the same thing here. And true to form, in the late 1950s, Andy’s father bought a greenhouse business with Arie of Hilltop Florists in what is now Brampton, Ontario.
As Andy grew up on the farm, his family excelled at growing chrysanthemums, which since 1969 has been the staple crop at the farm.
In 1981, Andy and Mary were married and the following year, Andy joined the family greenhouse business. In 1987 he became a partner and in 1990 he purchased the farm from his father and brother.
VOLUNTEERING IS HIS HOBBY
When asked how he found time to devote to so many boards and committees on top of farming flowers and raising a family, Andy says that he made this his hobby.
“Other people played sports or took up woodworking,” he explains, “I took up volunteering.”
He is quick to point out as well that he has a great support team at home and that he has great staff at the farm that allows him the flexibility to volunteer at so many levels.
In the mid-1980s, Andy became involved in a few committees at the Ontario Flower Growers Co-operative and in the late 1980s he was first elected to the board. He remained a member on that board until 2001.
Following this, and at the urging of Irwin Smith, Andy started to become more involved with Flowers Canada (Ontario) and was soon elected as a director on the FCO board as well.
CHALLENGING TIMES FOR SECTOR
For nine years Andy worked tirelessly, representing our sector and handling sticky issues that posed risks to Ontario’s flower growers.
He was president at FCO and spoke up for the sector during the Duponchelia quarantines and the ever increasing bulb shipment rejections.
And he guided the industry association as it grew and evolved to take on a more active role in raising awareness of the economic and health contributions flower growers make to the province.
During his tenure at FCO, Andy also joined the Flowers Canada Growers board of directors and served as president there as well.
MAJOR ROLE IN FORMATION OF COHA
As FCG evolved, he played a major role in the formation of the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance (COHA) ensuring that the ornamental horticulture sector now receives effective representation in Ottawa, something that was not being achieved as members of the Canadian Horticulture Council.
Over the years, Andy has seen many technological changes in the greenhouse and also many progressive changes in the associations and co-operatives where his volunteer time has been so valued.
He is happy to point out that, similar to the enhanced professionalism seen at Ontario greenhouse farms, he has seen a corresponding rise in the professionalism exhibited by co-ops and industry associations.
And it is great to see that more people in the industry are understanding of how important it is to have volunteers sit on these boards and provide leadership and guidance.