The greenhouse sector in Ontario is a robust industry. Covering 14.4 million square metres of land and employing over 16,000 workers, these agriculture operations are responsible for some of the tastiest fruit and vegetables on consumer tables, and the prettiest flowers and plants.

Unfortunately, greenhouse and other agriculture workers are at great risk; experiencing higher lost-time injury rates than any other Schedule 1 sector over the last six years.
With new technology being introduced to almost every aspect of our lives, it is not surprising that farming continues to become more technologically advanced as well.
Introduced earlier this year, new rules for agricultural environmental management were put in place for all agricultural operators in British Columbia, including greenhouse growers.
Although skilled tax lawyers may dispute the second half of Mark Twain’s famous claim that “the only two certainties in life are death and taxes,” the death part is hard to avoid. The urgency of succession planning for business owners is particularly acute, as declining health might require others to run the business long before the passing of the founder.
Food fraud is a growing problem, costing the global food trade an estimated $30-$40 billion USD in annual losses, and it can put public health at risk. While the term is typically defined as ‘intentional deception using food for economic gain’ there are seven different types of food fraud, as laid out in the chart below.
The business planning process is a critical tool for the creation, expansion or diversification of any business, and it needs to be updated regularly. A business plan is essentially a game plan – a written record of goals and how to reach them. It should describe the product or service offered, customers and market competition, management and financial arrangements, as well as a marketing plan.
So, you own a greenhouse and things have been going well. You know you need more space to grow, but you are unsure of how to proceed. Do you expand the existing operation or do you sell and buy another?
Have you ever sold more than you could supply? For most industries, overselling would result in unhappy customers and a lot of damage control. Fortunately, for those in the business of selling plants, that may just require a call to another grower to help fulfill those orders.
As a business owner, would you invest in plants that you knew would cost more to produce than the return? Without a compelling return on investment, the obvious answer is no, but there is a chance that you might be doing exactly that. In our last article, we explored how consumers attach value to a plant and how that should be considered when growers assign prices. Now it’s time to look at how the cost of production should affect the price as well.
Many greenhouse growers in B.C. have implemented some form of mechanization, most commonly in the grading and packing process – but how safe is it for workers?
Let’s be honest. It can be frustrating to hear misleading stories about food production. Consumers see sensationalized headlines about food production and may not have all the necessary facts to make informed food choices.
Today’s labour market is tight. Profits are tight. As hiring managers, our job has become increasingly difficult. We can talk all day about the challenges we face – the aging labour force, millennials, skilled labour – the fact is, most people are already working. Their families depend on it. The question is, how do we motivate people to work for us?
Pure Flavor credits their partnership with IFCO as one of the keys to providing fresh produce to North America year-round.
As spring production starts, so does a new cycle of tasks.

Floor sweeping and bench cleaning may be obvious, but when was the last time you calibrated your EC meter? Or checked the glazing on the greenhouse itself?

Have a look at this comprehensive check list put together by Michigan State University. Divided into sections for structures and equipment, plant health and business management, you might find that you’ve been missing something in your routine.

Note that some products may not be available to Canadian operations.
November 2017 – There are many factors that affect the rates, prices and tariffs paid for utilities and services. At many floriculture, horticulture and manufacturing facilities these costs are nearly 40 per cent of the operating budget and sometimes more. Adding to the concern is the possibility of costly billing errors by different utilities and service providers.
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