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Grower Day talks next generation and COVID planning

August 18, 2020  By Greta Chiu

Last Wednesday, Greenhouse Canada held their 25th annual Grower Day for greenhouse flowers and vegetables in a new virtual format. With over 400 registrants, the event delivered a mixture of live and recorded content to an audience throughout Canada, the United States and across the globe.

Growing the next generation

The event kickstarted with a live virtual panel featuring three young growers who arrived at a career in horticulture through three very different ways: Jennifer McIntosh, head grower at Meyers Flowers; Jette Vanadrichem, assistant grower at Ontario Plants Propagation; and Brennan Parkin, assistant grower at One Floral.


From the importance of formal training and hands-on experience, to handling the stress of growing plant material to certain specifications, panelists used their own experiences to share ideas on how the industry might attract, support and retain more young people in the sector. One key message was the importance of industry collaboration. Interested young growers need to explore what’s out there, and greenhouses need to open their doors for a glimpse of what’s possible.

>>Watch a recording of the panel here

Moving forward with COVID

The second live panel of the day featured five owners and operators of four different floriculture, vegetable and retail garden centre operations: Bob and Carmen Mitchell from Suntech greenhouses; Stan Vander Waal from Rainbow Greenhouses; Brian Minter from Minter Country Garden; and Len Ferragine from Bradford Greenhouses Garden Gallery.

Panelists shared their thoughts and outlook for Fall and Christmas, contingency plans and production changes for the 2021 season. One key message for floriculture growers was to get in their orders as soon as possible to account for possible delays or shortages in the supply chain.

>>Watch a recording of the panel here

Nutrient management for the cannabis curious

The last live portion of the day was a Q&A on cannabis nutrient management, geared towards growers who might have an interest in exploring this new greenhouse crop. David Pratt, president and co-founder of Emerald Harvest, chatted about the importance of high-quality nutrients and why that might differ from growing flowers or vegetables.

>>Watch a recording of the Q&A here

Greenhouse expertise on-demand

Though sequentially released in the weeks leading up to Grower Day, all nine on-demand sessions were released, featuring an all-star roster of Canadian greenhouse expertise. Clocking at just 20 minutes each, the presentations feature the latest in research, technology and best practices for business and production.

Demystifying dehumidification
Researchers tested four different dehumidification technologies, and here’s what they found.
Speaker: Dr. Jingjing Han, Flowers Canada (Ontario)

The economics of biocontrol
How do the economics of using biocontrol stack up against pesticides? Take a deeper dive into your biocontrol costs.
Speaker: Graeme Murphy, bioLogical Control Solutions

What’s next for biocontrol
Explore some exciting new IPM technologies on the horizon revealed at the recent Annual Biocontrol Industry Meeting.
Speaker: Dr. Michael Brownbridge, BioWorks

Thwarting the next data attack
Cases of ransomware are on the rise. Learn how to prevent your data from being kidnapped and what to do in a ransom situation.
Speaker: Craig Barretto, Proack Security

Growing strawberries in the greenhouse
Eight three-level towers of strawberries were studied for growth, yield and fruit quality under conventional and organic regimes.
Speaker: Dr. Laila Benkrima, Simon Fraser University

Biocontrol: Round peg in a square hole
Balancing available biocontrol options with your expectations, learn how to identify the right solutions for your greenhouse.
Speaker: Brian Spencer, Applied Bio-nomics

Setting microbes in motion
Learn how different strains of microbial biofungicides could be used to prevent and manage different diseases and pathogens.
Speaker: Dr. Deborah Henderson, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Mental break: Taking care of your health
Learn how to recognize when you or someone you know is struggling, and tips on how to get help.
Speaker: Emily Kerr, AgSafe BC

Why your plant’s needs and business plans go hand in hand
Meet both your plant’s needs and those of your operation’s by taking the right actions at the right time.
Speaker: Dr. Mohyuddin Mirza

>>Access on-demand sessions now

Celebrating Canadian horticulture

Aligning with the annual in-person event, Grower Day also honoured each of this year’s award winners. Sponsored by Paul Boers and Prins Greenhouses, the Top 4 Under 40 award winners were Keith Vis of Sunshine Greenhouses Ltd. in Redcliff, Alberta; Corne and Paul Moerman from Sunnyside Produce Ltd. in Surrey, BC; Michael van den Hoek from Lowland Gardens in Great Village, Nova Scotia; and Rachel Gondosch from Westwood Greenhouses in New Hamburg, Ont. Gondosch joined in the event to share words of thanks and offered words of encouragement for the next generation.

Also recognized was this year’s Grower of the Year award winner, Bert Mucci of Mucci Farms, in Kingsville Ont.

>>> Watch the recording here

Looking forward to 2021

Running for the past 25 years, Grower Day is a local educational event held in Ontario that aims to encourage discussion among flower and vegetable growers. Last year, the event expanded to a second day for cannabis, hosted by sister magazine Grow Opportunity. Though plans to bring Grower Day to British Columbia were derailed by the pandemic this year, the show plans to return to its in-person physical form for 2021 if regulations allow.




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