Support from the Greenbelt Foundation helps Ontario Tender Fruit Growers strengthen the economic viability of the Niagara product
With over $450,000 in funding from the Greenbelt Foundation, Ontario Tender Fruit and Fresh Grape Growers have planted more than 212,000 new trees and 200 new grape vines since 2016
TORONTO, September 15, 2022 — The Greenbelt Foundation is celebrating the success of the Ontario Tender Fruit Tree and Vine Program with project partner Ontario Tender Fruit Growers, who undertook the first round of planting in the 2016-17 season. The program has already had a significant positive impact on the region and growers, and to mark the occasion, a reception and orchard tour were organized today at Thwaites High Density Pear Orchard in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
The project supports tender fruit and fresh grape growers by increasing their yields and helping to sustain the industry through providing fresh, healthy, local fruit to Ontario consumers and bolstering our regional economy. "
A total of more than $450,000 in funding from the Greenbelt Foundation and Greenbelt Fund was provided in two grants in 2016 and 2018. That has resulted in more than 212,000 new trees, including peach, nectarine, plum, apricot, pear and sour cherry, and 200 new table grape vines being planted on approximately 765 acres of land across the Niagara Tender Fruit and Grape Area – one of the province’s only two specialty crop areas protected by Ontario’s Greenbelt. Additional funding of more than $286,000 has been provided by the Foundation for the 2021-23 period to plant 75,000 new tender fruit trees and 10,000 new fresh grape vines in the Niagara region. This major investment in agriculture is part of an ongoing Replant program to strengthen growing operations in the Greenbelt.
“It is rewarding to be toasting to the success of this program and know that our efforts are literally bearing fruit,” said Edward McDonnell, Greenbelt Foundation CEO. “This project addresses many vital issues in addition to the economic viability of the Niagara tender fruit sector, such as local agriculture, food security and resilience to climate change.”
The project supports tender fruit and fresh grape growers by increasing their yields and helping to sustain the industry through providing fresh, healthy, local fruit to Ontario consumers and bolstering our regional economy.
“The funding has helped growers invest in newer varieties to get into the market earlier, extend the season and diversify their plantings. In these times of erratic weather patterns, diversification can help mitigate risk,” said Phil Tregunno, Chair of Ontario Tender Fruit Growers.
The investment from the Foundation funds up to 30 per cent of the cost of eligible new tender fruit trees and fresh grape vines, and it has impacted more than 90 growers. Total overall grower investment from Ontario’s tender fruit industry has amounted to $3.2 million.
The combined impact of this partnership has resulted in:
- 10.7 million pounds (5,384 tons) of tender fruit available to Ontario consumers this year and sold mostly for fresh market consumption
- Total estimated 2022 farm gate value of $13.3 million
- Associated overall economic activity in Ontario of $25 million
- 335 full-time jobs sustained with associated wages and salaries of $13 million
- $6.9 million in tax revenues
- Overall Ontario GDP of $16.5 million due to economic activity
The program uses improved plant varieties that can withstand the extremes of climate change, provide a consistent supply of local fruit and meet increasing consumer demand. These facets of the program help to strengthen and grow Niagara’s Tender Fruit sector and increase its economic impact.
To read a backgrounder with further information about the project, please click here.
About Greenbelt Foundation
The Greenbelt Foundation is a charitable organization solely dedicated to ensuring the Greenbelt remains permanent, protected and prosperous. We make the right investments in its interconnected natural, agricultural and economic systems to ensure a working, thriving Greenbelt for all. Ontario's Greenbelt is one of the world's largest with over two million acres of farmland, forests, wetlands and rivers working together to provide clean air, fresh water and a reliable local food source.
About Ontario Tender Fruit Growers and Ontario Fresh Grape Growers’ Marketing Board
The Ontario Tender Fruit Growers and Ontario Fresh Grape Growers’ Marketing Board are non-profit, independent farming organizations governed by members/growers elected by their peers. The organizations regulate prices and conditions of sale, as well as marketing and promotion for tender fruit and fresh grape growers in Ontario.
Greenbelt Foundation Media Contact
Senior Media and Communications Officer
(416) 960-0001 Extension 311
Ontario Tender Fruit Growers Media Contact
Manager, Ontario Tender Fruit Growers
(905) 688-0990 ext. 232
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