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The challenges of greenhouse farming in Canada

with Dawn Buschert, Shirley’s Greenhouses

Original premiere date: 29 May 2020

Fresh beautiful veggies from a well managed greenhouse are a delicious and nutritious addition to your table.

Producing these vegetables is hard and detailed work. As a result, farmers need to charge more for their produce. Therein lies a significant challenge: will wholesalers support those prices? Will consumers?

In Canada, there are a number of producers who sell their products into the well established food supply system. When they sell into the system, they are competing with vegetables from California and Mexico, where they are grown in significant quantities. The price the farmer is paid fluctuates based on the market supply.

For some farmers, that price won’t support the cost of their operations, which leaves them with few options. Either they stop farming or they opt out of the system and sell directly to consumers. For some consumers, these products are highly sought after because the product is delivered from farm to table and isn’t touched by so many hands.

Farmers markets play host to a number of producers who have decided to grow, package and sell their products. It’s also a lot more work. In addition to nurturing the plants to maturity, the farmer needs to design and source packaging. They also need to complete the packing process and transport them to the market. Once there, they need to set up their site and sell. As Dawn Buschert of Shirley’s Greenhouses says, “It’s a lot of work but for us, because we are small, it is the only way we can survive financially. We can’t produce at a rate that competes with imported prices.”

We invited Ms. Buschert to join us for a Conversation That Matters about the work of operating a greenhouse in Canada and why it is important that she and others take on the arduous task of complementing the food supply system.

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