Investor Highlight

July 19, 2021

Vermillion Growers is very proud and humbled to have a large number of investors, all a diverse group made of of individuals who, for one reason or another, believe in us and our tagline of Growing Food, Growing People, and Growing Communities. Our prioritizing the triple bottom line of protecting people, planet, and profit speaks to most investors, and we are grateful for each and every one of those who has invested their dollars into our state-of-the art glass greenhouse in Dauphin, MB.

Today we want to introduce you to two of those investors, both from different work backgrounds, though their lives have definitely intertwined over the years. Indeed, they are brothers! Both Art Gagnon and his younger sibling, René Gagnon, came to know Vermillion Growers separately, but both made the decision to invest time and money into our project. 

Art’s formal training was as a Mechanical Engineer, but he has worked in various fields. From residential real estate to supplying technology to large scale construction projects, Art enriched himself with experience.  But it was his decision to take over the family farm in St. Amélie, MB, just southeast of Ste. Rose du Lac, which would give him his most hands-on role. Art started with small grain, and then branched out to crops which would feed his successful seed business, Gagnon Seeds. He also farmed feeder cattle. The day-to-day operation of a farm, where he would remain for over 40 years, allowed Art to hone skills in business and agriculture, and develop a number of relationships. One of those relationships was with someone in the Ste. Rose du Lac Municipal Office, considering the nearby location of Art’s seed business and farm. This relationship had already started years before - it was his brother, René. 

Before René Gagnon worked at the Municipal Office, he attended Red River College, like older brother Art did, but in Business Administration. At the Municipal Office, Art and René’s work would be intertwined until René began working in the Northern Affairs Office in Thompson. While René thought the stint up north would only last a  few years, he remained for over 33 years, finishing up as Director of Finance. During his tenure he didn’t get to see as much of Ste. Rose and the Parkland Region as he would have liked, but, like Art, his thoughts are often there. 

It was Art who first learned about our greenhouse project through regional committees he serves on. Having sold his farm, Art still wanted to be involved in agriculture in the Parkland, and he feels this is the project he wants to support. Art and his wife Irene have invested not only money, but Art also serves on our Advisory Board, given the wealth of his experience. 

René learned about Vermillion Growers from Art and attended one of our investor events at the DeLuca’s South Landing store in Winnipeg. He saw the benefits of the project right away. 

“We are going to be going to the grocery store and getting tomatoes when they are ripe, and not ones that are gassed in Mexico and sent up here in a truck eventually,” he says.

 And René, and his wife, Shirley, both love the benefit our project will provide the area. 

“We love the economic boost for the area, and we wanted to invest in that," René says. And with their love of travel, René adds, “We look forward to the dividends and tax credit to fund our trips.”

 Art and Irene also love the benefits they will see from Vermillion, both personally from the dividends and tax credit, but also for the area.

“We are very eager to see the economic development it can create, and the jobs, of course," Art says.

 We agree with both brothers, and are thankful to them and every single one of our investors for their unwavering support.

NOTE: This blog entry features references to a ’tax credit’ for having invested in Vermillion Growers. This tax credit, available to eligible investors, is the Manitoba Small Business Venture Capital Tax Credit which provides a credit of up to 45% of the amount invested. If you would like information on this investment tool, please feel free to reach out to us from the Contact Us menu.

 

What About Jobs?

 

May 20, 2021

One litmus test for a healthy economy is the number of small - to medium-sized businesses that make a particular community home. In the case of Vermillion Growers, Phase One positions the greenhouse to be one of the largest small business employers (classified as 1 – 99 employees) in the region. Additional Phases will quickly bring the greenhouse into medium-sized business territory (100 – 499 employees), adding to the economic health and wealth of the region.

 Over the years the team at Vermillion Growers has been raising funds, sourcing expertise from around the globe, and building relationships to ensure the project gets off the ground, one question remains omnipresent, and rightly so:

 

What about jobs?

 

Vermillion Growers has nearly completed creating comprehensive job descriptions and plans to begin advertising for an assortment of positions in Summer, 2021! Vermillion will be looking to hire a variety of positions totalling 42 full and part time staff. In our communications with interested folks, both in person and online, the most asked about position is that of, “Gardener.” This is typically a question from people who genuinely love gardening and are interested in finding work in a sun-filled, warm, and green environment, especially through the long winter months! Gardeners play a key role in the greenhouse, actively caring for their own sections or rows of plants, and working with the Head Grower, Junior Grower, and Crop Scouts to ensure the health of the overall crop. Greenhouses require serious teamwork and synchronicity, which is why we will be actively looking for energetic individuals with a passion for learning, plants, and people! Our company tagline, “Growing Food, Growing People, Growing Communities,” are words we live by and growing our internal team is a step we are incredibly excited to take.

 We are thrilled to share our job teaser ad below. Though these positions will be available soon, Vermillion will not be accepting applications just yet. We would love you to help us spread the word on this exciting development and invite you to stay tuned to our social channels to be the first to know when official job advertisements are posted on our website.

 Our team would like to thank all those who have inquired about the project, employment, and partnerships. We are getting close and thank you for your continued support and excitement!

 

The Greenhouse Co.

 
 
May 4, 2021
 
A project with the magnitude of the greenhouse that we are building in Dauphin, Manitoba requires expertise and experience. In our September 2020 blog entry, we introduced you to our Project Engineer, Cormac Foster. Cormac is working directly with all of our vendors, and the largest contractor we have on site is the one charged with all of the construction. With 10 acres to start and additional phases of acreage to come, we are thrilled to have The Greenhouse Co. as the general contractor for the project.
 
The Greenhouse Co. management team has over 100 years of experience of designing and building a variety of projects. That know-how has been key to getting our 17,500 square foot warehouse completed and is instrumental to completing our state-of-the-art glass greenhouse.
 
Currently, The Greenhouse Co. is prepping to install all of the phase one screw piles which have arrived on site. 
 
To learn more about The Greenhouse Co., you can visit their website at tghc.ca.
 

From Seed to Store: The Life of a Tomato at Vermillion Growers

 

March 22, 2021

We often talk about precision agriculture and how producing tomatoes year-round in our state-of-the-art greenhouse will help in our mission of locally growing food, people, and
communities. Our production process is different than traditional farming, so we decided to introduce you to the life of a Vermillion Growers tomato.
 
The first step is propagation. This refers to the preparation of our tomato-on-the-vine (TOV) seeds as they are sown into plug trays and then germinate under specific conditions.
Once the seedlings are three weeks old, scions, the part of the plant which will eventually produce fruit, are grafted to rootstock and fed nutrients.
 
 
The next step is planting, which starts with transferring a plant into the specific grow medium we have chosen, coconut fibre. The unit is attached to a drip irrigation system and
physically supported for vertical growth. The optimum level of beneficial insectssuch as lady bugs, lacewings, and bumble bees, are then released into the growing environment.
 
 
For the next few weeks, the plant is in the care stage, where it, and its growing conditions, are continuously monitored. This care includes the scheduling and application of
nutrients, testing water, observation for pests (not the benefical bugs we introduced!) and disease, and pruning.
 
 
After approximately 10 weeks, we move into the harvest stage. TOV’s are cut from the plant with the vine still attached and transported directly to the warehouse for grading and
packaging.  Grading each tomato takes into consideration size, texture, shape, colour, and sugar levels or taste, in accordance with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA)
general requirements, as well as the buyer’s own quality control standards. Vermillion Growers will follow the internationally recognized ISO 22000 Food Safety management
standards, which maintains not only safety, but also accountability and traceability.
 
 
The final stage, packaging, takes place at our warehouse, where TOV are further graded and then boxed via an automated process. Tomatoes and boxes are labeled and prepared
for distribution. Trucks will arrive at our loading docks, ready to deliver tomatoes from our farm to your tables!
 
 
 
The process is repeated for every single TOV, row by row, throughout the greenhouse, and managed by an experienced team using cutting edge technology. We can’t wait to
demonstrate this process in person to you, but for now, we wanted you to have a good introduction to the delicious fruit we will be proud to grow in Dauphin, Manitoba.

Growing People: The Vermillion Growers Team

February 16, 2021

Last fall we introduced a new series for our blog which focuses on the center of our tagline, “Growing Food, Growing People, Growing Communities:” Growing People. This allows us to introduce you to some of the most valuable resources we have at Vermillion Growers.

Once our glass greenhouse structure is built and our technology, including our advanced irrigation system, is up and running, the spotlight will immediately shine on our very own Tera Pasternak .
 
Tera holds two titles at Vermillion: Junior Grower and Crop Scout,  roles which are absolutely vital to our precision agriculture model. As Junior Grower, Tera will be monitoring our state of the art technology, testing water, maintaining temperatures, and ensuring the acreage is performing optimally. As Crop Scout, she will be maintaining the integrated pest control program and specifically walking the greenhouse to provide boots on the ground data to keep things running most efficiently. The two roles complement each other, and Vermillion is thrilled to have someone with Tera’s background and passion on the team.
 
A graduate of the University of Manitoba, Tera holds a Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness. Long before that, Tera grew up on a farm, tending 400 head of cattle. And while Tera imagined she would spend her professional life in Manitoba with either cattle or grain, she is thrilled to be an integral part of the Vermillion Growers team, working with tomatoes.
 
Tera’s love for growing to feed others is a passion, and it started early in life.
 
“When I was really small we had a garden, which I loved, but my mother didn’t, so it didn’t last very long,” Tera recalls. "But when I was 11 or 12, we had a neighbour with a huge garden with all kinds of flowers. She made the mistake of taking me to a greenhouse, and it all sort of happened from there,” Tera relates.
 
Tera started to garden on her own, and later moving to her own place, continued the practice, mainly out of the joy of it. Animated and excitedly, Tera describes how she loves "watching things grow from a seed until you get to eat them."
 
"You can watch them grow in front of your eyes if you want to,” she laughs.
 
It was while at University that, although Tera expected to evetually work with livestock, she learned all about sustainability. After moving to Dauphin, Tera  heard about our upcoming greenhouse project and discovered sustainability would be an integral part.
 
“Mark (Kohan, Vermillion Growers CFO) and I both get our hair cut at the same place,” Tera confesses with a laugh. "She (Sherry, their hair stylist) told me about the greenhouse and when I contacted Mark, he sent me over videos about the project, and I just fell in love with it,” she continues. “This is everything I learned in school being put to use!”
 
Tera is passionate about sustainability, food security, and food sovereignty, pillars of the Vermillion Growers raison d’être. “We have to feed the world now and for generations to come,” Tera believes. “My great grandchildren can be fed because of new ways of doing things,” Tera says as she compares the traditional farming she grew up with and the farming with technology she will help manage at our state-of-the-art glass greenhouse.
 
When it comes to applying her education and passion to her work at Vermillion, Tera is excited. “I’m all about working smarter and not harder,” she claims.  "Seeing how everything in the greenhouse works together to make the plants the best they can be, it’s exciting,” she continues. 
 
Tera quite succinctly marries our vision and her passion as she declares, “We’re going to have to feed people for years to come, and I get to grow things!”

VERMILLION GROWERS

Growing high quality produce, healthy people, and sustainable communities

ADDRESS

21 Second Avenue NW,
Dauphin, MB R7N 1H1

CONTACT

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PHONE: 204-701-0120

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