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Food Security and Vermillion Growers

May 20, 2020

The May Long Weekend is typically the time in Southern Manitoba when we mark the unofficial beginning of summer. Though the summer solstice is still more than a month away, it’s the May Long when folks tend to flock to open their cabins and cottages, golfers start to hit the links, and BBQ season takes off. With the warmer weather, construction also generally kicks into high gear.

This year is quite different. With COVID-19, although construction has been allowed to continue, it is certainly happening at a slower pace because of physical distancing requirements and the ability to procure materials. We were expecting a slower early spring, and now that the ground is much firmer, it allows us to work a little faster. COVID-19 continues to present challenges, yet we still plan to produce tomatoes by spring of 2021, right on schedule.
Knowing that COVID-19 has produced some challenges thrusts a subject we introduced in our last blog entry into the spotlight: food security. This is the availability of food and people’s ability to access it. At Vermillion Growers, we are committed to food security for our region as we build our greenhouse in Dauphin, Manitoba.
According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, tomatoes are the highest fresh vegetable import by commodity (in terms of metric tonnes) imported into Canada in 2018. Around 72% of these tomatoes were imported from Mexico. Considering this in the current pandemic times we live in, it makes us all wonder: “what if the borders closed and we couldn’t get our tomatoes?” With the border between the United States and Canada already closed to non-essential travel, it isn’t a far stretch to imagine not being able to transport vegetables across the border. And this is precisely why food security is important, and why Vermillion Growers is so committed to it.
With restaurants limited to how much they can serve at the moment, we consider how our diets have changed. Obviously, potatoes are in lower demand because, with so many restaurants closed, fewer people are able to have “fries with that,” and those same people are not buying potatoes in the same bulk as restaurants in order to make their own. However, the staple tomato, ubiquitous in salads and pasta sauces, remains in high demand. Once we finish building our warehouse and move on to the actual greenhouse itself later this summer, Vermillion Growers will be positioned to offer food security to the area we are proud to serve - Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Northwest Ontario, right from our home in the Parkland Region of Manitoba.
As we continue our steady construction, if you’d like to connect with us, we’d love to hear from you: simply click on Contact Us on our website.