Hardeman: Agri-food sector's 'Ontario spirit' puts food on the table, gratitude in our hearts

We all appreciate that "good things grow in Ontario."

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We all appreciate that “good things grow in Ontario.” From apples to zucchinis to everything in between, more than 200 kinds of nutritious, high-quality products are grown and processed right here at home all year round. Even more impressive — and what makes our agri-food industry so renowned — are the dedicated, hardworking people who ensure those good things grow, and who continue to produce the food that sustains us during this crisis. We are truly fortunate for the diverse range of products Ontario farmers and food processors bring to our tables every day.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak emerged, it has never been more evident to Ontarians just how vital our agri-food sector is to our health and our economy. The vital work the sector does — day in and day out — is inspiring.

Ontario farmers and food processors show the best of our province and remind us that we’re all in this fight together. The “Ontario spirit” about which Premier Ford often speaks — our sense of togetherness at a time of great difficulty — certainly shines through everyone contributing to our agri-food sector.


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It’s there at every step along the province’s food supply chain, from farm to fork, as frontline workers make sure people are fed and nourished at this unprecedented time.

We see growing awareness of how much we owe to our frontline workers, and that includes everyone who works in agriculture-related businesses in food production, processing and service.

Everyone across the agriculture and food supply chain is making sacrifices and working through obstacles to maintain the essential food supply system on which we all rely.

I’m extremely proud of the agri-food sector’s ability to keep our food supply chain strong as markets change around the world. This situation has made heroes of people across Ontario who continue to work to provide for their fellow citizens.

During these unprecedented times, Ontarians have been reassured by the fact that our agri-food sector continues to bring food to our tables. Everyone working hard to make that happen deserves our thanks. From transporting food, to making sure grocery store shelves are full, to planting this season’s crops, you are an inspiration to us all.

I want to extend my sincere appreciation to our province’s entire food sector for the critical work you do every day. Your efforts to grow, process, package, transport and retail Ontario’s high-quality foods are critical in our fight to beat this virus. I, the Premier and the people of Ontario salute your efforts during this outbreak. Your commitment shows us the very best of that Ontario spirit in action.

Ernie Hardeman is MPP for Oxford and the minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs