Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) are eager to engage the local municipal councils of both Kingsville and Leamington on reasonable and enforceable lighting by-laws for the greenhouse sector in the region.
OGVG recognizes the legitimate community concerns with greenhouse nighttime glow. "At the same time OGVG is concerned that the recently enacted by-laws may be proven to be both impractical and unenforceable. This is a situation that OGVG believes everyone involved would like to avoid," they say.
The realities of Canadian winters, such as low light levels and temperatures, mean that growers must provide plants with additional light and heat to support their growth. As a critical source of fresh local vegetables during the COVID-19 pandemic, that goal is only becoming more important.
"OGVG has worked diligently to identify technical solutions to growers using lights and will continue to identify and implement light abatement technologies and encourage the adoption of good neighbour policies that meet the expectations of residents and the needs of greenhouse vegetable farmers," they say.
To that end, OGVG has engaged the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), the University of Windsor, the University of Guelph and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to identify lighting strategies and abatement techniques and technologies that can work in the unique climate of southern Ontario.
“OGVG and our members are committed to working with the communities in which they farm”, said George Gilvesy, Chair of OGVG. “Our growers understand and share community concerns on the effects of light pollution to the environment”.
“These research initiatives are ongoing and will provide growers with the technical knowledge needed to meet crop needs and provide more nighttime glow abatement,” said Joseph Sbrocchi, General Manager of OGVG. “I am confident that our work with government and academia will provide solutions that meet community expectations and ensure the continued production of safe, nutritious, local produce year-round”.