CAN (ON): Greenhouse industry experiencing growing pains

Windsor may be best known for being the seat of Ontario’s auto sector. But not far from Canada’s own motor city, in the farms of Essex County, another major exporter has grown rapidly in the past decade: Ontario’s greenhouse vegetable growers. Making up the preponderance of Canada’s greenhouse sector overall — last year, Statistics Canada reported Ontario is home to more than 60 percent of all greenhouse area in the country, though not all of that is in Windsor-Essex — the province’s greenhouse sector now boasts that the cluster of growers in the southwest is second only to the Netherlands in terms of total glassed-in area.

The greenhouse sector is also growing rapidly and expanded by more than 40 million square feet, or about 28 percent, between 2016 and 2021.

“It’s very, very important for Windsor-Essex,” says Rakesh Naidu, president, and CEO of the Windsor-Essex Region Chamber of Commerce. “But not just for Windsor-Essex — for North America as well. There’s no other region in North America that grows as much in greenhouses as we do, and 70 percent of that is exported to the U.S.”

That rapid growth, however, is already straining the infrastructure in the region, and there’s more growth planned.


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