Over the past week, just over 90 percent of the Holland Marsh’s ag workers were vaccinated through pop-up clinics and appointments.
Organized by the Holland Marsh Growers’ Association (HMGA), in collaboration with the Simcoe—Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU), York Region Health Unit and local municipalities, the vaccination effort was necessary to ensure the spring growing season could begin safely, with farmers and ag workers inoculated against the spread of COVID-19. The HMGA continues to work with both health units to identify agri-workers in both regions needing vaccines.
“Getting the vaccine into the arms of our farmers and their workers is a huge relief to all the families across the Marsh. But it is also critically important to ensure we are able to safely grow the produce that Canadians across the country require,” said Jody Mott, executive director of the HMGA.
The vaccination clinic was organized by Holland Marsh Growers’ Association (HMGA), in collaboration with the Simcoe—Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU), York Region Health Unit and local municipalities.
“As we all do our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19, it is a remarkable achievement to see the vaccination efforts for our Holland Marsh farmers,” said the Honourable Caroline Mulroney, MPP for York—Simcoe. “All across the Marsh, growers who produce the food we rely on to feed our families were vaccinated this week and it is wonderful to see.”
“I want to thank the Holland Marsh Growers’ Association for being so proactive in keeping our essential workers safe during COVID-19,” said Ernie Hardeman, minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs. “This remarkable milestone is further proof of the great results we can achieve when work together to support the agriculture sector that feeds and nourishes Ontario every day.”
"Ensuring that our food supply is protected is absolutely vital for Canadians during this pandemic. I have been working with the Holland Marsh Growers' Association and local and regional health authorities to secure the continued safety of farm workers,” said York—Simcoe MP Scot Davidson. “The entire community is grateful for our healthcare and agricultural workers for all of their hard work.”
The association says other ag communities in Ontario are possibly interested in replicating the HMGA clinic.
“We’re continuing to do everything we can to get shots into arms as soon as possible,” said Bradford West Gwillimbury deputy mayor James Leduc. “What the Growers’ Association did over the past number of days is a remarkable accomplishment that will keep our food producers safe.”
“It was an impressive operation. Entire farms would arrive and queue to be vaccinated. Everyone was in and out in about 40 minutes or less, and there was just something special about nurses getting people vaccinated right in the heart of the Marsh in barns and greenhouses,” said Bradford Ward 2 Councillor Jonathan Scott, who volunteered at one of the clinics. “I’ve heard from friends in other ag communities across the province that they want to replicate what our Growers’ Association made happen in our region.”
“We’re grateful for the support from local elected officials and the process working with the health unit could not have gone more smoothly. At the end of day, we are growing approximately 55 percent of Ontario’ s root vegetables,” said Quinton Woods, chair of the HMGA.