The Ontario Greenhouse Alliance (TOGA) is a strategic partnership between the two organizations representing Ontario’s greenhouse floriculture growers and Ontario’s greenhouse vegetable growers. There are about 500 greenhouse operations in Ontario that collectively make up the memberships of the two organizations.
TOGA was formed in 2003 because Ontario’s greenhouse grower organizations recognized that they shared many issues in common. By having one common voice, they correctly judged that it would be easier to work with government and to be more effective as a sector. Issues affecting production – such as energy, labour and environmental regulations – are common to both sectors of greenhouse agriculture and are addressed by TOGA. Issues related to marketing – for example, which channel to sell through – are addressed by each of the two organizations. Food safety requirements provide another example of an asymmetrical issue that only greenhouse vegetable growers need to address.
Frequently asked questions
"Must greenhouse operators be members of either Flowers Canada (Ontario) or Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers?"
Generally, yes. Greenhouse operators must be members when:
In the case of flowers, once the greenhouse space devoted to flowers exceeds 20,000 square feet, membership is mandatory in Flowers Canada (Ontario)
In the case of greenhouse vegetables, all Ontario greenhouse operators that grow cucumbers, peppers or tomatoes must be members of the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers.
"How is TOGA funded?"
Under the authority of the Farm Products Marketing Act, both grower organizations that are the two members of TOGA assess license fees to growers based on the amount of square feet in greenhouse production. From the budgets of their organizations, each of TOGA’s two members provide funding to TOGA as membership fees. TOGA also seeks to access grant programs where they are applicable to TOGA’s needs to leverage additional government funds for its initiatives.
"How does greenhouse agriculture differ from field agriculture?"
Among the differences:
Greenhouse is much more capital intensive than field agriculture with new construction costing up to $1 million per acre;
The production environment is tightly controlled – among the advantages this control makes possible is expanded use of biocontrol measures such as the use of "good bugs to hunt down and kill bad bugs."
Higher yields with greater consistency, out yielding field production by over seven times. Higher value production inputs (labour, energy) relative to the land used
Fixed infrastructure means long term commitment to the production system
Highly automated and innovative technology
In Ontario, a significant amount of our greenhouse products is exported to the US, differentiating the sector from many other parts of agriculture that are primarily domestic in their market focus