Canadians have a growing demand for fresh tender fruit — peaches, nectarines, plums, prunes, and pears, etc. The Ontario Tender Fruit Lab’s first-of-its-kind study explores how this demand might be better met locally.
The lab’s recently-published report, Building a Resilient Tender Fruit Industry in Ontario, is the result of over 70 interviews with key stakeholders in the food system and in the tender fruit industry. This was a direct application of the new Social Innovation Lab model, developed and conducted by the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience and MaRS Solutions Lab.
The researchers proposed several key interventions:
- Improve the consistency of quality of Ontario tender fruit for consumers.
- Increase tender fruit production efficiency on-farm to increase net profitability at the farm gate and boost environmental performance.
- Create a supportive ecosystem to enable entrepreneurs to develop new products and engage with growers to create fruit processing businesses.
- Adopt standardized packaging to increase efficiency for the value chain and reduce costs and waste for a highly labour-intensive industry.
- Create a cross-sectoral collaboration for an updated virus testing procedure.
This project was supported by the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Greenbelt Foundation and Metcalf Foundation. Click here to access the full report.