Brian Gilroy is the 2023 recipient of the OFVGA’s Industry Award of Merit.
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He received the award at the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association’s annual industry banquet in Niagara Falls Feb. 21.
An apple grower from the Meaford area, Gilroy has been involved with the OFVGA board in various capacities since 1990 and was chair of the organization from 2010 to 2012.
Why it matters: The OFVGA Award of Merit is presented annually to an individual or organization that has made outstanding contributions to the fruit and vegetable industry.
“Brian loves agriculture, people and farming and he’s harnessed those passions for the betterment of our industry through his more than three decades of service to this industry,” says OFVGA executive director Alison Robertson.
“He’s never shied away from taking on the often unappreciated behind-the-scenes work that plays such a key role in encouraging collaboration and bringing people together to achieve outcomes that will benefit all growers.”
During his time on the OFVGA board, Gilroy has also served as vice-chair and as a director representing the Ontario Apple Growers. His most long-standing role with the organization has been as chair of the OFVGA property section, whose mandate has expanded to include property, infrastructure, energy and food safety.
Outside of the OFVGA, Gilroy has held leadership roles with a variety of organizations, including chair of the Ontario Apple Growers, president of the Canadian Horticultural Council (now Fruit & Vegetable Growers of Canada), and chair of Farm & Food Care Ontario. He’s also a long-time director with the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.
Following dissolution of the Ontario Apple Marketing Commission in 2001, Gilroy worked to ensure Ontario apple growers had an organization to represent their needs, which ultimately led to formation of the Ontario Apple Growers as a marketing board with mandatory fees to ensure its financial viability.
At the national level, his knack for building consensus helped open international market opportunities for Canadian apples and ensure stable pricing by securing orderly domestic marketing of apples.
Gilroy is also a champion of public trust in the food system and has dedicated countless volunteer hours to consumer outreach through his roles with Farm & Food Care Ontario and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Earlier this year, Gilroy was also announced as a 2023 inductee into the Ontario Agriculture Hall of Fame.
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