A pilot program this summer has been connecting employers with seasonal farm workers in the Okanagan's orchards and vineyards.
BC Fruit Works has secured 90 branch hands for fruit-harvest jobs and 60 farmers interested in training and adopting technology to maximize profit and minimize food waste.
The pilot program is a collaboration between the BC Grape Growers’ Association, BC Cherry Association, BC Fruit Growers’ Association and the BC Tree Fruit Cooperative as well as the provincial Ministry of Agriculture and Food.
“BC Fruit Works is part of our government’s Tree Fruit Industry Stabilization initiative as we look at ways to co-ordinate various agencies through an industry labour strategy,” said Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham.
“This collaborative approach is strengthening the B.C. tree-fruit and wine sector, and ensuring their delicious and high-quality products will continue to get into the hands of consumers this summer and in the future.”
BC Fruit Works started back in June with the goal of engaging domestic workers to work as branch hands in Okanagan orchards and vineyards.
“The new BC Fruit Works program represents the future for hiring Canadians to work in B.C. orchards. It includes an app that is elegant and simple to use for both growers and people looking for summer work picking fruit in the Okanagan sunshine,” says Sukhpaul Bal, president, BC Cherry Association.
The BC Tree Fruits Cooperative says it has been strongly encouraging its farms to "try this tool as it will make a meaningful difference for all industry stakeholders.”