People, Stories

Daily Life in the Holland Marsh – Stephen Uhraney

 

The Holland Marsh in Bradford Ontario Canada is an agricultural community just north of Toronto. Known as Ontario’s “Salad Bowl”, its common crops of onions, celery, and carrots are augmented by minor fields of Chinese broccoli, Asian radish, red kale and water spinach.

In the mid-1930’s The Holland Marsh was turned into fertile, workable land after a canal was dug, encircling and draining its 7,000 plus acres. This allowed depression-era tenement farmers the task of clearing and working the land.

What is little known is the diversity of the people that live and work here. A thriving community of farmers and seasonal field-workers plant, maintain, and harvest crops from early spring until late fall. Farmers can just as easily be third-generation landowners, or relatively new Canadians who first got a foothold here as hired hands before rising to ownership. Migrant workers usually arrive in April – from the Caribbean, India, and Asia – and stay until final harvest in late November.

Daily life in the marsh is as diverse as the people who work it; as diverse as the crops it yields.

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