By Lindsey Cole and Katie Strachan
The Oshawa Express
There is nothing like pulling out a honeycomb
from a hive filled with bees and tasting
the fresh product that nature creates.
This is how Ian Critchell describes his
experience when he goes to one of his beehives.
A bee farmer in Canada since 1997,
Critchell says he currently has 160 colonies
of bees spread around the region in
Oshawa, Whitby, Pickering and
various other places.
Each colony, or beehive, contains
around 50,000 bees.“It’s a lot of bees,” he says,
adding it is also a source of income
for him as a business on the side as
he sells honey, pollen and candles.“Each beehive works as unit. Bees are
very important to agriculture.”
And agriculture itself is a vital part of
Durham Region’s economy, says Marlene
Werry, a rural economic development officer
for Durham Region.“I look at it from the perspective as an
industry, we are the second largest industry in
Durham Region,” she explains.
Specifically, the dairy sector leads the way
followed by floriculture, nursery and sod.“We have a very diverse industry. We have
excellent land. We can grow a lot of different
Durham Region has more than 500,000 acres classified as farmland, according to
Durham is famous for its apples, according
to a region report. The United States,
Mexico, the United Kingdom, Trinidad,
Guyana and the Caribbean Islands have all
had a taste of Durham’s apples.
Critchell is an example of just how diverse
the region is when it comes to different types
of farming, and he also says farming in general
is integral to any part of society.“It’s so easy to buy at the superstore. If
you don’t have local foods, if there is ever a
fuel crisis (as that is what essentially allows
trade), we’re in trouble. It’s a safety thing to
have a food supply.”
What’s more is that farming generates a
lot of revenue for the area.
Gross farm sales in Durham Region
amount to $240 million, Werry says, adding
that farming also creates jobs.
Areport released in 2008 by the
region, shows that all of Durham’s
main commodities have brought in
more money in 2006 than in 2001,
except for fruit and cattle/calves.“From a career perspective, for
young people, there’s so many
opportunities in agriculture.”
Investment, packaging, robotics, product development, food
processing and running a farm
itself are all avenues a
young entrepreneur can