Immigrant farmers face steep learning curve, many barriers to working the land in Canada

Sep 07, 2007 04:30 AM

Environment Reporter
You’ve heard about the Indian doctor driving a cab in Toronto. But how about the Indian farmer making ends meet as a lawyer?

When Lakwinder Gill came to Canada 11 years ago, he was both a qualified lawyer and farmer. Amazingly, he found it easier to navigate his way into the Canadian legal system than work the land as a farmer.

“There is no way to get into it, unless you’re a millionaire. I couldn’t find anyone to guide me,” Gill said yesterday.

That’s about to change. Two new training farms will open soon in Greater Toronto to help immigrant farmers. Yesterday, the non-profit Greenbelt Foundation announced a $400,000 grant to start one in Ajax. And in Brampton, two non-profit organizations are negotiating to lease a 20-hectare piece of land.

Come next spring, both farms will be opened for immigrant farmers to learn about the Canadian climate and growing season, and try their hand at growing crops indigenous to their home countries.

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