Crop Selection

2018 Bursary Recipients

Dear OPVG members,

During the Ontario Processing Vegetable Industry Conference held in London, January 31 and February 1st, four post secondary students were awarded $9,000 in bursaries.  Award winners were recognized at an Industry Reception held Wednesday evening. 

Bursaries are awarded in memory of two farm leaders in the processing vegetable industry, Jim Whitson and Ken Epp.  The Whitson bursary is awarded to a student attending Ridgetown College, and the award in memory of Ken Epp receives an additional $1,000 from the fund established in his name by the Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers.  The additional dollars available through the bursaries are raised through a 50:50 draw conducted each year at the conference. 

Applicants must be a resident of Ontario, and registered as a full-time student at any college or university entering the second, third, fourth or post graduate year of study and whose studies demonstrates a connection to the vegetable industry.

2018 Winners included:

Drew Grummett:

Drew, of Port Dover, is a recipient of a $2,000 bursary. She is in her second year at the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus in the Associate Diploma in Agriculture program.

Umbrin Ilyas:    

Umbrin is also a recipient of a $2,000 bursary.  Umbrin is from Toronto, and currently attending the University of Guelph in the Department of Plant Agriculture.

Natasha Lugtigheid:

Natasha is the recipient of the Ken Epp Memorial Award.  Natasha is from Chatham and in her second year at the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus in the Associate Diploma in Agriculture program.

The Ken Epp Memorial is a $3,000 award with $2,000 of that coming from the industry conference and $1,000 from the Ken Epp Memorial fund.

Josephine McCormick:

Josephine is the recipient of the Jim Whitson Memorial Award.  This $2,000 bursary is given to a student attending Ridgetown College.  Josephine is from St. Agatha, and is in her second year at Ridgetown College in the Associate Diploma in Horticulture.


All four recipients were in attendance at the industry reception and Steve Lamoure, President of the Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Processors Association presented the awards.  Steve shared his sincere pleasure at being able to support and encourage students pursuing a career in all aspect of the processing vegetable industry.  

These bursaries are a great example of the entire processing vegetable value chain working together to ensure that a new generation of individuals will have the interest, skills and abilities to develop and grow this sector of Ontario’s agri-food economy’ says Cathy Lennon, General Manager of Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers, and this year’s Conference Committee Chair.  “This year’s recipients have demonstrated a dedication to agriculture and a spirit for learning and it is our pleasure to help them achieve their educational goals through these bursaries.”  

The Ontario Processing Vegetable Industry Bursary Program was launched in 2001 in an effort to recognize and support the agriculture leaders of tomorrow in this sector.  To date, they have provided over $179,000 to deserving individuals serving in the field. 


Cathy Lennon, General Manager


519 681 1875

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