Mr. Speaker, the Châteauguay—Lacolle community recently lost one of its farming pioneers, Arie Van Winden.
Mr. Van Winden left his native Holland and arrived in Saint-Patrice-de-Sherrington in 1954 for a better life and to provide for his loved ones. Through his experience with drainage and with help from his brothers, he converted swampland that no one wanted into one of the most beautiful farmlands in Quebec, fertile black soil.
From there the Van Winden family grew lettuce, carrots, and onions and eventually laid the foundation for a company known today as VegPro International, the largest fresh vegetable producer in Canada.
Mr. Van Winden was a trailblazer of the economy in our rural region, now called Jardins-de-Napierville, which has become the largest produce supplier in the province.