Jim Hole

Gardening, Horticulturalist & Agriculture Expert

Jim Hole knows the business of farming and horticulture like no other. He learned about growing and selling produce from his parents, Ted and Lois Hole, who set up a vegetable farm in St. Albert in the mid-1950s, expanding the business into a successful greenhouse operation, the “Enjoy Centre”. The Hole family has been in the greenhouse business for more than 68 years in which started as a backyard business on their family’s farm outside of St. Albert, AB. Ted and Lois Hole transformed the red barn on their farm into the family’s first retail store on their vegetable farm in St. Albert in the mid-1950s and eventually expanding the business into a successful greenhouse operation.

In 1979, Jim Hole, Bill Hole, and Valerie Hole took over the company and expanded it where it became one of the largest independent retail garden centers in Canada. In 2009, Jim constructed the Enjoy Centre, a multi-use facility featuring a greenhouse, conference center, café, restaurant, market, and pop-up shops. Jim and the family recently sold the Enjoy Centre to focus on other projects. He is ardent about plants, the environment, and business.

Jim Hole’s humor and engaging spirit are legendary, making him a highly sought-after speaker across the country. In addition to writing bestselling books, newspaper columns for a variety of major newspapers, Jim can be heard on CBC radio and seen on various TV stations sharing his messages and tips on gardening and horticulture, continuing his family’s legacy.

Jim Hole is also the past President of the University of Alberta Alumni Association and Co-Chaired the University’s Centenary Celebrations. Jim Hole has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture (Plant Science major) from the University of Alberta. Jim is a Certified Professional Horticulturist with the American Society for Horticultural Science. Jim Hole is also a Certified Arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture.

Topic Presentations

People, especially Europeans and residents of North America, are demanding better quality foods from their farmers. They want “organically-grown” fruit and vegetables and meats grown without the use of antibiotics and growth hormones. What do these and other commonly used terms like “organic,” and “natural”, mean both legally and ethically.

What’s more, consumers are willing to pay a little more for locally produced foods. More and more people are trying to stick to the “100-mile diet” as much as they can.

Let Jim help you explore the joy and wonders of growing your own food, supporting local farmers, and eating healthily.

Jim Hole grew up selling vegetables from the backdoor of his family's farmhouse in St. Albert, Alberta. From that humble beginning, the Hole family farm grew, and he successfully expanded his market.

Jim will broaden your thinking about what is possible to grow in Canada and how to your products to market profitably and in an environmentally sustainable way. His stories will be both entertaining and educational.

Jim Hole will inform and entertain your audience about the inherent social and economic benefits of being environmentally sustainable.

Jim will share the many challenges that he experienced on his journey and reveal the enormous difficulties and valuable life lessons that he learned during the evolution of his career.

Whether you’re a grain farmer, an animal farmer, or a farmer that produces flowers, trees and shrubs for retail, we must be mindful of the importance of environmental responsibility. The future of your business may depend on it. It's becoming a veritable measuring stick of accountability. This is especially true for the younger generation and retaining your customers for life.

World influences are forcing change on agriculture everywhere. Consumers are demanding “organic” foods, climate change is forcing farmers to think and act differently. When it comes to production, and there are many more options for farmers to consider: cannabis, hemp, spices, and foods for local markets – some them ethnic. Labour shortages and the demise of the family farms are also all having a profound effect.

Jim will eloquently explain the difficulties and challenges of managing farms in an environmentally safe way today by referring to several humourous anecdotes. His presentation will be as entertaining as it is educational.

Industrial farming is here to stay. The family farming is quickly disappearing. The younger generation is moving to cities where they see a brighter future. This urban migration is having a profound sociological impact as novel ways of food production become the new world order.

Large scale food production systems are revolutionizing the manner in which farmers now work. More efficient seeding and harvesting equipment, better, more targeted irrigation schemes are now employed, drones now monitor crops, advances in animal genetics and many other technological innovations are changing the way we farm today.

The new world farmer must also think differently to survive and succeed. What food is in demand today? What factors come into play when choosing the type of crop to grow? Where is the marketplace going? Should the modern farmer consider producing food for local markets and well as international markets? If yes, how much farmland should he/she devote to it? How will she/he get the product to the consumer for the best possible price?

Finally, there is the environment to consider. The new demand for “organic” and natural products is shifting not only what we produce but how we produce it. Will the continued use of chemicals still play a major role in food production? And what about the weather? How can farmers today still produce sizable crops during long dry spells? Finally, the new industrial farmer has a key role to play to be part of the solution to climate change.

Join Jim Hole to explore these questions and to provide audience members with practical tips on how to succeed in farming today. More importantly, Jim will, in his own down to earth way, lay the groundwork for the adoption of a new philosophy toward farming -one that remains profitable but also respects the environment and societal change.

 

The rate of urban growth throughout the world increases almost daily. In Canada, 83% live in cities, compared to 78% less than ten years ago. In China, the rate of urbanization has been increasing roughly one percent a year for over 20 years now. In India, the rate has increased by 4.5% on the last few years alone. Africans are feeling a strong urge to move from the countryside to the city.

With more and more people living in cities, the pressure is on urbanites to pitch in and to produce their own food. The pressure is felt even more with the arrival of climate change and our realization that if we are not part of the solution, we are part of the problem. What a beautiful thing this is to see city folk re-engaging in growing vegetables.

People are gathering more and more to grow fruits and vegetables in community gardens. That is where they discover the wonder and magic of getting their hands soiled. Moreover, they rediscover the pleasures and attractions of growing their own food like their ancestors did for so many years.

Connecting with mother earth and its ecosystems is something that brings us all more joy, personal awareness and understanding of who we are within the cycle of life. Not only does it reconnect us to our past, but it also grounds us through a conscious connection for each moment in each day. Having something to care for that is attributing to the cycles of life changes our perspective to what work, family and life brings us each day. Furthermore, the social aspect of intermingling with fellow gardeners is reassuring to us all. We are, together, committing to help feed ourselves and possibly even a few others in the process.

The recent pandemic has proven to us that urban people are capable and willing to garden more than ever. Many more of us now have a functional backyard (even frontyard) garden now. We are rediscovering the joy of eating our own fresh produce. New urban gardens are emerging in parks, on top of buildings. apartment blocks and even inside buildings, both large and small.

Let Jim explore with you the new trends in urban gardening, vertical gardening, and other forms to urban farming to motivate your audience to get into it. Hey, Jim will certainly throw in some practical tips too. Jim will deliver his presentation with humour and in easy-to-understand plain language.

In 2021, over 8.7 billion people live on our planet. Our population continues to increase. Scientists agree that within 30 years we will be hard pressed to find sufficient arable land to produce enough food to feed everyone. What’s in store for agriculture?

Agriculture today is rather revolutionary. Modern industrial farms employ drones, self-diving combines and machinery, green housing, new irrigation systems and many other technological advances to improve food production. Many of these industrial farms are more efficient and more environmentally friendly. It’s a great time to be in the business of agriculture.

At the same time, consumer demand for farm products is becoming more eccentric and diversified. This places new demands and expectations of farmers.

Many global trends are affecting us now and will, even more markedly, affect us tomorrow. Why is Bill Gates, one the smartest businessman in the world, buying loads of farmland all over the world?

What are the economic, sociological, and political implications and consequences of the new world order of supply and demand?

Jim Hole will in his own unique way simply broaden our understanding of where agriculture is going and how we can participate in its evolution. The future is exciting but to succeed, will require more adaptation than we have ever seen in human history.

Studies show that when we connect in nature and in breathing fresh air, our stress levels decrease, and we can detach from our busy minds for our everyday thinking. Having a hobby which involves mental and physical stimulation, along with the ability to see results fruition through strategy and work, gives us more confidents and peace. Growing clean, mineralized food and sharing the produce with loved ones or those in need, gives us purpose to master our gardens. Jim outlines the connection between gardening and mental well-being. He shares stories of his own life and of those he has impacted through the gardening experience.

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Language Spoken

English

Travels From

Edmonton, Alberta

Hardy Perennials

The perennial marketplace is larger than ever, with thousands of varieties available. It's a challenge for gardeners and garden center staff alike to know them all. Hole's Publishing has come up with an outstanding solution with Hole's Dictionary of Hardy Perennials. It is the most comprehensive guide to perennials on the market, with entries for over 500 genuses and 6000 different plants! Each entry includes data on height, spread, colour, growth habit, flower shape, and much more, enabling consumers and professionals alike to choose just the right perennials for their business and gardens.

Whats Grows Here?

Whether you have a green thumb or not, you've likely asked yourself just what would grow in one challenging location or another. This book provides concise answers by presenting a descriptive listing of the very best plants available on the market today for a better yard. For the expert or novice gardener, this is sound advice. This title introduces the concept of growing plants for a purpose, whether it's to provide privacy in a tiny yard or placing the right plant in a particular spot where nothing seems to grow. This is the first in a three part series.

Canadian Vegetables Gardening

Written by renowned market gardeners and greenhouse owners Jim and Lois Hole, this book goes over how and when to plant some of the most popular garden vegetables. From asparagus to zucchini and everything in between, this guide includes harvesting and storage info, as well as fixes to common edible plant problems. Also included are some of the most popular vegetables such as kale, tomatoes, eggplant, and sweet potatoes—and even some garden fruits such as strawberries. A handy resource for any gardener, the advice in this book can also be applied to square foot gardening, raised bed gardening, container gardening and even market gardening.

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