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LETTER: Overdue thanks for the work of gardeners

Reader Walter Prokopchuk shares appreciation for gardeners
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BradfordToday welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected]. Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following is a poem submitted by resident Walter Prokopchuk on local Marsh growers

Accolades To Gardeners

Perhaps time is long overdue, to thank them folks - those who
Had chosen proudly their careers, to feed both me and you;
Who'd left their homes - in far-off lands - and their roots behind,
To grow their crops, from fields be bound, to stores for us to find.

Within that branch of farming known, as Market Gardening,
To work the soils of Holland Marsh - planting, sowing, hoeing
The rows of vegetables, tending, as proud new residents,
They tilled to fill our tables, these, skillful immigrants.

Well, from Guyana came a chap, 'twere named one Peter Singh -
Who'd cultivate his hand-picked crops, then train best underling:
Son Shane would plant small patches of, their many salads seen
From 400 Highway, too, leek field, coloured blue-green.

And too from Marsh's namesake came, people to populate,
The Dutch from Holland, landing here, their fields to cultivate;
One came to be - said gentleman - known as Jim Verkaik,
Growing crops - like in homeland - behind their marshes' dykes.

As well arrived, from Hungary, Jagodics clan, be seen,
To bunch the table carrots, with, their tops of emerald green;
And too, Szoldatits (Louis) would, plant salads in his field,
Now daughter (Linda) diversifies, with same intrinsic zeal.

And from that boot, called Italy, arrived from distant shore,
One gentle Moro (Louis) sang - while weeding, so not be bored;
As well another workhorse came, Gaetano, (Salvatore),
Endive, rapini, chicory - his - packed sustenance for sure.

From Poland came Gorecki, (John) and Mendryk, (Frank) as well,
And Glista (Joe), his celery picked, processed for soups, he'd sell;
Too Ziemba (Tony), and two sons; but now his grandson tills,
The younger Tony, like Grandpa, plants that land 'twas willed.

We'd witnessed that Portugal could, contribute as it did,
Through Marques (Augusto) with his kids: Gorette and her bro Sid;
From St. George isle of the Azores, the Flores family came,
Arrived with farming expertise, their fields in Marsh would tame.

From Slovakia would come, the likes of Sopuch (Paul),
As well Simurda, Holancin, too would respond to calls
To harvest fields of onions, that, of course it's widely known:
Were shipped by boats across the seas, from here locally grown.

Additionally, Ukrainians came, escaping tyranny
Of dictator who'd orchestrate, starvation deliberately;
Were Yarmoluk, and Novosad, my Mom and Dad as well
With children - Jack, Leonard, and me - all hunger pains, they'd quell.

And later from more distant shores, to serve their cultures here,
From Korea, Vietnam, and China they were steered,
Harvesting spring onions, fresh, and as well bok choy,
And veggies from their native lands, within their fields employed.

Within each nation's culture they'd - in pockets settle - be
Good neighbours to exist and thrive, in our food industry;
Filling tables with staples, back then, so yes, we'd all agree:
They still contribute proudly today, to our economy.

Walter Prokopchuk, Bradford