The Holland Marsh, located 50 kilometres (km) north of Toronto, Ontario, is commonly referred to as Ontario's ‘vegetable patch’ because of its incredible variety and copious amounts of fresh produce. Produce selections range from more traditional crops such as carrots, onions and celery, to more diverse options like Chinese broccoli, Asian radish, and water spinach. The ability to grow and harvest these crops, which cumulatively amount to over $50 million worth of produce per year, results from a combination of dedicated farmers and incredible muck soil.
In the early 1900s, successful vegetation experiments by Professor William H. Day demonstrated that there was fertile muck soil on what was previously unoccupied Holland Marsh swampgrounds. The Holland Marsh Drainage Scheme, consisting of canals and dykes constructed around the Marsh, drained the swamp which exposed the fertile Marsh grounds that farmers have been using ever since.
The Marsh occupies approximately 2,833 hectares (ha), and is primarily organic soils. The canal and dyke system is 28 kilometres (km), which circles the marsh, acting to keep storm water and upstream drainage from entering the marsh.
Today, the Marsh System is governed by the Holland Marsh Drainage System Joint Municipal Service Board. The Service Board was formed in 2007 in joint partnership with the Township of King and Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury with the mission to maintain and manage the Holland Marsh drainage system, to plan any future development for the Holland Marsh and tackle any possible environmental issues.