Inducted: November 13, 2012
John Lugtigheid had confidence in the high quality of Ontario processing vegetables. That is why he was always ready to go to bat for Ontario processing vegetable growers.
He was known to be a very determined negotiator. One associate said that once Mr. Lugtigheid is satisfied that he is in a fair bargaining position: "He’s not afraid to stand his ground. He’s not afraid to speak up!"
He was just as determined to see that growers get their fair share of the market. When he learned that Loblaw’s was buying pickles from India, he wrote to the Chief Executive Officer of Loblaw Companies, Galen Weston, to point out the dependably high quality of Ontario vegetables, along with their high standard of processing.
Mr. Lugtigheid was exposed to the responsibilities of farming early. The son of Peter and Edith (Russell), he attended Charing Cross Public School and Blenheim District High School. His education was interrupted at the end of Grade 10 because of financial pressures on the farm when the tomato crop was lost as a result of a hail storm, and there was no such thing as crop insurance. Libbys said that his dad could pay for the plants and the spraying with next year’s crop.
Still hungry for more education, he went back to school as a mature student and graduated from Ridgetown College of Agricultural Technology in 1964. He quickly demonstrated the leadership qualities that carried him through life. He was a Director and Provincial Director of the Kent Federation of Agriculture, beginning in 1970, and President in 1973/74. He was a leader of the Blenheim 4-H Club, and Committee Man on the Kent Wheat Producers and the Kent Cattle Producers.
It was with the Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers that he was able to exercise his negotiating and marketing talents. He became a Director of that organization in 1995, its Vice-Chairman two years later, and its Chairman in 1999. This led to service on the Board of Canadian Horticultural Council, Ontario Agriculture Commodity Council, Processing Vegetable Advisory Committee and Agricultural Adaptation Council.
Mr. Lugtigheid served as a vegetable representative, Director and Chairman of the Farm Labour Pool, an important component of vegetable production.
On the farm, he grew cucumbers, peppers, green peas, squash, green and wax beans as well as sweet corn. Mr. Lugtigheid served on the Negotiating Committees for each of those crops.
Mr. Lugtigheid may have inherited some of his determination from his father, Peter, who was honoured by both the Netherlands and Ontario for his work with Dutch immigrants. With the benefit of his own experience, Peter helped many to adjust to a new country and new ways.
John Lugtigheid has earned the affection and admiration of other vegetable growers. They say that he is "knowledgeable, has good work habits, is honest and just in all his dealings". They warm up to him because he has "a good sense of humour", is "very kind-hearted", and "can get along with anyone". He is "a benefactor, who doesn’t want his good deeds known". Without exception, they praise his "integrity".
Mr. Lugtigheid married Joan Stirling in 1967, and they have four children: Mrs. Donna (Ralph) Verbeek, Kent Bridge; Peter (Linda), working in Bolivia; David (Jane), Chatham; and Karen (Dan) Vandersluis, Nanaimo, British Columbia. The Lugtigheids have 13 grandchildren.
Though he is semi-retired, John grows cucumbers each summer, enough to keep about 30 young people busy. His extensive farming operation over the years, has included seed and I.P. soybeans, commercial and seed corn, seed wheat, cattle and hogs.
He has travelled extensively, both in North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, seeking new markets. Mr. Lugtigheid gives credit to Dan Little, who has been with him for 50 years, and "has helped make many of the opportunities possible".
John has been involved in the Canadian Food Grains Bank, this being the seventh year, on the approximately 43 acres of land owned by Evangel Community Church, at the corner of Park Ave. East and Highway 40, Chatham. There has been excellent co-operation and donations from many of the agricultural industries in the area, who have donated grains, chemicals, fertilizer, etc. This has made it possible for 100% of the sales on the crops to go to the Food Grains Project, and in the first six years, $203,844.00 has been sent for this cause, with approximately 50% going to projects in Asia, 35% in Africa, and 15% in Central America. It is expected that this year’s seed corn crop will generate approximately $70,000.00 for the project.
Mr. Lugtigheid has served as Deacon, Elder and Chairman of the First Christian Reformed Church, in Chatham.