Category Archives: environment

Host-a-Hive brings bees home

Not all innovative ideas are born in a lab — some are born, quite literally, within the walls of your own home

gees bees swarm catch - webBy Lyndsey Smith for AgInnovation Ontario

Dunrobin, Ontario – When Marianne and Matt Gee bought their home on a small acreage west of Ottawa, they were surprised to find a honeybee hive had already taken up residence.

Not keen to exterminate these helpful pollinators, Matt relocated them to a box and set up the hive in the backyard with a little help from a local beekeeper. The couple soon became beekeepers by choice and discovered they really enjoyed keeping bees.

Soon a call came in about another hive found in a house — would they be interested in rescuing it? Matt, who worked in construction as a career, was in a unique position to access the bees and safely remove them. With Matt’s home building experience and the couple’s beekeeping knowledge, the Gees found themselves rescuing dozens of hives over a number of years.

Fast forward seven years to 2016, and Marianne and Matt are embarking on a much larger honeybee venture — one that moves from just rescuing bees to, instead, setting up individual honeybee hives across several Ottawa neighbourhoods. Continue reading

A community for clean water

Farmers, rural residents work together to reduce phosphorous levels

stream and waterer - web
By Jeanine Moyer for AgInnovation Ontario

Tobermory – A community group in the Bruce Peninsula knows poop just doesn’t run downhill, it flows downstream too.

That’s why local farmers have been working alongside the Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association (BPBA) to provide new watering systems for cattle on pastures, removing the animals from drinking and walking in waterways.

With the goal to improve water quality for themselves and their neighbours downstream, the BPBA’s Six Streams Initiative focuses on addressing three sources of water pollution in their area – cattle drinking in waterways, soil erosion, and under-performing septic systems. Continue reading

State-of-the-art research greenhouse opens in Vineland

Vineland's new greenhouse facility - web
By Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Vineland, Ontario – The largest, most modern horticultural research greenhouse in North America with commercial-scale height and growing rooms dedicated to horticulture is making its official debut on June 3.

As part of the grand opening of the 40,000 square foot facility at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland), the public is invited for a tour of the greenhouse.

Watch Vineland’s time lapse video of the construction.

The older greenhouse facility on the Vineland campus no longer met requirements for research purposes and was costly to maintain, whereas the new complex, which sits on approximately one acre, is efficient and built to the latest commercial scale standards. Continue reading

Using good bacteria to grow more crops

Chlorophyll extracted from soybean leaves – tubes right show inoculated plants - web

Chlorophyll extracted from soybean leaves – tubes on the right show inoculated plants

By Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Peterborough – Researchers at Trent University have discovered beneficial plant bacteria that could be used to produce more field crops like soybeans without having to farm additional land.

These bacteria, Methylobacterium , which already occur naturally in soybeans, produce plant hormones called cytokinins that promote the growth of both the plant itself and its seeds.

Now, work by Dr. Neil Emery, Professor of Biology and Vice President, Research at Trent, and fellow researcher Dr. Anna Kisiala has identified how to harness those natural hormones to encourage soybean plant health and strength and increase seed size and pod numbers. Continue reading

Meals on Mars: Life in space – and on earth – relies on plants

Mike Dixon with plants growing in a controlled envrionment - webBy Lisa McLean for AgInnovation Ontario

Guelph – Plants are hardier than people. It’s a lesson Dr. Mike Dixon has learned in his lab, where he grows plants under “weird” conditions. Someday, astronauts will apply his research to growing food crops in space, but today his findings are benefiting Earth.

Dixon is Director of the Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility at the University of Guelph. The lab is the most advanced facility of its kind in the world, housing equipment such as hypobaric chambers that allow researchers to experiment with unusual growth conditions such as reduced atmospheric pressure. Continue reading