Category Archives: greenhouse vegetables

Horticultural research centre marks 10-year anniversary

Industry and consumer focused innovation drives Vineland success

Vineland Research and Innovation Centre building

By Lilian Schaer

Vineland – It’s been 10 years since a new horticultural research facility in Niagara Region was launched as the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland).

Since then, Vineland has been turning heads across Canada and internationally with its needs-based innovations. The organization reflects the entire horticulture value chain from farmers to consumers, and they’re not afraid to take big steps to help the industry solve problems.

“We started by understanding what needed to be done and how we needed to work to make a difference, which is real results with real impact from acres in the field to shelf space in the store,” says Vineland’s CEO, Dr. Jim Brandle.

Asian eggplants at Vineland

Addressing the labour intensive nature of horticultural production was a need identified early on. Today, machines designed in Vineland’s robotics program and built in Ontario are coming into use in fruit and vegetable greenhouses, which Brandle says will go a long way in helping to keep growers competitive, as well as boost the local manufacturing and automation sector. Continue reading

Going O-Naturel:

Local company enhances naturally-occurring microbes to aid greenhouse growers

By Matt McIntosh for AgInnovation Ontario

Toronto – Healthy growing conditions are critical to the success of any crop, and chemicals designed to help plants grow and resist disease are common, useful tools for farmers – whether growing conventional, organic, indoor, or outdoor crops.

Metagenom Bio Inc., however, is one company trying to help growers reduce their reliance on chemical controls.

With help from Bioenterprise, an organization that supports the development of agri-technology companies, through its Bioenterprise Seed Fund, Metagenom Bio Inc. uses improved microbe communities to both enhance plant growth and reduce the impact of disease.

“We’re what we like to call a ‘microbiome’ company,” says Patrick Ang, chief executive officer and the self-identified “business guy” for Metagenom Bio Inc. Continue reading

Ontario technology makes single serve coffee more environmentally friendly

mike-tiessen-left-and-atul-bali-right-webBy Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Leamington – A unique partnership involving a local biopolymer compounding company, technology from the University of Guelph and a food packaging company could make single serve coffee pod garbage a thing of the past.

Competitive Green Technologies of Leamington is working with the world’s leading single serve coffee brand owners on a recyclable and compostable version of the single serve coffee pod.

Its key structural components are made from bio-composites using biomass like coffee chaff, a waste stream of the coffee industry. Other biomass such as corn fiber, bio-carbon and miscanthus are also used, ensuring added markets for agriculture. Continue reading

Ontario company takes world’s first plant-based carbon black substitute to market

atul-bali-holding-carbon-black-filler-web By Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Leamington – Using specially grown crops and agricultural plant wastes, a local company has commercialized the world’s first plant-based substitute for carbon black.

Black plastic gets its colour from carbon black, a co-product of oil refining that is both non-renewable and deemed a possible human carcinogen by the International Agency on Research on Cancer.

There has been no alternative until now, with Competitive Green Technologies’ development of BIOBLAKR®, a bio-carbon using patent-pending technology invented at the University of Guelph’s Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre. Continue reading

Locally grown okra could soon be an option in Canada

okra - webBy Kelly Daynard for AgInnovation Ontario

Vineland, Ontario – It’s no secret that there’s a growing ethnic population of Canadians who have preferences for foods from their home countries. That fact brings with it unique opportunities for farmers to produce crops that haven’t traditionally been grown locally.

Okra is one such crop.

Over six million kilograms of okra is imported into Canada every year and the demand climbs annually. India is the top producer of the world’s okra, growing more than 70 per cent of the global crop. Other big producers are Nigeria, Sudan, Iraq and Pakistan. Continue reading