Category Archives: new crops

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.

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

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

Ontario farmers find sweet success with birch syrup

Laura, Konrad, Adam, Jake, Bert, Kathy and Roxy (the dog) Beilke - web

From left, Laura, Konrad, Adam, Jake, Bert, and Kathy Beilke and Roxy the dog.

By Jeanine Moyer for AgInnovation Ontario

Moorefield, Ontario – What began as Bert and Kathy Beilke’s passion to grow food and connect with nature more than 20 years ago, has since turned into an innovative new food product.

Golden birch syrup is a semi-sweet flavoured syrup made from sap of yellow birch trees on the Beilkes’ Wagram Springs Farm in Wellington County near Moorefield.

“Still a new product in Ontario, birch syrup offers so many unique opportunities,” says Kathy. “It’s often used as a natural sweetener or ingredient and has become very popular with our customers.” Continue reading

Growing local grains, one seed at a time

Bread and grain close up - webBy Kelly Daynard for AgInnovation Ontario

Winchester, Ontario – In recent years, the local food movement has taken Canada by storm. There’s lots of interest by consumers in sourcing local products and in knowing the farmers who grow them. But in Shelley Spruit’s opinion, there has always been a missing ingredient.

Spruit is a farmer who professionally trained as a baker at culinary schools in British Columbia and Vermont. For many years, she and her husband Tony operated the Winchelsea Farms banquet hall.  Her training taught her that all good baking starts with good flour –and she was frustrated that she couldn’t find locally produced flour that met her quality standards.

They added to their original 200 acre property when they purchased an additional 50 acres, calling it Against the Grain Farms. In addition to growing conventional crops, they also began experimenting with alternatives, planting seeds from corn and barley varieties not traditionally grown in Ontario.  Continue reading

Locally produced algae cleans waste water, feeds livestock

Noble 2 - courtesy Trent University - web

Dr. Andressa Lacerda

By Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Peterborough – Local researchers have developed several strains of algae that can clean waste water as well as serve as a potential livestock superfood.

Nobletech Inc.’s Noble Purification division is currently piloting its algae-based clean water technology, and Noble Biotech has developed sustainable animal feed that is high in protein and omega fatty acids. The company is part of the Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster.

“Our core technology for both of these applications is the algae product itself,” explains Dr. Andressa Lacerda, a recent Ph.D. graduate of Trent’s environmental and life sciences program. “We’re algae farmers, and we grow algae with different purposes.” Continue reading