Category Archives: northern Ontario

Researcher coaxes biomaterial out of its shell

(L to R) Brooke Marion, Dr. Chris Murray and Kayla Snyder used chitosan and crumb rubber to make pavement - web

(L to R) Brooke Marion, Dr. Chris Murray and Kayla Snyder

By Lisa McLean for AgInnovation Ontario

Thunder Bay – There’s a naturally-occurring material found in discarded shells from crab and shrimp that offers properties with promising industrial uses.

Now, a researcher at Lakehead University is studying the material, and exploring potential for a broad range of applications ranging from wastewater treatment to better pavement.

Dr. Chris Murray studies the properties of chitosan – a naturally occurring long sugar molecule that is found in nearly all invertebrates.

“Chitosan plays a role in many animals that have exoskeletons,” says Murray. “It can be really tough and it provides a lot of physical strength for organisms.” Continue reading

Navigating Northern Ontario’s climate shortcomings

Weather Station 2 - webBy Lisa McLean for AgInnovation Ontario

North Bay – Farmers in Northern Ontario have a short growing season. There’s little room for error, and every bit of data helps.

That’s why for the past seven years, a research team has built a tool that gives both real-time and historic information that helps growers make more informed crop management decisions.

The project, called GeoVisage, is the brainchild of three Nipissing University researchers – geographers Dan Walters and John Kovacs, and computer scientist Mark Wachowiak.

The team says the project was born from a request from area farmers to collect data that could be shared with farmers in a timely way on their own farms.

“Initially the idea was to collect quality information that could be shared among Northern Ontario farmers without requiring them to meet in person all the time,” says Kovacs. “Our area saw a shift from cattle to cash crops about ten years ago, and farmers needed enough data to decide what different types of cash crops made sense to grow.” Continue reading

Innovation alliance promotes northern Ontario food and farming

Temiskaming 1
By Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

New Liskeard – The Northern Ontario Farm Innovation Alliance (NOFIA) has just launched a new tool to help expand the growing agriculture sector in the province’s North.

Its new website, FarmNorth, is a one-stop-shop for food and farming in the region and is designed to provide information for farmers and others in the agri-food sector looking to relocate to Northern Ontario.

“The cost of land in other parts of Ontario means people are interested in moving to Northern Ontario but many don’t know where to start,” explains NOFIA’s administrator Steph Vanthof of NOFIA. “We have many diverse districts within our area, and we want to give an accurate view of agriculture in the different areas of northern Ontario.” Continue reading