VINELAND, Ont.—A horticultural research centre in Southern Ontario has opened a massive new facility to help the Canadian agriculture industry modernize pest control, plant breeding and disease control.
Vineland Research and Innovation Centre inaugurated its new 3,700 square-metre (40,000 square-feet) facility last week. At almost one full acre, the new greenhouse is by far the largest research greenhouse in Canada, incorporating a range of new technologies, including an automated vegetable packing system, an automated disease detection system and wireless temperature and moisture sensing systems for greenhouse production.
“This facility will allow researchers, industry partners and government to come together and help build Ontario’s agri-food research capabilities, develop new products, expand economic opportunities and create jobs for the people of Ontario,” Jeff Leal, the province’s minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, said.
An independent non-profit funded by the federal and provincial governments, Vineland received nearly $13 million in support from both levels of government for the new facility. The province provided $7.2 million in funding, while FedDev Ontario invested $5.76 million. A total of 15 private sector, governmental, academic and non-profit organizations are partnering with Vineland on the project.
“While the bricks and mortar footprint of this project is commendable, what sets it apart is the unique opportunity it will provide for problem solving, collaboration with our ever-widening range of partners and the commercialization of great science,” Jim Brandle, Vineland’s CEO, said.
Along with the other robotic growing systems, the greenhouse is expected to help commercialize an automated planting system, an automated potted plant packaging system, and an automated mushroom harvesting system.
The project is expected to create 125 jobs in Ontario’s Niagara region.