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Canada, B.C. governments invest in farm innovation projects

Greenhouse strawberries, biocontrol robots and wild forest mushroom production are some of the projects that received funding from the federal and B.C. government to expand.


August 17, 2020
By Fruit and Vegetable

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One of the funded projects will look into developing a feasible method to cultivate greenhouse strawberries commercially in B.C. Photo by Hironobu Fukuman/Unsplash.

The governments of Canada and B.C. are supporting 14 new projects with more than $2.4 million through the Canada-British Columbia Agri-Innovation Program to help create opportunities in the province’s agricultural and technology industries.

Surrey-based BC Hot House Foods is widely known for its greenhouse-grown cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes. With funding of over $380,000, BC Hot House is working to develop a feasible method to cultivate greenhouse strawberries commercially in B.C. for people to enjoy year-round. The company is working with experts from Europe who have had success in growing soft fruit in protected environments.

With funding of over $380,000, BC Hot House is working to develop a feasible method to cultivate greenhouse strawberries commercially in B.C. for people to enjoy year-round.

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Ecoation Innovative Solutions in North Vancouver is receiving $500,000 to develop and test an automated pesticide-free crop treatment system that will immediately address pests in greenhouse vegetables, using a crop monitoring robot the company invented. The technology involves use of biological control agents and UV-based disinfection. The location-based intelligence is gathered and provided to growers through a web application that was developed by Ecoation. The technology’s treatment system pilot in vegetable greenhouses will be the first time it is used in Canada.

Ecoation Innovative Solutions in North Vancouver is receiving $500,000 to develop and test an automated pesticide-free crop treatment system that will immediately address pests in greenhouse vegetables, using a crop monitoring robot the company invented.

Vancouver-based Forest Foods Ltd. is supporting several Indigenous communities in B.C. that are engaged in the production of wild forest mushrooms and plant-based foods. The company is receiving nearly $15,000 to develop two facility design plans to help with packaging and processing. The first design is for a mobile facility that will focus on cleaning and packaging forest mushrooms and plant-based forest foods. The second is for a fixed facility that will incorporate processing capacities for the commercialization of a variety of products. Both designs will be presented to the Indigenous communities with the intent of developing the facilities to support the expansion of their business operations and deliver Indigenous-branded forest mushrooms and plant-based foods to market, both domestically and internationally.

Vancouver-based Forest Foods Ltd. is supporting several Indigenous communities in B.C. that are engaged in the production of wild forest mushrooms and plant-based foods.

“Bringing innovation into the agriculture industry is taking the sector to new levels and creating more opportunities in communities around the province. Technology can transform and improve the way farmers and processors do their daily work, while keeping their products the way consumers enjoy them. This is just one of the many ways B.C. companies are evolving to stay competitive,” said Lana Popham, B.C.’s minister of agriculture, in a released statement.

Projects under the Canada-British Columbia Agri-Innovation Program have received more than $7.3 million in funding from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The partnership is a five-year federal-provincial-territorial agreement that includes $2 billion in cost-shared strategic initiatives delivered by the provinces and territories, and $1 billion for federal programs and services through March 2023.