Greenhouse Canada

CGC ’18 program to grow prosperity

Don't miss this year's CGC program.

September 25, 2018  By Glenna Cairnie

Never before have we seen such rapid advances in technology and societal changes that affect how work is done and businesses operate. Change is fast and furious – leaving some behind but creating incredible opportunities for those who recognize them. How can greenhouse operations, large and small, deal with today’s fast-paced business climate?

Running from Oct 3 to 4 in Niagara Falls, ON, the Canadian Greenhouse Conference brings together growers, researchers and industry partners to teach, learn, and network. 50+ speakers from Canada and around the world – including professional growers – share their experience and expertise gladly for the betterment of the grower community.

Take the time to come out from your offices and greenhouses to interact with colleagues and learn something new. You will return to work energized and motivated by what you have seen and heard.


Greenhouse operations exist on schedules and technology is very helpful with keeping systems
operating. Most challenging, however, can be the management of living, growing plants. CGC production sessions feature well-known speakers to help growers understand plant development and plan accordingly. Roberto Lopez, Michigan State University, instructs on the use of average daily temperature (ADT) to schedule bedding plants. Syngenta’s Mark Smith, will review development and scheduling as it applies to garden mums. Mike Klopmeyer, of Darwin Perennials, will talk about marketing opportunities and growing perennials for three-season sales.

Can history help us prepare for the changes the greenhouse industry will face in our rapidly
evolving world? Don’t miss P. Allan Hammer, of Dümmen Orange, as he looks to the past to
prepare for the future.

Interest in exact phosphorus management is growing. There are many factors in determining the optimal rates. Josh B. Henry of North Carolina State University will share results from his experiments and discuss some of the ways that phosphorus fertility can be manipulated to regulate plant size, growth habit and even leaf colouration.

Gary Cortes has spent the last 15 years introducing greenhouse growers to LeanFlow
techniques. Learn how they can be implemented in your business to improve efficiency. Artificial intelligence is coming into the greenhouse as well. Saber Miresmailli of Ecoation will provide an overview of the need for detecting stress factors (moisture, pests) and how another set of “eyes” can deliver real-time reports to growers allowing for early detection of problems.Discover the capabilities of this technology and hear grower, Rodney Bierhuizen of Sunrise Greenhouses relate experiences in this session on Wednesday afternoon.

The most significant development in the Canadian greenhouse industry to date will be the legalization of recreational marijuana (cannabis) use on October 17th. This change has already altered the landscape of the greenhouse industry. The CGC will support cannabis growers with
technical production information. Jon Page is internationally recognized for his work on cannabis biochemistry and genomics, and is the leading Canadian researcher working on the cannabis plant. Page will cover innovations in cannabis genetics. Factory or greenhouse? John Moeller of Broken Coast Cannabis and David Janik of Aphria will outline the benefits and drawbacks of each type of growing facility. Many issues facing cannabis growers are not unique to the crop and information related to pest management, lighting, production innovations and HR can be found throughout the CGC program.

CGC workshops offer practical, hands-on learning for everyone working in a greenhouse operation. They are an excellent way to provide continuing education for yourself and your staff.

Where is the industry currently in terms of thrips management and where should we be going to improve control and reduce the bottom line? OMAFRA Specialist, Sarah Jandricic, is joined by consultant, Graeme Murphy, and Rose Buitenhuis of Vineland Research & Innovation Centre to bring practical solutions for prevention and control in Wednesday’s Thrips Control Workshop.

Learn about the different methods used to determine substrate pH and electrical conductivity and how to read the reports generated in the Soil & Fertility Workshop led by Josh. B Henry of North Carolina State University.

Finding and retaining good employees is of utmost importance and one of the most challenging issues facing business owners. Staff turnover is time and money wasted. Why did that person who seemed so right for the job not work out? What can employers do to ensure a successful hire and build a productive growing team? “Committed employees perform better and stay longer. Commitment is built on relationships; relationships are built on communication,” says Richard Stup, of Cornell University. Stup will present strong, research-based approaches that greenhouse operators can use to build a clear and engaging work experience leading to higher employee commitment, performance and retention.

While remaining a sensitive topic, the mental wellbeing of your employees is an important consideration for all employers. Portia MacDonald-Dewhirst will review the issue and how best
to foster a supportive workplace. Changes prompted by Ontario Bill 148 are significant and ongoing; more regulations come into effect in 2019. Organizational specialists, Rod Barrass and Jenna Sweiss, outline those changes and offer suggestions on how to mitigate their effects on your business.

Shifts in demographics are opportunities to consider how the floriculture sector can better meet the needs of the emerging consumer base. Alexandra Grygorczyk, Vineland Research & Innovation Centre, shares the results of recent studies that will help the floral sector meet the needs of a new generation and set their customers up for success.

“We grow the wines you love.” The Grape Growers of Ontario (GGO) has found success in branding 100% grown in Ontario VQA wines domestically and internationally. What can the floriculture sector learn from this organization about branding, creating customer loyalty and promoting sales? GGO CEO Debbie Zimmerman shares her insights.

Biostimulants & biopesticides are well-known terms and commonly used by growers, but understanding exactly what they are and how they work is key to their efficacy. Michael Brownbridge, Vineland Research & Innovation Centre will provide examples of the benefits these materials can deliver and will unravel some of the mysteries surrounding their use.

Christian Nansen, of UC Davis, has found it surprising how frequently pesticide spray coverages are both low and inconsistent. Growers should be concerned as increased resistance to treatment can result. Nansen will discuss the issue of poor spray coverage and suggest solutions.

Thiel’s Greenhouses owner, Nadine Stielow’s passion for horticulture is evident in her thriving greenhouse operation, many awards, published articles and speaking engagements. Stielow is an advocate for biocontrol and will share her perspective on what works, what doesn’t, and the lessons learned since implementing a biocontrol system.

Don’t miss Colleen Warfield, from Ball Horticultural as she provides up-to-date information common issues affecting impatiens and calibrachoa.

What’s new and what is in the future? Hear from Darryn Keiller, one of the industries foremost leaders as to the impact of automation and artificial intelligence in protected agriculture.

A greenhouse climate is a delicate balancing act. Heating, climate control and crop management need to be adjusted to optimize crop production under various lighting sources and placements. AAFC research scientist, Xiuming Hao shares his findings on the interaction of light sources with energy balance and plant micro-climates.

Due to CO2 fertilization, air quality will change throughout the season. Trace gases will influence crop quality and growth, but is it a negative? Jan-Kees Boerman, EMS NL, specializes in sensor technology and shares his expertise. “It is always summer in the greenhouse” says OGVG Science Coordinator, Niki Bennett. A greenhouse provides a comfortable environment for many tropical pests looking to avoid the Great Canadian Winter. Bennett reports on the lessons learned from managing the unregulated pest, the pepper weevil.

Novel approaches to manage both pests and disease round out Wednesday’s program with presentations by Geneviève Marchand, AAFC and Marcel Schulte of Holland Gaas.

Plant factories with artificial lighting (PFAL) may be the answer to providing more food with less space but the industry is still developing, and the issues are complex. Agriculture engineer, Murat Kacira, will speak about the challenges and opportunities for growing food indoors with artificial lighting, focusing on climate control and environmental uniformity. Gregg Curwin, founder of one of the largest vertical indoor farms in North America will share his experience on the state of food security and the need for tremendous growth in the vertical farming sector.

Indoor berry production continues to prosper as Canadian shoppers support locally grown produce. Hear from two Ontario growers, Dusty Zamecnik of EZ Grow Farms and Steve Stasko from Orangeline Farms who have developed successful greenhouse strawberry production facilities. Willem van Eldik, Delphy, will discuss maximizing berry yield, flavour and quality.

Retailers, this is your opportunity to learn from some of Canada’s best garden centre entrepreneurs. Christie Pollack, Marlene Mastronardi and John Vanderwees will share insight
into the industry and how they are making sure their stores are relevant to today’s consumers. Discover what is happening in retail operations across Canada and the US and how you
can implement changes in your store to increase sales. Don’t miss acclaimed speaker, Judy Sharpton, as she makes her first appearance at the CGC.

The Canadian Greenhouse Conference’s casual, friendly atmosphere will allow you to build a network of resources with internationally renowned speakers, researchers, retailers and allied trades but the CGC is about more than exhibits and programming – it is about PEOPLE! Where there are people there will be fun, and the CGC has the events you need to make your show experience enjoyable.

Don’t miss Happy Hour on Wednesday afternoon where food, drink and music create an ideal end to the first day of the conference. Enjoy dinner at The Gathering on Wednesday evening. It will be held in a new location this year – the Hard Rock Café in the heart of the Niagara Falls
famous Clifton Hill district!

For more CGC ’18 preview, including speaker bios and session schedules, see the September issue of Greenhouse Canada

For complete conference details, visit

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