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Getting into horticulture – Commercial opportunities in Alberta

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December 14, 2021

Presented online via Zoom at 7:00 P.M. (MST).  The 80 minute sessions include time for questions. Zoom link will be shared upon registration.

Join Horticulturist Robert Spencer from Spencer Horticultural Solutions for two engaging online introductory sessions exploring the commercial opportunities for growing field and protected horticulture crops in Alberta.

Dec 7: Field Production looks at the vegetable and fruit industry, giving an overview of its size and composition as well as trends and shifts over the past 20 years. Rob will review vegetable, potato, and fruit crops for their potential opportunities and pitfalls. By highlighting the key considerations for each of these crop types Rob gives growers insight for planning their production.

Dec 14: Protected growing systems reviews the covered edible and ornamental crops industry, including greenhouse and vertical operations. Rob will outline the component parts of the industry, including size and scale. He will highlight considerations for getting into the various industry segments, such as capital and operational costs, competition, market demand, and skill requirements. The session includes a review of the pros, cons, and cautions of vertical operations.

These first two workshops are the start of a series of extension events, taking interested growers from planning to production. These sessions will benefit new producers getting into farming and established farmers looking for new ventures.

About the speaker:

Rob Spencer is well known by vegetable and fruit growers across Alberta. As the Provincial Commercial Horticulture Specialist, over 17 years Rob hosted many workshops and field tours, wrote horticulture production manuals, and covered all aspects of production and marketing in more than 130 editions of the monthly Hort Snacks newsletter. In March 2020 Rob started Spencer Horticultural Solutions, delivering customized horticultural consulting services to a range of clients.

Rob has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with a major in Horticulture and a Master of Science (Plant Sciences) from the University of Saskatchewan. He resides with his family in Stettler, Alta. where he is heavily involved in several volunteer initiatives. Rob was chair of the Heartland Beautification Committee, ran three community gardens, and built a 1-acre Community Orchard. Rob brings his professional and technical expertise as a board member of the Alberta Horticultural Association. Recently Rob added judging for Communities in Bloom to his volunteer activities.

Questions? Contact Lorraine Taylor, Horticulturist, Lac Ste. Anne County at 780-203-2968 or

Hosted in partnership with the counties of Lac Ste. Anne, Leduc, Parkland, Sturgeon, Westlock, Woodlands, and Yellowhead.

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