Dozens of industry representatives and local politicians joined Ontario Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Jeff Leal this afternoon in marking the start of construction.
The facility will be operational next spring.
The 3,700-square-metre greenhouse will focus on developing innovative technologies that will help get more food to market faster. Areas of research include:
• Research to create crops that are more resilient to Ontario conditions and more profitable to grow.
• Enhanced horticultural production systems, including natural and automated pest-management systems for greenhouse operations.
• Consumer insights to support new products, including different varieties of vegetables, apples and wine.
Supporting research and innovation is part of the government’s economic plan to invest in people, build modern infrastructure and support a dynamic and innovative business climate, said Leal.
“Investments in research and innovation are critical to growing our horticultural sector and will create jobs in the agri-food industry across Ontario.”
Recent commercialization successes coming out of Vineland include the introduction of Pixie grapes, a one-of-kind, ornamental dwarf grapevine, and the sundown pear, an attractive, late-season, fresh-market pear with good storage capability.
“This new greenhouse represents a significant opportunity for the horticulture industry in Ontario,” said Vineland CEO Dr. Jim Brandle.
“What sets this project apart is the unique ability it will provide for problem solving and collaboration with our ever-widening range of partners and the commercialization of great science.”
Niagara Regional Council chair Gary Burroughs said Vineland has a well-deserved reputation for agricultural innovation.
Regional council, he said, is proud to support the greenhouse project. “It’s about economic development, and it’s about innovation in the agriculture sector, which is so important to all of us in the Niagara region.”
JGS won the contract for the greenhouse and the irrigation, energy curtains, and heating systems. Niagrow, Zwarts and VRE are all subtrades to JGS.
"As the leading supplier for research greenhouses in North America JGS has built expertise both in-house and through established partnerships," said JGS project manager Ken Langendoen.
"By working together to integrate energy curtains, irrigation and heating, JGS is able to offer complete packages which provide technological advanced systems for state of the art research like we are building at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre."
Additionally, PL Lighting, was awarded the contract for the lights, and Hoogendoorn is providing the environmental controls.
|Vineland board chair John Scott.|
“Once completed, this will be the largest research facility of its kind in Canada,” he said. “This specialized greenhouse will help take research to the market faster.”
Innovation is the key in finding new opportunities to foster new successes, said Leal. “It fuels our economy and inspires us all.”
|Several Vineland board members joined the politicians in a ribbon-cutting ceremony.|
|Board chair John Scott, Niagara Regional Council chair Gary Burroughs, Ontario Ag Minister Jeff Leal, CEO Dr. Jim Brandle, and board member and former federal ag minister Lyle Vanclief.|
|Several local companies are involved with the project.|
|The new greenhouse will be operational by next spring.|
|CEO Dr. Jim Brandle.|
|JGS project manager Ken Langendoen, Regional Chair Gary Burroughs, and JGS general manager Frank Jonkman.