The Homegrown Innovation Challenge, funded by the Weston Family Foundation, aims at increasing the sustainability and competitiveness of the out-of-season berry industry in Canada.
October 3, 2022 By Vineland Research and Innovation Centre
Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland) will be one of the 15 teams granted a Spark Award, the initial award phase of the Homegrown Innovation Challenge. The challenge aims to discover innovative tools and technology solutions to enable Canadian growers to cultivate a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.
The Homegrown Innovation Challenge, funded by the Weston Family Foundation, aims at increasing the sustainability and competitiveness of the out-of-season berry industry in Canada. Led by the Ontario Horticultural Trades Foundation, Vineland in collaboration with a number of partners including the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), Berry Growers of Ontario, Fenwick Berry Farm, First Green Energy and Roxul Inc. has been awarded this past August, the first of three phases of the challenge – the Spark Award.
The $50,000 seed funding will support the team’s project developing an innovated long-cane raspberry production system in producing a high-yielding, energy efficient, fully integrated and scaled long-cane raspberry production system under protected environments. Solar panels will be used to shorten the return-on-investment period of the new system by offsetting capital infrastructure costs through income generation by net metering opportunities.
Results are expected by December 2022, at which time the team will apply to the Shepherd phase. If successful, there is a potential to advance the project with further research and funding of up to $1 million to develop proof-of-concept of the system within a time period of up to 18 months. Innovation teams advancing through each phase have the potential to receive in total up to $8 million dollars.
Print this page