Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland) is one of 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.
Qinglu Ying, PhD, Vineland’s research scientist, Plant Production was one of the successful grant recipients who led Vineland’s project application.
"Vineland is well-positioned to take on this project, being a leader in applied research in Canadian horticulture,” says Ying. We also have a strong legacy of working closely with growers, not only in Niagara but across the country.”
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 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 18 months.
The Homegrown Innovation Challenge was launched in February 2022. Full details on the challenge and Spark Award can be found at: https://homegrownchallenge.ca/spark-award-projects/
Source: Vineland Innovation and Research Centre September 29, 2022 news release