The B.C. Centre for Agritech Innovation is bringing together academia, government and industry partners to create more productive, diverse and resilient food-supply chains. While the centre will be located at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus, it will use the skills of experts from several post-secondary institutions, including Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU)
The provincial government is committing $6.5 million over three years to the B.C. Centre for Agritech Innovation, and the federal government is providing as much as $10 million over five years through Pacific Economic Development Canada. Although the centre is scheduled to open in September 2022, it is already accepting applications from small and medium-sized agriculture technology businesses throughout the province. The centre will focus on developing, testing and piloting solutions in simulated and real-world environments to be farm-ready for commercialization.
“Agricultural technology in B.C. is a fast-growing field,” says Deepak Gupta, associate vice-president for research, innovation and graduate studies at KPU. “There is huge potential for small and medium-sized businesses.”
Dr. Deborah Henderson, director of the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture at KPU, says a number of industry partners are keen to work with KPU.
One project is with Aeroroot Systems, a Surrey-based startup company that commercializes growing systems and passive greenhouses. The KPU team will be optimizing growing methods of basil through aeroponics – the process of growing plants in an air-based system – while developing solutions to combat potential pests and diseases.
“Starting this fall KPU will be developing standard operating procedures for vertical aeroponic farming equipment developed by Aeroroot systems,” says Aeroroot president Peter Atwal. “Aeroroot believes that food can be grown locally and sustainably while being price competitive with large-scale, low-wage imports.”
Source: Kwantlen Polytechnic University September 2, 2022 news release