Alberta greenhouse grower Whole Leaf is booked to provide lettuce for U.S. burger chain Wendy’s restaurants across Canada. (CNW Group/Wendy’s Restaurants of Canada)

Wendy’s secures Canadian greenhouse lettuce supply

Alberta grower to provide sandwich, salad lettuce nationwide

Reading Time: 2 minutes The Canadian wing of U.S. burger chain Wendy’s is going strictly indoors, in southern Alberta, to supply all the lettuce for its salad, burger and chicken sandwich offerings across the country. Whole Leaf, based outside Coaldale, about 20 km east of Lethbridge, was announced last week as the lettuce supplier for the chain’s 384 stores […] Read more

File photo of a small greenhouse operation in Quebec. (ManonAllard/E+/Getty Images)

New pilot program for agri-food labour welcomed

Meat processors, greenhouse and mushroom growers, livestock producers get first crack at program

Reading Time: 4 minutes Ottawa — Federal officials hope a new pilot program will help stabilize ongoing labour issues in certain sectors of the agri-food value chain, while also providing citizenship to some foreign workers. Critics, however, contend more support is needed. “This pilot will help to ensure that farmers and processors have the much-needed skills, experience and labour […] Read more

A worker leans on a rack of potted flowers at Sheridan Nurseries in Toronto on May 8, 2020, the first day that garden centres re-opened in Ontario from COVID-19 restrictions. (Photo: Reuters/Chris Helgren)

Canada’s growers look to reopening garden centres to salvage dire year

Reading Time: 2 minutes Ottawa | Reuters — Hard-hit Canadian flower and nursery growers hope a surge in demand from budding gardeners in Ontario, the country’s biggest market, can help the industry avert disaster caused by the coronavirus with retailers reopening on Friday in the populous province. Most non-essential businesses in Canada were shut in mid-March as officials urged […] Read more

AAFC’s research station at Morden in southern Manitoba. (Manitoba Co-operator file photo by Allan Dawson)

COVID-19 threatens federal field research

Prairie cereals' commissions urge AAFC to follow example of universities, private researchers

Reading Time: 4 minutes COVID-19 threatens to sideline Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) field, greenhouse and laboratory research this year, but not if the Prairie wheat and barley commissions that help to fund it with farmer money have a say. AAFC has been sending “mixed messages” about its plans, Pam de Rocquigny, general manager of the Manitoba Wheat and […] Read more

Ray Schuurman, left, and Greg Schuurman are two of four partners operating Schuurman Greenhouses in Branchton, Ont.

Floral industry hit hard by COVID-19

Flower growers say a glut of flowers to sell could set their sector back for a couple of years

Reading Time: 3 minutes Greg Schuurman and his family have gone back to their roots selling flowers at the roadside, as much of their Easter and Mother’s Day floral crop has failed to find its usual markets. Schuurman, president and partner in Schuurman Greenhouses, the leader in cut chrysanthemums in Ontario, has been feeling the pain of not being […] Read more

Vineland’s “Radiance” sweet potato variety was developed specifically for the Canadian growing season. About 60,000 kilograms of root seed stock are needed to produce approximately 2.4 million slips, which can be purchased by commercial sweet potato growers to plant about 200 acres.

Local propagation a sweet potato opportunity

Reliance on North Carolina propagators could present challenges for Canadian growers

Reading Time: 2 minutes Ontario’s sweet potato sector might not be large, but researchers at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre says market opportunities in domestic propagation could help drive lucrative growth in the commodity. Why it matters: Existing greenhouse infrastructure could be used to improve domestic sweet potato production. Valerio Primomo, a vegetable breeder with Vineland, is involved […] Read more

Growers who use hoop houses can use the CO2 GRO technology even though they don’t have an entirely closed environment.

Plant growth boosted with water-based carbon dioxide

The Canadian system allows hoop-structure growers to use carbon dioxide as a growth enhancer

Reading Time: 3 minutes An Ontario company has patented technology to dissolve carbon dioxide into water and apply it to plants to make them grow faster while also reducing disease problems. Toronto-based CO2 GRO launched early in 2018 and has sold systems to growers of crops like lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, cannabis and microgreens. Although many greenhouse growers are already […] Read more

The sensor unit in a greenhouse.

Smart sensors come to greenhouses

Reading Time: < 1 minute Autogrow has released a wireless smart sensor giving greenhouse operators high-density microclimate data which can help improve yield, quality and decision making. The Folium sensor gathers environmental data including temperature, humidity, CO2, PAR, RAD and barometric pressure, which growers can view on a heatmap — immediately seeing differences across their grow areas. “We’ve advocated for […] Read more

New solar panels grab light from above and below

New solar panels grab light from above and below

Potential solution towards balance between crop growth and electricity generation capabilities

Reading Time: 2 minutes Electricity is a major expense for Canadian greenhouse growers. At the same time, large greenhouse facilities offer potential to produce renewable solar energy — but the challenge to date has been how to do that without impacting the growth and productivity of the crop inside. A potential solution from Ontario solar panel manufacturer Heliene is […] Read more

The disease-sensing robot that will scout greenhouses.

Plant-disease-detecting robot created at University of Guelph

Finding disease symptoms before humans can see them could put an early stop to spread

Reading Time: 3 minutes A smart robot with disease detection, plant monitoring and labour-saving capabilities is in the works for Ontario’s greenhouse vegetable sector. The Guelph Intelligent Greenhouse Automation System (GIGAS) is an integrated robotics system under development by the University of Guelph to automate some of the most labour intensive greenhouse tasks. Why it matters: As labour becomes […] Read more