On Day 2 of our IFAJ ag tour we made our way through Toronto to Niagara Falls stopping at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. If you missed Parts 1 and 2 of my Lake Ontario ag tour click here and here. The Vineland Research and Innovation Centre was established in 2007 and is funded by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and other groups. Vineland is located in the town of Lincoln, Niagara Region, and it consists of 35 buildings with a 218-acre land base.
Vineland’s four research goals are: creating new and differentiated horticultural products; driving down production costs; delivering the health and environmental benefits of horticulture; and safeguarding horticultural crops against environmental stress.
Ag Fact: Over 76 per cent of horticultural production in Canada is concentrated in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec. The horticultural sector includes potatoes, field grown vegetables, greenhouse vegetables, fruits, ornamental products, honey and maple products.
We chowed down on lunch while Donald Ziraldo, chair of the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, and Dr. Jim Brandle, CEO of the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, spoke to us. From there we split into four groups and visited four different parts of the research centre. We visited yet another winery called the Foreign Affair Winery, which specializes in making prestigious wines in the Old World Amarone tradition. We discovered genomic techniques and technologies for breeding new varieties of flowers and vegetables from Dr. Daryl Somers. This was particularly interesting to me as Dr. Somers used to work at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Research Station in Morden, Manitoba, which is near where I grew up. There he worked on rose breeding until AAFC moved the rose breeding program to Ontario. We also learned about the Greening Highways project, which focuses on pollution mitigation and carbon sequestration; and increasing tree survival in stressful environments. And finally, we toured plots where various world crops such as fuzzy melon, yard long beans, Chinese hot peppers, okra and eggplant, are being produced for the ethnically diverse Canadian population.
They also grow various kinds of fruits at the research centre, such as peaches, plums and pears.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience at the IFAJ 2011 Congress. Thanks for reading! And don’t forget to comment – I love hearing from you.