Top Crop Manager

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Sustainable agriculture projects supported by AAFC and Atlantic provinces


March 9, 2020
By Top Crop Manager

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Last week, Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, met with Keith Colwell, Nova Scotia minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, and Bloyce Thompson, P.E.I. minister of Agriculture and Land, to announce joint federal-provincial investments in expansion and sustainable agriculture projects in the two Atlantic provinces.

Bibeau and Colwell announced $600,000 will be invested in two Nova Scotian greenhouse operations – den Haan’s Greenhouses Ltd. and Forest Glen Greenhouses Ltd., each receiving $300,000 – through the province’s Agriculture Business Advancer program.

With its funding, den Haan’s will be transitioning to year-round vegetable production by installing LED lighting technology. The new lighting is expected to enable the business to increase its total yield by 25 to 30 per cent, meeting the demand for local fresh produce in the winter, while reducing its overall carbon footprint.

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Forest Glen is a local producer of spring, fall and Christmas plant material, supplying garden centres in N.S., N.B. and P.E.I; it plans a major expansion, adding a new 35,000 square foot gutter-connected greenhouse.

The Agriculture Business Advancer program is supported through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year, $37 million investment in strategic initiatives for Nova Scotian agriculture by the federal and provincial governments.

As for P.E.I., Thompson and Bibeau announced an investment of $893,284 for an innovative project that will help increase energy use efficiency and reduce fossil fuel use in Schurman Family Farm’s greenhouse production.

The Schurman family operates Atlantic Grown Organics which provides organically grown produce throughout Atlantic Canada. The operation will receive a federal investment of $446,642 under AAFC’s Agricultural Clean Technology Program, $271,467 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program, $89,328 from the P.E.I. Department of Agriculture and Land and $85,847 from Atlantic Grown Organics.

Atlantic Grown Organics has been using waste bio-products as fuel for the operation of its greenhouses. Their operation has been able to make use of bio-waste from a local oilseed processing plant but have been required to supplement this system with fuel oil.

Through this support, the farm will test and demonstrate the adaptation of a clean technology boiler system, a first of its kind to be installed in North America. The new boiler system will help turn the greenhouse operation into 100 per cent renewable heating, and promote the adoption of clean technologies in the sector.