Two new living labs announced in Quebec
July 11, 2023 By Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
On July 10, Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal minister of agriculture and agri-food, announced the creation of two new living labs in Quebec. These on-farm collaborative innovation projects bring together producers and scientists, among others, who co-develop and test innovative practices and technologies to accelerate the agri-environmental shift.
The lead partners for these two new Quebec living labs are L’Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA) and Les Producteurs de lait du Québec (Les PLQ). The two projects represent an investment of more than $16 million over five years from the federal government, under the Agricultural Climate Solutions (ACS) program.
With up to $9.2M in federal investments, the living lab led by UPA aims to co-develop, test and evaluate beneficial management practices with dairy, cattle, pork, sheep and field crops, which are the largest agricultural sectors in Quebec.
Les PLQ are benefiting from a federal investment of up to $7M for Laboratoire vivant – Lait carboneutre, which is part of a global strategy aimed at achieving carbon-neutral, on-farm milk production by 2050.
“Quebec farmers have long worked closely in collaboration with researchers to bring the best practices and the latest tools from out of the lab and into the field,” said Bibeau in a press release. “These two new research projects ensure that farms themselves become laboratories where new practices are co-developed, tested and evaluated.
“This approach makes it possible to reach a greater number of producers, to accelerate the adoption of best practices and, as a result, make our agriculture increasingly sustainable.”
Both lead partners will be working closely with local producers and other organizations to co-develop and test beneficial on-farm practices to store carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Each living lab will create its own network to encourage knowledge transfer and exchange between fellow producers, producer associations, federal and provincial researchers, Indigenous groups, and other sector stakeholders.
Building on the success of the Living Laboratories Initiative that ran in P.E.I., Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario from 2019 until March 2023, the ACS
Living Labs program seeks to break down barriers between research and application by co-developing and testing new ideas in real-world conditions. This Canadian model has received international acclaim and inspired similar initiatives in other countries around the world.
In the coming weeks, lead partners for living labs in three other provinces will be announced. They add to the wave of nine living labs announced under the ACS program in 2022 and will ensure that there will be at least one living lab in every Canadian province.