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Moving Nova Scotian and Atlantic Canadian Agriculture Forward

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Food security and food sovereignty is an important field of research and conversation in Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada. The use of Controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) as a technology based approach in agriculture could be the means to achieve just that with more year-round local food production.  

To further this goal the Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture is partnering with the Government of the Netherlands and a group of Dutch agri-food companies, Greenhouse industries and organizations, are teaming up to explore the possibilities of supporting more local food production and related R&D using innovative CEA in Atlantic Canada.

On September 28, 2017 AIM to Grow — an initiative of the Dutch Government and partner organizations — was launched in collaboration with the Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture. The potential for improvements to the Canadian Agri-food sector by expanding production through modern local greenhouses is attractive by lengthening the growing season and providing new opportunities to produce more locally grown, year-round, pesticide-free food.

Further advantages of this approach are the benefits to the economy with the creation of local jobs and decreased pollution with shorter transport distances. Currently nearly 86 per cent of all fresh fruits and 39 per cent of vegetables consumed in Canada are imported and in 2015, prices for imported fresh produce increased approximately 12 per cent due to the drop in the value of the Canadian dollar. Further, due to the high costs of imported produce, Atlantic Canada’s ‘end of the line’ transportation and distribution challenges and costs pose an extra burden for ensuring fresh produce in the region.

A world leader in greenhouse produced food, the Dutch Agri-food greenhouse sector and its representatives are eager to collaborate with the Faculty of Agriculture, seeing it as an ideal partner for the AIM to Grow initiative for research and development, education and training and outreach.

To read the full article in the Dal News, click here.