The international robotic and AI AgTech company ecoation joined forces with the greenhouse owners and operators at JEM farms to build a new North American Horticultural Technology Center & Academy: HORTECA. The 2-acre Demonstration and R&D facility is located in Ruthven, Ontario, right at the heart of the biggest greenhouse production cluster in North America.
Equipped with the latest commercial growing technologies, the center will showcase advanced existing technologies in the market and also develop future platforms that address automation, labor shortage, quality management, and residue-free production. Ecoation’s R&D team will operate from HORTECA and lead joint developments between JEM farms, Ecoation team, and various academic institutions and organizations.
“The controlled environment agriculture is the answer to the growing world population and climate change-induced limitations that negatively affect the food supply chain. There is no doubt that technology will play a prominent role in solving this very serious issue in near future. Yet technology that is not designed with proper insight and influence of experts will not be successful at scale. The unique advantage of HORTECA is the deeply practical and commercial knowledge of its founders and their proven track record of food production at scale," says Dr. Saber Miresmailli, founder and CEO of ecoation.
“Horticultural industry is transforming and many solutions and technologies exist in the market with a diverse range of offerings and functionality claims. To properly test their capabilities, one must use them under commercial settings and conditions. HORTECA is built to provide that opportunity.” Said Paul J. Mastronardi, Director of JEM Farms. “The Center and Academy will generate knowledge and know-how along with technology platforms that can positively improve decision making and address major issues going forward” he continues.
“We tested ecoation platform for the past two years in our farms. We were one of the first early adaptors of the technology and we are very pleased with the performance of the platform but more so, with the team at ecoation who are engaged and willing to work with us to solve real issues in our operations” Says Blake Fischer Head Grower at JEM Farms.
“Canada introduced many technologies and solutions to the world that positively impacted the lives of millions of people. The country’s best minds are getting together in HORTECA to solve yet another major issue that impacts humanity as a whole: Clean, sustainable, and nutritious food production” Says Dr. Miresmailli.