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Technology roadmaps aim to drive opportunities within Canadian horticulture

Vineland, a research and innovation center, believes that roadmaps offer an opportunity to explore a spectrum of topics. Vineland undertook a number of roadmaps for
industry partners including:

  • Understanding the economic, sustainability, social and technological needs and challenges faced by different members of the produce value chain (e.g. labor shortages);

  • Assessing the impact of environmental changes on the horticultural sector (e.g. climate change, sustainability targets);

  • Enhancing technological awareness of produce value chain members, identifying and removing barriers to technology adoption/integration;

  • Facilitating collaboration and innovation within and across industries, regions, value chain and communities, leading to agri-food automation, market expansion and growth of Canadian horticulture and related sectors;
  • Clarifying the opportunity for the horticultural sector either through technology adoption or collaboration;

  • Reviewing the legal and regulatory landscape, as well as associated trends related to the horticultural sector.

The Vineland approach
According to Vineland they take a multifaceted approach to achieve a well-rounded comprehension of the subject matter including key stakeholder groups, perspectives from other industries, and scientific literature.

Credits: Vineland

The outcome
Vineland states: "The outcomes of the roadmaps collectively demonstrate the value of conducting comprehensive research projects in the horticultural sector, offering insights
into technological advancements, labor challenges, market awareness and
the need for sustainable practices and regional adaptation. Such projects
provide a roadmap for industry stakeholders to navigate the complex
landscape of modern agriculture by examining the application of several
technological innovations to address the challenges faced by them over the
short, medium and long term."

Credits: Vineland

The Impact
They add: "We delivered roadmaps that guided steps toward achieving the triple bottom line of sustainability - environmental, economic and social through strategic technological emulations, production cycle optimization, cost efficiency and market understanding, accessibility and climate-adapted solutions.

Leia Weaver, Project Development Advisor shares her experiences with the Vineland Roadmaps saying: "The Northern Ontario Farm Innovation Alliance (NOFIA) has been able to leverage the Horticulture Technology Roadmap for Northern Ontario. We have been able to present the report at our annual Northern Ontario Agricultural Conference to give examples on
how producers might adopt technologies for labor savings, finding efficiencies or scaling
up. We were inspired by the report to create a knowledge transfer event at the Growcer
vertical farm facility on Manitoulin Island in December 2023, as well as an online event
with a panel of Northern horticulturists in October 2023. Research and innovation for
northern-adapted varieties and practices are of great importance to NOFIA and we
are happy to support Vineland in their continued initiatives."

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