research and innovation

Grocery store shelf-labelling program comes to Ontario

An innovative shelf labelling program that is already being used in over 250 stores in Western Canada has come to Ontario. Through smartphone-enabled tags, Localize highlights regional products s and provides shoppers with information about the origin of food products right at the shelf. Each product considered local under the program has a QR code […]

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From rural Ontario to Alcatraz

Guelph grad leads garden restoration on Alcatraz  I’ve long wanted to visit Alcatraz, the notorious prison island off the coast of San Francisco commonly called simply “The Rock”. I didn’t make it there during my first trip to the area almost a decade ago; back then, I didn’t realize you had to buy tickets days […]

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Behind the scenes on a large Ontario farm

I suppose some might consider what I visited several weeks ago a “factory farm”. I’ve yet to actually meet someone who could give me a clear definition of what that term means when I’ve asked, but at first glance, the farm fits many of the notions people often tend to associate with that expression: a […]

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More cooking, better labelling can address food waste

I’ve written about food waste before: here and here, for example. The statistics that are often used to quantify the shocking amount of food that we produce but end up discarding are staggering. Not only are we wasting the actual food, but we’re also throwing out the water, energy and other resources we’ve used to […]

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Meet an Ontario fruit farmer

Family tradition is an important part of Ontario’s farming culture. Innovation and new technology, however, are what helps keep that family tradition going for the future generations. Fruit grower Phil Tregunno is proud of being the fourth generation of his family to farm in the Niagara Region – and with his two sons and a […]

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Welfare-friendly housing for young chickens

Chris Mullet Koop didn’t set out to start raising his own pullets (young chickens). He really just wanted to convert his layer barn into an enriched colony system – but as these things sometimes go, one thing led to another and then another. Now, he’s the first farmer in North America with an innovative enriched […]

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Farmer saves Ontario snakes

This is the final story in our Earth Day series this week about farmers doing good things for the environment. Thanks for reading! The north shore of Lake Erie is a known habitat for the Eastern Fox Snake, Ontario’s second largest snake species. It’s protected under the province’s Endangered Species Act, so when Dale Vranckx […]

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New water storage decreases ground water use

This is the third article in a series this week where we’re profiling Ontario farmers and some of their on-farm environmental improvements – in honour of Earth Day, of course. The hot, dry summer of 2012 was the tipping point for Oxford County farmer Jan Veldhuizen, who was using up to 6,000 gallons (22,700 litres) […]

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Purifiying vineyard waste the natural way

This is the second in a series of stories showcasing the innovative things Ontario farmers are doing on their farms to improve the environment – in honour of Earth Day. Tough new regulations governing vineyard waste management meant the owners of Sixteen Mile Cellar in the Niagara Region had some tough choices to make. Previously, […]

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Community & sustainability at heart of local blueberry farm

This is the week we mark Earth Day, on Tuesday to be exact. Many of us give a bit more thought to the environment this week or do a few extra things to mark this day. And those are all good things. Farmers, in my opinion, have a special relationship with the environment, a stronger […]

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Innovations protect fruit crops against weather, predator damage

Newcastle – Damaging weather and predators can mean the difference between a good year and a bad one on the farm. No one knows that better than Charles Stevens, who grows apples and blueberries on his farm near Newcastle, east of Toronto. He’s turned to technology and innovation to protect his apples against hail and […]

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What farmers can learn from Chris Hadfield

Commander Chris Hadfield returned to earth last month as Canada’s latest national hero. He’s the first Canadian to command the International Space Station, helped conduct a record-breaking 130 experiments in space and even presided over a last-minute spacewalk by two fellow astronauts to fix an ammonia leak on the station a few days before he […]

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Ultrasound helps beef farmers make better marketing decisions

Using ultrasound on cattle to identify carcass characteristics is helping beef farmers maximize their profitability. A project led by Beef Improvement Opportunities (BIO) has shown that ultrasound technology can accurately predict specific carcass characteristics, such as weight, back fat and marbling, which directly affect how much a producer is paid for an animal.

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Keeping birds away from wine grapes

Automating the acoustical devices that keep birds away from grape crops in Ontario’s vineyards could improve the effectiveness and efficiency of these tools. Better management options for the devices – also known as bird bangers – can reduce crop losses and improve relations with non-farm neighbours put off by the noise, according to a recently […]

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Locally grown exotic plant opens new markets, creates jobs

An exotic houseplant with pink flowers is turning heads across North America and creating jobs in the Niagara region. The plant, named Medinilla Magnifica, is helping to expand operations and open up new markets for Ted Oorsprong’s Northend Gardens. Thanks to some support from Ontario Agri-Food Technologies, Oorsprong is selling the plant in chain stores […]

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