by SUSAN MANN
North America’s largest greenhouse, located in Niagara Region and dedicated to research for Ontario horticultural industry threw open its doors Friday for an official launch.
About 150 people attended the opening Friday morning of the 40,000-square-foot Collaborative Greenhouse Technology Centre located at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in Vineland, while another 500 people participated in open house tours in the afternoon, says Jim Brandle, CEO of the Vineland research centre.
The total greenhouse construction costs plus funding needed for technology and engineering projects being done within the facility is $13.3 million, Brandle says. Various governments and other organizations contributed funding, including:
- The Ontario government provided a $7.2 million transfer payment to the Vineland centre to do capital improvements. The centre decided to spend the money on the new greenhouse.
- The federal government, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, gave a $5.76 million grant for the greenhouse and for the engineering and technology projects taking place in the facility. The funding was provided through the Investing in Commercialization Partnerships Initiatives program.
- $1 million came from Niagara Region.
- Farm Credit Canada and Meridian Credit Union.
The greenhouse facility is for research to support and modernize the horticultural industry, including work on robotics, automation, lighting and thermal systems. The research will also focus on plant breeding, pest and disease control, according to an Ontario agriculture ministry press release. BF