The University of Windsor announced a local partnership to advance agricultural research, development, and innovation in the Windsor-Essex region Thursday during the Canadian Greenhouse Conference (CGC).
The University of Windsor and Horteca — a joint venture of greenhouse operator JEM Farms and Ecoation, developers of pest management and yield forecasting platforms — will establish and operate a two-acre fully operational innovation greenhouse for research, proof-of-concept designs, and partnership opportunities with industry and community partners.
Under the banner “Agriculture at UWindsor” (AgUWin), the space will provide access to prime growing and technical environments for researchers and industry, with the ability to field test the deployment of upcoming technologies in a cost-effective, secure, and safe environment.
Chris Houser, UWindsor interim vice-president, research and innovation, says the partnership will increase the University’s ability to provide hands-on student learning experiences in such areas as growing conditions, sensors, biologics, data and artificial intelligence, autonomy and robotics, security, sustainability, supply chain, and Indigenous partnerships. New programing will be developed to support talent development and leadership in the agriculture and greenhouse sectors.
Windsor-Essex is home to the largest number of greenhouses in the world outside the Netherlands.
Saber Miresmailli, founder and CEO of Ecoation, says controlled environment agriculture is the answer to a growing world population and climate change induced limitations that negatively affect the food supply chain.
“Through this partnership with the University of Windsor, 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.”
Dr. Houser says AgUWin will network with greenhouse growers and suppliers to focus on the region’s reputation and opportunities within the greenhouse sector.
“The University is well positioned to support the advancement of new technology and greenhouse innovations, and the Windsor-Essex region is exceptionally well aligned to support greenhouse growers and global industry leaders in advancing these new and exciting technologies,” he says.
Houser invites companies interested in partnering on projects with the University of Windsor and Horteca to reach out to: firstname.lastname@example.org.