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May 17, 2018

Sharing the fruits of research: studying the state of the apple industry in the Okanagan

The amount of land in the Okanagan Valley dedicated to growing apples dropped by 35 per cent between 2001 and 2011 — a shift that led to substantial changes in the industry, with broad repercussions for processing and distribution, and inspired two Okanagan College School of Business professors, Lee Cartier and Svan Lembke, to examine the situation and the new opportunities it has given rise to. Their work looked in particular at the links among “clusters” — the interconnected businesses, suppliers and other organizations in a geographic area that are all involved in the same industry. Cartier and Lembke found... Read more
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May 17, 2018

Waste not, want not: Red River College and local microbreweries take an innovative approach to leftovers

Who knew there’s more to beer leftovers than what lingers in the bottom of a stubby at the end of a party? Red River College and two local microbreweries in Winnipeg teamed up make use of the spent grain that’s left at the end of the brewing process, in an experiment that shows how far a little imagination and innovation can go. Together, they made a new kind of miso — the thick paste that’s normally made from fermented soy beans and is a staple of Japanese cooking. Spent grain is a by-product of the brewing industry and generally used... Read more
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May 17, 2018

Finding new ways to use an old crop: Jerusalem artichokes bloom again

You may know Jerusalem artichokes primarily as the towering yellow daisies that overflow gardens in August and September; for Alberta startup NovaGreen, their value lies in what you can’t see: the tubers they grow underground. Jerusalem artichokes (also called sunchokes) are a native North American sunflower species that was prized for the food value of its tubers by indigenous people and credited with helping to keep early settlers alive. Exported to Europe, it became popular at first as food for humans but later was used mostly as animal feed. It fell out of favour in North America as well, until... Read more
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May 17, 2018

Strong, straight and nutritious: research to improve cereal crops

Keeping cereal crops healthy and strong over the summer gives them their best shot of producing a high yield of grain. How to achieve that is the focus of the cereal research taking place at Lakeland College, led by Laurel Perrott. Recent research trials have had three main themes: in-season nitrogen fertility, optimal fungicide timing, and preventing lodging. Under the first theme, Perrott is studying the effect of applying additional nitrogen fertilizer on different varieties and classes of wheat after the crop has emerged, either early or later in the season. She’s also studying barley foliar fungicide timing. Fungicides are... Read more
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May 16, 2018

A bit of research today keeps the doctor away — from the apples

Apples, the fruit that famously keeps the doctor away, are getting some help to keep away unwanted visitors themselves. Ontario’s apple trees are facing damage from a new pest – the apple leaf curling midge. The galls (bumps that appear on leaves) produced by the midges can interfere with the normal growth and development of the terminal shoots of young apple trees, which delays or stunts their structural development. It’s a particular problem in Durham Region, where the amount of land dedicated to growing apples has doubled in the last five years, because young trees are particularly affected, but apple... Read more
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April 20, 2018

Not paving, but paradise — creating an organic garden

White Oaks Resort and Spa in Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, wanted to convert 1,152 square feet of its property from grass into a sustainable garden. The area abuts a road and is exposed to high winds, car residue and pollution. Michael Wakil, White Oaks’s chief development officer, said the original plan was to extend the resort’s parking lot but he just couldn’t go through with it. “I realized when you look out, it would just be asphalt. There’s the parking that’s already here, then a roadway and then [another] parking lot. That’s a lot of asphalt,” he said. “It’s... Read more
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April 20, 2018

Aqua Greens – From Seed to Restaurant

In a contest of whether Humber College or fish were more important in the success of Aqua Greens, a company that supplies organic greens to restaurants and markets in Toronto, the fish would probably win. But Humber would be a close second. Tilapia are an essential part of the aquaponics system that Aqua Greens uses to supply restaurants and grocery stores in Toronto with several varieties of basil, as well as dandelions and mustard greens. Aquaponics is a water-based growing method that requires no soil: instead, the plant roots are bathed in highly oxygenated water that draws its nutrients from... Read more
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April 19, 2018

Parisian Pastries from Prairie Pulses

The rich food value of dried peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas has been known for centuries — their collective name, "pulses", comes from puls, a Latin word that means both "seeds" and "porridge". Pulses are widely consumed both as animal feed and in savoury dishes for humans around the world, and research continues to expand their uses. Some of those new uses are remarkable — the crowning achievement of this project was to create a nut-free, egg-free French macaron using navy bean flour as a butter substitute. Best Cooking Pulses is a family-owned Canadian processor of pulse crops grown in... Read more
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June 22, 2016

Looking for a Way to Nurture Systems to Feeds Us

Agricultural land is an irreplaceable natural resource and we are not looking after it as we should, according to Kent Mullinix, director of the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. “Nations and provinces and municipalities create policy and law and regulation all the time to advance their vision, their agenda, and somehow we have decided a sustainable food system isn’t worth doing that for,” Mullinix said in a telephone interview. Mullinix is the lead researcher on Fostering Regional Food Systems, a project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, from its Community and College Social Innovation Fund.... Read more
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June 22, 2016

Cultivating a New Crop of Farmers

Farming, once a heritage, is becoming a lifestyle choice. Traditionally Québec’s farms, like others across the country, have been passed from parent to child, each generation essentially serving an apprenticeship of chores with ever-increasing responsibility before taking over the job. But that’s not true any longer. More and more farm kids choose different careers — and at Cégep de Victoriaville, at least, a new crop of farmers is being nurtured. “We are full of students in this program who come from non-farming backgrounds,” says Simon Dugré, director of ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­the Centre d’innovation sociale en agriculture at Cégep de Victoriaville. “They choose... Read more
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