The OMAFRA Greenhouse Vegetable Specialist is continuing an exciting webinar series on technology in controlled environments!
This series is relevant to anyone producing in controlled environments – from vegetables, to herbs, cannabis and flowers. The second webinar tackles the use of black out curtains for light abatement in these systems, and how their use can impact plant production. Industry experts from AAFC, Hoogendoorn, Ludvig Svensson, Van der Ende Groupand360 Energy are all participating. so don’t miss the opportunity to hear from so many experts at once! This webinar covers each company’s approach to addressing challenges of production under curtain cover, and involves a panel-style discussion about integrating these systems.
Details on this installment of this webinar series can be found below.
The OMAFRA Greenhouse Vegetable Specialist is putting together an exciting webinar series on technology in controlled environments!
This series is relevant to anyone producing in controlled environments – from vegetables, to herbs, cannabis and flowers. The first webinar tackles Artificial Intelligence in these systems. Industry experts from Koidra and Blue Radix — two companies working with Ontario producers — cover integrating AI into production to improve automation, yield and reduce errors. This webinar covers each company’s approach to agricultural AI and provides answers to producer questions.
Details on the first installment of this webinar series can be found below.
Fresh, delicious, hothouse strawberries in the dead of winter…can’t you just taste them? We would ALL love to see more local strawberries in our grocery stores, wouldn’t we?
Perhaps you’ve thought about growing strawberries in your greenhouse. Or you’ve dabbled in production already. Maybe you are a well-seasoned strawberry grower but eager to stay connected and continue learning.
If any of these sounds like you, you’ll want to check out an upcoming course on hydroponic strawberry production by Hort Americas.
The Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) has just announced a new program to help fund agri-food businesses starting e-commerce sales or other activities that might open new market channels. This targeted intake is called “Agrifood Open for E-business” and can be found on the OMAFRA website.
Read on for more details of the program, who is eligible, and examples of projects ornamental growers can apply for in each of the two program streams.
Agrifood Open for E-business – Stream 1: Bring Your Business Online
Stream 1 is looking to target businesses who need to bring their business online quickly. Eligible businesses include farmers (on-farm stores included), on-farm markets, garden centers, greenhouses and nurseries.
Growers and garden centres can apply to receive up to $5,000 of funding to address marketing challenges through a new, expanded or enhanced on-line presence. Funding under this stream is designed to be quick and responsive for those needing timely solutions.
The priority here is to develop market channels to retain and/or expand sales with primary objective of bringing products to customers.
EXAMPLES from the ornamental sector that could be covered (starting as of April 24, 2020 unitl November 30, 2020) under Stream 1 include:
A Grower developing an online e-commerce site to increase or replace sales from roadside stands. This includes subscription fees (for up to 6 months), e-commerce website design costs and even web ads.
A Garden Centre with a e-presence already, using funds to expand merchandising and marketing efforts, and/or to make any necessary facility modifications.
AFarmers’ Market providing an online platform to share information about products that are now available for sale through alternative channels.
Agrifood Open for E-business – Stream 2: Develop Online Business Opportunities
This stream thinks bigger. It provides cost-share funding to develop e-commerce business opportunities on a larger scale to implement high-impact projects. Individual businesses can apply, as can eligible organizations. Collaborations are also encouraged. Funding is available for up to 90 per cent of eligible costs up to $75,000 (although smaller projects are preferred).
Stream 2 is not just about getting you online, it’s about creating stable, long term online marketing and sales platforms that will help businesses going forward. Priorities here are about creating or expanding new markets and revenue streams, and projects that meet broad business needs for the sector (e.g. an online platform that supports multiple businesses) and collaborative projects.
In this stream, applicants can show their projects are impactful by involving groups that represent multiple stakeholders, and/or by working together with other partners. Applicants can also show their project meets the needs of the broader sector by demonstrating industry support in other ways (such as support letters).
EXAMPLES for the ornamental sector that could be covered under Stream 2 include:
A Grower developing and validating a new operation process (e.g. switching from wholesale to retail). This would include the logistics related to new marketing channels (this could be anything from new shelving needed to sell on the roadside or moving plants through alternative logistics models), warehousing, shipping (including new packaging), delivery fulfillment (e.g. door-to-door) and other transactions, such as the purchase of new machinery to help adapt to new sales methods (e.g. new POS system that allows for contactless “tap” purchases for roadside, pickup or delivery sales options).
A Retail Centre (e.g. grocery stores) developing new models to market, merchandise and ship new products like ornamentals in a contactless manner. This could include website/merchandising expansion, training key personnel on the new process and delivery logistics
Grower Organizations collaborating with growers or other industry groups to market the benefits and availability of ornamentals (as long as it’s not restricted to Ontario-grown products only), or creating an app to more easily link growers to sellers.
A Farmers’ Market collaborating with its market vendors to establish and market an e-commerce platform, and to make minor facility modifications to address social distancing requirements that are directly related to the project.
All applicants to Stream 2 should show the project is meeting the needs of their broader sector by demonstrating industry support through letters from customers, suppliers and grower organizations. A grower can also show the project is meeting the needs of their local area through support letters from regional organizations (e.g., local business/economic development groups).
Make sure to check the Merit Criteria section closely! Note that costs relating to projects starting BEFORE April 24 will NOT be eligible. All applications should be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org
Electronic forms for submission can be found here:
Growers and retailers can apply for one project under EACH stream, in order to get their e-commerce platforms up and running quickly AND to engage in longer term marketing and sales processes that strengthen the sector over the long run.
An Additional FYI: OMAFRA and COVID
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, and to respect physical distancing measures, all our specialists are working remotely but are still available to assist you.
We will continue to support the sector’s needs by providing services via email, phone and virtual meetings where possible. We understand these are trying times for most and so we want to assure everyone that we are continuing delivery of information in a timely manner through these alternative channels.
We will continue to provide the sector with the support we’ve always given. Thank you for your understanding. Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.
Once again, Focus Greenhouse Management and Jeffery’s Greenhouse are partnering to bring us the 2019 Poinsettia Open House!
There will be presentations on pest management in poinsettia, troubleshooting production issues as well as plant growth regular trials. And, as always, there will be lots and lots of poinsettia varieties to look at!
Read on for more details including speakers and sales reps that will be present.
Up until this point, most of Ontario floriculture growers (and me!) assumed the only pest thrips we were dealing with was Western flower thrips (besides Echinothrips in a few crops like gerbera and poinsettia).