Green Technologies for Horticulture
Construction of our new laboratory building was completed in July 2009, and the accompanying geothermal greenhouse will be complete in late 2009. Matching $2.23 million grants from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the B.C. Knowledge development Fund, were contributed to build the infrastructure to support a research program in "Green Technologies for Horticulture".
The three research themes within this project are:
- Development of new microbial biocontrol (specifically fungal and viral) and bioproducts to manage pests and diseases of food crops and ornamental plants without harm to the environment.
- Mechanical and control system prototype development for geothermal-based, alternate energy greenhouses to provide a clean energy option for both large and small scale commercial food and ornamental operations based on geothermal.
- New cropping systems research which will take two forms;
- food or ornamental plant based systems for closed or semi-closed 'green energy' greenhouses and suitable for existing protected culture operations, especially those taking advantage of lower cost alternative energy sources
- food-based systems for intense field production suitable for peri-urban and urban agriculture systems on a small land base and depending on innovative land tenure arrangements
The legacy of this initiative will be a vibrant research and development program with supporting infrastructure and broad industry collaboration – an 'incubator' for new bioproducts, unique in Canada. Ultimately more biocontrol and bioproducts will be available for growers, landscape professionals and the public, and we will have a generation of students well trained in the production and use of microbial biocontrol products.
Building on expertise of Institute staff, we are supporting a number of groups to develop urban agriculture projects around SW British Columbia. For instance, we have developed a concept paper for the City of Richmond which describes an Urban Agriculture Research and Education Center which could be established in the City to support urban agriculture. We are also working with Century Group to develop a concept community, Southlands which embraces urban agriculture in all of its forms. A Research Center in Urban Agriculture is planned for this site and the Institute will have a physical presence and be actively involved in research and programming when this becomes a reality. Partnerships with various community groups actively practicing urban agriculture round out our involvement. Watch for seminar events in the fall and winter of 2008–09 in urban agriculture.
Development of the BC Sustainable Landscape Standards
In collaboration with BCLNA and BCSLA, several small groups have worked to produce a document that set new sustainable standards for installation of landscapes – i.e. those that do not rely on pesticides to keep plants healthy, and that conserve water and other resources. These standards will be used by Municipalities and Developers to plan for landscapes which will not degrade the environment nor pose pesticide risks to inhabitants.
A research and community awareness project with the goal of promoting natural pest control with plants attractive to the eye as well as to beneficial insects. A demonstration garden build by students in the School of Horticulture is growing well. Come and visit the garden on the South Campus at Langley! We have have a wonderful population of native pollenators enjoying the flowers along with our community who enjoy walking here. Research into the benefits of individual plants is in progress in collaboration with the Institute for Urban Ecology, Douglas College and the DRS Earthwise Society of Delta. Bug Garden news updates appear on the School of Horticulture site here.
Biocontrol Seminar Series
A series of 4 seminars and workshops held in 2007-08 featured both Canadian and international experts in Biocontrol. The timing of this series coincided with the new B.Sc. degree in Integrated Pest Management offered at Kwantlen. Partial funding has been provided by the BC Investment Agriculture Foundation. See Events page for information on Proceedings and participants.
Building the Collaborative Research Network
Memoranda of understanding with the goal of building the collaborative network, have been signed between the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture and the Institute of Urban Ecology at Douglas College. Another has been signed between the University of the Fraser Valley and Kwantlen's School of Horticulture. Three international collaborations are in development.