Canadian Universities Forge Agri-Food Innovation Path

Canadian Universities Forge Agri-Food Innovation Path
Jan 30, 2024


In an exciting development for Canada's agriculture and food industry, two leading research universities, the University of Guelph (U of G) and the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV), have established a partnership. This collaboration is set to drive sustainable innovation within the nation's lucrative $140 billion agri-food sector. 

Dr. Evan Fraser from U of G’s Arrell Food Institute and Dr. Lenore Newman from UFV's Food and Agriculture Institute are at the helm of this alliance. The partnership arises amid pressing global concerns such as climate change, food waste, and the increasing issue of food insecurity, coupled with a looming shortage of skilled agricultural workers. 

The main objective of this collaboration is to explore new pathways for sustainable innovation in the agri-food sector. It aims to mold future leaders in the field, with Canada poised to become a global frontrunner in producing safe, sustainable, and healthy food. 

“One aspect of this partnership that I am so excited about is the potential to develop a national training platform to inspire and equip the next generation of leaders to help propel Canada on the global stage in terms of being the world leader in the production of safe, healthy and sustainable food,“ said Dr. Fraser. 

Key initiatives under this partnership include the development of a national agricultural technology strategy, fostering Canada's Agri-Tech ecosystem, and addressing food security as a critical aspect of national security.  

The collaboration will involve a series of accelerator workshops, the creation of a national network of agricultural technology players, and funding research to scale new innovations for market integration. 

This partnership is receiving early support from the Abbotsford Tech District, an agricultural technology accelerator. It signifies a major leap towards collaborative pathways for Canadian-made agriculture and food innovations, integrating solution-oriented technologies for mainstream market adoption. 

The U of G and UFV collaboration marks a significant moment in Canadian agri-food history, focusing on sustainable practices and technological advancements in agriculture. This partnership is a beacon of hope for the future, promising a more sustainable and prosperous agri-food sector in Canada. 

“Agricultural technology is essential to Canada’s food security and we are at a critical point where we must secure and increase the global food supply,” commented Peter Dhillon, chairman of the board, Ocean Spray, and CEO of the Richberry Group Close collaboration between applied university research and industry is essential to supercharge the innovation ecosystem.”  

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