Photo courtesy KPU
A new research farm and seed laboratory operated by Kwantlen Polytechnic University will be built on the Garden City Lands.
B.C. Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham was at Kwantlen for the July 30 announcement of the 8.1-hectare (20-acre) research farm, which will be certified organic and will give growers, researchers and students the ability to both observe new technologies being tested and participate in workshops where they can learn about the latest research results.
The seed lab will allow seed growers to carry out quality control on their seeds and use the information gathered to further improve their growing practices.
“British Columbians deserve access to high-quality local food options grown by people they know and trust,” says Popham. “This cutting-edge research at KPU will help local farmers develop better seeds, crops and growing methods, and lead to more BC-grown healthy food produced for people in an innovative and sustainable way.”
The province will make a $670,000 contribution through the B.C. Knowledge Development Fund, which supports world-class research and innovation throughout our province, she says.
Through the fund, the province plans to improve the lives of all British Columbians by spurring new technologies and innovation leading to growth in the BC economy.
The funds help support the purchase of seed-testing equipment for a newly-renovated seed lab, as well as farm infrastructure including irrigation systems, high tunnels, a greenhouse and post-harvest processing facilities.
The provincial funds are being matched by the federal government’s Canada Foundation for Innovation. An additional $335,000 comes from partners in the organic seed industry and through funding raised by Kwantlen.
“West Coast Seeds is excited to collaborate with Kwantlen Polytechnic University on its leadiing-edge research and development,” said Orrin Morishita, president of West Coast Seeds, which offers organic seeds to both home gardeners and commercial growers.
“(KPU’s) work on reliable organic seed supply and testing will help strengthen the organic seed and food production industries, and benefit all organic agriculture in the province.”
This new funding allows for solid science. It will help organic farmers produce the best crops and seed growers produce the highest quality seed. It will also increase the number of workers trained in organic seed and crop production.
This new work by KPU will not be dry, theoretical research but applied, useful information that can be used right away by farmers and seed producers to get more and better food to our tables.
“Through this exciting project, Kwantlen Polytechnic University is generating innovative research in sustainable agriculture that has real-world applications to local agriculture,” said Alan Davis, president, Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
“Kwantlen students will get training for future job opportunities and B.C. growers will get training and technical services to help improve their business.”