Why is this research important for Alberta ag?
Lethbridge College (LC) will collaborate with Sunterra Farms for novel variety trials to optimize growing conditions for pre-commercial and commercial-scale production of strawberries and tomatoes. This collaborative research will occur at LC’s Brooks Greenhouse and Sunterra Farms’ Acme Greenhouse. This begins a long-term research collaboration between LC and Sunterra Farms.
The government transferred management of the Brooks Greenhouse to LC, in which Sunterra Farms has been conducting strawberry variety trials since 2019. LC and Sunterra recognize significant opportunity in Alberta for greenhouse production of fruits and vegetables. There is excellent market potential in Alberta for both strawberries and tomatoes.
These trials utilize innovative techniques (strawberries) and made-in Canada varieties (tomatoes). Current demand far outstrips the available supply of fresh, locally-grown tomatoes and Sunterra Farms' production of strawberries will be the first of its kind in Alberta, providing products of exceptional quality to a market that is currently reliant on Mexican and US imports most of the year.
Having fully-lit greenhouse production allows fall, winter and spring production of strawberries and tomatoes and as there is currently no strawberry offseason production in Alberta at all.
What benefits can producers expect from this research?
The benefits of this project include:
Increased market demand for high quality diversified products
Job creation and retention
Alternative agriculture products
Sustainable and responsible agriculture
How will these research findings reach producers on-farm?
Results of this project will be shared with the greenhouse industry at the Canadian Greenhouse Conference via in-person and online presentations. Researchers from LC are also regularly invited to present results of projects during events, field schools, and meetings of agricultural groups and companies in Alberta.
Findings will be shared via news releases, fact sheets, social media, and hands-on outreach.
Funded in part by the Government of Canada under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.