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Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation

Media Relations
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Jillian Glover

Communications Manager

Matt Kieltyka

Assistant Director, External Communications
Simon Fraser University


What people are saying about B.C. agritech projects

Dugan O’Neil, vice-president research and international, Simon Fraser University –

“Simon Fraser University is proud to advance British Columbia’s leadership in agritech through the B.C. Centre for Agritech Innovation. We are grateful for the government’s support to address challenges in the sector and for the many partnerships that make this work possible. Building a robust agritech ecosystem in B.C. is a win-win-win for small and medium-sized businesses and agri-producers, for communities that rely on agriculture and for the sustainability and resilience of the province’s food systems.”

Woo Soo Kim, scientific director, BCCAI

“Today marks a significant leap as BCCAI launches 13 projects and training programs guiding B.C.’s agritech sector towards synergy with Indigenous practices and sustainable innovation to establish global leadership. We’re thrilled to collaborate with these companies on projects and upskilling programs, positioning B.C. as a global agritech leader and addressing critical agricultural challenges.”

Megan Dykeman, MLA for Langley-East

“B.C. is a leader in agri-innovation. Companies like Bevo Farms and ONT Holdings in Langley are examples of the innovation that is creating AgriTech solutions that will support agriculture producers in adapting to climate change and building our province’s food security.”

George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy –

“Our government is committed to working with our partners to help farmers adapt to climate change, produce more local food and create more jobs for people. Projects like these reflect that commitment and will go a long way to build local food security and help grow opportunities in B.C.”

Nathan Cullen, MLA for Stikine 

“It’s amazing to see the work the BCCAI and our partners are supporting through these agritech projects, like Tea Creek in Kitwanga. This project is delivering Indigenous-led workshops training participants in drone technology that will strengthen the agriculture and tech industries leading to more local food and new skills that will benefit generations to come.”

Bruce Ralston, MLA for Surrey-Whalley – 

“I’m excited to see the incredible projects coming out of the B.C. Centre for Agritech Innovation this year. SFU is leading projects that will train learners to apply technologies, such as AI and robotics, to increase food production. Those participants will gain valuable employment skills that will help them to boost provincial food security and the overall economy of B.C.”

Sean Smukler, chair, BC Agricultural Climate Adaptation Research Network; director, Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm, faculty of land and food systems –

“Funding from BCCAI helped our research network to introduce new and experienced agrologists to researchers and entrepreneurs using agritech to improve climate resilience. These kinds of training opportunities are important for professionals to keep building their skills and knowledge in exciting, emerging areas that offer promise for sustainability,”

Leo Benne, president and CEO, Bevo Farms –

“As a greenhouse industry leader, Bevo Farms recognizes the importance of continuing to develop the processes and technologies that go into growing food. The support of the B.C. Centre for Agritech Innovation has helped us continue this development to ensure stable food supply chains into the future.”

Farahnaz (Farah) Nourmohammadian, PhD, chief science officer and founder, Lucent BioSciences, Inc.

“Engaging with the B.C. Centre for Agritech Innovation fosters impactful industry-academia-government collaboration, facilitating the creation of climate-smart agricultural solutions and resilient food systems. Through mutual co-operation, we drive progress on food security and empower local innovation to provide global solutions.”

Raymond Lee, president and co-founder, ONT Holdings.

“ONT utilizes algae not only to remove atmospheric carbon dioxide but to enhance the growth of plants and animals through regenerative agricultural practices. We express gratitude towards BCCAI whose continued support has allowed us to further the research of sustainable agricultural solutions. Their dedication to accelerating agritech development in B.C. is vital for scaling and refining ONT’s algae-based carbon sequestration technology.” 

Blake Ponuick, CEO, Nourish Labs –

“As an early-stage agritech company pioneering the science and application of automated nutrient delivery for crops, the support the B.C. Centre for Agritech Innovation curates, including funding, university project partners, academic sponsorship and access to state-of-the-art facilities and labs, accelerates our ability to bring innovative products to market. It’s a game-changer filling a significant gap in our industry.”

Alycia van der Gracht, founder, QuantoTech Solutions Ltd.

“BCCAI was instrumental in helping us connect with experts at BCIT to come up with a farm safety plan for our new urban farm in downtown Vancouver that provides hyper-local produce to the region while acting as a blueprint for our future deployments throughout B.C. and the rest of Canada. This will help reduce the heavy reliance on exports and work to improve food security in B.C. and beyond.”

Grand Chief Ronald Derrickson, president, RMDE Group

“As Grand Chief, I’ve seen way too many changes, good and bad. It’s time we go back to the good old ways. My partners and I are starting an Indigenous medicinal research institute and to start, we will be working with BCCAI on our most powerful medicine: elderberry. With that said, I proudly announce our partnership with BCCAI and the B.C. and Canadian governments.” 

John Shen, professor and director, SFU School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering

“Agritech is an emerging technology that integrates robotics, automation, sensors, data analytics, AI and many other new digital technologies. The industry needs its professionals to be upskilled or reskilled on many of these topics. SFU’s school of mechatronics is partnering with BCAAI to offer an Agritech Bootcamp in April 2024 to bridge this gap.”

Amir Banimostavfavi, CEO, Sipco Innovations Inc.

“Guided by SIPCO’s unwavering commitment to environmental sustainability and social responsibly, I am delighted to announce a momentous partnership with SFU and FarmForest Research Inc. in a groundbreaking R&D venture, generously funded by the BCCAI. In staying true to our mission ‘Growing together for a sustainable future,’ this collaboration not only propels all parties involved as industry leaders, but also echoes our dedication to sustainability and job creation.”

Jacob Beaton, owner, TeaCreek Enterprise

“Indigenous peoples have always used the best tools and technologies at their disposal. Today, Tea Creek delivers drone training as part of our Indigenous Food Sovereignty programming. The use of drones help land use, monitor plant health, supports ecosystem stewardship and food sovereignty planning. BCCAI support allowed us to purchase a drone and software to support our expanded training offerings in 2023.”

Lenore Newman, director, Food and Agriculture Institute, University of the Fraser Valley (UFV)

“The vertical agriculture industry is growing rapidly in Canada, and the need for talent is growing too. This funding from BCCAI is supporting the Food and Agriculture Institute at UFV to develop fast and industry responsive training opportunities.” 

Details on B.C. agritech projects receiving support

The 13 projects represent a total investment of $2 million, including $658,000 in support from the B.C. Centre for Agritech Innovation matched with $538,000 cash and $814,000 in-kind from industry. The goal of these projects is to help companies generate commercially viable products that meet the needs of the agricultural sector, while reducing the impacts on the environment and climate.

  • BC Agricultural Climate Action Research Network (ACARN) received $10,000 to work with BCCAI to deliver a one-day workshop involving industry and academic experts who trained participants on emerging technology for sustainability and climate resilience. This workshop included a field tour of local agritech businesses in the Lower Fraser Valley region to demonstrate real-time application of innovative technologies.
  • Bevo Farms Ltd. in Langley has a $398,000 project to develop a vertical rolling rack to allow high-quality vegetable propagation while addressing crop performance and labour issues in commercial greenhouses and vertical farms.
  • Lucent Biosciences in West Vancouver has a $551,000 project to develop a slow-release boron fertilizer produced using Lucent’s green chemistry process and determine the optimal application rates for different crops.
  • ONT Holdings Inc. in Langley has two projects. The first project represents an investment of $71,000 to test and optimizes ONT’s microalgae-based organic fertilizer to improve greenhouse strawberry growth, while also testing a potential carbon sequestration solution. The second project invests $58,000 to develop innovative chicken feeds using an alga with high nutritional value. The project aims to conduct feeding trials with broiler chickens to ensure that the chlorella supplement supports animal growth, health and performance.
  • Nourish Labs in Delta’s project represents a $263,000 investment to test its newest fertilizer distribution platform for its efficacy of reducing off-target chemicals. The platform is powered by machine learning algorithm and various ionic sensors.
  • Quantotech Solutions Ltd. in Vancouver is identifying feasible packaging options to better protect produce so consumers can harvest fresh lettuce or herbs, while also providing Quantotech with a road map to achieve the global Primus standard (a food safety standard). The project represents a $56,000 investment.
  • RMD Environmental Group Inc. in West Bank is supporting the preservation of the West Bank First Nations’ medicinal plans by developing a blue elderberry propagation protocol integrating Indigenous knowledge and perspectives with greenhouse technologies through a project investment of $99,000.
  • Simon Fraser University’s School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering is receiving $100,000 to deliver a series of six-day accelerated training programs with hands-on, project-based learning on Agritech. Participants will apply technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics and more to enhance precision farming for the agriculture and food-processing industries.
  • Sipco Innovation Inc. will test a new plant-based, ecofriendly biopesticide as an alternative to synthetic pesticides for greenhouse crops including bell peppers, strawberries and cannabis through a project investment of $97,000.
  • Tea Creek in Kitwanga received $10,000 to offer an Indigenous-led workshop to Indigenous participants that will provide valuable training in land-and-crop mapping using drone technology in agriculture.
  • The University of the Fraser Valley is receiving $10,000 to deliver interactive vertical farm training that will assist practitioners and students to learn how vertical agriculture differs from open-field, traditional production and how it could be applied to their operations.