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North Bay attracts indoor growing collaboration

Plans for a Controlled Environment Agriculture Centre of Excellence are underway
North Bay’s Canadore College is collaborating with partners to establish a Controlled Environment Agriculture Centre of Excellence. (Supplied photo)

Canadore College is establishing a Controlled Environment Agriculture Centre of Excellence at its North Bay campus.

Controlled environment agriculture involves growing food indoors with the aid of technology that controls levels of water, nutrients, humidity, light and other factors to ensure optimal growing conditions.

The initiative is developing in collaboration with a trio of partners: EnerDynamic Hybrid Technologies Corp., of Niagara Falls; EHT Ag Tech, the sales and marketing division of EnerDynamic Hybrid Technologies Corp; and Growratio Inc, of Toronto.

The centre will be established at ‘The Village,’ Canadore’s multidisciplinary health and wellness education facility.

According to a June 27 news release, the project will focus on areas including biotechnology and genomics, advanced cultivation technologies and information systems, advanced processing and manufacturing, as well as innovative renewable energy systems to support the ecosystem.

“Canadore College’s The Village is the only facility in Canada focused on collaborative interprofessional education and the integration of Indigenous, Eastern and Western wellness practices,” said George Burton, president and CEO at Canadore, in the release.

“It is a natural next step for us to foster the development of the ever-important and green economy. This is especially true for Northern Ontario, where we will all benefit from the efficient production of nourishing food, plant-based-medicines, and natural material products.”

The college said three collaborative projects are in progress with Growratio:

  • a 10,000-square-foot lighting assembly and controls development plant, currently underway, which will utilize capacities from local business and employ approximately 10 to 15 people;
  • a newly created beverage company, which is looking to establish a 100,000-square-foot plant within North Bay. Development is scheduled for the fall of 2019 with construction anticipated to begin in spring 2020. The plant will employ about 50 employees to start; and
  • a 25,000-square-foot building for the processing of biological materials to supply the pharmaceuticals sector, which is projected to begin construction in spring 2020. The plant will begin with a workforce of 20 employees.

Construction on a fourth plant, to be built in conjunction with EHT, is expected to start in spring 2020. The 50,000-square-foot factory would manufacture agricultural grow units and modular housing for the Northern Ontario market and employ close to 70 people in the first phase of its operations.

Canadore said a series of customized corporate training and postsecondary programs to develop a skilled labour pool for the plants is currently under development by Canadore College.

Read the full news release here.