Vineland sharpens research portfolio focus

Vineland’s refocused innovation strategy develops research projects with the greatest impact for the Canadian horticulture sector and is based on three specific innovation goals:

  • Diversify and enhance horticultural products produced in Canada for domestic and export markets
  • Develop and commercialize automation technologies and production solutions that reduce labour costs in horticulture
  • Empower the sector to improve environmental performance on and off the farm

Five research programs guided by Tania Humphrey, PhD, Vineland’s Vice President of Research and Development, are designed to meet these innovation goals. 


Hussam Haroun
Hussam Haroun
Program Leader

Putting technology to work for horticulture

Vineland’s focus on applied engineering and commercialization opportunities accelerates the development of labour-saving engineering solutions for horticulture.

Program goals:

  • Develop and integrate robots, automation technologies and AI-based tools for the management of crop production, packaging and processing
  • Optimize crops and production systems to improve efficiency and facilitate the adoption of automation technologies




Biocontrol Systems

Rose Buitenhuis
Rose Buitenhuis, PhD
Program Leader

Integrating biological tools for impact

Vineland’s research promotes and supports the use of biological control strategies in horticulture to improve production efficiency while promoting crop quality, environmental performance and safe working conditions.

Program goals:

  • Develop and evaluate new biocontrol organisms and related products such as bio stimulants and bio herbicides
  • Gain 70 per cent uptake of new strategies within three to five years of their release in Ontario and beyond




Consumer Insights

Amy Bowen
Amy Bowen, PhD
Program Leader

Developing sensory and consumer-driven strategies

Vineland creates impact by driving the competitiveness of horticultural products through the identification of new opportunities to fill market gaps, the expansion of market share and guiding new product development.

Program goal:

  • Understand sensory profiles of horticultural products, consumer liking drivers, market segments and value-added opportunities to provide strategic research along the supply chain to researchers, growers, producers, marketers and retailers through contract and collaborative projects




Greening the Landscape

Darby McGrath
Darby McGrath, PhD
Program Leader

Building sustainable landscapes

The establishment and survival of plants and trees to improve environmental performance, counter climate change pressures while increasing the competitiveness of the nursery landscape sector is the foundation of Vineland’s greening the landscape research program.

Program goals:

  • Develop models and specifications to improve the performance of vegetation and green infrastructure design and ensure impact for the industry
  • Provide clear, industry-ready recommendations backed by solid science and validated methodologies to engage with cities, developers and others to deliver on climate change targets




Plant Variety Development

Travis Banks
Travis Banks
Program Leader

New and enhanced plant varieties

Vineland invests in developing new plant varieties preferred by growers and consumers targeting significant challenges in the horticulture industry including pests and disease, environmental factors and rising costs.

Program goals:

  • Become the primary source of greenhouse tomato-on-the-vine genetics for Canadian growers by producing varieties with superior yield, flavour and pest/disease tolerances
  • Refresh the variety mix of apples for production in Canada ensuring retailers and consumers have a supply of Canadian grown, novel apple varieties
  • Develop new rose varieties with improved winter hardiness, black spot disease resistance and novel ornamental features
  • Introduce new sweet potato varieties for fresh and processing markets and establish a Canadian slip production industry to support uptake
  • Develop plant traits that improve disease resistance, stress tolerance, quality and sensory attributes
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