The Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence recently recognized some of the province’s most innovative leaders in the sector! We’d like to introduce some of these innovations to you.
On November 9, 2015, a regional event in Aurora showcased the award recipients from in and around the Greater Toronto Area including Haldimand County, Hamilton Region, Muskoka District, Niagara Region, Peel Region, Toronto and York Region.
Aqua Greens – Mississauga
Craig Petten and Pablo Alvarez have transformed their Mississauga-based aquaponics operation from one storey to four, quadrupling production without adding to its carbon footprint. The closed-loop growing system produces organic greens and tilapia year-round, replacing imports with local, sustainable products. The result is an urban warehouse that provides both intensely flavourful greens that pack four times as many nutrients as their soil-grown counterparts, as well as fresh, local fish. Keep on growing green, guys!
Maizal Inc. – Toronto
Everybody likes a good tortilla,especially the folks at Maizal Inc. in Toronto, Ontario. To make good tortillas, you need to start with good maize. That’s why the owners of Maizal, a Mexican café in Toronto’s Liberty Village, are getting their hands dirty. They’ve undergone the process of producing high-quality tortillas using traditional Mexican-heritage methods and an all-natural harvesting process for their corn. This “agro-culinary investigative project” is bringing Mexican cultivation methods to Ontario, supporting local farmers and keeping café customers coming back for more.
Vineland Estates Winery Inc. – Vineland
If there is one thing Canadian’s can agree on, it’s that Ontario makes a great wine, and in order to make a great wine, you need to be choosy. No under-ripe grapes, no bits of leaves or stems and definitely no bugs. A couple of ladybugs can ruin an entire tonne of grapes. But hand-sorting grapes is a slow, back-breaking business. That’s why the folks over at Vineland Estates Winery have invested in an optical sorting device that mitigates this problem. The first of its kind in Canada, it scans 2,000 grapes per second, gently de-stems the fruit and removes bugs and unwanted plant material. The optical sorter is six times faster than hand-sorting, and it delivers better-quality grapes. By lowering costs and raising standards, this machine promises to revolutionize winemaking in Ontario.