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Organic Science Clusters

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Organic Science Cluster 3

2018 - 2023

All across Canada, in fields and barns, laboratories and market gardens, scientists are conducting research on organic farming methods.

And not just scientists. More than 150 organic farmers and 79 researchers from 22 universities and 14 government research stations are engaged in the Organic Science Cluster 3 (OSC3).

Organic Science Cluster 3 is a joint initiative led by the Organic Federation of Canada in collaboration with the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada at Dalhousie University to serve the needs of Canada’s organic sector.

The 27 research activities of the OSC3 range from developing organic grain and soybean varieties for large Prairie farms to controlling weeds in baby greens on market gardens.

Highlights

Partners

The Organic Science Cluster is funded by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and our industry partners whose contributions cover more than 30% of the expenses of the research activities.

The following is the list of the industry partners who support the development of organic science in Canada.

List of contributing partners and the activities they support. 

Featured Articles

The Organic Federation of Canada publishes a series of feature articles to recognize the contributions of the Organic Science Cluster industry partners.

SeedChange

The science of seed selection with farmers.

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Southbrook Vineyards

Cover cropping in organic vineyards.

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ES CropConsult

Integrated pest management for wireworm control.

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Fruit d'Or

Valuing organic cranberry residues for chicken welfare.

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Prairie Heritage Seeds

Linking organic research and organic production.

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The Magazine

Organic Science Canada

Organic Science Canada - Magazine Cover - Issue Spring 2021 - Organic Federation of Canada

Issue 2021

Presenting the latest research in organic horticulture production.

Organic Science Canada - Magazine Cover - Issue Spring 2020 - Organic Federation of Canada

Issue 2020

Presenting the latest research in organic field crop production.

Organic Science Canada - Magazine Cover - Issue Spring 2018 - Organic Federation of Canada

Issue 2018

Advancing the science of organic agriculture in Canada.

Organic Science Cluster 3 Logo Large - Organic Federation of Canada

Podcast Episodes

The Organic Federation of Canada is pleased to present Organic Science Conversations, a series of podcasts presenting the researchers of the Organic Science Cluster 3.

The Ecological Challenge of Controlling the Pestilent Wireworm

Wireworms can cause serious damage to horticultural food crops. Todd Kabaluk evaluates practices that maintain wireworms at levels acceptable for production of smaller-scale food crops.

The Organic Control of the Spotted Wing Drosophila

Dr. Chandra Moffat speaks about her role in the development of multiple strategies for the management of the spotted wing drosophila, with a focus on organic methods of control.

Best Organic Practices for Enhancing Vineyard Soil Health

Dr. Mehdi Sharifi, in partnership with Dr. Liette Vasseur, tests the combinations of cover crops, rootstocks, and irrigation for enhancing vineyard soil health.

Growing Organic Vegetables as an Act of Environmental Stewardship

Sustainable vegetable production can shape the agricultural landscape: Sean Smukler is building an online tool to enhance nutrient management planning and enhance land stewardship.

Organic Federation of Canada OFC Logo Symbol

Organic Science Cluster 2

2013 - 2018

The Organic Science Cluster II is an industry-supported research and development endeavor initiated by the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada at Dalhousie University in collaboration with the Organic Federation of Canada.

Its outcomes are centered on competitiveness, market growth, adaptability and sustainability. This will be accomplished through science and innovation in the following Themes:

A. Field crops: Optimizing productivity and competitiveness through adaptable systems for field crops

B. Horticultural crops: Advancing the science of vegetable, fruit and novel horticultural crops

C. Crop pests: Innovation in sustainable pest management strategies

D. Livestock: Optimizing animal health and welfare for productivity and quality

E. Value Adding: Adding value to capture markets through innovative processing solutions

Innovation is needed for the organic sector to be competitive and to grow and prosper. Innovation in OSCII will address barriers constraining production, increase efficiency of production by reducing cost, and facilitate the capturing of new opportunities.

Examples of innovation in OSCII include:

  • crop breeding for improved cultivars,
  • reduced tillage systems under organic management,
  • use of biological soil amendments to improve plant health,
  • development of new management products and practices for crop pests (insects, diseases and weeds) in field and storage as well as diseases and parasites of livestock,
  • technological advances in greenhouse and high tunnel production,
  • optimization of the nutritional value of crops,
  • advanced processing techniques to develop value-added products,
  • improved methods of meat preservation,
  • and the use of waste byproducts to enhance productivity.

OSCII will also help producers capture opportunities by supporting the development of emerging and juvenile organic production in Canada responding to market demand including: hops, nutraceuticals, sprouts, ornamental potted plants, and poultry.

For more information, please contact Nicole Boudreau (info@organicfederation.ca), for the Organic Federation of Canada or Dr. Andrew Hammermeister (andrew.hammermeister@dal.ca), for OACC, Dalhousie University.

Scientific Organic Conference 2016

Scientific Organic Conference 2016 - Logo

World renowned international and Canadian scientists have presented their research in all aspects of organic agriculture, including crop and livestock production, soil science, and value chain development.

Producers Engaging in Research

Watch and learn about how producers and researchers are experimenting with organic apples, cranberries, tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers, hops and nutraceuticals to protect these crops from weeds and get good yields.

All of these research activities are part of the Organic Science Cluster II project (2013-2018), and each film lasts from 4 to 9 minutes. The Organic Federation of Canada and the Organic Agriculture Center of Canada invite you to click on the titles below to watch the films on YouTube. Enjoy!

Organic apples under exclusion nets at Verger des frères

Organic apple production can be difficult in Eastern Canada because of the dozens of types of insect pests and diseases that can damage the crop. However, production of apples under exclusion nets that protect trees from insects and scab could be a way to meet the growing demand for locally produced organic apples.

Mirella Aoun (CETAB+), describes the research activity that will examine the efficiency of exclusion nets in preventing apple tree pests and diseases without affecting the quality of the fruit. This Organic Science Cluster II activity is led by Gérald Chouinard, researcher at IRDA.

For a full description of the activityclick here

Optimal irrigation for organic cranberries

Cranberries require a significant amount of water when the crop is being established, but water also fosters the establishment of weeds. Mirella Aoun, researcher at CETAB+, and Sylvain Lemoine, co-owner of the Canneberges du Roy, are working together to determine the optimal irrigation management that supports the establishment of cranberries while avoiding the invasion of tough perennial weeds.

For a full description of the activity – click here

Geothermal and organic vegetables

Frédéric Jobin-Lawler and Annie Lévesque, co-owners of the Abri végétal,  are experimenting with the production of organic vegetables in a semi-closed greenhouse by testing the use of a geothermal pump that will help to optimize carbon dioxide levels while controlling the humidity of the greenhouse microclimate.

For a full description of the activity – click here

Organic Nutraceuticals

Nutra Canada is studying the production of certified organic extracts from cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, apples, melons, and various vegetables, and is designing an efficient  biorefining process that will preserve the quality of the organic sources that are used. André Gosselin, the President of the enterprise, describes the challenges associated with the production of the best certified organic nutraceuticals.

For a full description of the activity – click here

Organic flowers good for the environment

Frank Zyromski Greenhouses, located at Rivière Rouge (Quebec), is experimenting with the organic production of ornamental flowers. Nicolas Zyromski describes how they are investigating LED lighting to obtain high quality, organically certified cuttings and potted flowering plants under the leadership of Martine Dorais, an AAFC researcher.

For a full description of the activity click here

Silicon, a valuable fungicide

At the Fraises de l’Île d’Orléans, Louis Gauthier, Research and Development Manager, explains how the absorption of silicon (Si) by strawberries can provide protection against a number of biotic stresses, and is often as effective as a fungicides.  In cooperation with Richard Bélanger (Laval University) and Martine Dorais (AAFC), they are testing the ability of strawberry plants to absorb Si and exploring the benefits that the plants can draw from it this substance.

For a full description of the activity – click here

Searching for the best fertilization and lighting for the production of greenhouse vegetables

At the Lefort Greenhouses, established on the south shore of Montreal, two hectares of organic cucumbers and tomatoes are grown under cover. Julie Lefort cooperates in a research activity led by Martine Dorais, researcher at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, alongside researchers at Laval University. Fertilization and lighting trials with scientific monitoring have become part of their daily routine.

For a full description of the activity – click here

Organic and nutraceutical hops

At the Gosselin Hop Yard, Jean and Guillaume Gosselin grow an organic crop for the nutraceutical market in the province of Quebec. To improve their production, they are cooperating with a team a of researchers led by Martine Dorais, a researcher with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and they explain how this research impacts their production of hops, a giant plant that reaches over 6 meters within 30 days.

For a full description of the activity – click here

Organic Federation of Canada OFC Logo Symbol

Organic Science Cluster 1

2009 - 2013

$ 8,660,000 Invested in Organic Research

September 1st 2010, the Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Gerry Ritz announced a funding of $6.5 million, matched by $2.2 million from industry partners to establish Canada’s Organic Science Cluster (OSC).

The funding, awarded through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Growing Forward Program, is meant to support growth in the organic sector by strengthening the science behind organic agriculture in Canada.

The Organic Federation of Canada is the applicant on behalf of the Canadian organic sector, but the OSC will be managed by the Organic Agriculture Center of Canada.

The OSC:
– involves 80 lead and collaborating scientists, the longest standing and leading scientists in organic agriculture, who will be working alongside other scientists who are leaders in their respective disciplines;

– will run until March 2013, spans the country with activities in nine provinces, engaging all major agricultural universities in Canada and enlisting the collaboration of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada scientists;

– involves twenty industry partners, representing many aspects of the organic sector across the country, that will contribute $2.2 million in matching funds to support research activities;

– includes 30 research activities that will:

 

The Organic Science Cluster will serve to strengthen the capacity and market for domestic organic production while supporting ecologically sound farming practices.
Regular updates will be posted on OACC website.

First Scientific Organic Conference in Canada

The Organic Federation of Canada invites you to view a series of four videos shot at the Canadian Organic Science Conference (COSC), held in Winnipeg, Manitoba from February 21-23, 2012, featuring Canadian organic scientists and producers sharing their experiences, their vision, and mostly, their great dedication to the development of sound organic production systems in Canada.

Click on titles to view the videos (approximately 20 minutes each).

The Impact of Research on Organic Agriculture

Organic Researchers in Canada and the United States

Organic Knowledge for the Future 

Organic Farmers and Researchers Sharing Knowledge

Interviews with Canadian Researchers

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