- A two-acre research facility developed by JEM Farms in partnership with Ecoation to highlight the latest advancements in green technologies, including AI, robotics, and integrated pest management.
- The University of Windsor is involved, providing various research opportunities.
- Sollum Technologies provides HORTECA with a dynamic LED lighting solution, emphasizing the importance of versatile and advanced lighting in research and agricultural advancements.
- HORTECA aims to address current and future challenges in sustainable agriculture, such as residue-free produce cultivation and handling labor shortages.
- Renowned for its unique and 100% dynamic LED lighting solution, Sollum offers innovative technology in light management and sustainable agriculture practices.
Nestled in Ruthven, Ontario, JEM Farms, a third-generation greenhouse operation known for its cucumbers and tomatoes, is not just any typical farm. Branching out with the establishment of HORTECA—a North American Horticultural Technology Center and Academy—the farm seeks to be a beacon for the most recent advancements in green technologies. This new two-acre facility, developed in collaboration with ecoation, is a testament to the growing importance and amalgamation of technology and sustainable agriculture.
The integration of technology in agriculture is more comprehensive than just machinery. Today, it includes sophisticated forecasting software, artificial intelligence (AI), and robotics. Ecoation, one of the key partners in this venture, offers state-of-the-art forecasting software that allows growers to efficiently and precisely monitor yield and integrated pest management (IPM) goals.
As Jamie Jr. Mastronardi, General Manager of JEM Farms, highlights, the vision for HORTECA is long-term. It’s a forward-looking initiative. The facility aims to “demonstrate technology and conduct research that addresses pressing challenges that growers face today and those they may face in the future.” One of the imminent challenges in modern agriculture is the production of residue-free produce. On top of this, there’s the omnipresent challenge of managing labor shortages in the agricultural sector.
A significant aspect of HORTECA is its lighting. Light plays a crucial role in any research and development project, particularly in agriculture. It can influence plant growth, health, and yield. Enter Sollum Technologies, a frontrunner in dynamic LED technology. Their groundbreaking LED lighting solution, which modulates the full spectrum of the Sun’s natural light, is the chosen lighting for HORTECA. This isn’t just about brightness; it’s about versatility, adaptability, and being at the forefront of technological advancements in lighting.
Sam Soltaninejad, Chief Horticultural Specialist for Sollum Technologies, echoes the importance of constant research and development. Sollum sees HORTECA as a golden chance, “a unique opportunity for us to work with the best and brightest researchers and innovators to explore new and exciting avenues in sustainable agriculture and green technologies.”
As we delve deeper into the 21st century, the role of technology in agriculture will only grow. Facilities like HORTECA are essential as they serve as a showcase for the latest advancements and as a hub for continued research and development. With companies like Sollum Technologies dedicated to pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, the future of sustainable agriculture looks promising.
Image provided by Ecoation