Showcasing opportunities for industry at OFVC

Niagara College’s Research & Innovation division brought a world of possibilities in vertical markets to the attendees of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention (OFVC) this week.

Through two panel discussions during the Thursday session, NC organized talks around the use of seconds to create value-added product streams.

Held in Niagara Falls, Ont., the OFVC is an annual gathering of horticultural crop producers involved in the production of fruits and vegetables.

Now entering its 17th year, the two-day convention is attended by a cross section of the horticultural sector including government, industry, business, consultants, producers, associations, researchers and educators.

Thursday’s session was focused on tapping into secondary stream revenue for farms, and included a panel entitled “Where to Find and Engage Expertise to Help You with Your Food Product Idea,” and one entitled “Shared Experiences by Farmers Who Have Successfully Created a Secondary Revenue Stream with ‘Seconds’.”Research & Innovation staffed a booth throughout the two-day convention, featuring a prototype strawberry juicer from one of the panel speakers, and showcasing the advancements in mitigating severe weather events with the aid of remote controlled vehicles, and related sensors and robotics.

Dr. Ana Cristina Vega-Lugo, Senior Research Scientist with NC’s Canadian Food & Wine Institute (CFWI) Innovation Centre, was one of the invited panellists during the first talk about finding expertise, while the moderator was Dr. Robert Lencki, a food engineer and scientist who spent 23 years with the University of Guelph as an educator in the food science program before becoming a Research Lead on projects with the CFWI Innovation Centre.

The second panel featured those who have successfully created revenue streams from seconds, and some of the challenges and opportunities they experienced in creating these value-added products.

Among those speaking were three industry partners who have worked with Research & Innovation, sometimes with more than one of our Innovation Centres, on projects that demonstrate this possible world, including Paul Harber from Ravine Vineyard, Sharon Judd from Meadow Lynn Farms, and Donya Litowitz from CanAm Peppers.

For more information on the session, which was chaired by Elizabeth Best, R&I Business Development Coordinator, visit Contact Elizabeth to learn more about project possibilities, by email at [email protected].