Thirteen B.C. agritech firms are getting $658,000 in government grants to help them with their innovations under the B.C. Centre for Agritech Innovation (BCCAI). The funding includes a $288,000 project with BW Global Structures Incorporated for its project that will pioneer innovative methods to grow new, high-value, outdoor field crops within its cutting-edge and purpose-built sealed greenhouses.
The funding was announced at the 2024 Pacific Agriculture Show in Abbotsford, which runs from Jan. 25 to 27. The government grants are matched by industry, which brings the total investment the 13 companies will receive to $2 million, according to the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Food.
“Our work addresses the very serious food, energy, and water security issues facing B.C. and Canada, including remote and First Nations communities,” said Timothy D. Kendrick, president and chief designer of BW Global. “With the support from BCCAI and the B.C. and federal governments, we believe that BW Global can quickly deploy these world-class technology solutions to every part of the world.”
The project aims to adapt outdoor plant varieties for greenhouse conditions and to develop optimized cultivation techniques for their intensive year-round production, leading to more B.C.-grown food and approximately 16 new jobs in Abbotsford.
Other projects supported by the BCCAI include learning opportunities through organizations such as the B.C. Agricultural Climate Action Research Network (ACARN), which will help food producers be more sustainable and resilient to climate change, and Simon Fraser University’s School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering, where people will receive hands-on learning experience through a six-day workshop working with agritech and creating new employable skills.
“Developing a strong agritech industry is critical to building a sustainable food supply, as well as contributing to new jobs and economic growth for communities in B.C.,” said Pam Alexis, Minister of Agriculture and Food. “By supporting innovative new ideas through the BCCAI, our government is making it easier for local tech companies to work with the agriculture industry and support farmers with the tools and technologies they need to be successful and ensure we have more locally grown food on the tables of British Columbians.”