Lethbridge College greenhouse research facility opens in Brooks

Lethbridge College opened the doors to a new 60 thousand square foot greenhouse research facility in Brooks. This is all part of a project between college researchers and Sunterra Greenhouse. Megan Shapka with the college explains what the project is all about.  

“We can test things like different lighting prescriptions. We can test varieties, so what type of tomatoes they might grow, what type of strawberries might grow, and do that in Alberta based conditions. So the research that we’re doing is really important for the decisions that they’re going to make in their in this operation. The greenhouse industry in Alberta, we believe, is really set to boom. Like, yes, there are a few big operations, but we don’t have a significant amount of greenhouse grown vegetables. It’s about 200, 300 acres in Alberta compared to 3,000 acres in Ontario. So continuing to explore what is best for Alberta is really important,” said Megan Shapka, Director of Research Operations at Lethbridge College.

Through the collaboration, trials have begun on strawberries and tomatoes at the facility. A senior researcher with the college explains how they are trying to make production more sustainable. 

“This is a state of the art facility and we are using a scientific methodology in order to understand the effect of the factors we are studying, such as, for example, crop density or a type of greenhouse or varieties and so on and so forth. All those questions are very important for the industry in order to stay more profitable, in order to be more economically sustainable,” said Nick Savidov, Senior Research Scientist with Lethbridge College.

The college took on management of the greenhouse from the Government of Alberta in October of 2020.  

Angela Stewart

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