Canada: “Promoting the adoption and development of sustainable agricultural practices and technologies by Canadian farmers is the primary focus of living labs,” says the government’s website.
In an effort to assist farms to manage climate change, the Canadian government has launched the Agriculture Climate Solutions plan.
The program aims to achieve this goal in a variety of ways, including grants ranging from $185 million to a model that includes living laboratories.
Living labs are designed to bring scientists, farmers, and others from the agriculture industry together to develop new products and services based on local conditions.
Taking advantage of access to these facilities will assist Canadian farmers in developing and implementing more sustainable farming practices and technologies.
Lethbridge-based Farming Smarter applied for funding to have a living lab installed. ‘We think the program would be a good fit for this organization,’ said Ken Coles, the executive director.
“Living labs are an excellent idea”, he said.
People feel exposed to the research by helping to produce and conduct it before it ever begins.
In Lethbridge, the irrigation challenges make this type of program a good fit, according to Coles.
A huge problem with irrigation is soil erosion. Municipal governments have already reached out to us that are keen on doing more work on this,” he said.
A living lab model offers the greatest opportunity for addressing climate change issues in agriculture, according to Francis Chretien, associate director in Agriculture Canada’s Living Lab division.
All those local organizations’ connections with those on the ground and with producers, as well as the relationships of trust they’ve built over the years, have been crucial in achieving this outcome.”
Almost all countries support the living labs model, according to Chretien. “G20 agricultural scientists were asked to present this innovation model at the G20 meeting. And it was Canada that led the way.”
Several other universities across the country have incorporated living labs into their programs. Canada awarded one to Manitoba in 2019.
Fitzmaurice said Manitoba is an early stepping stone to developing many Living Labs across the eastern prairies. Among the three provinces, Manitoba was the first to get started.
A variety of topics are covered by the Manitoba lab, but water quality and watersheds are the main focus.
June 15 was the deadline for ACS applications. Upon acceptance, Chretien said, approved applicants would be expected to develop a full proposal outlining the next five years.