There’s a lot things growing at the Western Agriculture Centre: Agriculture Research Station in Pynn’s Brook.
On Monday, Sabrina Ellsworth took Fisheries and Land Resources Minister Gerry Byrne on a tour of the fields and spoke with the media about the work that’s being done there.
Ellsworth is the manager of agriculture research with the department’s Agriculture Production and Research Division.
The station trials crops that are have not necessarily been grown here before, while still researching traditional crops.
Here’s some of what Ellsworth had to say.
Why is the work done at the station important in terms of food sustainability?
“It’s important because we’re relying on marine transportation and we know that with climate change and with the uncertainties of the weather getting food to this province is becoming a bigger challenge.
“It’s really important that we have fresh food.
“It’s supply and quality that we’re really focusing on.”
How will the work help farmers?
“We’re developing best management practices for those crops so that we can make recommendations to farmers in the future as to best practices, best way to grow them, what inputs would be required and how to make sure you get a harvestable, profitable yield.”
Why grow things that have not been grown here before?
“The palate of the consumer has changed, so we need to keep up with that demand.”
Newfoundland’s low-bush blueberries are high in anti-oxidants, but it hard to commercialize them.
The province is working with Agriculture and Agri-food Canada which has created a hybrid cross of traditional low-bush with high-bush. This new variety can be cultivated in row crops and harvest mechanically.