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Speaker Program - Wednesday

2021 Highlights

The 2021 Canadian Greenhouse Conference will bring experts to you!

Paid registration is required to access the live sessions (Oct. 6 & 7), supplementary resources, New Product Display and post-show recordings. 

Sessions will be recorded and available on the virtual conference platform for 90 days. A full-access registration will be required to log on to the platform after October 7.  Registration will remain open until January 6, 2022 and you may upgrade your basic registration at any time. 

G. Marchand 

Genevieve Marchand
Agriculture & Agri-food Canada, Harrow Research & Development Centre

Plant Vaccines for Greenhouse Crop Prevention

Vaccination has emerged as a valid and innovative protection of crops and vaccines are becoming available to greenhouse growers worldwide.

Discover the basic concepts, potential benefits and drawbacks of these new tools on Wednesday morning.



Big Data - Wednesday afternoon beginning at 2 pm

Saber Miresmailli, Founder & CEO, Ecoation

Human + Machine: The future of horticulture is collaborative

AI or IA?   

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Terry Vermeer, ET Grow Inc.

Data in Agriculture

Why it is important to gather as much data as possible in agricultural settings?
Which data is valuable? How do I track it? What do I use it for?



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Find complete show information PLUS general interest articles and industry connections in the 2021 Canadian Greenhouse Conference show guide.

Click on the image to view.

Wednesday Morning Concurrent Sessions

9 am - 11 am EST


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 This session sponsored by      ofa logo


Paul Fisher

University of Florida


Nutrient Solution Treatment & Disinfection

System design, filtration, and disinfection options for nutrient solution disinfection in greenhouse crops. An overview of systems, positives/ negatives and effectiveness, and tools you can use.

Justine Taylor

Croplife Canada
Ottawa, ON

Protected Agriculture Stewardship National Auditable Standards

As contributors to Canada’s vast agriculture landscape, it is critical that we all do our part to be stewards of the land and promote sustainable agricultural practices. CropLife Canada, in partnership with Canada’s protected agriculture sector, have developed a national stewardship approach that serves to mitigate risks associated with the use of crop protection tools through adherence to a national standard.  This presentation will present a brief background on the initiative, details on specific protocols of interest within the standard, critical timelines and deadlines, and an overview of how this work fits into the larger sustainability landscape.

Christopher Weisener

University of Windsor, ON


Developing a Nutrient Risk Management Tool to Monitor Stormwater Retention Ponds

Greenhouse agriculture is a commercially important means of growing produce in all climates and is a major economic component of southwest Ontario. Elevated nutrient concentrations from greenhouses storm water retention ponds is recognized as a potential source of nutrients. This project applies novel monitoring methods to track nutrients and metals within vegetable greenhouse water retention ponds and assesses the status of risk for improved performance of retention ponds. The project evaluated the biogeochemical controls influencing nutrient and metal concentrations in storm water greenhouse retention ponds for the Municipality of Leamington. Data collected form this study was used to create a risk management tool to provide a hazard score that could be used to determine the overall water quality from season to season.

Ann Huber

Soil Resource Group
Guelph, ON

Nutrients, Pathogens and PGRs & Pesticides: the Hybrid Treatment trifecta?

This presentation will briefly review the findings from our previous research projects on nutrient and fungal plant pathogen removal by HTS, and then focus on results of the current study evaluating their capacity to remove PGRs and pesticides.  The optimization of operational parameters (e.g., hydraulic residence times, temperature) to achieve removal of relevant PGRs and pesticides along with other undesired components (e.g., nutrients, aluminum, and fungal plant pathogens) to generate water of acceptable quality for safe recirculation will be discussed.

*approximately 30 minute sessions


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 This session sponsored by:      kam's logo


Remi Maglione

Harvest Genomics
Guelph, ON


Portable DNA Sequencing Platform for Greenhouse Pathogen Monitoring: a tool against the ToBRFV

Production loss due to various pathogenic microorganisms are threatening Canadian greenhouse sustainability. Greenhouse operations need accurate, fast and comprehensive bio-surveillance service. We developed a portable pathogen detection platform based on the latest genomic sequencing technologies for biomonitoring of greenhouses. Metagenomic approaches allow for sequencing genomes of multiple species at once to monitor for numerous pathogens in a given environment, without the need for multiple genetic tests. The potential of the platform was evaluated for detecting Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFv). Detection not only removed the problems with traditional cultivation techniques but also false negative issues from current molecular approaches, such as qPCR tests. In addition, we also evaluated the potential of this portable metagenomic testing platforms for on-farm based detection of pathogens. The deployment of this portable sequencing platform will provide Canadian greenhouse operations with the most advanced bio-surveillance tools, to help with food production challenges.


Genevieve Marchand

Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada
Harrow, ON

Plant Vaccines for Greenhouse Crop Protection

Vaccination has emerged as a valid and innovative approach for the protection of crops, and plant vaccines are becoming available to greenhouse growers worldwide. To understand the potential benefits and drawbacks of these new tools and use them effectively, it is important to remember that the immune responses of plants differ from those of vertebrates. This presentation aims to outline basic concepts and how they relate to real world greenhouse production.

Aviv Dombrovsky

ARO The Volcani Center

ToBRFV: the discovery, the management strategies and hopefully, the beginning of the end

Beginning with the epidemiology of ToBRFV  in Israel’s tomato crops, Dombrovsky will cover management strategies for this virus and mixed infections (PepMV), then discuss the development of new technologies to reduce the infection from ToBRFV-contaminated soil.


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This session sponsored by     signify logo

Xiuming Hao

Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada
Harrow, ON

Dynamic & Sustainable Lighting Strategies

In this presentation, Dr. Xiuming Hao will discuss newly discovered LED lighting strategies which allow for injury-free production of greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers with 24-h (continuous) lighting. These strategies also have a great potential to reduce peak power demand and electricity costs, in addition to the benefits on reducing light fixture capital costs and light pollution and improving energy efficiency in year-round greenhouse vegetable production.



Colin Brice

Signify America

Lead With Lighting: Advancements of LEDs in greenhouse lettuce & herb cultivation

If you are growing greenhouse lettuce under natural light or HPS or if you are thinking of implementing lettuce production into your facility, this session will provide a brief overview of commercial application research of LED greenhouse cultivation of lettuce and herbs. Join Signify Plant Specialist, Colin Brice, to learn why LEDs provide optimal light for plant growth, how LEDs are deployed in specific crop applications, how higher light intensities can profitably improve crop production, and how spectrum improves crop quality in full LED compared to HPS.


Jan Chechalk

Signify America

Lighting in High-Wire & Umbrella Cucumbers

Jan Chechalk will present findings of research in which several lighting strategies were studied including HPS and LED hybrid, full LED toplighting, and LED toplighting coupled with inter-canopy lighting. Research was conducted to understand the effect of different light levels and different spectral compositions offered by LED grow lights. Chechalk will share research findings that include the impact on yield when growing under LEDs compared to HPS, the impact that inter-canopy lighting has on umbrella mini-cukes, and the effect of spectrum on cucumber crop morphology.


Ton Habraken

Ludvig Svensson Inc.

Keep That Light Abatement Screen Closed!

How do you comply with light abatement regulations without compromising your crops and the growing climate?

Municipalities are implementing strict bylaws for greenhouse horticultural operations that are artificially lighting their crops. Light abatement screens seem to be the answer for containment. But what if the bylaws do not allow these growing operations to gap their light abatement blackout curtains in a proper and efficient way? This creates a big challenge for growers to mitigate high humidity and heat build-up in their greenhouse. This presentation will cover the following:

Best practices for preventing light escape and optimizing the growing environment.
How to minimize the humidity effect and control heat build-up throughout the year.
Utilizing Light Abatement Curtains together with current curtains: How to manage two or more screens successfully.

David Lubitz

University of Guelph, ON

Project Report: Stray Light Abatement in Greenhouses

This presentation will provide an update on the work and interim results of the Stray Light Abatement in Greenhouses, a collaborative project from University of Guelph, OMAFRA, and AAFC, Harrow. The overall feasibility of using drones to assess light measurements will be examined, and other options for measuring light emissions will be briefly reviewed. Plans and goals for the larger project will be discussed, which include crop trials seeking to determine the impact of using light abatement curtains on the greenhouse interior and crop health.

Quade Digweed

Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada
Harrow, ON


Blackout curtains, Energy Capture & Microclimate

Greenhouse blackout curtains primary function is to prevent stray light from exiting the greenhouse. However, these curtains also restrict heat and moisture from escaping the greenhouse. While energy saving is generally a good thing, what are the options to control excess heat and humidity buildup when blackout curtains are required? Blackout curtain work at the Harrow Research and Development Center is focused on developing new curtain management, energy capture, and dehumidification options for growers, with an emphasis on microclimate-based control. This presentation will share bench-scale and preliminary greenhouse trials of various energy management systems to help reduce crop stress resulting from blackout curtain use, while also saving energy. 

*30 minute presentations


Wednesday Afternoon Concurrent Sessions

12 pm - 1 pm EST
2 pm - 4 pm EST

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This session sponsored by      ball seed logo

Rodger Tschanz

University of Guelph

Sarah Jandricic

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs, Vineland, ON


Supporting Ontario Pollinators & Growing Profits: Ornamentals for eco-conscious gardeners

Would you like to market more “pollinator-friendly plants” to consumers, but not sure where to start? This talk can help! The University of Guelph and OMAFRA looked at popular annual and perennial ornamentals grown by the greenhouse industry, to see where they fit into supporting Ontario’s pollinators – from native bees to butterflies.  And, we might just bust some myths about the suitability of “exotic” versus native plant species for pollinators along the way!



Roger Kehoe

Eason Horticultural Resources, USA



Capitalizing on the Foliage Boom

The foliage and tropical industry was booming even before the pandemic, stressing the supply chain as shortages were becoming the norm. With more consumers staying at home, interest in house plants and patio tropicals increased exponentially in 2020 and 2021. Besides scheffleras and pothos and the usual houseplant items, combination planters and succulents are moving into this category at a brisk pace. And houseplants and flowering tropicals can be combined and are moving outdoors onto patios and porches. Besides the short-term shortages and pandemic induced demand, this industry is growing at a rate not seen since the 70’s as the foliage demand is a trend and not a fad. And some of this demand is fueled by online sales and marketing, bringing new opportunities and some challenges into the forefront. Learn how you can benefit from these trends and fill this burgeoning demand!


 *30 minute presentations



This session sponsored by      svensson logo

Peter van Weel

The Netherlands

The Need for and Consequences of Microclimate Measurement

Data driven greenhouse control is on the edge of becoming the new standard. It is important to turn the tendency to collect data first and then convert it into conceivable actions to a more goal-oriented approach. This means that goals need to be defined, a strategy to meet these goals must be chosen and a set of qualified sensors and observations must be used.  Based on measurable parameters in the field of physics and physiology, The ‘Plant Empowerment™’ method provides the strategy as well as the tools to work with data driven growing.  Find out what is required to empower a plant to reach its full potential.


45-60 minute presentation


Vicki Gagnon

Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO)
Toronto, ON

Cannabis Energy Efficiency Best Practices

Building on the Ontario Greenhouse Energy Profile Study from October 2019, the IESO collaborated with utilities in 2 Canadian and 3 US jurisdictions on Energy Management Best Practices for Cannabis Greenhouses and Warehouses. This study looks at baseline consumption of electricity and natural gas in cannabis operations, and documented best practices, available technologies, and implementation costs for saving energy in cannabis facilities.  We will also provide an update on the IESO Grid Innovation Fund pilot projects in the Greenhouse sector.


Rupp Carriveau

University of Windsor, ON

Dynamic Energy For Next-Gen Greenhouse Operation & Expansion

The Canadian Greenhouse Sector is radically evolving and expanding.  At the same time Growers are taking bold steps to examine the way they use energy to determine pathways to improved efficiency, lower costs, and reliable, resilient supply.  Highlights from three different multi-institutional, Grower-integrated energy projects will be illustrated in this presentation.  Outcomes from a detailed examination of the temporal electrical loading of greenhouses and how those loads are markedly modified with lighting will be discussed.  New energy systems that comprise solar, natural gas, battery and small modular reactors designed to meet those loads will be described.  New energy-directed, 3D printed, building envelope construction techniques will also be revealed.  Finally, early results from an electrified transport greenhouse collaboration study will be debuted.


*30 minute sessions




This session sponsored by      

Murat Kacira

University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ

Enhancing Resource Use Efficiency in Vertical Farming

An important factor affecting the profitability of vertical farming is a grower’s ability to consistently deliver a predictable product. To achieve this, growers must create an environment that supplies all the crop’s needs over its entire growth cycle by identifying and co-optimizing environmental variables such as CO2, light, humidity, airflow, and other parameters. This presentation will focus on real time sensing, monitoring, and climate control strategies with system designs for environmental uniformity leading to enhanced resource use efficiency in vertical farming. 


Quade Digweed

Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada
Harrow, On

Adrian Schimnowski

Arctic Research Foundation

Northern Greenhouse Program 


Barry Murchie

Goodleaf Farms
Guelph, ON

Goodleaf’s Journey in Vertical Farming

The benefits of vertical farming and the path forward for Canada.


 *approximately 30 minute presentations


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This session sponsored by      cascade logo

Sonia Benoit

Cascades, QC

Shedding Light on Sustainable Packaging

This presentation will at what sustainability involves when it comes to packaging. What are the myths, the facts and the traps in which we tend to fall.  Benoit will demystify the most common materials used in packaging, explain the different recyclability symbols and define compostability and circularity.  This information, along with other important considerations outlined will help to guide you when it comes to decisions on packaging solutions that will lower your environmental footprint.  

Emily Murracas

Mucci Farms
Kingsville, ON

Sustainable Packaging of Greenhouse Produce

Hear how Mucci Farms is reducing its environmental impact.


Manjusri Misra

University of Guelph, ON

Amar Mohanty

University of Guelph, ON


 Sustainable Alternatives to Greenhouse Plastics

Greenhouse agriculture is a vital component of the Ontario food chain. Plastic tubing, sheeting, growth support, and other tools have become increasingly indispensable in improving efficiency, boosting yield, and providing effective weed control. These products are made from nonbiodegradable petroleum-based plastics.  The environmental toll and long-term impact of their wide-spread uses need to be addressed. In particular, the disposal of the plastics burdens the waste stream and can be a significant source of plastic pollution. Hear how alternative products and advanced processing technologies can reduce our reliance on single-use plastics and provide long-term benefits to the Ontario Agri-Food sector with regards to both efficiency and sustainability. 

*30 minute presentations



This session sponsored by      

Kenneth Tran

Koidra Inc.,

Towards Autonomous Greenhouses: Digital horticulture & smart sensors

AI and Precision Growing more specifically are on the rise. It has been shown that AI can assist and, in some cases, even outperform the top growers. However, most greenhouse operators still do not know whether they are ready to adopt AI, are uncertain how it can help their operation, leery of the cost and unsure whom to trust.  In this talk, Tran will present a roadmap towards full adoption of AI and more particularly autonomous greenhouses. He will also discuss two important milestones: (a) digital horticulture and (b) smart integrated sensing.

Saber Miresmailli

Ruthven, ON

Human + Machine: The future of horticulture is collaborative

Since the beginning of organized agriculture, humans were on the quest to create new tools to make farming easier. Fast forward to current time, that quest is still on going and the diversity of the tools and platforms we are now using in farming is expanding exponentially. While the tools and platforms, including AI and robots, enable humans to take their abilities beyond their physical constraints, time and geography; there are some areas where the platforms meet their limitations and they require human support and input. Right around the same time that AI gained popularity, another concept was introduced that did not get the same attention: IA or Intelligence Augmentation. The approach where you keep humans in the loop and use the tools to expand and extend human capabilities. Miresmailli maintains that the success and future of horticulture is collaborative and it is a combination of AI, IA and the human in the loop. In this presentation, Miresmailli will provide specific examples and showcase both limitations of a singular approach and benefits of the collaborative take on solving the issues of today.

Terry Vermeer

ET Grow Inc
Beamsville, ON

Data in Agriculture

Vermeer will share insight on why it is important to gather as much data as you can in agricultural settings.  He will provide examples of data that is valuable, different ways to track it and how you can use it. 

Ramen Dutta

TensoAI, Sutton, QC

Big Data’s Next Step – Tackling Private Data Silos

Indoor agriculture is lacking quality data to provide universal machine learning models. Growing in controlled agriculture environments is complex, and the vast majority of data is stuck in private data silos owned by plant production companies. Collaborating data between multiple partners brings a new opportunity for complex neural network to be developed and will push our models to a new level.

30 minute presentations

On-Demand presentations will be accessible through the virtual conference platform. Registration required.

Workplace Safety & Prevention Services How & Why to Produce Your Own short Training Video for Greenhouse Growers

Scott Inman,

Mycorrhizal Applications, Grants Pass, Oregon, USA

Harness the Power of Mycorrhizae in Greenhouse & Nursery Production

Mycorrhizal fungi are the superstars in your soil or growing media ecosystem. These beneficial symbiotic soil organisms partner with your plants to create root-and-mycelial structures known as mycorrhizae, which play a large and complex role in boosting the development and adaptation of approximately 95% of plant species on the planet. Learn why mycorrhizae are important for plant vitality, and how these symbiotic organisms can improve plant nutrient uptake and utilization, increase nutrient availability, maximize water utilization, build soil structure and health, and much more. You will also learn how green industry professionals can utilize this natural, organic, sustainable technology in their own professional operations, review frequently asked questions regarding this technology, and discuss how plant producers can adjust their growing protocols to take full advantage of the mycorrhizal benefits and maximize return on investment

Quade Digweed,

Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Harrow, ON

Blackout Curtains, Energy Capture & Microclimate

Greenhouse blackout curtains primary function is to prevent stray light from exiting the greenhouse. However, these curtains also restrict heat and moisture from escaping the greenhouse. While energy saving is generally a good thing, what are the options to control excess heat and humidity buildup when blackout curtains are required? Blackout curtain work at the Harrow Research and Development Center is focused on developing new curtain management, energy capture, and dehumidification options for growers, with an emphasis on microclimate-based control. This presentation will share bench-scale and preliminary greenhouse trials of various energy management systems to help reduce crop stress resulting from blackout curtain use, while also saving energy.

Ana M. Pastrana,

Vineland Research & Innovation Centre, ON

Use of Biostimulants to Control Greenhouse Diseases

Plants are exposed to different biotic and abiotic stresses, which often result in a decline in crop production. Plant diseases are one of the most common problems in agriculture worldwide. The use of chemical-based products and resistant cultivars have been widely reported to control many plant diseases. However, there is a need for alternative solutions to control them because there may be no resistant cultivars for certain pathogens and because regulatory and environmental concerns make the future use of chemicals uncertain.

Biostimulants have become very popular in Canada in the last decades. A plant biostimulant is defined as any substance or microorganism applied to plants with the aim to enhance nutrition efficiency, abiotic stress tolerance and/or crop quality traits, regardless of its nutrient content (Du Jardin, 2015).  Many of these biostimulants also boost the plant immune system, and therefore can be exploited to fight against plant diseases. At Vineland, we are evaluating the use of biostimulants to protect greenhouse tomatoes against bacterial canker and powdery mildew and will present some of our preliminary results.


Looking for a presentation from our past conference?  Please note that not all speakers allow their work to be posted.

2020 Canadian Greenhouse Conference Presentations

2019 Canadian Greenhouse Conference Presentations

2018 Canadian Greenhouse Conference Presentations