Banner Cover

Speaker Program - Wednesday

Looking forward to seeing you in October

The 2023 Canadian Greenhouse Conference will bring experts to you!

Wednesday, October 4th

View the program in a printable, easy-to-read chart format.



Wednesday Morning Concurrent Sessions

9:30 AM - 11:00 AM


 9:30 AM


Jennifer Polanz
Green Profit Magazine
(Ball Publishing)

Retail Trends for Continued Success

We’ll explore this year’s trends at garden retail and how these opportunities can result in continued success. From inventory management and KPIs to plant trends and merchandising options, we’ll dig into what’s working (and what’s not!) and how it impacts the future.

Tanya Carvalho
Ball FloraPlant

John Ondejko
Bonanza Gardens

George Alkema
Linwell Gardens

Panel: What Growers Can Do In Their Production System To Have A Successful Consumer



9:30 AM 


This session is sponsored by

Erin Agro
Walker Industries


Aerated Static Pile Composting of Greenhouse Waste for Inactivation of the Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus  

 In response to the threat of catastrophic outbreaks of ToBRFV, regulating bodies in locations where the virus is more prominent have encouraged greenhouses to securely dispose of end-of-crop-cycle plant waste and growing media. Although these disposal methods are effective at preventing the spread of ToBRFV, their non-renewable nature is extremely unsustainable. Therefore, it is critical that an alternative method of disposal is developed in which these resources can be recovered and recycled. Walker Industries was able to demonstrate that their existing GORE® composting system is an effective method to inactivate ToBRFV while creating a circular economy for greenhouse waste. The GORE® covers make the static aerated system unique, retaining heat, humidity, and odours while allowing carbon dioxide to discharge. This project investigates the inactivation of ToBRFV in spent mineral wool slabs and tomato vine waste when incorporated with source-separated organics and composted through the GORE® system.


Dr. Alexandra Grygorczyk
Vineland Research & Innovation Centre


New uses for greenhouse fruit, vine, and growing media waste

Crop grade-outs, vines, de-leafing waste and spent growing media account for large volumes of material that is often landfilled or allowed to decompose outdoors. Such waste disposal options generate significant greenhouse gases and come with a financial cost from transport and tipping fees. However, these waste streams can play important nutritional and/or functional roles in diverse industries including food, agriculture, nutraceuticals, cosmetics, energy generation, and packaging. This presentation will provide an overview of waste diversion opportunities available for greenhouse waste streams. Potential uses will be presented based on Vineland research, including opportunities to use fruit grade-outs in the food industry and spent rockwool as an ingredient in growing media for the green roof industry. Additionally, the presentation will provide practical examples of companies actively using greenhouse waste streams to market new upcycled products and resources available to support growers interested in pursing new R&D initiatives in waste conversion.

Prof. Erica Pensini
University of Guelph, Engineering

Bio-Based Sorbents for the removal of zinc from water collection ponds


 *approximately 30-minute presentations

9:30 AM 


This session is sponsored by




Rose Buitenhuise
Vineland Research & Innovation Centre


Can We Boost Plant Defenses With Diet and Supplements?

The basis of IPM is to grow resistant plants. Plant resistance depends on genetics, but is also influenced by how the plants are grown.

Using a combined approach of pest trials and biochemical analysis of the plants, we found that low fertilizer rates made potted chrysanthemum plants less nutritious and increased their defenses to western flower thrips. However, we also found that chrysanthemum variety had a much bigger effect on thrips resistance and biochemical composition of the plants than fertilizer rate.

In addition, plant quality suffered at lower fertilizer rates. We tested several biostimulants to see if they could help plants cope with reduced nutrients and/or induce plant resistance to thrips, but none of them made a meaningful difference.

In conclusion, reducing fertilizer may help make plants a bit more resistant to thrips (and certainly will reduce production costs), but selecting resistant varieties is key.

Susanne Wainright Evans
Bug Lady Consulting

Harnessing Nature's Allies: The Role of Banker Plants in Greenhouse Ecosystems

Join the Buglady for an informative talk that delves into banker plants and their role in greenhouse ecosystems. These plants are a powerful tool in sustainable agriculture, offering a way to provide alternative food sources for purchased and local beneficials. During this session, attendees will learn how to decide if they are right for their facility, what plants to use, and how to use them. Real-world examples will be covered.

Cara McCreary
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs

Roselyne Labbe
Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada

Throwing us for a Loop(er)

Over several years, OMAFRA and AAFC collaborated on a survey of looper species and abundance in greenhouse-dense areas and fields in southwestern Ontario. Through this survey, the identity of multiple loopers was clarified and interesting trends arose in species distribution between production systems and geographic location. In this talk, we will give an overview of the key findings of this research and discuss implications for greenhouse crop protection.


Sarah Jandricic
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs

Can Tropical Plants Be Saved from Thrips Parvispinus?

This talk will cover efforts to control this invasive pest with mechanical, biological and chemical controls over a year in a commercial greenhouse. We'll also discuss the importance of proper monitoring and resistance management techniques when dealing with Thrips parvispinus, as well as where we go from here.




9:30 AM  


This session is sponsored by

Ton van Dijk
Van Dijk Heating

Your Greenhouse as Battery

Is it possible to grow vegetables and flowers without fossil energy? Can it be done without loss of production and quality? It sounds almost too good to be true but it can be done! The greenhouse is a huge source of energy and this can be used in a smart way. In my presentation, I will take you through the current state of affairs in this field and the practical possibilities. You will be given tools to get started immediately on sustainability and to further optimise your climate.


Paul Arena
Ludvig Svensson

Optimizing Greenhouse Cultivation: Harnessing the Benefits of Plant Empowerment, Advanced Screening, and Vertical Airflow Technology

In Canada, the greenhouse industry flourishes due to growers' mastery of their environments, which is continually strengthened by advancements in technology and cultivation methods. By leveraging new technologies and innovative cultivation techniques, growers are able to consistently refine their control over the growing environment, leading to greater yields and improved crop quality. 

Screening techniques enhance light quality and quantity that penetrates through greenhouse layers. Double screening is becoming a popular choice due to its short return on investment in light of rising energy costs. With double screening, growers now have access to new screening methods that aid in their production. Vertical airflow (VAF) systems have been demonstrated to be an effective tool for optimizing the growing environment in greenhouses. The implementation of VAF systems has resulted in a number of benefits for growers, including increased energy efficiency, better moisture management, and enhanced air circulation. These advantages allow for a more stable and conducive climate for plant growth, leading to higher yields and improved crop quality. Furthermore, VAF systems can also help to reduce the risk of disease, contributing to a more sustainable and profitable growing operation.

In this presentation, we will delve into the fundamentals of Plant Empowerment, a modern approach to greenhouse cultivation that emphasizes the importance of optimizing light and air conditions for plant growth. Through real-world examples, we will demonstrate how these principles can be applied in Canadian growing operations, with a focus on best practices and cutting-edge technologies.

Rob Lyle
greenshaus inc., Ottawa

 Hyper Local - Good for You Better for the Planet

Great ideas and successful ventures are often the product of naivety and blind ambition. How does a person with no greenhouse and growing experience create a great local lettuce brand using a unique greenhouse design?  This is my story.

James Dyck & Simon Baker
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs

Model Mayhem: Comparing Energy Modeling Tools for Greenhouses

In this presentation, we delve into the realm of energy modeling for greenhouses, comparing three software tools that aid in understanding energy consumption: AgriSuite (OMAFRA), RETScreen (NRCan), and Hortinergy (Agrithermic).  We evaluate the models' ability to replicate real-world energy consumption patterns, focusing on various factors such as heating, cooling, lighting, and ventilation. We seek to determine the extent to which each tool can accurately capture the intricate energy dynamics within greenhouses.  Our presentation sheds light on these aspects and empowers operators and researchers to make informed decisions on energy modeling tools. Join us as we unravel the intricacies of greenhouse energy modelling.

 *Approximately 30-minute presentations

Wednesday Afternoon Concurrent Sessions

2:00 PM - 3:30 PM




2:00 PM 



This session is sponsored by


Carly Demers
Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada
University of Windsor


Bug-Eat-Bug World: Assessing Canadian Mirids (Hemiptera: Miridae) for the Control of Greenhouse Pest

Greenhouse tomato production represents a large component of Canadian agricultural output. With pests posing a year-round threat to production, expanding the diversity of alternative management tools is essential. Dicyphus hesperus (Hemiptera: Miridae) is a native biological control agent (BCA) commercially applied in Canada. Recently, colonies of two previously unassessed native mirid species were established - Dicyphus discrepans and Dicyphus famelicus. Here, I present the results of a laboratory study elucidating the potential of these two predators to consume multiple generalist pests, including greenhouse whitefly, green peach aphids, and two-spotted spider mites. This research assesses the potential of these predators to control pests on tomato crops, and provides an initial evaluation of the degree of zoophytophagy and potential for plant damage exhibited by these novel BCAs. Determining how we can utilize these Dicyphus species will increase the number of native predators available for use against established and invasive pests.

Arezoo Emadi
University of Windsor

Low-cost Portable Electronic Nose Technology, A Platform for Pest Management

The developed electronic nose (eNose)-based detector technology developed at e-Minds Research Centre, presents a portable, prompt, and cost-effective means of autonomous greenhouse environmental control and monitoring as well as early pest detection. The usage of affordable, interchangeable sensor cartridges has enabled the detection of multiple aspects of the environment and compounds associated with different pests. The wireless mode of operation and usage of cloud-based IoT technology for data transfer and storage ensures device portability and maintains data integrity.

Ashley Summerfield
Vineland Research & Innovation Centre

Efficacy of Biopesticides for Managing Onion Thrips

In greenhouse crops, thrips IPM programs were developed with western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis; WFT) in mind. Other thrips species, such as onion thrips (Thrips tabaci; OT), do not appear to be managed as well by typical thrips IPM programs. Biopesticides are a frequently used component of thrips IPM programs, but efficacy data for non-WFT species are lacking. We conducted efficacy trials of two commercially available biopesticides: Botanigard (Beauveria bassiana strain GHA) and Lalguard M52 (Metarhizium brunneum strain F52). Here we present the results of laboratory trials evaluating the relative susceptibility of OT compared to WFT for each product, as well as greenhouse trials determining their ability to manage OT over multiple generations.

Keri Wang
A&L Canada Laboratories Inc.

Control of Cucumber Green Mottle Mosaic Virus by CucGuard

Cucumber green mottle mosaic virus (CGMMV) causes serious diseases in the cucurbits becoming a major limiting factor in the production of cucurbits worldwide. There are no effective chemicals for controlling virus diseases and crop protection relies completely on aspects of sanitation. Cuc-Guard strain BM3 is an attenuated CGMMV virus for the management of CGMMV in greenhouse cucumber production. Cuc-GUARD stimulates the natural defenses of healthy plants to resist infection of CGMMV resulting in reducing the spread of this virus in the greenhouse by workers and/or mechanical means therefore the normal growing practices of watering, fertilizing, pest management, and monitoring of the cucurbit crop can continue. Application of Cuc-Guard provides the reduction in disease incidence by up to 91.67% and an increase in marketable yields up to two times of English cucumber Grade 1 fruits with a single application per crop cycle of Cuc-GUARD strain BM3 on virus-free greenhouse cucumber seedlings.

 *Approximately 30-minute presentations

2:00 PM 


This session is sponsored by


Henry Gordon-Smith


The Global State of Vertical Farming

Vertical Farming is in a state of paradox: huge investments and valuations contrasted by massive failures. What is happening in this novel form of CEA around the world and what does the future hold?

Dr. Yaguang Luo
US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service

Microbial Community of Ready-to-Eat Leafy Greens and Food Safety Improvement Opportunities in Controlled Environment Agriculture

This presentation shares findings from our team research regarding microbiome and metabolomics of ready-to-eat (RTE) leafy greens grown from controlled environment agriculture (CEA) and from traditional open field farming practices. It also provides insight regarding food safety improvement opportunities through growth system redesign.

Jon Lomow

Fieldless Farms, Challenges and Successes


Susanne Wainright Evans

Bug Lady Consulting

The Ups & Downs of IPM In Vertical Farms

When considering pest management, our focus has traditionally been on controlling pests within flat growing areas rather than vertically. However, with the rise of vertical farming, our approach to pest management is evolving. It demands growers to reassess how they scout for and address pest issues, as the dynamics of vertical farming present unique challenges 

approximately 30-minute presentations

2:00 PM 



Els Vanbeckevoort

An Ounce of Prevention – Less Water

Water, chemical, and energy waste in greenhouses is often connected with inadequate insight and evaluation of treatment modalities to manage water quality, disease pressures, and nutrients in the greenhouse, all at the same time. An assortment of “solutions” and products add into the mix of confusion which may lead to overtreatment in some areas and mis- or undertreatment in others. Reducing, and re-using resources is the right approach to take, but to do so requires a data-driven and systems-based multi-barrier approach. Making changes in a process by re-using or reducing water often presents new challenges that may lead to greater use of pesticides and cleaning chemicals. This presentation deals with a practical sustainable approach to pollution prevention and resource education, where possible, and potential treatment modalities that can remove persistent toxic chemicals from possible waste streams.

Amarjeet Bassi
University of Western, ON

Use of Greenhouse Leachate Water for Microalgae

Bio-composite materials offer a renewable and biodegradable alternative to traditional petroleum-based plastics and can combat the current associated negative environmental and health impacts. The use of biomass such as microalgae is an emerging strategy for incorporating renewable and biodegradable properties into renewable, engineered materials. Their ability to be grown on diverse media such as waste water and the ability to fix carbon dioxide provides added environmental benefits. Their high lipid content and pigments offer opportunities in the energy and nutraceutical markets. This project is being financially supported by Carbon Solutions, Western, and is in partnership with OGVG. This research is interesting to OGVG members as it aligns directly with the sector’s research priorities around sustainability and environmental stewardship.

Thomas Graham
University of Guelph,
School of Env. Science

Water Treatment without the Hangover: Low Residual, Regenerative Electrochemical Technologies

In a perfect world, greenhouse and vertical farming operations would capture and reuse all their water in perpetuity. It is not a perfect world and growers are, for the most part, unable to capture and reuse irrigation/fertigation water in perpetuity.  There are several barriers to this, including fertilizer imbalances, accumulation of contaminants, and of course the ever-present threat of pathogen proliferation. There are many effective technologies for killing water-borne pathogens, but many of these technologies result in a bit of a hangover in that the disinfectant accumulates or harmful infection by-products are formed. A couple of emerging electrochemical processes have shown promise for controlling pathogens while largely avoiding the hangover.  These electrochemical systems will be presented and their pros and cons considered.


2:00 PM 


This session is sponsored by



Genevieve Marchand
Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada

Cara McCreary
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs


Getting Down To The Root Issues: Root Diseases in Greenhouse Peppers

Crown and root rot, and wilt are common disease symptoms in greenhouse production, and can lead to yield and quality reductions, and sometimes result in plant death. Disease severity can be influenced by several factors including pathogen species, environmental conditions, and crop susceptibility. In this talk we will discuss current knowledge of causal agents of root disease in greenhouse peppers as it relates to disease mitigation, identification, and management.


Dr. Nida’ Salem
University of Jordan

Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus - PANDEMIC

Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) is an emerging tobamovirus. It was first reported in 2015 in Jordan in greenhouse tomatoes and now threatens tomato and pepper crops around the world. ToBRFV is a stable and highly infectious virus that is easily transmitted by mechanical means and via seeds, which enables it to spread locally and over long distances. The ability of ToBRFV to infect tomato plants harboring the commonly deployed Tmresistance genes, as well as pepper plants harboring the L resistance alleles under certain conditions, limits the ability to prevent damage from the virus. The fruit production and quality of ToBRFV-infected tomato and pepper plants can be drastically affected, thus significantly impacting their market value.

Jonathan Griffiths
Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada


Genetic Resistance and Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus

Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) has spread rapidly worldwide and severely disrupted greenhouse tomato production. The primary factor influencing this rapid spread by ToBRFV is the escape from the longstanding Tm-2^2 resistance gene. Escape from this resistance gene is emblematic of the complex interactions between viruses and their plant hosts. Molecular mechanisms that control these complex interactions can have dramatic effects, resulting from small changes in the viral genome. This seminar will review progress in understanding this escape mechanism, and other potential sources of resistance. Tm-2^2 provided valuable resistance to related Tobamoviruses for ~50 years, and finding new sources of resistance could be the best approach to control this dangerous pathogen. Other approaches to resistance will also be discussed.

Katie Goldenhar
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs

Diagnosing Diseases - From Sampling to Making Informed Management Decisions

Plant diseases are caused by microscopic organisms (fungi, bacteria, viruses, oomycetes) making them inherently difficult to confidently diagnose without the help of a diagnostician. Some diseases, like powdery mildew, we can diagnose based on the symptoms and signs of the pathogen alone, but many diseases, like root rots or those caused by bacteria or viruses, cannot be diagnosed based on symptoms alone. To best inform management decisions, diagnosing a disease can require the help of a diagnostic lab. This talk will discuss best sampling practices for plant and water samples, reviewing modern lab diagnostics and report interpretation and limitations.



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

2022 Canadian Greenhouse Conference Presentations

2020 Canadian Greenhouse Conference Presentations

2019 Canadian Greenhouse Conference Presentations