Harvesting Innovation: Bridging Traditional and Controlled Environment Agriculture

Harvesting Innovation: Bridging Traditional and Controlled Environment Agriculture

The session will look at why there is a need for both CEA and traditional farming in Alberta, and will explore regional innovative research being done to help grow the industry to increase productivity

Joya Sauder, Senior Business Officer, Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan)
Joya has been working in economic development for the past six years. In her role at PrairiesCan (a federal regional development department) she leads the department’s internal value-added agriculture strategic team. Joya is responsible for managing agriculture-related economic development projects and investments for Southern Alberta. She has had past careers in international development and marketing communications.

Richard Gibson, Director of Controlled Environment Agriculture Association of Alberta, and Co-Founder of Planetary Harvest Vertical Farms
Richard has over 30 years of agricultural innovation experience in private, multi-national and government R&D organizations with leadership roles in field research, business architecture, and product development. An amateur astronomer and space enthusiast, Richard is an avid supporter for CEA in rural and remote environments. His current endeavor is de-risking the development of sustainable, and commercially viable, vertical farming environments.

Ray Price, President, Sunterra Group
Ray grew up on a mixed farm near Acme, Alberta. After attending college, he returned to the farm and worked in every area of the Sunterra business, working his way into senior leadership roles. The Sunterra Group encompasses pig production in Alberta and South Dakota, cropping operations in the Acme area, a pork plant located in Trochu, Alberta, the Soleterra salami and ham processing facility near Acme, Sunterra Markets with 8 retail food stores in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton, and its latest expansion, a 20 acre glass greenhouse which produces tomatoes and strawberries outside Acme.
Ray is currently a director of the Sunterra Group, Fortis Alberta, Kathairos Solutions, the Canadian Meat Council and the Vineland Innovation and Research Centre. He has also served on several other industry, community, and corporate boards over the years.

Ryan Wright, Co-founder and CEO of NuLeaf Farms
Ryan is the co-founder and CEO of NuLeaf Farms, a Calgary-based company specializing in sustainable food production. Ryan has over 20 years of experience in designing, building, and operating industrial projects across Canada’s largest industries. In 2015, Ryan’s focus shifted towards exploring sustainable food production methods to improve food security and reduce agriculture’s environmental impact. This pursuit led to the founding of NuLeaf Farms, where he and his team are growing the next generation of farmers as they consult, design, build, educate, and develop crops and indoor farming solutions for a more sustainable and secure food future.

Ronan Mackey, Instructor and CEA Curriculum Advisor, Olds College
For the past eight years, Ronan has been actively involved in the Controlled Environment Agriculture Sector. As a Director of Cultivation, he managed one of Canada’s largest Medical Plant operations through the difficult start up and regulation phases. He spent four years operating as a Risk Advisory Consultant for Deloitte Canada focusing on sustainable controlled environment agriculture. With Deloitte, he consulted with over 90 different clients operating or entering into the CEA industry, including designing one of Canada’s largest operating multi-tiered vertical farms. Currently, he operates his own consulting business which has helped CEA clients throughout Canada and the Caribbean improve yields, reduce water and power consumption, improve pest management practices and decrease labour costs. Ronan is both a contract instructor in the Horticulture Applied Degree program and Curriculum advisor for the soon to launch CEA program at Olds College.

Event Timeslots (1)

Tent 2
PrairiesCan Panel
admin admin