Planting begins at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre

It was a slow start to year two of the ethnic vegetable research trials at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre thanks to a very rainy Spring in Niagara. But today, friends from Toronto Food Policy Council, University of Guelph and Toronto Community Gardens came out to help researchers and students plant crops.

I was speaking to Suman Roy, Executive Chef with Sodexo and the head chef at the Vancouver Olympics who came to Vineland on his day off to help plant crops and learn about the new varieties. Thanks Suman!

This year, we are excited to announce a number of new crops to the program. Three varieties each of Chinese hot pepper, round eggplant, bottle gourds, maca, tomatillo, daikon radish and Indian red carrot will join Oriental eggplant, okra, and yard long beans from the 2010 trials for this study.

With our leading partner, the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association, Vineland is working hard to establish a new line of locally-grown, ethnic varieties that will be made available to farmers, local gardeners, and consumers. This project is concerned with feeding diversity and making sure that Canada's large and ethnically-diverse population has access to healthy, fresh produce of their heritage, but grown right here at home. Thank you to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, University of Guelph, Greenbelt Foundation and The Stop Community Food Centre for their commitment to this work.

Two excellent and recent partnerships with the Niagara Botanical Gardens and Evergreen Brickworks in Toronto are also helping to extend the message with demonstration gardens. I extend our appreciation to Greenbelt Foundation for coordinating a wonderful partnership with the Royal York Hotel's Executive Chef David Garcelon and his rooftop garden. On June 15th we will be celebrating ethno-cultural vegetables from an extraordinary rooftop vantage point in downtown Toronto.

If you need information on Vineland's word crop research program or would like to chat about how to become involved you can always reach us at Vineland:

Isabel Dopta, Director Communications 519.993.1192

Kathryn Goodish, PR and Communications Coordinator 905.630.3772