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Farmers and researchers working together as part of "Living Labs"

January 9, 2020

Earlier this year, several farms in Prince Edward Island became some of the first in Canada to be part of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's (AAFC's) new Living Laboratory Initiative.

The Living Laboratories Initiative is a new, collaborative approach to agricultural innovation. It brings stakeholders together on working farms to develop, test and adopt new practices and technologies that will tackle important environmental issues.

Water management, fertilizer use, soil conservation, and nutrient losses due to soil erosion are key environmental issues to be examine by the Living Lab group in Prince Edward Island (PEI).

"These are issues that really matter to PEI farmers and Islanders", says Francois Chretien, Director of AAFC's Living Laboratories Initiative. "Essentially, this group is going to work together to develop home-grown solutions to local environmental issues."

Because producers have been developing and testing new tools on their farms right from the beginning, the initiative can respond farmers' needs more quickly.

As part of the $10 million Living Laboratories Initiative Collaborative Program, the East Prince Agri-Environment Association received $2.4 million. The investment will support on-farm research activities in collaboration with more than a dozen partners and local producers, including some 20 science teams from AAFC, Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

The Living Laboratories Initiative is part of the Government of Canada's $70 million commitment to support agricultural discovery science and innovation, with a focus on climate change and soil and water conservation.

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