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B.C. ramps up support for agritech

CANADA, June 24 - Two Vancouver-based agritech businesses are paving the way for stronger food security through B.C.’s Agritech Ramp-Up Pilot Program (Ramp-Up) with robotics and technology to support B.C.’s agriculture sector.

“B.C. agritech companies are at the forefront of creating new and innovative technology, which is giving us a glimpse into the future of farming with reduced labour costs, more sustainable food production and stronger regional food systems,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture and Food. “Our government is supporting the ingenuity of these local businesses through programs like Ramp-Up, ensuring we continue to have made-in-B.C. solutions that strengthen our province’s food security.”

QuantoTech was founded by Peter van der Gracht and daughter Alycia van der Gracht with the goal of creating technology to expand access to fresh food in locations and climates where traditional farming is challenging. The company designs LED lights, hydroponics, climate control, monitoring and control systems in-house and manufactures them in B.C. QuantoTech’s technology is used in Prince George, Quesnel and Mackenzie, producing crops such as lettuce, herbs and microgreens available locally and year-round under the brand Northern Greens.

Lyne Systems uses technology to optimize food production, processing and packaging lines to deliver greater system efficiencies and higher yield with less labour.

Lyne Systems’ PikAssist pilot project features a mechanical harvesting device that allows mushroom farms to more than double their harvesting efficiency, creating an affordable option for farmers facing difficulty finding skilled labour. Incorporating PikAssist requires no changes to existing farm operations and will help farmers increase the number of crops picked. The PikAssist will be tested on a B.C. farm when the protype is complete and has the potential to be used by mushroom growers throughout the province and country.

Ramp-Up is a cohort-based program divided into two phases designed to help food entrepreneurs move their ideas from concept to reality. In Phase 1, cohorts are provided with three days of market validation training, learning about customer meetings, reviewing and revising market plans, and analyzing barriers to scaling up their operations.

In Phase 2, businesses are provided with specialized mentoring, coaching and networking opportunities based on individual company needs and building upon concepts learned in Phase 1.

The program is funded by the Government of B.C. and delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of B.C. (IAF).

“The StrongerBC Economic Plan focuses on fostering innovation to grow a clean and inclusive economy and supporting B.C.’s agritech community is a key action to help us move forward,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “The Province is supporting B.C. agritech companies to grow and scale up, creating high-paying high-tech jobs for people in this sector. I recently signed a significant agritech agreement with the Netherlands to enhance B.C.’s ability to trade and supply food globally, which will further position this province as a leader in clean-energy solutions and agritech innovation.”

Quotes:

Mike Manion, Ramp-Up executive in residence –

“I am so pleased to see the successful completion of Cohort 1. Ramp-Up is a key program in the agritech ecosystem and the graduation of Cohort 1 is an exciting milestone for the program. This cohort had a number of exciting agritech entrepreneurs and organizations participating. Congratulations to the two grant winners and all the graduates of Cohort 1.”

Kyle Gardiner, product management lead, Lyne Systems –

“Ramp-Up helped us move our product to the final testing phase. The build of our new pilot device will allow us to conduct final testing on our partner farms to prove the efficacy of our device. Once installed, PikAssist will allow mushroom farms to increase their growing capacity, reduce their harvesting labour and gather valuable harvest room data.”

Alycia van der Gracht, co-founder, QuantoTech –

“The funding and the knowledge we gained through Ramp-Up is allowing us to install our new auto-dosing system into our existing showcase grow banks to display. Our technology, paired with our existing grow systems, severely reduces the labour and knowledge required to grow commercial-quality produce, giving small communities the ability to grow high-quality produce year-round and boosting their food security.”

Quick Facts:

  • QuantoTech and Lyne Systems will each receive $25,000 as winners of the Business Development Grant provided by IAF for Cohort 1, as part of Ramp-Up.
  • Ramp-Up is supporting 21 B.C. agritech companies between the two cohorts. Cohort 2 is underway and will finish in September 2022.
  • B.C. has more than 150 agritech companies, including the areas of food processing, precision agriculture, bioproducts, food safety/traceability and soil/crop technology.

Learn More:

To learn more about Ramp Up, visit: www.AgritechRampUp.ca

For more information about Lyne Systems, visit: https://lynesystems.com/

For more information about QuantoTech, visit: https://www.quantotechltd.com/

For more information about programs delivered by Investment Agriculture Foundation of B.C., visit: https://iafbc.ca/

For more information about Ministry of Agriculture and Food programs, visit: https://gov.bc.ca/agricultureprograms

To learn more about B.C. agritech, visit: https://www.britishcolumbia.ca/TradeBCPortal/media/Marketing/bc-agritech-mit.pdf

To learn more about the Agritech Concierge program, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/economic-recovery/agritech-concierge

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