Investigating the Main Operational Challenges and Opportunities for Developing Sustainable Greenhouses in Newfoundland
Due to the harsh climate and poor soil quality, traditional methods of year-round crop production in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) are impossible. Greenhouses are the potential solution. However, the greenhouse farmers face numerous challenges, and there is no updated information on complex issues undermining their sustainable growth. We intend to conduct research in North-Eastern Avalon to explore; a) technical, financial, market and policy challenges faced by greenhouse farmers, b) production barriers to growth in greenhouse farming, and c) potential opportunities for high-value sustainable vegetable production. We will collect the data by conducting approximately 32 face-to-face interviews with the selected stakeholders, including greenhouse farmers; officials of the Agri-food agency (government of NL), banks/investors and other funding agencies; chicken producers and fish plant owners; managers of large grocery stores and corner stores and scientists/researchers. We will also collect last five years data on "expenditure" (energy, amendments, maintenance, labour, transportation, insurance, etc.) and "revenue" from the selected greenhouses. The analyzed data will be disseminated among the stakeholders (interviewees). In the stakeholder consultation, a draft follow-up research plan will be developed covering: a) identification of technological choices, b) capacity building and c) changing policy for a more business friendly environment. We will aim to complete the project before next cropping season in 2017.