Sustainable food and biomass production through engineered soils from local waste materials

Lay Summary 

The government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s agriculture policy “The way forward on agriculture” targets increasing local food production and diversification of the economy by creating jobs opportunities. One of the opportunities is to expand controlled conditions food production, an avenue to also increase crop profitability. Greenhouse producers primarily import potting soils from outside the province at a cost to farm profitability and production sustainability. This project aims to formulate and produce engineered soils through calibrating recipes that employ local feedstocks such as organic wastes and by evaluating the feasibility of these produced engineered soils for growing cannabis in the greenhouse. The organic wastes are the main recipes in vermicompost. Upon successful evaluation and eventual certification of the engineered soils, production might be scaled up for commercial production which can lead to job opportunities and a boost to the local economy. The outcome of this project will thus benefit greenhouse producers, divert organic waste from the landfill, employ and retain one postdoctoral research scientist and offer partial support to either one MSc student or an undergraduate researcher. The project will be conducted collaboratively by the Memorial University of Newfoundland and the G & M family farm.

Start date 
22 May 2021
End date 
21 May 2022