Ottawa includes vast areas of agricultural and other rural lands, and a thriving agricultural sector is a vital part of our economy. We also rely on agriculture, locally and globally, for our food supply. Technological advances can be used to improve agricultural productivity in an environmentally sustainable way: smart farming.
In May 2020, the Ottawa Smart Farm was launched by the City of Ottawa and Invest Ottawa. Its purpose is to support industry-led collaborations and drive innovation in the agriculture sector by bringing together important partners such as:
- The agricultural industry
- The technological industry
The Ottawa Smart Farm is located at the intersection of Hunt Club and Woodroffe, in the National Capital Commission’s Greenbelt Research Farm.
The Ottawa Smart Farm will:
- Incorporate sustainable growing practices
- Provide a space for innovators and researchers to test, validate and demonstrate new agricultural technologies
- Provide training to producers, companies and students
- Facilitate market-driven solutions
- Grow companies, create local jobs and wealth
- Connect farmers with innovations and technology
- Inform policymakers on industry trends and evidence-based practices
National smart farm network
The Ottawa Smart Farm is part of a national collaboration to connect producers and innovators across Canada. Each farm has unique strengths and areas of focus that will be leveraged across the national network. By working together, we can advance innovation in this vital sector while helping to unlock new talent and technologies.
- Glacier FarmMedia Discovery Farm, Saskatchewan
- Lakeland College Student-Managed Farm, Alberta
- Olds College Smart Farm, Alberta
- Ottawa Smart Farm, Ontario
What is smart farming?
Farm management is evolving, using modern information and communications technologies to help producers operate more efficiently. For example, sensors and satellite imagery can help producers make decisions on how to manage their operations, resulting in healthier crops and increased yields, while reducing operating costs and allowing for more sustainable growing practices.
Why agriculture, why now?
COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges around the world. Global market pressure and financial uncertainty have caused some instability in the agri-food sector.
With the global population expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, adopting smart farming is one way that Canadian producers can increase their capacity to meet this incredible demand.
Canada’s reputation as a safe, sustainable supplier of agricultural products allows us to take the lead in exporting agricultural technology.
Canada has the talent required to develop these technologies, especially here in Ottawa, where we have the highest concentration of tech talent in the nation. The technology developed here in Ottawa will help producers around the world to greatly increase their production.
Agriculture is facing challenges that could impact producers and their ability to remain competitive. Ottawa’s Smart Farm partners will work together to share data and techniques with producers, organizations, companies and researchers regarding issues such as:
- Climate change
- Skilled labour shortage
- Increasingly competitive global market
- Rural connectivity
Supporting our industry
As part of a national network of smart farms, the Ottawa Smart Farm will help address sector challenges that change from season to season. We will support producers to be more sustainable and competitive.