Kwantlen Polytechnic University

As a contribution to the endowment fund for the BC Regional Innovation Chair in Sustainable Horticulture.

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Institute for Sustainable Horticulture

With food production and distribution being affected by climate change, population growth, and rising oil prices (among other factors), there has never been a better time to investigate sustainable options for agriculture in both urban and rural regions. The production of food and the care of the land it’s grown on must nurture ecosystem health, or we risk losing the ability to cultivate that land in the future.

In 2004 Kwantlen Polytechnic University launched the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture (ISH) as a collaborative effort between academics, BC’s horticultural industry, and the community. Based at Kwantlen’s Langley campus, the Institute’s research and education initiatives are working towards a higher level of environmental responsibility in the areas of ecosystem sustainability, urban agriculture, integrated pest management, industrial innovation, community awareness, and education and training.

In partnership with the Leading Edge Endowment Fund (LEEF), the ISH appointed Dr. Deborah Henderson as the Regional Innovation Chair in Sustainable Horticulture. Her leadership is helping ISH make breakthroughs in several areas, including sustainable agri-food systems, bio-control products (an alternative to pesticides), and the potential of geothermal heat as a clean energy source.

The other two ISH directors, Dr. Arthur Fallick (Director, Sustainable Urban Systems) and Dr. Kent Mullinix (Director, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security) bring additional, land use-related expertise to the Institute. Initiatives such as the Richmond Farm School; research and analysis on the potential for enhanced local scale agriculture in Surrey; and “Creating the Framework for a Regional Food System Management Plan: A Case Study of the Sea to Sky Bioregion” are providing information, facilitating discussion, and building capacity around various issues related to sustainable agri-food systems in BC. Working with a broad range of stakeholders, the Institute is helping bridge the gaps between land use planning, development, and sustainable food systems.

Our endowment grant to help establish the Regional Innovation Chair in Sustainable Horticulture is an investment in the human and institutional resources of the ISH—in helping Kwantlen to build the body of knowledge and local capacity around sustainable agriculture, including how we plan our communities with food systems in mind. It reflects our commitment to supporting education and applied research that improves sustainable land use for generations to come.

- Alicia Olive