Aug 24, 2023 – St. Peters Bay, Prince Edward Island – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Today, while visiting the Canadian Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation, the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced the creation of a new living lab in Prince Edward Island (PEI). The announcement was made alongside Heath MacDonald, Member of Parliament for Malpeque, and Bobby Morrissey, Member of Parliament for Egmont. Led by the East Prince Agri-Environment Association (EPAA), this living lab project represents an investment of up to $4.5 million over five years from the federal government under the Agricultural Climate Solutions (ACS) – Living Labs program.
This living lab aims to accelerate the sector’s response to climate change by bringing together producers and scientists, among others, to co-develop, test and evaluate on-farm beneficial management practices (BMPs) on multiple sites across the province. These BMPs – featuring the addition of kelp in diets of cattle, rotational grazing, hedgerows, edge-of-field wetlands, and more – will help store carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on island farms. In collaboration with partner organizations within the living lab, the EPAA will also encourage knowledge transfer and exchange between local producers, producer associations, federal and provincial researchers, Indigenous groups, and other sector stakeholders.
Building on the success of the Living Laboratories Initiative that ran in PEI, Manitoba, Quebec, and Ontario from 2019 until March 2023, the Agricultural Climate Solutions – Living Labs program seeks to strengthen the sustainability of PEI’s agricultural sector by co-developing and testing new ideas in real-world conditions. This Canadian model has received international acclaim and inspired similar initiatives in other countries around the world. The new living lab announced today adds to projects launched earlier this year in Quebec and Ontario and the nine launched in 2022. With this announcement, the ACS – Living Labs program is on track to have at least one living lab in every province.
Working together with the sector, Canada continues to lead on this collaborative approach to agricultural innovation aiming to feed the world through sustainable farming practices.
“Island producers have time and time again shown their resiliency while working through challenges unique to our farms. It takes a collaborative effort to adapt to a changing climate and protect this province’s watershed. Today, the East Prince Agri-Environment Association reprises its role as lead of a new living lab in PEI. They will continue their work with producers, scientists, and other stakeholders to drive innovation while contributing to Canada’s net zero emission goals.” – The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“The initial phase of Living Lab – Atlantic changed the research paradigm for adopting beneficial management practices (BMPs) in Island agriculture. New partnerships flourished between academia, industry and government, where Island farms became the research labs, and knowledge transfer was widely shared with and between farmers. As we look ahead to the future, we are filled with anticipation and excitement for the next phase. Through farmer-led research and innovation, we will continue to build knowledge, increase the adoption of BMPs and strive for a mutually beneficial relationship between economic profitability, environmental stewardship and social responsibility.” – Andrea McKenna, Executive Director, East Prince Agri-Environment Association
“Today’s announcement is exciting to the University, given our past collaborations and ongoing efforts to research and develop new practices and technologies to help solve climate-change challenges faced by farmers. Funding through programs like the Living Laboratories Initiative helps UPEI and the Canadian Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation support the development of the next generation of scientists and innovators in the agri-environmental field.” – Dr. Greg Keefe, President and Vice-Chancellor (Interim), University of Prince Edward Island
- The lead partner for the new Prince Edward Island living lab is the East Prince Agri-Environment Association, who previously led Living Lab – Atlantic under for the former Living Laboratories Initiative (2018–2023).
- Projects and final funding are subject to negotiation of contribution agreements.
- For additional information on each of the new living labs and what they will be working on, please see backgrounder.
- The ACS – Living Labs program builds on the foundation of knowledge established through the original four living labs in PEI, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.
- The lead partners for the first nine ACS – Living Labs announced in 2022 are:
- Alberta Beef Producers
- Alberta Conservation Association
- British Columbia:
- B.C. Investment Agriculture Foundation
- Peace Region Forage Seed Association (this living lab straddles northern Alberta and British Columbia)
- Mistawasis Nêhiyawak
- South of the Divide Conservation Action Program
- Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture
- Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture
- Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick
- The lead partners for the first three ACS – Living Labs announced in 2023 are:
- The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association
- L’Union des producteurs agricoles
- Les Producteurs de lait du Québec
- Canada introduced the agroecosystem living labs concept to G20 Agriculture Ministers in 2018, who welcomed it as a novel way to accelerate the development of sustainable agricultural practices and technologies around the world.
- First announced in March 2021, the Agricultural Climate Solutions program is one of many initiatives undertaken to promote environmental sustainability and resiliency in the agricultural sector. It is part of Canada’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 45 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, and towards net-zero emissions by 2050. These goals were announced ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).
- Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and France’s Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement (INRAE) will be co-hosting the first International Forum on Agroecosystem Living Labs in Montreal, Quebec from October 4 to 6, 2023. The event will discuss best practices, case studies and challenges facing the international agroecosystem living lab community worldwide.