The Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation announced a new Centre for Agritech Innovation at the Simon Fraser University campus in Surrey.

“We are pleased that the BC Government has spearheaded a centre for agritech to be located in Surrey not only because one-third of our land base is allocated to agricultural use but also to serve as a proactive way to strengthen local food security systems and global partnerships,” said Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade. “This will further enhance our ability to ensure that BC and Surrey are opportunity centres.”

Details of the centre include:

  1. $6.5 million investment from the Province of BC over three years for the centre
  2. The federal government is providing as much as $10 million over five years through Pacific Economic Development Canada (PacifiCan)
  3. The centre will officially open in September, has begun taking applications from small and medium-sized agritech operations throughout the province
  4. The centre will focus on developing, testing and piloting solutions in simulated and real-world environments to be farmready for commercialization
  5. The centre will create economic opportunities for Indigenous Peoples and help small and medium-sized agritech businesses scale up, increase profits and create good-paying jobs
  6. This investment is expected to create nearly 200 jobs and help train more than 700 workers, while adding 30 new agritech projects throughout the province by 2025
  7. The Surrey Board of Trade released a policy paper detailing the need for greater innovation in agricultural production through the use of non-traditional land and investing in vertical growing operations.

Potential benefits of vertical farms include:

More efficient use of limited land base (0.2h equivalent to 1.6-2.4h), onsite processing, energy sales from methane produced by compost, proximity to employees and markets; year-round production, no weather-related crop failures, no agricultural runoff, allowance for ecosystem restoration, organic premium, water use reduced 70-95% relative to outdoor crops, reduced food miles, control over food safety and security, purification of grey water to drinking water, animal feed from post harvest plant material; close integration of agricultural amenities into urban planning with agricultural capacity scalable to urban growth, cycling of organic resources, reduction or elimination of “food deserts”, increase in local employment, and revitalization of urban areas in decline.

To read the Surrey Board of Trade policy on vertical growth visit: https:// content/uploads/2020/07/ Committing-to-vertical-growth. pdf


Anita Huberman, 604-634-0342,