Government of Canada announces two new living labs in Quebec
July 10, 2023 – Coaticook, Quebec – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
While visiting the Centre d’initiatives en agriculture de la region de Coaticook (CIARC), the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, today announced the creation of two new living labs in Quebec. These on-farm collaborative innovation projects bring together producers and scientists, among others, who co-develop and test innovative practices and technologies to accelerate the agri-environmental shift.
The lead partners for these two new Quebec living labs are L’Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA) and Les Producteurs de lait du Québec (Les PLQ). The two projects represent an investment of more than $16 million over five years from the federal government, under the Agricultural Climate Solutions (ACS) program.
With up to $9.2M in federal investments, the living lab led by UPA aims to co-develop, test and evaluate beneficial management practices with dairy, cattle, pork, sheep and field crops, which are the largest agricultural sectors in Quebec.
Les PLQ are benefiting from a federal investment of up to $7M for Laboratoire vivant – Lait carboneutre, which is part of a global strategy aimed at achieving carbon-neutral, on-farm milk production by 2050.
Both lead partners will be working closely with local producers and other organizations to co-develop and test beneficial on-farm practices to store carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Each living lab will create its own network to encourage knowledge transfer and exchange between fellow 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 break down barriers between research and application 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.
In the coming weeks, lead partners for living labs in three other provinces will be announced. They add to the wave of nine living labs announced under the ACS program in 2022 and will ensure that there will be at least one living lab in every Canadian province.
By working collaboratively with the sector, Canada continues to lead on this collaborative approach to agricultural innovation aiming to feed the world through sustainable farming practices.
"Quebec farmers have long worked closely in collaboration with researchers to bring the best practices and the latest tools from out of the lab and into the field. These two new research projects ensure that farms themselves become laboratories where new practices are co-developed, tested and evaluated. This approach makes it possible to reach a greater number of producers, to accelerate the adoption of best practices and, as a result, make our agriculture increasingly sustainable. »
- The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“The participatory research and support activities of Living Lab – Quebec 2020-2023 have generated enthusiasm and support from over 200 producers, agricultural advisors, stakeholders and scientists. This approach has enabled farmers to be at the forefront and to work closely with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada scientists and other specialists, from start to finish. Today’s announcement, which confirms the continuity of this winning formula, will be welcomed by all the stakeholders involved.”
- Martin Caron, General President, Union des producteurs agricoles
“This is a major announcement by the Canadian government for Quebec dairy producers, as this living lab will make a major contribution to the development of knowledge and the improvement of practices in a perspective of sustainable development and carbon neutrality. We are determined to be a leader in best practices, which is why we have adopted an ambitious sustainable development plan and are working to develop structuring projects. This living lab will be able to rely on the participation of a number of dairy farms, and we would like to thank the producers who are committed to the project and its objectives, as well as all the partners who are contributing to it.”
- Daniel Gobeil, President, Producteurs de lait du Québec
“We are honoured to welcome today the architects of the new living lab projects in Quebec. Through the support of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, we can all work together to improve the carbon footprint of Canadian agriculture. Our organization is proud to contribute to the carbon-neutral milk living lab. Our farm-school will bring the student community into contact with the process, which will undoubtedly enrich agricultural training. What’s more, the objectives and values of this living lab are strongly aligned with CIARC’s current work, particularly with regard to the Estrie biofood institute project. We’re already looking forward to working with the participating farms in the Eastern Townships!”
- Jean-Pierre Charuest, Chairman of the Board of the CIARC, a partner of Laboratoire vivant – Lait carboneutre
The lead applicants for the two new Quebec living labs are:
- L’Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA)
- Les Producteurs de lait du Québec (Les PLQ)
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 the 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. With this announcement, the program is on track to have at least one living lab in every province.
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
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.
- Agricultural Climate Solutions - agriculture.canada.ca
- Accelerating the adoption of climate-smart best practices in agriculture
- Canada plays leadership role on soil conservation at G20 meeting in Argentina - Canada.ca
- Living Laboratories Initiative: International engagement and partnerships - agriculture.canada.ca
- Government of Canada launches Canada’s first Living Lab in Prince Edward Island: homegrown collaborative solutions to local environmental farming issues - Canada.ca
- Living Lab - Quebec, an inspiring example of winning collaboration - agriculture.canada.ca
- Government of Canada makes transformative $70 million investment in agricultural science - Canada.ca
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