The Living Laboratories Initiative is an integrated approach to agricultural innovation that brings farmers, scientists, and other partners together to co-develop, test, and monitor new practices and technologies in a real-life context.
Led by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA), Living Lab – Ontario project collaborators include farmers, agricultural and conservation organizations, and scientists from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada. Their research focuses on reducing the soil and nutrient runoff from agricultural land into Lake Erie, improving water quality, conserving soil health, and increasing biodiversity on agricultural lands in Ontario.
As a collaborator on the Living Lab – Ontario project, the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario’s two farm sites focus on reduced tillage and continuous cover for organic field crop production and organic vegetable production. Brett Israel of 3Gen Organics is trialing a double crop of winter barley and no-till soybeans compared to soybeans with traditional tillage and soybeans no-till planted into cereal rye. Ken Laing of Orchard Hill Farm is comparing different winter-killed and rolled cover crops and mulching systems to reduce tillage and maintain continuous cover for transplanted and direct seeded organic vegetable crops.
Living Lab – Ontario Collaborators
Growing cover crops so that they provide enough residue to suppress weeds for organic vegetable production requires planning!
For the no-till garlic demonstration that is part of EFAO’s No-Till Vegetable Trials, Ken Laing planted garlic on November 1, 2019 into a frost-killed cover crop of sorghum-sudangrass.
As part of EFAO’s No-Till Vegetable Trials, Ken Laing is doing a lot of no-till transplanting! Here are some of his reflections on the challenges of no-till planting seed and transplant. ...