Vineland Renaissance Moves Forward



    CEO Appointed to Lead Revitalization of Vineland Research Station

    VINELAND STATION, ON, June 14 /CNW/ - Dr. Jim Brandle has been appointed
CEO of the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, a government and industry
led initiative established to create a world-class hub for horticultural
science and innovation in Ontario.
    "We welcome Dr. Brandle's leadership and expertise," said Donald Ziraldo,
Chair of the not-for-profit Centre, who announced the appointment. "He will
play a critical role in creating the strong partnerships we need with
industry, academia and the community, as we build a new foundation for
horticultural excellence in research and commercialization."
    In April of this year, the federal and Ontario governments took the first
steps by making financial and in-kind commitments totaling $28 million to
support the mission of this new centre at Vineland.
    "Our vision is to make Vineland a world-class centre of excellence for
horticulture, floriculture and greenhouse research, innovation and commercial
activity," said Brandle. "I am excited by the possibilities ahead. I look
forward to working with all those who share this vision."
    Those possibilities include a future where pesticides are no longer
needed, where innovative cold-hardy plants thrive in Ontario, and where
Vineland becomes the destination of choice for top horticultural and
food/health scientists to innovate and share their knowledge.
    Brandle is from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), where, as a
senior research scientist, he headed many major crop improvement research
projects and gained extensive experience managing research teams. As former
National Science Director of Bioproducts and Bioprocesses, he managed the
$7 million Plum Pox Virus research program and has represented the AAFC across
Canada and internationally.
    As CEO of the Vineland Research Innovation Centre, Brandle will work with
stakeholder groups and the Board of Directors to further leverage the
federal-provincial investment of $28 million. Both governments have committed
to working with industry to bolster ongoing support for the Centre, which
could serve as a model to expand research in other locations. Several industry
associations, including Flowers Canada (Ontario) and the Niagara Peninsula
Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association have also committed funding.
    The Centre will aim to:

    
    -   Foster strong partnerships among different levels of government,
        academia, other research institutions and industry in forming the
        Centre's research priorities including a focus on Ontario's permanent
        Greenbelt;
    -   Enhance a commitment to applied research within climate-specific
        parameters;
    -   Create a focal point for the horticultural community to exchange
        ideas and bring together grower groups, the processing industry,
        researchers and commercialization expertise;
    -   Demonstrate all of the benefits of a strong horticultural sector that
        is supported by world-class research; and
    -   Develop and create public appreciation for the benefits that
        horticulture can bring to health, energy conservation and the
        environment.
    

    "With a CEO in place to lead the Centre forward we are taking another
step ahead for the horticulture industry," said Jamie Warner, a board member
and local grower. "By joining forces and resources across government and
industry, we can create new advances and achievements that will open further
opportunities for the horticulture sector."

    The Vineland Research Station was first created in 1906, when Moses F.
Rittenhouse, a local citizen, donated the property to the province to create a
centre of excellence in horticultural research. Ontario's tender fruit and
grape and wine industries have reaped the benefits of the work conducted
there, which has included plant breeding and the introduction of new
varieties, production techniques and post-harvest technologies.

    
                                 Backgrounder
    

    Biography - Dr. Jim Brandle

    Jim Brandle comes from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, where he was a
Senior Research Scientist, Study Leader for Biotechnology and Genomics.
    He is an Adjunct Professor, Biology Dept., University of Western Ontario,
and an Associate Graduate Faculty, Environmental Biology Dept., University of
Guelph.
    Dr. Brandle holds a PhD from the University of Manitoba, and a MSc Degree
and BSA from the University of Saskatchewan. He also graduated from the Ivey
Executive Program at the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of
Western Ontario.

    Vineland Research Station

    The Vineland Research Station was created through a gift by local
philanthropist, Moses F. Rittenhouse, in 1906. This generous endowment
contributed to the emergence of a competitive tender fruit industry, and more
recently, wine and greenhouse industries, in one of Canada's most unique
geographic regions.
    Vineland is located in the town of Lincoln, Niagara Region (part of the
permanent provincial Greenbelt). It consists of 35 buildings
(165,000 square feet) with a 218 acre land base. The site is located within a
unique combination of micro-climate and "urban-rural" environment protected by
Ontario Greenbelt legislation.
    During the past 100 years, Vineland has developed more than 75 varieties
of peaches, apricots, cherries and plums and more than 36 varieties of
vegetables. It has served as the backbone for the development of Ontario's
world-class wine industry.
    The Station is renowned for its pioneering work in developing innovative
techniques to maintain the quality of produce through post-harvesting and
processing stages. It also made tremendous strides in advancing crop
protection, from biological controls to new production practices and disease
management.
    Since 1997, research activities at Vineland have been managed by the
Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph.

    Timelines

    August 2006

    Vineland Research Station celebrates its centennial anniversary in
August 2006. Leona Dombrowsky, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
attends the celebration and announces that the Ministry will provide $200,000
in seed money to establish a Vineland Renaissance Advisory Panel. The Panel is
tasked with developing a business case for the future of agri-food research at
Vineland. The panel is chaired by Niagara wine entrepreneur, Donald Ziraldo,
and includes members from the agriculture, horticulture and scientific
community: James Farrar, Dr. Calvin Stiller and Jamie Warner.

    December 2006

    The Vineland Renaissance Advisory Panel submits its report to the Ontario
Government (available on www.vinelandontario.ca). One of the report's key
recommendations calls for public-private partnerships to leverage greater
investment in the revitalization initiative.

    April 2007

    The Ontario government announces that it will invest $12.5 million to
establish the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. Simultaneously, the
federal government announces $15.5 million to support the initiative. The
total government investment of $28 million will support research and
revitalization projects at Vineland. Early additional contributors to the
Centre include Flowers Canada, the Niagara Fruit and Vegetable Growers
Association, and the Donald Ziraldo family. In addition, both the federal and
provincial governments commit to exploring additional means to support the
Centre's activities by optimizing investments in land and facilities, and
providing ongoing support for horticultural research.

    June 2007

    The Centre announces the appointment of Dr. Jim Brandle as CEO and
launches a new website: www.vinelandontario.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Bob Kalbfleisch, Communications Advisor, (519)
572-1112, bob.kalbfleisch@sympatico.ca

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Vineland Research and Innovation Centre

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